Let me start by saying that Harvey Troyer had an excellent post on Friday. I always read what Harvey posts and usually get a lot out of them, but yesterday it was exceptional. Harvey mentioned almost in passing the significance of Tu B'Av. He wrote, "World War II ended on August 15th, 1945. This was called V-J Day, which meant “victory over Japan”. Now ask yourself, what Jewish Festival Day fell on August 15th, 2011? It was Tu ‘B Av and I hope that most of you watchers know by now that Tu ‘B Av was pregnant with multiple “Biblical Types” of the Rapture and was an extremely high Rapture watch day!"
For some years now I have been watching (and advocating) Tu B'Av as a date for the possible rapture. Yet I have finally come to see it as a "type" or "parallel" in a long line of types and parallels. In fact I think I see other types or parallels in other Jewish festivals and Christian commemorations for the rapture as well. Certainly they seem to present themselves in Passover, Pentecost, Ascension Day and Rosh Hashanah. In fact when we examine the scriptures, there are many pictures of the rapture throughout the entire Bible. I see it in the story of Enoch, Joseph's marriage to a gentile bride; Abraham sending his servant to bring back a bride for Isaac; the story of Ruth and Boaz; Abraham departing from the area of Sodom (followed later by Lot); and on and on. What I am trying to say is that there are parallels for the rapture in nearly all of the festivals and a good many Bible stories. Perhaps that is why there has been so much confusion and even heated debate. Pictures of the rapture crop up in so many places and are associated with so many different times and festivals.
Lately there has been a lot said about the rapture possibly ocurring this month. Some say it could be during Hanukkah. At first I was skeptical. Now I am more open minded. But there are also good reasons to look at the days that lead up to it.
First lets look at Hanukka which is also called the Festival of Lights. The celebration is 8 days long. It celebrates the rededication of the temple after the Maccabean revolt. There is some biblical evidence that Jesus celebrated this festival. According to Jewish scholars there was a miracle associated with the rededication of the temple as the light from the menorah did not go out even though there was only enough oil for the lamp for one day. (Reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins). Hanukka is celebrated with feasting. (Here I am reminded of Matthew 24:38 where it speaks of the festivities in the days of Noah before the flood poured out). This year Hanukkah starts on December 20th. The gentile world (Christian and secular) will also be joining in festivities this month also.
With all the specualtion about the rapture being tied to sudden destruction, it may be wise to remember that Hanukkah represents the rededication of the temple after the destruction of a gentile army. The story of the Maccabean revolt is very interesting and worth studying.
Excerpt from zianet.com:
"These generals and their forces were simply not equal to Judas, who was possibly one of the greatest military minds in all of Jewish history! Even though greatly outnumbered, Judas and his rebels defeated general after general in battle. He overpowered General Appolonius near Samaria; he routed General Seron in the valley of Beth-horan; and in a tremendous victory south of Mizpah he conquered three generals, who led a combined army of 50,000 troops .... and he did it with only 6000 poorly equipped Jewish rebels!! The people of Israel gave Judas the nickname "Maccabeus" because of his great daring and success in "hammering" the enemy forces into the ground.
Antiochus soon realized he had a full-scale rebellion on his hands, and that it was far more serious than he had originally believed. He decided, therefore, to end the revolt in a most dramatic fashion, and to exterminate the Jewish people in the process. He sent Lysias, the commander-in-chief of the Seleucid army, along with 60,000 infantrymen and 5000 cavalry, to utterly destroy the Jews. This vast army was additionally commanded by two generals serving under Lysias -- Nicanor and Gorgias. This powerful army finally encountered Judas, who had a force of only 3000 poorly equipped rebels, in the town of Emmaus, which was just over 7 miles from Jerusalem. Judas managed to gather together another 7000 rebels, but was still terribly outnumbered. He prayed to God for strength and deliverance (I Maccabees 4:30-33), and God answered! They won a huge victory over the Seleucid army!
Judas then determined to enter Jerusalem and liberate the city, and also to purify the Temple and rededicate it to God. When they entered the holy city, the extent of the destruction which they beheld caused them to be overwhelmed by grief (I Maccabees 4:36-40). Their grief, however, soon turned to determination and action. They set about the task of driving the enemy out of the city, and also of cleaning up the Temple. On December 25, 165 BC (exactly three years after Antiochus had defiled the altar of God by offering a pig upon it), the Temple of God was rededicated to God with rejoicing and sacrifices. The celebration continued for eight days. This is the famous "Feast of Lights" (Hanukkah) which is still celebrated by the Jews to this day.
Having finally achieved the liberation of Jerusalem, and the restoration of their religious practices in the Temple, Judas and his rebels now turned their attention to the task of seeking to liberate all of Palestine from pagan control. Within a rather brief period of time they were able to regain possession of much of the land. However, their successes were short-lived, for Lysias, now acting as king after the death of Antiochus, who had died during a military campaign in Persia, gathered a large army and marched upon Jerusalem.
In the autumn of 163 BC, Lysias, and an army of 120,000 men and 32 war elephants, met Judas and his army 10 miles SW of Jerusalem. Lysias made the elephants drunk on grape and mulberry wine so they would stampede over the Jewish rebels (I Maccabees 6:34). This time Judas was unable to prevail, and although they killed 600 of the enemy soldiers, they were nevertheless forced to retreat into the city of Jerusalem. During this battle, Eleazer (the younger brother of Judas) died in a most heroic manner when he single-handedly attacked a large elephant that he believed to be carrying the enemy king (I Maccabees 6:42-46). Lysias surrounded Jerusalem in the hopes of starving the Jews into submission. But during this siege he learned that one of his rivals was marching against his own capital city in an effort to overthrow him and take the throne. Being anxious to return home and defend his throne, he made an offer of peace to Judas -- the Jews would be allowed to worship their God unmolested, if they would remain politically loyal to the Seleucid Empire. Judas agreed to these terms, and Lysias and his army departed."
Now I want to look at something else that happened in December. This time it was on December 7th 1941. We all know the importance of this date. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor which up until the time of September 11 2001 was the greatest loss of American life in a surprise attack.
Are there any other portents of sudden destruction coming upon a gentile nation in December? On December 16th 1811 two earthquakes along the New Madrid fault came along. They were followed by more swarms that lasted into the following year.
I confess that I don't know what if anything all of these connections mean. Maybe nothing. December seems to point to a time of sudden destruction if the rapture should happen. With all that's shaping up in the Middle East, the economy, and Europe it wouldn't surprise me if we got a call to come home!
I still watch for news about Ariel Sharon as I think it might be significant. Sadly, I read about about Billy Graham's poor health and I wonder if this saintly man may be called home soon. Too many things to process.