None of the "Big Three" events have happened yet (rapture, seven year covenant, construction of the Third Temple), which is causing scoffers to place undue confidence in the normalcy they perceive around them. They've dismissed God's signs since nothing "big" happened, but should they?
Shemitah 2015: no financial disaster happened and Jonathan Cahn's theory was disproven, right? Well, unless you exclude the massive global stock market selloff that began just days before. It included an 888 point drop in the DJIA over just two days and over 1,300 points in a four day period. Also, on September 11th a bolt of lightning struck a crane at Islam's "holiest" site in Mecca (where the Kaaba stone is kept), killing 111 people and injuring 394 others.
Rosh Hashanah 2015: the largest sandstorm in Israeli history blanketed the country in so much sand it blotted out the moon and prevented the sighting of the moon's crescent for days. There was also a partial solar eclipse, an 8.3 magnitude mega-quake in South America, an iridescent cloud in Central America that looked like Jesus returning, and a freak lightning storm over Israel and the Dead Sea (video here). There was no rapture, but could God have spoken any louder, trying to wake the world up? In His sovereignty He certainly drew an awful lot of attention to that day.
Tabernacles 2015 and the Final Blood Moon: the final Blood Moon came and went and the world went back to sleep, but is it true nothing happened? Let's not forget that Russian forces entered the Syrian conflict just two days after the Tabernacles Blood Moon, setting the stage for what a large number of students of Bible prophecy consider to be the fulfillment of at least part of Ezekiel 38. A large portion of Syria is in the biblically-defined area of northern Israel, which means the Blood Moon signaled the alignment of two of the key players in the Ezekiel 38 War right in northern Israel just as the prophet Ezekiel said would happen. A year later we witnessed Turkey begin to join the Russian-Iranian axis.
Rosh Hashanah 2017: no rapture, but just a day or two later many witnessed the Great Sign of Revelation 12, which was written about nearly 2,000 years ago by the Apostle John. That's a pretty big deal if you ask me and no one has yet been able to debunk the sign's legitimacy aside from disregarding or allegorizing the plain words of Scripture. While many of us hoped the rapture would happen around that time, I have always thought that if the rapture itself didn't happen then it would certainly signal the true beginning of the season of the rapture. In other words, the watchmen must now be more focused than ever as the rapture watch goes into overdrive.
Shemini Atzeret 2017: just another failed date, right? I for one don't want to put my confidence in a date, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. He's coming and soon. But the truth of the matter is something big actually did happen on this date: Fatah and Hamas signed and announced formal reconciliation (the reunification of Palestine) after a decade-long split. This sets the stage for the "covenant with death" spoken of in the prophets (likely the seven-year covenant of Daniel 9:27). September/October 2017 has been witness to perhaps the greatest convergence of natural disasters in modern history (see here).
As You See The Day Approaching
I keep hearing "stop looking at dates", but I can't and won't. The day Matthew 24:48-51, Hebrews 10:25, 1 Thessalonians 5:4, and Revelation 3:3 disappear from my Bible is the day I will stop looking for the Blessed Hope on a specific day. Looking, hoping, and studying is not sin - it's a biblical command. Jesus will return on a specific date. The ignorant and wicked will not know (Matt. 24:48-51, 1 Thess. 5:3, Rev. 3:3), but the righteous and watchful will (1 Thess. 5:4, Rev. 3:3).
Will Jesus return on a specific biblical festival (a.k.a. moedim)? I don't know for sure, but it would be foolish to discount it. Jesus was likely born on Trumpets or Tabernacles, transfigured on Tabernacles, killed on Passover, buried on Unleavened Bread, resurrected on First Fruits, and He sent His Spirit on Pentecost. While His ascension was not on a festival, I certainly would not ignore the fact that the most significant days of His life and the establishment of the Church occurred on God's sacred days.
I'm watchful all the time, acknowledging I don't know for sure when Jesus will come, whether on a festival or on just an ordinary day like any other, but I think there's a touch of hypocrisy coming from those who say Jesus won't rapture His Church on a festival while simultaneously holding to the "no one knows the day or hour" doctrine. If "no one knows the day or hour", stripped of all context and dispensational relevance, applies to the present-day Church, then it must go both ways: "date-setters" can't say their date is for sure and neither can the critics say for sure the day is wrong.
My admonishment to us all is to avoid placing ourselves so firmly in any eschatological camp that we blind ourselves to the possibility we might have some details wrong. Let's be watchful and hopeful together as we await our Lord.
What's On My Current Radar?
In light of passing September 23rd, 30th, and October 13th, I thought I'd share a few other dates that are currently on my radar.
October 21st - 22nd: possibly the actual date of Yom Teruah if the barley harvest wasn't aviv. A surprisingly strong case can be made that the Bible assumes an intercalary 13th month based on whether or not the barley crop was "aviv" (see here). The name of the first biblical month is Aviv, after all. I'm not particularly convinced that 2017 was a biblical leap year with a delay, but it's worth paying attention, and a number of brothers and sisters have provided some circumstantial evidence supporting a delay in 2017.
October 31st: this would be the true Day of Atonement if the barley wasn't aviv as expected thus bringing into focus the jubilee trumpet theory. It also happens to be Halloween (All Saints' Eve) and the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, both of which are central to the Church and its meaning. This Halloween happens to be 40 days after Yom Teruah (if it wasn't delayed), thus we see a possible 40-day repentance window. It sure would be a way for God to take back the day the devil has stolen!
November 12th - 13th: Shemini Atzeret if the barley was delayed. Also, on November 13th there is a long-expected post-birth conjunction of Jupiter and Venus. As Jupiter seems to represent the body of Christ in the context of the Great Sign and Revelation directly associates Venus with Christ (Rev. 22:16), then perhaps this conjunction represents Christ snatching away His bride and meeting the Church in the air.
Counting inclusively, the October 21st date allows for a full 2,550 days until Yom Kippur 2024. The October 31st and November 13th dates allow for 2,520+ days until Yom Kippur 2024. October 31st to Shemini Atzeret 2024 happens to be exactly 2,550 days, which might be significant if Jesus physically returns on the very last feast day in the Fall. In other words, Yom Teruah 2024 would signal that Jesus is about to return and perhaps the 7th trumpet is blown. The Day of Atonement would be when Israel accepts Christ nationally and says "blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD" and Tabernacles would be when Christ actually returns to Tabernacle with men.
If the Church is still here past November 18th then I'll probably have to start looking more diligently at 2018-2025.
Keep in mind that we are only half a year away from the 70th anniversary of Israel's rebirth, which happens to be the same week as Pentecost. That in and of itself is pretty intriguing. There are many who lean towards a Pentecost rapture. The Tribulation would then run from Fall 2018 to Fall 2025. '7' is the number of perfection, but '8' is the number of resurrection and new beginnings.
Another interesting thing about the rapture happening 6-9 months after the September 23rd sign is the fact that Jesus' birth and escape to Egypt was a shadow or template for Revelation 12. Jesus didn't escape to Egypt immediately at birth, but instead when He was a padion (toddler). Herod was a type or shadow of the dragon waiting to devour the child. Perhaps the baby Church doesn't escape earth until the dragon shows up sometime in the next few months.
Brothers and sisters, stay tuned, keep watching, keep praying, and keep preaching the Gospel while we still have these meager few moments left.