In the three prior parts of this topic, we have looked at possible signs of the approaching end of the Christian era. It began with the birth of Christ and will end with His returning for all those who have believed in Him over those centuries.
We have seen how those seven feasts of the Lord reported in Leviticus 23 are uniquely placed on the Jewish calendar as rehearsals of future events that mark the highlights of the Christian era for the first five feasts. Then there are a final two that foretell God’s plan for the Jews. Those two festivals are a very real part of God’s plan for the ages as well.
The timing of events is in God’s hands, and we have no Scripture that says, specifically, “it is then.” Three things we do not know are the year it is to be, nor the day nor hour of His coming to remove His restraining presence in the world by His Spirit-filled body of believers, called the Rapture. The fact that the Scriptures and practices do lead us to a two-day event called the Feast of Trumpets and its placement at the end of the harvest season called the “ingathering” (See 2 Thessalonians 2:1) does not create “date setting” in my thinking. One of those days, I believe, will be that Day of the Lord, but we do not know “the day nor the hour” of the two days. Also, we do not know which year except as the signs reveal its possibility.
Jesus did say, “Watch, for you do not know what hour He is coming,” and also, “When you see these things beginning to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, and He is referring to those troublesome conditions He just presented in Luke 21).
Then, Hebrews 10:25 encourages believers to come together more often “as you see the day approaching.” So, how can one see the day approaching without paying attention to the signs of the times?
When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about these things in his first epistle to them, he specifically left out anything about the “times and seasons” that will indicate when Jesus may return (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1). However, he did say in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that “the falling away must come first, then the One who restrains will be removed.” We do not know how long that “falling away” will continue, given that we are seeing it happening now. So, Jesus says, “Occupy until I come.”
Now, let’s consider the signs and times that have to do with the future of the Jewish people after the Rapture has occurred. The way Paul wrote of that time of the Lord’s coming “as a thief in the night” then speaks of “they,” saying “Peace and safety” followed by “sudden destruction” coming upon them,” it appears to have a time gap between the two statements with the latter portion having to do with the Jews.
The statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 says, “For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.” There is a parable tucked in that statement, which seems rather out of place with its subject. Let’s compare such an event with what is to happen with the Jewish people.
In a pregnancy, when the woman’s “water breaks,” her labor really begins, and there is no turning back. When the Rapture occurs, there will be no turning back in God’s plan, for the prophecy of Daniel 9:26-27 has a seven-year peace covenant being made for Israel and permission for them to rebuild their temple. This is implied, for later on, this one who is “befriending” them will turn out to be their enemy as he becomes the “abomination of desolation” mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy.
The Jews utter that statement in great relief, but Gog of the far north (see Ezekiel 38) sees that Israel, having no defense support from a now eliminated USA, is like a city without walls—defenseless. Then Gog (Russia), who has already made a unity proclamation with Iran and Turkey, will come upon Israel shortly after the Rapture has happened. But God is sovereign, and Gog’s utter destruction opens the door for that Antichrist who is befriending Israel to move forward into those seven years of Revelation’s prophecies.
Back to the parable, we see a parallel with the labor struggle the impending mother has as the birthing continues. Progress is more and more evident of coming success, in the pregnancy and in the parable, as the Feast of Atonement halfway through the seven years of tribulation reveals Israel’s recognition of their true Messiah, Jesus Christ, and not that one who had seemingly been their friend for that three and a half years.
That recognition of their true Messiah is reported in Zechariah 12:10:
“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”
As the pregnancy labor comes to an end and the baby is born, so is the coming of Christ, finally, to reign on earth as the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, from His throne in Jerusalem. It is the fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles when the Lord dwells with His people on earth.
The marriage supper of the Lamb will have been celebrated, as Revelation 19 reports the end of the seven years, and Jesus is with His followers, ready to rule the earth in a thousand-year theocracy. Read about it in Isaiah 11:5-7 and 65:25, and Zechariah 14.
As the UN Security Council and associated entities keep laying plans for progressing forward with unity and peace with togetherness by 2030, other signs of the end times are evident.
The comparison of today’s world conditions with that of Noah and Lot in Luke 17:26-37 is more compelling for a current happening than ever before. Those first five verses of the passage, verses 26-30, identify the conditions when Jesus will return for the “ingathering” of His body of believers.
It says, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.
“Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
Note that in both situations, Noah and Lot, with their family members, were the ones saved; all others were left behind to the ravages of their respective judgments. Also, note that God closed the ark’s door after Noah’s entrance. And the angels took Lot and his daughters out of the city. They were delivered from the judgments.
Has the falling away foretold by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 reached its climax? Not yet, for we believers are still here. That verse says the “falling away must come first,” then the One restraining the progress of evil in that world-encompassing “falling away” will be removed, and the evil one will be released to his goal of world control.
Noah’s “eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage” conditions indicate more than just those activities, but an active social and economic life in the midst of a totally sinful environment. It brings the idea of hopelessness, “so let’s eat and be merry, for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32).
It pictures a lack of any knowledge of God, who has been pushed to the outside of all attention of the population. This is just what has been the effect of the “falling away” to make the knowledge of God to be a forgotten issue.
In Lot’s time, the city was saturated with homosexuality, yet they were active in social and business ventures. Sexual deviation is now rampant in the USA and followed by the world itself, as the LGBTQ+ ever presses toward that same saturation, including transgender’s radically false claims of viable reality. It is Satanic lying designed to blaspheme God with the destruction of His greatest creation of mankind.
That passage of Scripture is clear that it will introduce the coming of the Lord for those He has saved over the centuries since His resurrection. If you, the reader, are reading this article in a mortal setting, then the “falling away” will not have reached its climax, and another year must elapse until the next Feast of Trumpets. It is hard to imagine what the world will be like with one more year of moral degradation, lawlessness, unjust court proceedings, mass killings, and deceptive activities at the highest levels of our government and in the world.
But Jesus said, “Occupy till I come.”
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