The Prophecy Watchers have been on heightened alert for the last 20 years but history did not start when we came to conscientiousness!
In 1998, I had a conversation with my then 78-year-old grandmother about the pending global catastrophe of Y2K. We were at my father's (a fellow Watcher) kitchen table and we were going over our preparations. My grandmother was a spirit-filled, godly woman, but she had about her the pragmatism and practicality that had carried her through near-starvation during the Great Depression and the long years of waiting for her husband to return home from World War II. As my dad and I enthused over all the biblical signs and prophecies, we laid out the case for her about why we believed the turn of the millennium was going to kick off the long-awaited chain of events that were going to see us going home soon. She listened graciously. She then said in an off hand manner, "During and after World War II, when Israel became a nation we were certain the Rapture was imminent. Just be cautious."
I remember being initially irritated with her. I was excited! I wanted to GO!
For generations, we have read the Scriptures, we have watched the heavens, we have deduced the times. We have correctly identified thousands of significant prophetic events, compelling numerical distances between dates, extrapolated Hebraic meanings from those numeric dates, and concluded that we are indeed living in the last days, but it is worth noting that at least a dozen times in the last 2000 years the Church has had compelling reasons to believe THEY were also in the last days. Doug Woodward does an amazing job of outlining the 1666 Rapture Frenzy. These were not Middle Age superstitious imbeciles, Isaac Newton wrote about the subject.
With the publication of The Harbinger, the discovery of the blood moons and their historical significance, and the availability of free Stellarium software the Watcher community has been on heightened alert since 2008. As the book of Daniel has been opened, our understanding of the Scriptures of the End Times has multiplied at a breakneck speed, the Holy Spirit has poured out the anointing on His Servants far and wide.
An example of this is the knowledge of the fulfilled Spring Feasts at the first coming of the Lord Jesus. Those of us who have been at it for awhile take that revelation for granted these days but I have to stress that a mere seven years ago even the most ardent and learned of Watchers was unaware of this amazing fact. I was blown away in 2013 by the Rosh Hashanah Rapture Theory.
|Feasts of God|
Incidentally, my favorite Bible teacher, Jack Kelley, was sounding the Caution Alarm in 2011-15 about the significance of the Blood Moons. I was as irritated with him as I was with my Grandmother in 1998.
As we watched that September 2015, the Lord sent the largest dust storm in modern Israeli history and totally screwed up everyone's "countdown" clocks. We waited, we watched, we moved the countdowns... we kept looking up and then we got through the whole Fall Feast Season of 2015 and we were still here. I do not know of a single, reliable teacher that actually "set the date" but boy oh boy we all sure did hope and pray. It was hard and disappointing. Many of us were in a funk for quite awhile!
It is worth noting that this particular season is marked with a vitriol and division I have never seen within the body of Christ and the Watcher community. One side seems to be "All In" and the other side seems hell bent on discrediting not only the theory but the personal destruction of anyone who might be entertaining or discussing the possibility. The Pharisaical approaches on both sides have one author and one power behind them and it is NOT Christ. Previously dynamic and diverse discussion communities have become war zones! THIS blog was recently removed from a Facebook group that rejects the Revelation 12 Sign because it dared to mention that the theory is in play this Fall. Sadly, I left that group and removed the administrators from my circle of friends.
This is where we must be very cautious! No mystery interpretation should divide believers. We must not be dogmatic about anything other than the core of the Gospel as expressed in the Apostle's and Nicene Creeds.
The thing is, the lists we've put together in all these years are STILL valid, they still mean something, just like the current signs, interpretations, writings, theories, and hopes do for a final fulfillment in 2017 do. Friends, I have to encourage you, if we are celebrating Thanksgiving 2017 on this Earth and not hanging out at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, that will be okay, too.
Addendum from Gary: Check out the most recent post from Greg over at A Little Strength. He fervently believes that the alignment on 9/23 is indeed the Great Sign of Revelation 12:1-2, but may not occur simultaneously with the rapture. We need to keep watching and looking up no matter what, but I find compelling reasons for a Feast of Trumpets rapture, so never, ever give up. Keep watching, expecting, hoping, and praying.