A Voice in the
"But as to that day and that hour, no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, except My Father only...Watch, then, for you do not know in what hour your Lord comes." (Mt24:36,42)
As this is being written during the last half of December, the world stands at the brink of uncertainty. While most major institutions have run their tests and have concluded that the Y2K computer bug will not affect banks, power grids and airplanes, NASA was saying that unless the weather cleared by a certain date, they would not launch the Shuttle mission to repair the Hubble telescope until after the New Year; just in case. (By the time you read this, we will all know, won't we!) At supermarkets, the tabloids sitting next to the checkout counters proclaim doom and "the end of the world."
While most logical people have likely concluded that Y2K will be mostly a nonevent for computers, there are other -real- concerns. The 'wackos' out there. Many cult-crazed people have been rounded up in Israel and Jerusalem and deported back to their countries-of-origin; people predicting the "end of the world" at the stroke of midnight. Or, that Messiah will return to earth as January 1 rolls around. Some of these cults are suicidal. Others are militant, and would like to blow up the Dome of the Rock, so that a new Jewish temple can be built. As it is, the Arabs now occupying the area have been feverishly destroying whatever may be left of any remnants of previous temples, trying to get rid of any 'evidence' (by the truck-loads) of the fact that there used to be temples to the God of Israel.
In the US, alerts against terrorists groups, both from home and abroad. The recent news has a middle-eastern person in custody in Seattle, after explosives were found in his vehicle. Other reports come out, of various militias proclaiming that the year-2000 is the time to take back the government "for the people".
The big talk is "the new millennium"! There are many plans for the whole Year-2000. The UN and the United World Religions. Thing is, the year 2000 is not the new millennium... yet. It is the final year of the Second Millennium, AD. The new millennium doesn't actually begin until 2001.
For the Christian, those who are Believers into Jesus Christ, this next year is one of increased anticipation. For years the scholars said that there was a 4-year 'error' in calculations; that Jesus was -actually- born in 4 BC, based on our current calendars. And the old Scofield Bibles used to put Genesis 1:1 at 4004 BC. Others say that the error is more like 8 years. More recent 'revelations' suggest that our current calendars are, indeed, accurate.
Not to cover old ground here, but to review briefly: if we understand God's creative plan of 7 days, He created in 6 days, and rested the 7th. (Gen1:31-2:3) And that "one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." (2Pt3:8,Ps90:4) We see a 7000 year 'plan' for this earth to "remain". (Gen8:22) Furthermore, we see a 2000-3000 year plan for Israel: "Come and let us return to Jehovah. For He has torn, and He will heal us. He has stricken, and He will bind us up. After two days He will bring us to life. In the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live before Him." (Hos6:1-2) Israel has been "torn" for 2000 years, and we are on the brink of their "third day". This third day also coinciding with the "seventh" of God's creative "rest".
We KNOW that we are approaching the "end" of an era. Is 2000 AD the final year of that era? Everything seems to point to it. But, based on other things we have covered extensively in the past, we know that before all hell breaks loose on the earth in judgment, prior to His 'peaceful' millennium; the Church is to be lifted out of the earth. [Ed: for you newer subscribers who doubt this, please visit the website Topic Search on the word/s "rapture" and/or "pre-trib"]
Jesus promised, "I am going to prepare a place for you! And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am you may be also." (Jn14:2b-3) As Christians we are "looking for the blessed hope and appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.." (Tit2:13) Again, note that this is His "appearance" where we meet Him "in the clouds". (1Th4:17) Not His "coming" to the Mt. of Olives (Zec14:4) where He sets up His "kingdom". (2Tm4:1)
When will this happen? We are told that we don't know the "day or the hour". But in watching the "fig leaves" (Mt24:32-33) we know that He is "at the doors".
So then, when is the 'precise' end of the 6000th year? We might look at the Jewish annual Feasts. At the first Passover God said, "This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you." (Ex12:2) Perhaps Jesus will return this next Passover/Resurrection season? After all, Daniel prophesied, "after sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off." (Dan9:26) Combined with the rest of that passage, Jesus' crucifixion ended the 69 "weeks" of that prophecy. Wouldn't it only make sense that the 70th week would resume on the same date the 69th week left off? ...it also being what God said, the "beginning of months" and the "first month of the year"? That's when the "Jewish year" is calculated?
Perhaps it will be at Pentecost? That was when the 4th Feast was fulfilled (on schedule) at the coming of the Holy Spirit. But Israel rejected the Holy Spirit. (Acts7:51) And so God's attention was focused on the Gentiles. (Acts28:28) Perhaps His coming will correspond to starting up the 70th week, the 'start' of Israel's restoration, at the representative time when Israel rejected the Holy Spirit, and the Gentiles were grafted in?
Well, there's the Feast of Trumpets, followed immediately by Atonement. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. While Passover was the "beginning of months", Rosh Hashana is supposed to represent when God created the universe. You see, there you have it. "6000 years after creation." And notice the symbolism of the Church being raptured at the Trumpets (1Th4:16,1Cor15:52), leading, then, into Israel's time of atonement; the 70th week of seven years.
Do we see anything unfolding to indicate this latter scenario? The peace accord which was signed in 1993, but has had a bumpy road, is supposed to become ratified in September for Rosh Hashana. Oh! There we have it! After all, it says "he shall CONFIRM a covenant with many for one week." (Dan9:27) (This "week" in context with the rest of the passage, indicating the seven-year period we continually talk about.) And the word "confirm" would seem to indicate something which had been there before, but is 'now' finalized. That would certainly seem to 'fit' the Oslo agreement. After all, the first four Feasts were fulfilled to-the-day and to-the-hour as prophesied. (see Dave Hunt's book "How Close are We?" chapter "Forget Good Friday") Surely, the final three will be fulfilled right 'on schedule', too. God's plan is scheduled down to the "hour and day and month and year." (Rev9:15)
Aaaah! But...! the Church is not Israel! The Rapture is for the Church. Those "in Christ". (1Th4:16-17)
Oh, oh! Oops! There's one more. "Men, Galileans, why do you stand looking up to the heaven? This Jesus, the One being taken from you into the heaven, will come in the way you saw Him going into the heaven." (Acts1:11) The prophecies say, "And Jehovah shall go out and fight against those nations, like the day He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall divide from its middle, from the east even to the west, a very great valley. And half of the mountain shall move toward the north, and half of it toward the south." (Zec14:3-4) If this prophecy is at the end of the 70th week when Christ comes to rule, then, "seven years" prior to that would be the anniversary of His "ascension", at Acts ch1. Right?
So, as the year 2000 rolls along, we can look at Passover and Resurrection. If Christ doesn't come then, we can look to Ascension and Pentecost. If not then, there's Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Sound silly? Hopefully, by now it is obvious that I've been playing 'devil's advocate' here. A little tongue-in-cheek. But you know... there are many pied pipers who have been trying to predict the date of Christ's return with just these same kind of arguments. And let's face it, I have found myself 'wondering' about various dates over the past few years, myself. Trying to 'reason' why certain dates and occasions 'might' be -THE- date. And truth be told, I also look and wonder about those coming this year.
But again... the Church is not Israel. While it began in Israel, when Israel nationally rejected the Lord, the "wild branches" of the Gentiles were grafted into Christ. (Rom11) The Church is not governed by the laws and feasts of Israel. (Acts15:10,Rom14:5,etc.)
As Jesus is talking, He says, "you do not know what hour your Lord comes." (Mt24:42) He is not talking to the world or to Israel, regarding the "Son of Man"... but to His followers. Believers. He is -your- Lord. The time we don't know is that in which He comes for His own; for -you-, dear Believer.
If anybody tries to definitively pin it on one of the Jewish Feasts, that will likely be the wrong time, because notice... "...for in that hour you think not, the Son of Man comes." (vs44) That's a pretty sure sign it WON'T BE on one of the Jewish feasts. If the angels, who continually come and go before God's throne don't even know, how can we presume to?
So, what are we to be doing while we wait? "Watch" ...be on guard as to our Faith. "Be ready" with the oil of the Holy Spirit in our lamps. (Mt25:4, Rom8:9) "But take heed to yourselves that your hearts not be loaded down with headaches, and drinking, and anxieties of life, and that day come suddenly upon you as a snare.." (Lk21:34-35)
Let us not forget that this is the occasion where Jesus is "revealed" to us and all creation, and when we shed these bodies of corruption (1Cor15:50,53) we "shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is." Everyone who has this "hope" of His "appearance of the glory" (Tit2:13) "purifies himself" just like Jesus is pure. (1Jn3:2-3)
"Then all these being about to be dissolved, what sort ought you to be in holy behavior and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God.." (2Pt3:11-12)
"This also, knowing the time, that it is already time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation (Rom8:23) is nearer than when we believed. Let us walk becomingly, as in the day...[putting] on the Lord Jesus Christ...redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Rom13:11-14~,Eph5:16)