Sweet Hour of Prayer
"Sweet Hour of Prayer" has long been one of my favorite old hymns, but here lately it has taken on a whole new significance for me. Last month one of the most familiar faces associated with the REV12 movement took it upon himself to share with the world his theory about the exact day and hour of the Rapture, and I have been contemplating his remarks ever since. Oh, the day? September 23, 2017. Surprise! The hour? Keep reading.
Part of me almost doesn't want to write this because I don't relish the possibility of being viewed as the kind of guy who comes against someone many people love and respect (including me); but on the other hand I already had the car door slammed on my fingers over my last article, so...que será, será and all that. It is what it is and, like Popeye, I yam what I yam. I did want to get this out before the 23rd, however, partly on principle and partly because I will be traveling to the States during the last week of September and will be busy.
But I don't anticipate spending the aforementioned hour, the zero hour as it were, expecting at any moment to be changed into my glorified body. Not that I'm not looking forward to that.
It's just that I have other ideas about what to do during the zero hour.
If you are cognizant of things pertaining to the REV12 sign, and I know many of you reading this are, you are almost certainly familiar with Scottie Clarke—the face of the REV12 movement, if indeed anyone is. Although it was Lu Vega who first noticed the striking alignment that constitutes the fulfillment of the sign of Revelation 12:1–2 back in 2008, it didn't begin to get out into the public arena until around 2011. It was around that time that Scottie learned of it and began to dig in and study it, and it wasn't long before he was making YouTube videos about it and the rest, as they say, is history.
Over the last six years, Scottie has developed a thriving YouTube ministry that has strengthened the faith and touched the lives of vast numbers of people all over the globe through a channel that is rapidly approaching 100,000 subscribers. Starting at ground zero, he quickly displayed a natural flair for video-making and brought the pizazz of a true showman to the online Bible prophecy world. I have no doubt that God called Scottie into this ministry, as it has been his God-given talent and charisma coupled with countless hours of in-depth study of Scripture—often revealing stunning truths and deep insights—that has enabled him to draw so much thoroughly justified attention to not only the fulfillment of the REV12 sign but other related scriptural topics.
On August 20, Scottie made what I was genuinely surprised to learn was his first public presentation at a prophecy conference. He was invited to speak at the Hear the Watchmen Idaho "SIGN IN THE HEAVENLIES" Redemption Convention in Boise, Idaho, and his 90-minute talk has had the online prophecy community buzzing ever since. I don't have time to watch a lot of lengthy videos, but I made time to watch this one because so many people were talking about it.
Although I enjoyed the video and thought Scottie did a great job (you'd have to take my family hostage to get me to speak at a conference), there were a couple of things Scottie said in the video that bothered me, and I felt the need to speak up and call attention to a couple of points that, at the very least, warrant closer examination.
I want to emphasize up front that even though I may take issue with a couple of things Scottie said in this talk, I love and respect him tremendously for who he is (my brother in Christ), what he is (a faithful watchman on the wall), and what he's done for the body of Christ (megatons). I desperately do not want anything I say in this article to be construed as a personal attack on Scottie, who is light years ahead of me in terms of scriptural knowledge. So, I'm going to tape the following little poem I wrote to my bathroom mirror while I work on this article, and knowing me I may as well just leave it there:
Wrangling disputes that vex us so,
Squabbles over what we think we know
Will all be settled at the Master's feet
Where one day soon we'll surely meet.
Hey, shut up. At least it rhymes.
I encourage you to watch the entire video, but here's a brief summary of the attention-grabbing part:
People who fall back on the old standby "no man knows the day or the hour" are wrong, because Jesus' statement in Mark 13:32 about how no man knows, the angels don't know, the Son (in the flesh) doesn't know, only the Father knows was reversed in Revelation 1:1 (the Father knows, reveals it to the Son, who reveals it to an angel, who reveals it to a man). So, we can expect to know the day and the hour of the Rapture today. But how?
First, we've got two witnesses. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:52 says the Rapture will occur at the "last trump," which obviously pins the Rapture to the Feast of Trumpets. Then John mentions the word trumpet in Revelation 4:1 when he's caught up to heaven to be shown his vision, and bingo. There are our two witnesses—two mentions of the word trumpet confirming the Rapture must occur on the Feast of Trumpets.
In addition, the great sign John saw in Revelation 12:1–2 gives us the exact day (9/23/2017). But what about the hour? Flip back to 1 Corinthians 15:52, where Paul says "in the twinkling of an eye." Guess what? This is actually a Jewish idiom that refers to sunset/dusk, also called the "blue hour." So the bottom line is that John gave us the day, Paul gave us the hour, and voilà. The following was clearly implied but not openly stated in so many words: The Rapture will occur at or shortly after sunset (presumably Israel time) on Saturday, September 23, 2017. Disclaimer: This is just my theory, so please don't think I'm setting dates or anything.
By the way, on September 23, 2017, sunset in Jerusalem will occur at 5:34 p.m (15:34 GMT), which puts dusk at roughly 15:30–16:30 GMT. So, the thrust of Scottie's presentation is his theory that the Rapture will occur sometime between 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Eastern/8:30–9:30 a.m. Pacific on September 23, 2017.
And there you have it—that's the big take away.
Immediately after delivering his bombshell, he cues his music video to give his listeners a chance to absorb what he's just announced to them. After the song and before he starts answering attendees' submitted questions, Scottie calmly, gently cautions his listeners (1:05:20–1:05:44):
"We gotta be careful...we gotta be careful. So, I'm just giving this to you. I don't want you to believe me just because I say it. I want you to just...I just want you to chew on this, that's all. You know? You all have good minds. I just want you to chew on this. And if it makes sense to you, study the Scriptures and try to do your best to rightly divide and keep everything in context."
Chew on this. Study the Scriptures. Do your best to rightly divide. Keep everything in context.
Good advice indeed.
I originally wanted to title this article "Chew on This," and it must have taken the Holy Spirit a good four or five days to wring that one out of me. Fortunately, He finally got through my thick head how snarky and confrontive that oh-so-clever title sounded, and I ultimately relented.
Confession time: There was a bit more to it than that. I was in the shower, thinking about the effect this message of Scottie's would have on many thousands of people after the Rapture doesn't happen on September 23. As I was drying my face with a towel, I recalled how excited the audience had been at key points of his talk, and the raucous ovation he received when he hammered home his big point about how John gave us the day and Paul gave us the hour.
I thought about all the people out there (this writer included) who have worked so hard to communicate the truth of the REV12 sign and how it signals the nearness of the Rapture, and how from September 24 on all our efforts will be caustically dismissed as rubbish not only by the world but by the bulk of the Church as well.
Beginning September 24, all those who embrace the REV12 sign—who are already mocked and derided by the critics—will be summarily dismissed as deluded date-setters. Check that—failed date-setters. On September 24 it will be official, and no amount of whiny "We just said it might happen" disclaimers will blunt the avalanche of derision and mockery.
On the 24th, it's over, and nobody's gonna listen to another word we say.
OK, maybe I was overreacting a little, but that's how I felt at that moment. In reality, it won't be over—in fact, the real REV12 movement begins on the 24th, after all the balloons are popped and all the confetti is swept up and all the "RAPTASHANAH 2017!!" banners are torn down and all the hype and hoopla fades away. But the core will have to soldier on with far less support since a good portion of the herd will have headed for greener pastures: a new prophetic paradigm; a new interpretive buzz; a new angle on an old prophecy. Rinse and repeat.
I envisioned how devastated so many sincere, well-meaning people will be when the Rapture doesn't happen on The Big Day, and how many will turn away from the prophetic Word in utter discouragement as a result.
I thought about spiritual fence-sitters, some of whom have quietly had an eye on this REV12 stuff, wondering if maybe...just maybe there really is something to this Bible prophecy business. On the 24th, they'll feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy has snatched the football away yet again:
I shoulda known...what a bunch of baloney! When am I ever gonna learn?
It occurred to me that even though I would have no choice but to politely disagree with a couple of points in Scottie's presentation, the thrust of this article should not be to tear down, but to build up. Not to vilify, but to edify. Not to scourge, but to encourage.
I thought about the specific hour Scottie had nailed down for the Rapture, and I knew what I wanted to encourage people to do during that hour rather than giddily expecting to be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of...er, I mean, at sunset Israel time.
That's when the Holy Spirit really got through to me, and I did something I can only recall doing two other times in my entire life:
I started sobbing uncontrollably.
Only for about 20 to 30 seconds, but still. Luckily, I had my face buried in a towel at the time so my wife didn't hear it—but the Holy Spirit had given me my new title. After that, it was just Father, please give me the words...
Feast, festival, whatever
One thing Scottie does in leading up to his bold theory is to establish once again the familiar groundwork that the Rapture must occur on the Feast of Trumpets. From 48:38–49:28 in the video, Scottie is hammering home the idea that it's all about the Feast of Trumpets. Feeeeast o' Trumpets...that's the ticket. He displays a graphic of a Jewish menorah to review the festivals and touches on the fact that Jesus fulfilled the first three, then gets to the Feast of Pentecost and thunderingly declares:
"The body of Christ was conceived! (pause for applause) What's next?"
No-brainer, right? TRUMPETS!! YAY!! (Gimme a "T"...Gimme an "R"...) He goes on to link both Paul's "last trump" in 1 Corinthians 15:52 and John's mention of a trumpet in Revelation 4:1 with the Feast of Trumpets (the only one of the seven festivals to occur at a new moon), and at one point says of the Feast of Trumpets:
"It's reckoned by the sighting of the new moon."
As he delivers that line, he strategically displays a graphic that depicts a Jewish man blowing a shofar along with the following verse of Scripture:
3Blow the ram's horn at the time of the New Moon, at the covering, on our solemn Festival Day.
(Psalm 81:3 Version unknown / emphasis added)
Out of sheer curiosity, I tried to identify what English translation this version of Psalm 81:3 came from. To my surprise, I came up empty. I googled it—zip. I checked every English translation available at both Biblehub.com and Biblegateway.com—zilch. So, if anyone knows where it comes from, feel free to let me know.
But regardless of where Scottie dug up this translation of Psalm 81:3, here's my point: As I discussed in my last article, in the two passages of Scripture that establish the Jewish festival that Christians know as the Feast of Trumpets (Lev. 23:23–25; Num. 29:1), there is no specific mention of a shofar in the Hebrew. It must be added to or read into the passage. As a result, there is in fact no specific biblical mandate to blow shofars on the Feast of Trumpets. I'm sorry, but there just isn't. It's the traditions of men added to Scripture by the Pharisees and vehemently opposed for precisely that reason by substantial numbers of Jewish scriptural literalists. (And I promptly got kicked to the curb and essentially became a persona non grata among the Raptashanah crowd for having the audacity to point this out.)
Forget the Karaites: In my last article, I argued that the first-century Church didn't automatically interpret Paul's mention of the "last trump" in 1 Corinthians 15:52 as a reference to the final shofar blast on Rosh Hashanah because back then the blowing of shofars on that day wasn't something that was universally recognized among Jews as being scriptural. There were substantial numbers of scriptural literalists like the Karaite Jews who strongly opposed this practice because they felt it was adding to the Torah, which, like I said, never specifically mandates blowing shofars on Rosh Hashanah. It was a tradition of the Pharisees elevated to the level of Scripture that later became the universally accepted standard.
But you know what? Forget the Karaites. Forget the scriptural literalists. Who needs 'em? Maybe the first-century Church had enough biblical horse sense to realize that since Paul had clearly taught that believers were to watch and wait patiently for the Lord's return, that meant when he mentioned the "last trump" he couldn't possibly have meant that the Rapture would literally happen on one specific Jewish festival, and so he must have been referring to an eschatological trumpet blown by God and nothing else. Chew on that I would like to gently encourage you, dear reader, to consider that possibility.
Proponents of a Rosh Hashanah Rapture, however, in order to deflect accusations of reading shofars into Leviticus and Numbers where they do not appear, try to bolster their claims by citing Psalm 81:3, which actually does say something about blowing a shofar at the "new moon," according to them an obvious reference to the Feast of Trumpets. This provides them greater justification in linking these two key Rapture-related mentions of trumpets (1 Cor. 15:52; Rev. 4:1) to the Feast of Trumpets, thus lending more support to a Feast of Trumpets Rapture.
Shortly after I posted my last article, I had one individual send me this big, blustery argument based on Psalm 81:3 to "prove" that I (as well as the Karaites, presumably) were wrong. He confidently demonstrated that Psalm 81:3 was the smoking gun that specifically commanded shofars to be blown on the Feast of Trumpets, and for all I know he is still awaiting my humble concession.
Which, I fear, is not forthcoming.
I did a bit of digging on this verse, and discovered that it is in fact a very controversial passage that various experts and commentators are divided on. It's admittedly a rather enigmatic verse, with arguments over the translation of the word often translated "new moon" as well as which feast is being referred to in the last part of the verse.
I am not going to try and kick up a lot of exegetical dust here, because I freely admit that it's over my head. When experts who know 900 times more than I do cannot agree, I know it's time to take a deep breath and a step back. There is one thing, however, that the majority of Hebrew scholars seem to be in agreement on: the festival being referred to in this verse is almost certainly not Rosh Hashanah.
In Hebrew, the phrase translated "our solemn Festival Day" in Psalm 81:3 above is hag-ge-nu, and the key noun is hag (feast, pilgrimage). According to most Hebrew scholars (and all Jewish ones), this cannot refer to Rosh Hashanah, and here's why:
"In the Bible, Feast (Hag) is a technical term which always refers to the three annual pilgrimage-feasts [Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) Ed.] New Moon Day (Hodesh) is never classified as a 'Pilgrimage-Feast' so Keseh/Hag can not possibly be synonymous with New Moon Day (Hodesh). It has further been suggested that Keseh refers to the Biblical holiday of Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting), which always falls out on New Moon Day. However, the Bible describes Yom Teruah as a Moed (appointed time) and never as a Hag (Pilgrimage-Feast) so Keseh/Hag cannot refer to Yom Teruah either." (emphasis in original)
— Nehemiah Gordan
"The New Moon in the Hebrew Bible" [Source]
In other words, if a festival is referred to as a hag (as it is in this verse), it is always one of the three pilgrimage feasts: Passover/Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. Yes, Rosh Hashanah is an appointed time, but it is not one of the three hags. That is, Rosh Hashanah is technically not a "feast," which is exactly how a lot of translations render the phrase. That's why it's called the Day of Shouting and not the Feast of Shouting—it ain't a feast! As a result, many commentators are convinced that it is the Feast of Tabernacles that is being referred to.
At any rate, Nehemiah Gordon is a Hebrew scholar who worked on translating the Dead Sea Scrolls, so...forgive me if I go with what he says (and believe me, he is far from alone in his assessment).
But as we listen to Scottie drive home the point about how both of these key New Testament mentions of trumpets by Paul and John forge an iron-clad link to the Feast of Trumpets, we are shown a lovely graphic with this particular translation of Psalm 81:3 that appears to back it all up.
Now, I'm going to assume that the fact that Scottie happened to use a translation of this verse that tends to obfuscate the fact that it refers to a hag or feast was purely unintentional, but it is true that many translations render this phrase using the word "feast" (which can't refer to Rosh Hashanah) rather than the more generic "festival" (which can).
Got those blue hour blues...
One fascinating thing Scottie mentions in his talk that I had never heard before was the idea that Paul's phrase "in the twinkling of an eye" in 1 Corinthians 15:52 was actually a Jewish idiom that refers to sunset or dusk, also called the "blue hour."
He uses this information as the basis of his claim that Paul was revealing to us the literal hour of the Rapture, which, as I mentioned, would place it at approximately 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Eastern/8:30–9:30 a.m. Pacific on September 23 in the United States.
The blue hour. That is exciting, I must say.
Knowing the very hour of the Rapture!! Wow, how cool is that?!
Now, I confess that I haven't watched every single minute of every single one of Scottie's YouTube videos, so perhaps he has provided the documented source of this information elsewhere, and simply neglected to mention it in his presentation. If that is the case, then kindly ignore this little section of the article.
But that darn curiosity of mine...it keeps getting the best of me. I spent a lot of time searching the Internet for more information on this idiom, and all I came up with is an occasional link to Scottie's presentation. In other words, I came up with a big fistful of nothing.
Undaunted, I went so far as to write an email to Nehemiah Gordan, the Hebrew scholar I quoted above, figuring if anyone had ever heard of such a thing, surely it would be someone like him. I used the contact link on his website and asked the following:
Hi, there is a popular YouTuber who claims the phrase "in the twinkling an eye" from 1 Corinthians 15:52 is Hebrew idiom that refers to sunset/dusk, or the "blue hour."
He is using this information, however, to claim Paul was in fact telling us the time of day of the Rapture (Israel time, presumably). I can find no information about any such Hebrew idiom concerning "the twinkling of an eye." Can you shed any light on this?
Thank you very much for your time and attention.
Which promptly elicited the following succinct yet gracious reply:
No info on this, no such "idiom" that we know of. Sunset in Hebrew is erev. And it has nothing to do with blue.
So there you have it...at this point I'm not sure what else to say.
I would genuinely love to find a documented source for Scottie's information about this idiom, because if it does in fact mean that, it would be interesting. So if anyone out there knows, feel free to *contact me.
*Note: A couple of people were kind enough to email me links to information about this idiom, and I decided it would be appropriate to respond to this material in the form of an addendum to the article.
And please, I am not attacking Scottie's integrity here—I love the guy. It's not as if I were accusing him of making this up or something—I'm sure he did no such thing. It's just that if someone is going to publicly announce a biblically based theory about the exact day and hour of the Rapture that is going to get countless thousands of people worked into a lather and base that theory on a key piece of information, that information warrants the dissemination of some legitimate documentation. Wouldn't you agree? We have a right to know for certain that Scottie didn't somehow get hold of some bum info, you know? After all, Scottie himself said to not believe this just because he says it. Roger that.
Of course, even if Scottie is 100 percent right about this idiom, we're still faced with the same questions we're faced with regarding Paul's mention of the "last trump" that I dealt with in my last article.
• Was such idiomatic interpretation really Paul's intended meaning, and is that the way his (largely Gentile) audience actually interpreted his words?
• And if so, why did they not react accordingly? Why did they act as if they were just supposed to patiently watch and wait for the Lord?
Raptashanah vs Raptecost
As I mentioned earlier, Scottie thundered away on the idea that the Rapture must happen on the Feast of Trumpets, and used a menorah to illustrate the festivals and how the first four have been fulfilled. So, next up is Trumpets, and the Rapture is the next event on the prophetic agenda, so...easy, right?
As Scottie highlighted the Feast of Pentecost and declared that the body of Christ was conceived, the obvious suggestion was that's it. Nothing else to see here. Moving right along...and the message was crystal clear:
The conception of the body of Christ
completely fulfilled the Feast of Pentecost.
And so obviously Trumpets is next to be fulfilled. This has been taught and believed by mainstream evangelical preachers and teachers forever, and is still the primary view in the Church among dispensational, premillennial preachers and teachers. The only difference is that it is traditionally characterized as the birth of the Church rather that its conception. The fact that Pentecost was the conception of the Church rather than its birth is one of a number of key insights Scottie is responsible for giving us. The bottom line, however, is that the great majority of Bible teachers and people today who study such things typically agree:
Pentecost was fulfilled, and so it's on to Trumpets.
It's clear to me that the widespread popularity of the Raptashanah idea is at least partially motivated by the simple fact that nearly everyone agrees that Pentecost was completely fulfilled two thousand years ago when the Holy Spirit came down and indwelt men for the first time, thus conceiving the body of Christ.
Two thousand years ago, the Church's task of taking the gospel to a lost and dying world lay before it—it was the beginning of our gestation period, so to speak. And when we are raptured home to be with the Lord, we will truly, officially, and corporately be "born again" as the body of Christ.
One thing Scottie said in his presentation that got stuck in my spirit was a remark he made at 46:21–46:31:
"I just believe if we don't understand the festivals, guys, we just don't understand prophecy."
An understatement if there ever was one, because I am convinced that it is just such a misunderstanding of the festivals that has led to the wildly popular but highly questionable notion that the Rapture must fulfill the Feast of Trumpets.
Since we're on the topic, let's take a brief moment to consider Shavuot, aka the Feast of Weeks, aka Pentecost.
First of all, understand that Pentecost is one of the three hags, or pilgrimage feasts (the other two being Passover/Unleavened Bread and Tabernacles), when every adult Jewish male was required to present himself before the priest at the temple in Jerusalem. It was a harvest feast, and two loaves of bread were offered as a wave offering to the Lord, along with other specified sacrifices.
What is crucial to understand, however, and I think a lot of people miss this, is that the three hags, or pilgrimage feasts that involved a gathering of the people to the temple, that is, to God, were types of resurrections. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (together with Passover and First Fruits) is a picture of Christ's death, burial, and subsequent resurrection. The pilgrimage at the Feast of Tabernacles represents the resurrection of Jews (and arguably martyred Tribulation saints) to be ushered into the Millennial Kingdom following the Second Coming. The Millennial Kingdom is what the Feast of Tabernacles is all about...and I trust you see where this is going.
What about the Feast of Pentecost?
Pentecost, as a pilgrimage feast, should also be a type of resurrection. So the pair of $64,000 questions for those who insist on pinning the Rapture (which involves a resurrection) to the Feast of Trumpets because they've checked Pentecost off their holiday shopping list are as follows:
Q1. Who was resurrected on the day of Pentecost two thousand years ago?
Q2. Why would the Rapture, which is a stage of the first resurrection, occur on a festival that is not a pilgrimage (resurrection) feast?
It seems pretty straightforward to me. Three pilgrimage feasts, three stages of the first resurrection: Jesus (the Resurrection), the Church (the Rapture), and Israel/Tribulation saints (the final stage at the Second Coming).
I am not going to dig too awfully deep into this topic in the current article, because there is a lot to this. As Scottie said, I'm just giving this to you. I just want you to chew on this. I just hope you are willing to look into it and at least give it some thought, because personally I have found that in these and many other ways, Raptecost makes a lot more sense than Raptashanah, yet very few people are even considering a Pentecost Rapture. And the sad part is they aren't even considering it just because they have never seriously questioned the teaching that Pentecost has been completely fulfilled.
Jesus sent the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, you moron. He fulfilled it!
Are you sure?
Who did what?
Another issue concerning the fulfillment of the Jewish festivals is the idea that many are convinced that Jesus will personally and directly fulfill all seven of them. Obviously He personally and directly fulfilled the first three two thousand years ago with His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, and most believe He will also personally and directly fulfill the last three by virtue of the Second Coming, the judgments that follow in its heels that will sort out who will enter the Millennial Kingdom, and the establishment of that kingdom (all 100 percent Jesus).
People see these events matching up with various of the three remaining festivals in different ways, and I don't want to get into a big furball over that here—my point is that however you slice it, it's all about Jesus personally and directly fulfilling each of the seven festivals.
But the question is, where does that leave us with Pentecost? I wrote about this topic two years ago, and here is a brief summary of a couple of key points I made in that article:
Many believe, as do I, that Jesus Himself will personally and directly fulfill all seven of the Jewish festivals, as He clearly did for the first three and will for the last three. For those who feel that the Feast of Pentecost was completely fulfilled, however, the question becomes:
Q. What did Jesus do that personally and directly fulfilled Pentecost?
It was 10 days after the Ascension, and He had taken His seat at the right hand of the Father. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to indwell believers in power and the Church was officially conceived. But what did Jesus do?
Those who insist Pentecost was completely fulfilled might state that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit. That's what He did, and they might refer to the following verse to support that:
28When the Counselor has come, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will testify about me.
(John 15:28 / emphasis added)
Whom I will send to you from the Father. Well, that's fine, but we have a problem because Jesus said something different a little earlier in the same discourse:
26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.
(John 14:26 / emphasis added)
Whom the Father will send in my name. Oops...wait a second. Who's going to send the Holy Spirit, the Father or the Son? What's going on?
The Greek verb translated "send" in each verse is exactly the same: a form of pempo (send, transmit, permit to go). But the fact that we have both the Father and the Son apparently doing the same thing completely undermines the idea that Jesus personally and directly fulfilled Pentecost by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. If Jesus personally and directly sent the Holy Spirit, then the Father didn't. But Scripture seems to say He did. Something doesn't make sense here.
Notice, however, that one of the meanings of pempo is the passive idea of "permitting to go," and that may the out we need to reconcile the grammar of these verses.
With the passive meaning of pempo, one obvious way we could interpret these verses is to say that shortly after Jesus ascended to heaven, both He and the Father simply "permitted" or "allowed" the Holy Spirit to come to earth to conceive the Church and begin His ministry of indwelling believers. That would seem to reconcile the grammar. But if that's true, then it's adios to the idea of Jesus personally, directly fulfilling Pentecost two thousand years ago, and that leaves us with only one conclusion:
The final, complete fulfillment of Pentecost (by Jesus) is still pending.
If Jesus has to personally
fulfill all seven, then a Feast
of Trumpets Rapture leaves
Pentecost flapping in the
breeze and the Raptashanah
folks fumbling for answers.
Of course, if you want to argue that Jesus doesn't have to fulfill all seven festivals personally, that's fine. Since Pentecost was all about the Holy Spirit, maybe the Holy Spirit fulfilled it Himself in some manner, with the Father and the Son simply being in agreement. I'm not going to be dogmatic about it either way. The bottom line is this: If Jesus has to personally fulfill all seven, then a Feast of Trumpets Rapture leaves Pentecost flapping in the breeze and the Raptashanah folks fumbling for answers.
Could it not be that if the Rapture does in fact occur on a Jewish feast day, that Pentecost would be a more logical choice? Snatching His bride away would certainly constitute Jesus personally and directly fulfilling what is a resurrection feast, not to mention the fact that another one of the themes of Pentecost, a harvest feast coming 50 days after First Fruits, is that of rest after a full completion of time:
"Fifty is the number of jubilee or deliverance. It is the issue of 7 X 7 (72), and points to deliverance and rest following on as the result of the perfect consummation of time." (emphasis in original)
— E.W. Bullinger
Number in Scripture
What a beautiful picture of the rest we will enter into after we are caught up to be with the Lord forever! Since the Church will have reached the completion of its two-thousand-year task at that point, this fits nicely. It makes little sense to me to think the very conception of the Church would somehow completely fulfill a pilgrimage feast that points not only to a resurrection but to a rest following the perfect consummation or completion of a period of time—all while the newly conceived Church's two-millennia task of taking the gospel to the world and making disciples of all nations was yet future.
Plus, the Feast of Pentecost is the only one of the seven festivals whose calendar date is not specified in Scripture. In other words, Leviticus 23 either explicitly states or clearly spells out the calendar dates of six of the festivals (and note that the Bible doesn't name the months):
Passover: 14th day of the first month.
Unleavened Bread: 15th day of the first month.
First Fruits: 16th day of the first month.
Pentecost: 50 days after the wave offering of First Fruits.
Trumpets: 1st day of the seventh month.
Atonement: 10th day of the seventh month.
Tabernacles: 15th day of the seventh month.
In Leviticus 23, the date of Pentecost is determined by counting off 50 days from the wave offering of First Fruits. In other words, its date is dependent on the resurrection of Christ, and it's difficult for me to imagine a more exquisite characterization of the Rapture than that!
Our resurrection is completely dependent on His!
Incidentally, between the time of the Resurrection in AD 33 and the destruction of the temple in AD 70, a controversy arose among the Jews over how to determine the date of Shavuot (Pentecost). The Jews knew all too well that followers of this Jesus of Nazareth were clamoring about the significance of His death, burial, and supposed rising from the dead coinciding with the Jewish festivals, and then...then this bizarre incident that occurred on Shavuot—that was just too much. Something had to be done to shut these heretics up.
"The solution they came up with was to obfuscate the calendar in such a way as to make the connection less clear between the feasts and their fulfillment in Christ and the Holy Spirit. The strategy apparently worked because most Jewish people today see no connection whatever between the Feasts and the Messiah. By the time Josephus wrote his history about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD, the Jewish authorities had established the concept that First Fruits was always on Nisan 16, and Pentecost on Sivan 6. Josephus went through a rather lengthy explanation that the Sabbath of Lev. 23:11 meant the first day of Unleavened Bread, not Saturday. Thus, apparently some time before the destruction of the Temple, the practice of observing First Fruits and Pentecost on Nisan 16 and Sivan 6 was in place."
— Thomas S. McCall
"The Mystery of the Date of Pentecost"
So of all seven moedim or appointed times, Pentecost is the only one whose date has an aura of mystery surrounding it, which in my humble opinion is a fitting motif indeed for the Rapture.
OK, I know what many of you are thinking right about now:
"Oh, I see how it is, Mr. Imm-uh-nence. You get on your high horse and jump all over us for pinning the Rapture to the Feast of Trumpets, and then turn around and try to pin it on Pentecost. Pot...kettle...black!"
Well played. But my real goal here is not to pin the Rapture to Pentecost—it is to drive home the following point:
If you want to connect the Rapture to a Jewish festival (and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but we must remember that it is speculation), Trumpets isn't the most logical choice in my opinion.
It's true that I honestly disagree with good people out there who promote a Feast of Trumpets Rapture. But I'm not "promoting" a Pentecost Rapture. My real aim is to promote the only kind of Rapture that is presented anywhere in God's Word:
I'm promoting a Watch and Wait Rapture.
I merely want to get across to people that the case for a Feast of Trumpets Rapture is not the Bible lock that so many people—including Scottie Clarke—are so cocksure that it is, that's all. My point is that I can play "Pin the Rapture on the Moed" with the best of 'em, but it remains in the realm of speculation. What I really want to do is encourage people to refrain from pinning the Rapture to anything. I never get tired of saying it, and I flat out don't care anymore what anyone says to the contrary: The doctrine of imminence has not been nullified or repealed, and nobody's pet theory is going to change that. Deal with it...in my humble opinion.
We just don't know: I know many people hammer away at the doctrine of imminence, typically because it's the fly in their speculative ointment. It's true that I have stated in the past that the Rapture could happen on any day, and technically speaking that's true. But if it's true, it's only true for one simple reason:
We. Do. Not. Know.
I do tend to believe that Rapture will happen on a biblically significant day, and I for one will be genuinely surprised if it's not a Jewish feast day (OK, so I personally lean toward Pentecost, but that's irrelevant). But because we can't prove it from Scripture, and because it's not ours to know but the Father's to reveal, from our perspective the Rapture may as well be slated for Groundhog Day. Watch and wait—I don't think that's too complicated, and it's going to stay that way unless and until the Father sovereignly chooses to reveal more to us. If He does, fine. But until He does, it's watch and wait in my book.
Some people look at verses like Mark 13:32 ("But of that day or that hour knows no man") and argue that the verb tense used in Greek (and a couple of other points) suggest that it doesn't mean we will never know. From this, they make the case that we will in fact know the day and hour of the Rapture at some point. And who knows...they may be right.
But at the same time, we should take care to note what Jesus said to His disciples when He was about to ascend back to heaven:
6Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?" 7He said to them, "It isn't for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority."
(Acts 1:6–7 / emphasis added)
It isn't for you to know times or seasons...of events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Second Coming, establishment of the Millennial Kingdom, etc. On the surface, this seems to contradict the idea that we will know some of these things at some point. So what gives?
Note that the Greek word translated "know" in Acts 1:7 is a form of ginosko (to come to know, recognize, perceive, comprehend, understand, learn). I'm not going to be dogmatic about it, but it seems quite reasonable to me to interpret this verse as saying that we will never figure it out.
In other words, we will never comprehend, recognize, or understand these things through our own intellectual acumen, reasoning, or suppositions. Or guesswork. Why? Because the Father has set them under His own authority. They're under the Father's complete control, and He has complete control over what we understand and what we don't.
They're not for us to know in the sense that it's entirely up to the Father to reveal them to us.
What that suggests to me is that people who believe we will know the date of the Rapture in advance may be right; but if we do, it will not be because any of us steely-eyed missile men figured it out. It will only be because God revealed it to us. Why? Because it's not ours to figure out—it's His to reveal.
Think about it. We know the two great signs of Revelation 12:1–5 herald the season of the Rapture. I see no compelling reason to think it pins down the day, but we at least know it's the season, right? But how do we know? Because Lu Vega is so sharp and observant? Because Scottie Clarke made some kickin' YouTube videos about it? NO! We know it for one reason and one reason alone: God has revealed it, and He revealed it to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way so that it could be revealed to all who have ears to hear.
And that leaves us right where God wants us:
Patiently watching and waiting to see what He will reveal next.
"Sweet hour of prayer..."
As I said at the outset, my intention is not to try and tear down what Scottie and others have taught, nor to vilify or scourge Scottie or anyone else and what they teach. I love and respect Scottie and others who teach similar things, and my sincere desire is to build up, to edify, and to encourage.
My desire is to build up your faith in the fact that we absolutely are staring down the barrels of the Rapture, regardless of the exact day it occurs. I have been known to say it could still be several years, and theoretically it could. In my heart of hearts, however, I don't honestly think it will be. Call it erring on the side of caution.
My desire is to edify you by presenting the strongest case I can in every way I can that we are entering the season of the Rapture, because God is revealing signs that say so loud and clear. I want you to have the ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church: Behold, I come quickly.
I want to encourage you to focus your attention on being about the Father's business as you watch and wait patiently for the Lord's return, and not go ballistic over every theory/dream/vision/whatever you hear.
I mentioned earlier about having something else to do during the zero hour that Scottie pinpointed for the Rapture besides anxiously waiting to grab a window seat on the first load up, and that is to pray. I want to encourage everyone reading this to make it a point to set aside a few minutes on the morning of the 23rd between 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Eastern/8:30–9:30 a.m. Pacific to pray.
Here are a couple of items to help get you started, and I'm not going for something grand here—this is straight from the gut:
• Praise His holy name and thank Him for His grace and His mercy and for everything He's done for you, given to you, shown you, and promised you.
• Thank Him for His inerrant Word and for revealing to us this sign from Revelation 12, a sign that should be a source of hope and encouragement, not of hype and confusion.
• Ask Him to forgive us for sometimes letting our speculation take the place of careful study of His Word; for arrogantly presuming to have things figured out that He has not yet revealed; for sometimes letting ourselves get bogged down in arguments and disputes that do nothing but dishonor His holy name; for occasionally letting our enthusiasm and excitement cause us to lead ourselves and, what's worse, others into error that does nothing but breed doubt and discouragement.
• Ask Him for the strength and wisdom to press on in studying His Word and prayerfully observing whatever He sovereignly chooses to reveal to us in the coming days without getting drawn away by our own flawed ideas.
• Ask Him for patience and a heapin' helpin' of philia to deal with the puffed up critics and naysayers who will be crowing and strutting.
• Finally, thank Him for His goodness and His faithfulness in fulfilling His precious Word, and let Him know how much you yearn for the day His Son gathers us unto Himself—no matter when it happens.
As I said, the bad news is that September 24 will effectively mark the end of the REV12 movement as we know it for most people in the Church. The critics will crow, the world will howl, and a great many of the bandwagoners will shuffle off into the shadows. I've said it before and it bears repeating:
I firmly believe this will trigger what may well be the final round of fulfillment of 2 Peter 3:3–4..."Where is the promise of His coming?"
That will be the refrain on everyone's lips, and they won't be in the mood to listen to anything we say. Even though it was mainly the critics themselves who turned this deal into a date-setting turkey shoot, they won't care because it will be their moment in the sun:
Hey, what day is it, boys and girls? Tha-a-a-t's right...it's the 24th of September! Gosh, it looks like we were right and you were wrong! Now scram...it's time for you YooToobers to go shine your tinfoil hats."
But the two great signs of Revelation 12:1–5 will not go away, and neither will the pre-tribulation Rapture they so clearly point to. To be honest, so many other prophetic trends are converging that the REV12 sign is just the icing on the cake. But it's the LORD's icing straight from His Word, revealed to the apostle John two thousand years ago, and fulfilled NOW.
If you're reading this after the 23rd, and there's a good chance you are, then make that sweet hour of prayer today.
I know we are all going to need it.
Greg Lauer / September 2017
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1. Deriv. of "Sunset Over Grass Field" © AOosthuizen at Can Stock Photo
2. "Morning Prayer at Beautiful Sunset" © rudall30 at Fotolia.com
3. "Bearded Man in Aluminum Cap" © afxhome at Fotolia.com
4. "Jew Blowing the Shofar" © sila5775 at Fotolia.com
5. "Jerusalem Sunset" © Mujadarra [CC BY-SA]
6. "Exam Concept" © peshkova at Fotolia.com
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All Scripture is taken from the World English Bible, unless annotated as KJV (King James Version) or AKJV (American King James Version).