Much has been said and written about that statement of Jesus, as to its implications and applications. It is the thought behind the parables of Jesus, teaching His disciples, and those following, the importance of faithfulness in our given stewardship responsibilities. Likewise, if we do not know the day or the hour, then knowing the specific year, month or week is not likely, either.
So we understand the importance of the next enlightenment Jesus opens up to us in regard to that day and hour—“when you see these things begin to happen….” Paying attention to the “signs of the times” is the way to “watch, for you do not know at what hour your Lord may come.”
A somewhat related event that sometimes gets tangled up with the “no one knows the day nor the hour” is the incident involving that last question the disciples had for Jesus just as He was beginning to ascend into the heavens in a cloud, as recorded in Acts 1:6-7:
“Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them,‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.’”
In other words, the Father has an appointed time for that to be fulfilled. Obviously, then, He had set an appointed time, and He did it, on May 14, 1948. So that incident had nothing to do, directly, with the coming of the Son of Man. It was, in fact, though, the door-opening event to begin the last of the latter days of this age.
After Paul writes of the marvelous transformation experience of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, he uses that phrase “times and seasons” to alert the Thessalonians that another time of God’s appointment is coming upon them, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 (Note—there were no chapter breaks in Paul’s original letter. The Rapture topic continues.):
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
It may be comparable to the birthing of a child, when the water bag breaks to start the labor pains and the struggle to bear the child into the light of day. Such as this—the Rapture occurs, then seven years of “labor pains” until the Son of Man breaks through the veil of human history, again, into the light of day on earth in His Second Coming.
In speaking to the believers in this 21st century, as this eternal Word of God is meant to do, do we know perfectly these things? As the Holy Spirit led Paul to write these words, He would have known the promises of God yet to come to pass, and the signs of the times and seasons would be those of this final generation to observe—and to know perfectly what is on the threshold of history according to the Bible’s foretelling.
Let’s look at some of the signs of the times that are filling the airwaves of news media, both mainline and alternative sources. Probably the greatest volume of news content is given to the campaigns of the candidates for the presidential election in November, 2016. Never has there been so much controversy among candidates as there has been in this period in the Republican arena.
It is the year for outsiders, it seems, and for the first time ever the veil has been lifted on how candidates are selected for the ultimate election process. The terms, “insiders” and “the establishment,” have been identified as that inner circle of political movers and shakers who have actually put their chosen selections in place to perform the activities of apparent viable candidates with no strings of outside control attached to them.
It is just as they have done for decades under the guise of “free elections” and “choice of the people.” The oft-quoted phrase that defines our method of government as that “of the people, for the people and by the people” seems to resound with an ironic ring to it, much like the emptiness of a clanging cymbal.
When Barack Obama won the 2008 election, Henry Kissinger rather gleefully declared that “he has been primed to lead us into a New World Order.” After nearly eight years in the oval office, Obama has been considerably successful in accomplishing his stated goal made during that first campaign—to “fundamentally transform America forever!”
That means, “destroy the foundations of American sovereignty,” in any man’s language. That he is on the very brink of that accomplishment is undeniable. America’s national debt has more than doubled in these eight years, economic development and growth is dismal, military strength and viability are at their lowest since before World War II.
In recent weeks Obama has hinted at the possibility of a third term as president—not allowable under the Constitution. All he needs is some kind of civil uprising that would call for the institution of martial law, and he could legally postpone the presidential election, perhaps indefinitely.
Truly 2016 will be a very pivotal year, for that beast of Revelation 13 has a seventh head that is relentless in its determination to be formed and made operative as a one world government, the stated goal of the New World Order.
However, the sovereignty of the Lord of the universe cannot be destroyed, nor even sidetracked in the ultimate accomplishment of His goals. The plans and actions of “flesh and blood” will never overcome nor out-maneuver our God of the universe. That godless bulk of mankind, whose purposes since the days of the Tower of Babel have been to rule the world with a slave-holder mindset, wants equality for all, except that some are just more equal than others.
The point in time when the future is upon us and it becomes reality is rapidly closing. The secular world events are illuminating Bible prophecy, and the statement that “no one knows the day or the hour, except the Father” is bursting with eagerness to unfold.
Few prophecy students and teachers, it seems, are apparently willing to proclaim the meaningfulness of the seven feasts of the Lord which He outlined for Moses in Leviticus 23. God could not have been more specific in drawing attention to those seven feasts or festivals when in 2014 and 2015 those blood-red moon eclipses appeared exactly on the first and last of the seven feasts each year.
Since the time of Moses those feasts have been celebrated by Jews. By law they have been on the Jewish calendar every year as if God did not want them to forget their significance.
So what are some of the significant details of those feasts?
· They were pointing to future events for fulfillment;
· They did not mark Israeli accomplishments but foreshadowed future actions of God;
· The first four were fulfilled in the first few weeks, beginning with the crucifixion of Christ;
· None have been fulfilled during the centuries since;
· They are on the calendar roughly in the pattern of the harvest season;
· Their layout on the annual calendar seems to match the ministry of the Body of Christ and the Holy Spirit during the times of the Gentiles.
The first four feasts already fulfilled are the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits and Pentecost, the indwelling of believers by the Holy Spirit. The final three feasts are the Feasts of Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles, all in the fall months.
All of the feasts were pinpointed to a specific day on the calendar, except for one, and that one had a very specific requirement that left its exact day of beginning uncertain. The Feast of Trumpets was to begin at sunset in Israel on the designated day but only after that thin sliver of the new moon could be seen on the horizon and reported back to the religious leaders at the temple.
If it was covered with clouds and not seen, the feast could not begin. They would have to try again the next day, since a second day was part of the feast’s timing. Thus, the uncertainty results in exactly what Jesus said, “No man knows the day nor the hour.”
The connection between this feast and the coming of the Son of Man is found in the fulfillment of the foreshadowing this feast portrays of that which is to come, namely the Rapture of the Body of Christ. The Bridegroom comes to meet His Bride, and the Bride goes to meet Him inthe air, just as Paul writes of this in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17:
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will 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 thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
A beautiful Old Testament portrayal of this event, the Bridegroom coming for His B ride, is in the account of Abraham taking his son, Isaac, to that designated mountain to offer him up to God, as related in Genesis 22. The picture reaches back to compare the incident with Jesus going to the cross on that same mountain and being sacrificed for the sins of mankind, followed by His departure and absence from the earth until that future return for His Bride.
In Genesis 22 after God had provided a ram caught in a nearby thicket for Abraham’s sacrifice instead of his only son, Abraham returns to where he left his two young men-servants and they return home. Strangely, there is no more mention of Isaac being included in that return, and he is not mentioned again until in Genesis 27.
There we see that Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac, a Bride, if you will understand. The servant appears to be a type of the Holy Spirit, who finds that Bride and returns with her. As they approach the home-place, Isaac, out in the field, looks up, sees her coming and goes to meet her. God’s plan was in place before time began.
In 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, Paul refers to the trumpet sound, like in the passage above, as “the last trump.” Some have taken this to mean that the Rapture would occur at the seventh, or last, trumpet sounding in the series of judgments initiated by the sound of a trumpet that are listed in Revelation 8 and 9 and that seventh one at Revelation 11:15.
However, these trumpets are sounding warnings of judgment not glorious translations of believers to meet the Lord. In the details of the Feast of Trumpets are a series of four different types of soundings, the last one being a lengthy, wailing sound—“the last trump,” the call to assemble. In summary, then:
· The Feast of Trumpets, portraying believers going to meet the Lord;
· At a time that is uncertain as to the day or the hour;
· At the sounding of “the last trump” of a series of trumpet sounds at the festival’s beginning.
Have I set a date for the day or the hour? No.
Have I distorted or incorrectly stated the facts considered? I do not think so.
Have I narrowed the focus for those who would look for the coming of the Son of Man? Yes. Have I intensified the meaning of “watch for you do not know what hour your Lord may come?” Yes.
The apostle Paul would say to us, “And do this, knowing the time, that nowit is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer thanwhen we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12). And Jesus says, “Occupy until I come.”