There may be a pattern in Scripture that could explain why the Rapture has not already occurred. It is based upon a directive that God gave to the Jews upon their entering the Promised Land:
“When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 19:23-25.
Many of us were looking at the year 2007 as a possible year for the Rapture. This was based upon a possible pattern from the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering in the time of Moses. (The Israelites were permitted to enter the Promised Land only after the completion of these 40 years. See Numbers 14:26-35.) It was surmised that an increment of forty years from the recapture of Jerusalem in 1967 could be significant to modern-day Israel and the Church.
But what if there is another pattern or type connected to this 40 year period? One that is based upon the planting of fruit trees in the Promised Land.
If the Israelites complied with Leviticus 19:23-25, the earliest harvest of newly planted fruit trees in the Promised Land would have occurred in the 44th year from the Exodus. That particular harvest, however, was to be an offering to the Lord.
Perhaps, then, the 44th year from the recapture of Jerusalem is prophetically significant.
The reason is because the Bible compares the righteous and Israel to fruit bearing trees:
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked .... He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." Psalm 1:1-3.
"When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree." Hosea 9:10.
Now, look at the parable of the barren fig tree:
“Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’” Luke 13:6-9.
We see a fig tree in a vineyard. Two types of fruit are represented – figs and grapes. Although the focus is on the fig tree, I think that we can assume that there was no issue of barrenness with regard to the grapevines, since the man is only upset with the fig tree.
And note that the fourth year is significant in the parable. The fig tree must produce fruit by then or suffer judgment.
Likewise, the fourth year is significant in the life of all fruit-bearing trees in Israel. It is the year that fruit is deemed to be a holy offering of praise to God.
Could Israel be that barren fig tree? Could the Church be the grapes of the vineyard? If so, the Church may be presented to the Lord as a holy offering in 2011 – a 44th year.
2011 may also mark a time of judgment for Israel:
"This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. ‘What do you see, Amos?’ he asked. ‘A basket of ripe fruit,’ I answered. Then the Lord said to me, ‘The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.’" Amos 8:1-2.
"What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers Summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. Micah 7:1-2.
The situation for Israel is not hopeless, however. Paul talks about a time where the broken branches of Israel will be re-grafted into the olive tree and that all Israel will be saved. See Romans 11.
And note, if that re-graft occurs at the beginning of the Tribulation, then the fourth year (i.e. the mid-point of the Tribulation) will be significant for Israel in accordance to this pattern. Scripture tells us that Israel will be rescued by God and preserved during the fourth year of the Tribulation. Perhaps it will be because she is bearing fruit at that time.
– Lisa Taylor