IN MY LAST TWO POSTS, I HAVE BEEN ATTEMPTING TO TRY TO PUT THE PIECES OF THE PROPHETIC PUZZLE TOGETHER, CONCERNING WHAT IS LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE A VERY POSSIBLE RAPTURE / SUDDEN DESTRUCTION, WORLD WAR 3, EZEKIEL 38--39 DATE OF KISLEV 24, DEC. 20, 2011. BOTH OF THOSE POSTS ARE MUST READS FOR EVERY TRUE BELIEVER. I SHARED WITH YOU ACCOMPLISHED BIBLE PROPHECY AUTHOR AND SPEAKER, GRANT JEFFREY'S THOUGHTS ON THE LINK BETWEEN HAGGAI 2, AND EZEKIEL 38--39, WHICH PUTS A DAY OF THE YEAR, KISLEV 24, ON THIS LONG-AWAITED CATACLYSMIC BATTLE OF WORLD WAR 3. I HAVE WRITTEN MUCH ABOUT HOW WORLD WAR 3 IS PROBABLY LINKED TO THE RAPTURE.BELOW IS AN AMAZING POST, WHICH DOES A VERY IN-DEPTH AND THOROUGH JOB OF PUTTING ALL OF THESE PIECES TOGETHER, WITH GREAT PRECISION. THIS POST WAS FORWARDED TO FIVE DOVES A YEAR AGO BY VIRGINIA ARNKE. VIRGINIA AND I SHARED MANY TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS BACK IN THE 1990'S. IT IS MY UNDERSTANDING THAT VERY RECENTLY HER HUSBAND PASSED AWAY. GOD BLESS YOU, VIRGINIA. OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. I MUST REMIND ALL OF YOU THAT DEC. 20, 2011, KISLEV 24, IS THE VERY LAST KISLEV 24, BEFORE THE START OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION ON APRIL 11, 2012. THE FOLLOWING EXCELLENT POST WAS WRITTEN BY AN UNKNOWN AUTHOR:Ron ReeseTHE RAPTURE, GOG, HAGGAI 2, AND HANUKKAH PUZZLE: PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
The Rapture most likely occurs sometime before the battle of Gog and Magog (perhaps even causing Gog and Magog to launch their attack under the assumption that this is the best time for it).
THE DESIRE OF NATIONS
Turning to Haggai 2:6-7, we find another bit of our missing puzzle.
6 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
7 And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts.
This passage links the "shaking" or great earthquake to the coming of the "desire of all nations", a phrase that must mean the return of the Lord as the Messiah or Prince of Peace. (This being the desire of all godly people in the nations, though obviously not the desire of the wicked on the earth at the time of His return.) This conclusion is reinforced with the idea that His house will be filled with glory, surely an indication of both a divine reign as well as an allusion to the House of David from which the Messiah's royal lineage comes.
PUTTING A DATE ON THE EVENT
Now a key piece to the puzzle that will give us a fuller picture of these End Time events. Haggai 2:18- 22 gives an exact season and day for this event.
18 Consider now from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid, consider it.
19 Is the seed yet in the barn? yea, as yet the vine, and the fig tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive tree, hath not brought forth: from this day will I bless you.
20 And again the word of the LORD came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying,
21 Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth;
22 And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother.
This passage contains an obvious allusion to the Tribulation with earthquakes (shaking the earth) and may also be linked to Revelation references to stars falling from the sky (shaking the heavens). The reference of brother being slain by the sword of brother is another link to the parallel passage in Ezekiel; and the Lord destroys the kingdoms, suggesting his destruction of Gog and Magog. Additionally, there is the picture of brother fighting brother, again suggesting that infighting or confusion that will put the nail into the coffin of Gog and Magog's invasion.
Notice that Haggai gives the exact day of the month for this event (which, remember, comes after the Rapture). In both verse 18 and 20 it is noted that the 24th day will be key -- as if God wants to be sure there's no mistake about which day in the ninth month of the Jewish calendar, Kislev (also known as Chisleu), this will occur.
(The laying of the foundation for the Lord's Temple suggests the building has commenced. However this may only refer to the date of the first Temple. Or it may be that the new Temple will be built on the foundation stones of the original.)
A SPECIAL DATE
This date is of interest because it occurs just one day before a very special Jewish festival: Hanukkah. Anywhere else, such timing would seem rather an odd coincidence. With God, things are different. As most Biblical scholars know, there's no such thing as "an odd coincidence" when it comes to Bible prophecy.
For those unfamiliar with Hanukkah (also spelled "Chanukah"), it's a Jewish festival that occurs in December (on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev). The festival marks the re-consecration of the Temple of Jerusalem after its recapture from the Syrian Greeks (c.165 BC).
The original celebration of Hanukkah took place on the day after the Jews recaptured the temple site. So even the event that Hanukkah commemorates, actually took place on the 24th day of Kislev.
Another key event in Jewish history also took place on the day before Hanukkah. In 1917, the Allied Expeditionary Force under General Allenby to take control of Jerusalem following the destruction of the Turkish Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI. The day that Allenby and his force entered Jerusalem was Dec. 9, 1917 -- the 24th day of Kislev.
JESUS AND HANUKKAH
One might think that Jesus would have ignored this festival since it wasn't ordained in the Old Testament. In fact, he appears to have taken part in it and had a very provocative response when questioned during the event.
John 10:22-28: At that time the Feast of Hanukkah (Dedication) took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews therefore gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, "How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Messiah, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand."
This statement has an obvious meaning. However one might speculate that the "hear my voice" might also refer to the voice that brings the dead to life at the first resurrection and brings the living with them as they are "snatched up" to heaven just before the Great Tribulation begins. Interestingly, Christ refers to holding sheep in his hand and that they can't be snatched from his hand by anyone else.
Could this be a veiled reference to the Rapture? In the English translation this seems like a stretch. But a closer look makes the possibility seem likely. In English translations, Jesus' reply to the Jewish leaders at the Festival of Hanukkah doesn't seem to hint at the Tribulation prophecies. But in the original Greek, a very important link appears, especially when this verse is compared to what Paul wrote about the Rapture.
Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." This is the reference to the rapture in the New Testament.
The Greek word used for "caught up" in this passage is harpuzo, which means to catch up, pluck, snatch, pull, or take by force. (Translated into Latin, this word becomes raptiere; anglicized, the word "rapture" is born.) So the word that means "Rapture" is harpuzo.
And here's the connection: When Christ said, "...no one shall snatch them out of My hand.", his statement employs the same Greek word: harpuzo. Arguably we should not make too much of this, yet it seems like another of the "amazing coincidences" that are actually part of God's plan. The use of harpuzo in both instances suggests a link.
If so, was Christ saying that the Rapture will have taken place and that he will have already snatched his believers from the Earth, making it impossible to snatch them back again? This seems like a viable conclusion and fits very nicely with the links between the day before Hanukkah and the prophecies about it.
MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE
There may be another hidden reference to the Rapture in Christ's statement that his sheep hear his voice. In Revelation 4:1-2 there's another piece to the puzzle that shows the Rapture occurring before the Tribulation.
John writes, "...I looked and behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice that I heard was, as it were, a trumpet talking with me; which said, 'Come up here and I will show thee things which must be hereafter.' And immediately I was in the Spirit and, behold, a throne was set in heaven and one sat on the throne."
It should also be noted that the order "Come up here" has a familiar ring to it. In John 11:43-44, Jesus gives a similar command
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth."
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Thus the Lords simple command that brought Lazarus miraculously to life, is echoed in the Revelation's "trumpet talking" and that not only John but all the Christians on earth go into heaven at this time, answering the command to, "Come up here." That this order is likened to a trumpet provides another piece to the puzzle. This links Christ's spoken command to the sound of the last trumpet, a point of importance to those familiar with Jewish traditions (as outlined below).
This also fits into the puzzle outlined above in the Old Testament passages since it places the Rapture of the Church into heaven ahead of the plagues and destruction that follow during the Tribulation, as outlined in the rest of the book of Revelation.
THE LAST TRUMPET
There are links between the Jewish trumpet in both battle as well as references to the same trumpet in the Rapture. Paul wrote another short passage that refers to the Rapture; First Corinthians 15:51-52 "Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised..."
The "last trumpet" to the Hebrews (and to early Christians also) is a key phrase with meaning beyond what most of us realize. This "last trumpet" in this passage isn't the metallic trumpet of the West; rather it's a ram's horn known as the shofar. Blown during the religious festival of Rosh HaShanah (also known as Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets), the shofar marked the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
The shofar is also linked by Jewish tradition to the raising of the dead to life and for sounding the alarm when battle is imminent.
The important thing to note here is that the shofar is linked by Jewish tradition to the resurrection of the dead (which, according to Paul, takes place for those who have died in Christ at the time of the Rapture) and that the shofar is also linked by Bible as an instrument used to worn of battle and conflict.
When one realizes that the shofar is linked both to battle as well as resurrection, another passage adds important chunks to our puzzle. This passage links the "Day of the Lord" (or Great Tribulation), the invasion of Israel by a great army from the North, and the delivery of Israel by God (the "fear not" in the last verse of this passage).
1 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.
3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.
4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run
5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.
6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.
7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:
8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.
9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.
10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:
11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
12 Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the LORD your God?
15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
17 Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?
18 Then will the LORD be jealous for his land, and pity his people.
19 Yea, the LORD will answer and say unto his people, Behold, I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and ye shall be satisfied therewith: and I will no more make you a reproach among the heathen:
20 But I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate, with his face toward the east sea, and his hinder part toward the utmost sea, and his stink shall come up, and his ill savour shall come up, because he hath done great things.
21 Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice: for the LORD will do great things.
The above passage links the blowing of the trumpet of God (and -- through our other links -- the rapture) with the beginning of the Day of the Lord (AKA the Great Tribulation). It also ties into Gog and Magog in verse 20 as the "northern army".
THE REVELATION TIE-IN
We now have enough puzzle pieces to flesh out another Biblical passage.
12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
When we realize that the great earthquake in this passage most likely occurs in a close time frame to the defeat of Gog and Magog by God's hand, then we see that this is the start of the Great Tribulation and, therefore, the Rapture must have preceded this event. The key elements that can be recognized in this passage are the great earthquake and the raining down of plagues upon the inhabitants of the earth.
Placing the Rapture before this even also supports the idea that the voice (sounding like a trumpet) that calls John up to heaven in Chapter 4 of Revelation must indeed be the event signaling the Rapture of the church. Furthermore, this explains why the Church is missing from the account of what's happening on earth during much of the rest of Revelation's narrative from Chapter 4 on. The Church isn't mentioned after that point, because it is in Heaven with Christ.
Revelation Chapter 6 records the first appearance of the Antichrist as the man on the white horse. The white horse suggests a charismatic leader who portrays himself as a good man. In fact he is being accompanied by the other horsemen who kill and destroy. Riding with this first figure on a white horse is a similar man on a pale horse; this fourth horseman is Death.
This is an interesting parallel to Isaiah where we learn of the "Covenant with Death and Hell" (perhaps alluding to the idea that "Hell" is the figure of the Antichrist and "Death" is the fourth rider traveling with him).
Isahiah 28:15: Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:
The timeline of these prophecies also rules out the possibility that the destruction of Gog and Magog is part of the Battle of Armageddon since Christ returns much later in Revelation (Chapter 19).
There's an important picture that can be assembled from all of the puzzle pieces in these passages. First, the beginning of the Great Tribulation may begin on the 24th day of the ninth month of the Hebrew calendar. The catch is in knowing which year this will occur in -- hence the "no man knows the day or hour" still applies.
However that year may be very, very near, as shown by the events mentioned which have either already occurred or which might easily happen with little or no major changes on the world scene. For example in Ezekiel, God lays out the events that lead up to the invasion by Gog and Magog. This passage tells of the end of Jewish exile and the creation of a Jewish state:
Ezekiel 36:24: For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.
This idea is repeated in Chapter 37:21-22
21 And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land.
22 And I will make them one nation upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all.
These passages were written when Israel was a divided nation. Now, after over 2,000 years later, Israel is a single entity once again. These conditions have now been met with the creation of Israel in 1948 and the return of the Jews to this homeland. This event has occurred and the next chapter of Ezekiel is the invasion by Gog and Magog.
On our assembled puzzle timeline then, the next event is the Rapture. The stage is set for this to occur.
How far ahead of the invasion the Rapture occurs is unknown; but it would seem logical that it will come a very short time before the invasion, given the fact that such a momentous event as the sudden vanishing of a large chunk of the world's population will create the type of confusion that Gog and Magog might try to use to their advantage in attacking Israel. Or it may be that the two events will very nearly coincide so that the Rapture is missed during the noise and confusion of the fighting, earthquakes, and plagues.
Some have argued that the Jewish Temple must be built before the Rapture occurs. However this goes against the time-line of Ezekiel. Not until we reach Chapters 40 - 47:12 are the details of the rebuilding of Israel's Temple in Jerusalem given. The Rapture and the invasion must surely happen before the Temple is built, perhaps after the Antichrist has established his power.
Given the fact that plans are currently being made for the building of the new Temple in Israel, with some of the instruments and furnishings of the Temple being purchased and constructed, this also suggests that the time of these events may be very close.
The assembled puzzle shows that the picture is almost to take place. This is undoubtedly the most important point for both the believer and unbeliever alike. Time is short and must be used carefully, in prayer and witnessing so the world can know about the saving grace of God's Son, the Jewish Messiah and the Savior of all who would make Him their Lord.