We don’t think of time as a weapon; it absolutely can be. For example, a siege on the town counts on time by waiting out its inhabitants so that they run out of resources and surrender. Knowing the future could also be a very powerful weapon. Although we as finite beings can’t know the future, we serve a God who does. He exists outside of time and space, thus sees the end from the beginning just as clearly as He sees everything in between. He reserves this right for Himself alone, and even our chief adversary, Satan cannot know the day or hour for the Rapture of the Church.
Why is this significant? Well, God is precise. Not only is He precise, but He’s already seen this all play out before, thus can utilize this foreknowledge to exact the precise execution of His will (Gal. 4:4-5). I believe that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture is not just an event where the Church (the body) is brought back together with the Head (Christ). The trump, the shout, the meeting in the air while being simultaneously transformed from mortal, to immortal is all part of His battle plan (1st Cor. 15:51-56, 1st Thess. 4:13-18, Eph. 6:12-13).
But not just the Rapture of the Church, but for everything that follows it, because those events ALL hinge on the Rapture transpiring first. In a way, the Rapture is like the ‘gate-keeper’ for which nothing may proceed beyond until it is complete. But that does not mean those other prophetic events can’t be prepositioned and readied for their impending eventuality.
Humanity has been moving at the speed of horse for the past 6,000 years, and it is only in this past century (20th) that events have gone into overdrive. Is there a reason for this? Why wasn’t the car invented in the 5th century? Why wasn’t the Internet invented in the 10th? Why now? Why us? Well, because that is the way God shaped events to turn out. Preciseness. And until the end, events are going to be non-stop and unrelenting. The following is the outline I believe the Bible lays out for us.
1. Rapture of the Church (the Gatekeeper Event)
a. Global Chaos window (length of time unknown)
b. The world begins to realign regionally, politically, economically, and militarily
2. Battle of Gog and Magog
a. Israel’s enemies take advantage of this window of chaos (Ez. 38)
b. God supernaturally delivers Israel destroying the attacking militaries
c. Newly aligned world powers enter into mutually beneficial political covenant with Israel. This could include energy/security needs for Europe, since Russia is no longer able to provide the 40% natural gas she had been. This can run concurrently with the first Seal
d. Israel finally thinks she is getting what she has always wanted since 1948…global political recognition and acceptance at the world’s table in conjunction with an agreement to grant a new temple on the Temple Mount
3. Seal Judgments
a. The Seven Seals opened by Christ
b. Seal 1 begins 70th Week of Daniel (See Gen 29:26-30, Daniel 9:27)
c. The Antichrist Covenant officially starts God’s ‘doomsday clock’ countdown by seven years
d. 25% of the earth’s population dies (Rev. 6:8)
e. 75% of the human population remain alive
1. Seal 1: The rider on the white horse (the Antichrist) revealed (Rev. 6:1-2)
ii. The ‘Week’ is divided up into two 3.5 year periods (each 42 months or 1260 day segments). The mid-way point is marked by the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15, Dan. 9:27)
iii. The latter half is known as the ‘time of Jacob’s troubles’ (Jeremiah 30:7-11). This is when 2/3’s of Israel’s population dies (Zech. 13:8-9)
4. Trumpet Judgments
a. Seven angels blow the seven Trumpets (Rev. 8:2)
b. Another 1/3 (of that 75%) population dies (Rev. 9:15)
c. 1/3 of 3/4 (remaining 75%) = 1/4
d. This leaves only half the global population alive (so roughly 3.5 billion) by the end of the Trumpet Judgments
i. 1/4 [Seals] + 1/4 [Trumpets] = 1/2
5. Bowl Judgments
a. Seven Bowls poured out by seven angels
b. A solid assumption is that the earth’s population is reduced by another 1/3 or 1/4th in the Bowl Judgments
c. If the above (b) is true, then by the Second Coming, only 25% of the earth’s population remains
6. Armageddon / Second Coming of Christ with His Church back to the Earth:
a. ALL nations come against Israel (Zech. 14:1-5)
b. Earth’s armies are destroyed (Rev. 19:19-21)
c. The antichrist and false prophet are thrown alive into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20)
d. Satan is bound and thrown into the Abyss. (Rev. 19:11-20:1-2)
e. Sheep and Goat Judgment ensues (the nations) (Matt. 25)
7. The Millennial Reign of Christ
a. Christ rules upon the earth (Psalm 2, Isaiah 2, 11, 65:17-25, Luke 1:32-33, Revelation 20)
b. At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan is loosed for a ‘short season’ in which he gathers another rebellious faction to come against Christ. This doesn’t end well for them. (Rev. 20:7-10)
c. Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15)
d. Eternal state (Rev. 21-22)
There should be some flexibility in the outline above as some events may overlap each other. Other events may have windows of time built in that we aren’t privy to see or know. Likewise, the geopolitical situation in the Middle East is changing even now, so at some point, Israel’s guard is let down for some reasons we aren’t able to understand just yet. But regardless, they will happen because God’s Word says they happen for that we can be sure. With that said I believe that what we are witnessing today economically, politically, culturally, religiously, technologically, and militarily, is simply the finishing touches on the world that is being primed to enter into this final testing period for all who dwell on the earth.
Assessment- Imminent or Fixed?
Just because we cannot know the exact date of the Rapture, does not mean that God has not aligned it to occur on a specific day with significance to the Jewish/Scriptural Feasts of the Lord. We know at Christ’s First Coming, He did so in agreement with many Old Testament Prophecies.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Two schools of thought on the timing of the Rapture are;
Imminence: That it could happen at any moment and is not dependent upon any Jewish holiday or global event, but rather by the total number of Gentiles brought into the universal body of Christ. (Matt. 24:36, Mark 13:35-36, Rom. 11:25)
Prophetic Feast Fulfillment: The other view is that God uses times and seasons as markers, to which He knows exactly when and how this will align and fit in with His purposes. (Matt. 16:1-4, Gal. 4:4-5, 1 Thess. 5:1-3) So the Rapture isn’t dependent on a particular number but on a particular date/time. A good summation is found here at GotQuestions.org
1) Passover (Leviticus 23:5) – Pointed to the Messiah as our Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) whose blood would be shed for our sins. Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation for the Passover at the same hour that the lambs were being slaughtered for the Passover meal that evening (John 19:14).
2) Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:6) – Pointed to the Messiah’s sinless life (as leaven is a picture of sin in the Bible), making Him the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ body was in the grave during the first days of this feast, like a kernel of wheat planted and waiting to burst forth as the bread of life.
3) First Fruits (Leviticus 23:10) – Pointed to the Messiah’s resurrection as the first fruits of the righteous. Jesus was resurrected on this very day, which is one of the reasons that Paul refers to him in 1 Corinthians 15:20 as the “first fruits from the dead.”
4) Weeks or Pentecost (Leviticus 23:16) – Occurred fifty days after the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and pointed to the great harvest of souls and the gift of the Holy Spirit for both Jew and Gentile, who would be brought into the kingdom of God during the Church Age (see Acts 2). The Church was established on this day when God poured out His Holy Spirit and 3,000 Jews responded to Peter’s great sermon and his first proclamation of the gospel.
5) Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24) – The first of the fall feasts. Many believe this day points to the Rapture of the Church when the Messiah Jesus will appear in the heavens as He comes for His bride, the Church. The Rapture is always associated in Scripture with the blowing of a loud trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:52).
6) Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27) – Many believe this prophetically points to the day of the Second Coming of Jesus when He will return to earth. That will be the Day of Atonement for the Jewish remnant when they “look upon Him whom they have pierced,” repent of their sins, and receive Him as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10 and Romans 11:1-6, 25-36).
7) Tabernacles or Booths (Leviticus 23:34) – Many scholars believe that this feast day points to the Lord’s promise that He will once again “tabernacle” with His people when He returns to reign over all the world (Micah 4:1-7).
In His birth, life, and ministry Christ fulfilled both the Law and the Prophets flawlessly (Matt. 5:17-18). In His death, burial, and resurrection, Christ fulfilled the first of the three Feast days. But these aren’t just Jewish Feast dates;
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, these are the appointed feasts of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my appointed feasts. Leviticus 23:1-2
Task and Purpose
What both views share in common is if the Rapture follows the pattern of Christ’s fulfillment of major prophetic events falling on Feast Dates, OR whether the date is completely and utterly imminent- either way, we can’t be certain. And maybe that is the point and thus fulfills the passage that ‘no man knows the day or hour.’ But just because we can’t know, doesn’t necessitate that the Rapture itself has to be random. Either way, it is unprovable and unknowable, and the second it happens, it will be too late to argue about it.
The only reason humanity in its current form has gone on as long as it has, is because God is longsuffering that none should perish (2 Peter 3:9) and this is the number one divine directive for our current dispensation. What I do believe is that in the aftermath of the Rapture, the Battle of Gog and Magog ensues. (Ezekiel 38)
The purpose of removing this unique body of believers (the Church) via the Rapture then is to keep His promise in John 14:1-3.
He then returns His focus back onto the nation of Israel. This renewed focus on Israel dovetails directly back into the 70th Week of Daniel, which is primarily about restoring national Israel back to Himself. (Dan. 9:24, Jer. 30:7-11)
The purpose of the battle of Gog and Magog then is to get Israel’s attention focused back on Him by supernaturally delivering them (Ez. 38:16, 23). His focus back to Israel, and theirs to Him, He can finish what He covenanted with them in Dan. 9:24 (Daniel’s people=the Jews, and his holy city=Jerusalem).
The reason for Gog taking advantage of this goes back to the struggle between East and West. The strength of the western world is incumbent upon a strong United States; economically, politically, and militarily. If the US collapses, it will drag everyone in the west along with her.
Put another way, since Israel’s rebirth as a nation she has been under the sometimes careful, and sometimes lackluster protection by her biggest benefactor, the United States. So the only time that Israel isn’t protected to one degree or another by some security arrangement is that short window of time between when the Rapture occurs and when the Antichrist-covenant takes effect. It’s likely that at seeing this supernatural deliverance from Gog/Magog, Israel probably enters into the Dan. 9:27 covenant without even thinking the two are related.
Even time itself seems to be confirming the idea that this age we are in is about to come to its conclusion as we entered both a new millennium (the year 2000) and a new century (the 21st). While we don’t know the exact day or hour the Lord will return, it seems that the consensus is growing in a shrinking group of watching-believers, is more of confirmation by the Holy Spirit within us, rather than anything we could contrive individually.
There is a war coming, like a storm on the horizon. Some can sense the change of energy in the air. Others can smell the rain. Still, others feel it in their bones. The ultimate battle between good and evil is drawing closer, and we can sense things picking up. The world continues in spiritual blindness, and thus will be as unprepared as those in Noah’s day, or those in Lot’s. Things will continue to get rough between now and then because the enemy knows his time is drawing short, but thankfully and by God’s graciousness, we won’t be here to endure it.
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:10-11