Oh, how blind.
It was obvious… a long time in coming… yet we didn’t see it.
September 23, the end of the world — that’s how the press ran it. That was the headline—and a poor one, I might add. To be fair, even those of us who didn’t think it would be an ultimate end to this world, we at least thought it a fitting date for the rapture of the Church. Imagine it… on the evening finale of Yom Teruah, the Revelation 12 sign paints the sky of Jerusalem with the birth of the Body of Christ into heaven, and then, at the same time, at the last sounding of the shofar to end the new moon festival, the Lord Himself descends with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God… (1 Thess. 4:16) The rites, observances, sacraments, and symbols of the festival all seemed to be a perfect shadow of the rapture.
But here was the flaw: Yom Teruah never typified anything more than a warning of coming judgment, not the judgment itself. We know that judgment begins with the Church (1 Pet. 4:17); if anything, we should’ve considered the next festival, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the Jews’ holiest day of the year, a sombre day foreshadowing the ultimate judgment of souls. Yom Teruah is more of a wake-up call. It’s emphasis on the shofar—the only festival in which the shofar is to be blown—is supposed to stir people from their spiritual slumber, as with the awakening blast of the shofar—hence Yom Teruah, the Day of the Awakening Blast. It begins at the start of the month when the 10 Days of Awe begin, a time of critical repentance leading up to Yom Kippur. Yom Teruah and its distinguishing trumpet blasts act as the great shout of warning that your judgment day approaches, that is, in the sense of a rehearsal, foreshadowing what will one day take place during this exact time period in some future year. Each year, the drama is rehearsed by way of these festivals; one day, however, it will not be a rehearsal.
Jesus died on the Feast of Passover. He was buried on the Feast of Unleavened Bread. He was resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. The Holy Spirit conceived in the Church on the Feast of Pentecost. 1, 2, 3, 4… The spring festivals were all fulfilled in order! And now, festival #5, Yom Teruah, the Feast of Trumpets… It has to be! It has to be fulfilled! It makes so much sense! The next event is the rapture of the Church, and the next festival to be fulfilled in sequence is Yom Teruah! And the great sign of Revelation 12 was marking its final day with the Sun in Virgo, the Moon beneath her feet, the 9 stars of Leo joined by Mercury, Venus, and Mars, Jupiter birthed from between Virgo’s legs after retrograding for 9 months inside her womb… It’s too perfect.
It can’t be nothing. It just can’t.
As I write to you now on September 26, now that we no longer have to speculate about what would become of the ominous September 23, let’s scrutinize what did happen that day. No rapture, no unscheduled eclipse… No anything? Nothing at all?
Ah, but not so.
As I said, how very blind we were.
The purpose of Yom Teruah is to blow the trumpet of alarm, the awakening blast of the shofar that stirs us from our spiritual slumber. It’s a preparation, a warning. That’s the chief purpose of its institution. And what did we see on this festival? The grandest celestial sign illustrated in all the pages of Holy Writ, the enigma of all enigmas, the great prophetic dance of the sun, moon and stars that has confounded its students since John first wrote it in 96 AD. On Yom Teruah, we saw Revelation 12 fulfilled. We saw what Jesus prophesied when He said, “At that time shall appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man…” (Matt. 24:30)
We saw the great sign heralding the coming of Christ to gather His Church, and we saw it on a festival chiefly symbolizing a cry of awakening.
The 5th festival has just been fulfilled. After the first 4 were fulfilled in chronological order 2,000 years ago, the Feast of Trumpets, #5, has finally been fulfilled—and perfectly in sequence with the rest.
My God… I don’t even know what to say.
I walked with my dad along the sea after dark, watching the sharp crescent moon fall on the horizon as the Revelation 12 sign was finally, slowly drifting apart. I thought of that famous first verse of Revelation 12, “A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” That great mystery of the ages… and there we were, watching the very moon envisioned by John when he wrote that verse. There have been many crescent moons like it, but this was the one, the very one, immortalized in Scripture. And then, it plunged into the silhouette baseboards of the horizon and vanished forever. It would never be seen again, seen only by the Apostle John in vision 2 millennia ago, and by those of us blessed enough to be alive and awake in the year 2017.
Something profound began to dawn. Yes, we all know the sun, moon, and stars were made “for signs and for seasons” (Gen. 1:14). So what was this telling us? This sign involved each the sun and the moon and the stars in a major prophetic fulfillment that would’ve had any sensible eschatologian dizzily reaching for a sofa to pass out on. The message is clear. Jesus is coming now. He’s coming to get His 5 wise virgins, His patiently, eagerly, beautifully waiting Bride. The rapture of the Church.
It’s easy to see once you identify the “male child” in Revelation 12 with the Body of Christ, not just Christ alone, seeing all the characters in the sign as corporate entities; all you need to do is examine the male child’s role “to rule all the nations with a rod of iron” (Rev. 12:6) and compare that with Jesus’ promise to His Church: “The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” (Rev. 2:27) Now, seeing the male child as the Church, we find the Revelation 12 sign depicting its rapture into heaven — “…her child was caught up to God and to his throne…” (Rev. 12:5) — and that’s prior to the dragon’s pursuit of the woman, proving the pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. That child that’s “caught up to God and to his throne” is the same group described in Revelation 7, the fully redeemed Church — “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10) Remember, that’s prior to the 7th seal, the 7 trumpet judgments, and the 7 bowls of wrath—and definitely not after the final Battle of Armageddon.
It circulated the world. It made headlines. Everyone knows about it. The rumours reached the ears of every church, addressed by almost every pastor I know of. The sign became the subject of a documentary for DIRECTV called The Sign. God made sure the alarm was heard by all. Loud and clear. On Yom Teruah, the great shout of warning signified by its emblematic shofars was an official heavenly announcement of the coming rapture. It was like a loud message: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
… Ring a bell?
The midnight cry.
MATTHEW 25:1-12 — “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
I believe this prophecy is taking place right now, and is about to be fulfilled.
“…at midnight there was a cry…” — The Greek word for “cry” used in this parable is “kraugé“, meaning a shout.
Yom Teruah—the Hebrew word teruah literally means a loud shout, or cry. It is the Day of Shouting, the Day of the Cry, referring to the awakening blast of the shofar stirring its hearers to repentance in light of coming judgment.
And is this not exactly what the midnight cry in the parable is for, to awaken the 10 slumberous virgins to the bridegroom’s imminent arrival — “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
The Revelation 12 sign illustrating the rapture of the Church and the subsequent great tribulation of the Jews appeared precisely on Yom Teruah, the Day of the Awakening Blast, a blaring call to repentance in the form of an ancient festival. That was the midnight cry. The shout in that parable was meant for us, now, at this exact point in time and history. This is for us: “Here is the bridegroom! Go out to meet him!”
Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.
It was no mere astronomical sign. September 23 was not just a festival. It was an encrypted message intended only for those who perceive by the Spirit. The true words silently shouted through this celestial wonder were those written in the parable of the 10 virgins. That means that the lamps of those 5 foolish virgins who didn’t bring oil are about to go out. We’re going to see a divide amongst professing Christians, some continuing to burn bright in faith and godliness, and some dimming in doubt and scoffing. Those destined to fall away will fall away — “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
Could we really be receiving advance warning from God that the rapture is soon to take place, our glorious transfiguration, our grand assembly with Christ in the air, our entrance into the wedding banquet from amidst this dark night on earth?
It isn’t inconceivable that God would give us some forewarning. In fact, God has a pattern of giving His people advance warning shortly before an event takes place. “For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matt. 24:37) God will deal with us the same way He dealt with Noah. And how did God deal with Noah?
GENESIS 7:1, 4, 10 — “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household… For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights…’ And after seven days the waters of the flood came upon the earth.”
God gave Noah 7 days of advance notice.
I don’t mean to be spooky, but Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is exactly 7 days after the Revelation 12 sign—September 23 – 30.
I wonder—and I’m only speculating—if God is repeating the Noahic pattern. Jesus told us that the days of His revealing would be just like the time of Noah. If the midnight cry went out on Yom Teruah (September 23), it’s very likely that the Church—those who hear the midnight cry—is being given the same 7-day warning before a Yom Kippur rapture.
Oddly enough, this theory begins to make more and more sense.
According to Leviticus 25, if it’s a jubilee year (every 50th year), the “religious year” is supposed to begin on the 10th day of the 7th month, instead of the 1st day.
LEVITICUS 25:8-10 — “You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan.”
That means that the jubilee year would begin on Yom Kippur; and whereas a shofar is only blown on Yom Teruah, in the case of a jubilee year, a shofar will also be blown on Yom Kippur. This would mean that the “last trumpet” of the year is not blown on the Feast of Trumpets, but on the Day of Atonement — “Behold! I tell 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 trumpet.” (1 Cor. 15:52)
This might finally make sense of that riddle of the “last trumpet”. This is a rare occasion. This only happens every 50th year. The question is: are we about to begin a jubilee year?
The exact jubilee count has been long lost over the last 2,000 years. However, there are certain historical events surrounding Israel that seem to indicate that God has been preserving the jubilee cycle, even if the Jews stopped keeping track. Imagine that this is a jubilee year, 2017. 50 years ago, in 1967, the Jews regained Jerusalem in the Six-Day War, God’s chosen race back in their Holy City after its destruction in 70 AD. 50 years before that, is 1917, when the British government after World War I announced their support for a Jewish national home in Palestine with the Balfour Declaration, the statement that led to the restitution of national Israel 30 years later, the Jews back in their God-given land after being exiled for nearly 2 millennia.
These events all seem to indicate a 50-year cycle which may, in fact, be the jubilee cycle, upheld by God’s divine providence. Strangely, the dates all seem to fall on 7’s, God’s sacred number of divine completion—1917, 1967, and perhaps 2017.
Here’s another 7…
1217 is the year a man died, Judah ben Samuel of Regensburg, a rabbi and mystic of the Chassidei Ashkenaz with a fervour for the Messiah’s coming. He claimed that something had been revealed to him by the Prophet Elijah. On the same year of his death, he made a curious prophecy:
“When the Ottomans conquer Jerusalem they will rule over Jerusalem for eight jubilees. Afterwards Jerusalem will become no-man’s land for one jubilee, and then in the ninth jubilee it will once again come back into the possession of the Jewish nation – which would signify the beginning of the Messianic end time.”
300 years (exactly 6 jubilees) after Rabbi ben Samuel’s death, the Turks conquered Jerusalem and ruled over Jerusalem for precisely 8 jubilees. The Ottoman conquest began in 1517, and the Land was divided into four districts and attached administratively to the province of Damascus and ruled from Istanbul. 400 years later (8 jubilees), in 1917, the British conquered the Turks and the League of Nations took the Mandate for the Holy Land to the British, making Jerusalem a “no-man’s land” under international law until 1967, 50 years later. When Israel took back Jerusalem in 1967, ben Samuel’s prophecy seems to have reached a fulfillment. According to his prophecy, the “Messianic end time” begins in that final jubilee period (1967-2017)—perhaps indicating that the Messiah would appear at the end of that cycle, 2017.
It’s compelling, but not definitely trustworthy. I do, however, find all the 7’s fitting nicely with these supposed jubilee years—ben Samuel’s prophecy and death in 1217, the Ottoman conquest and supposed start of jubilee cycle in 1517, the Ottoman rule in Jerusalem overthrown and the Balfour Declaration established in 1917, the Six-Day War recapturing of Jerusalem in 1967. Those are all apparently jubilee years, and it makes perfect sense in accord with what we know to be true historical events ushering in the rebirth of the nation of Israel, and thus the end times. 2017 would therefore also be a jubilee year.
Consider the year 1517: although this is the year the Turks began their conquest on Jerusalem, it was also the year that Luther exhibited his Ninety-Five Theses in Wittenberg on October 31 and began the Protestant Reformation, a sort of jubilee liberation of the Christian world enslaved by Roman darkness — “You shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” (Lev. 25:11) It seems that God has been considering Christians in the preservation of His jubilee cycle after all; in fact, the Church looks to be the main focus of it.
Assuming there is actually something to all of these numerical, historical patterns, and speculating that God may still be preserving the jubilee count, Leviticus 25 tells us that the jubilee year should begin on the Day of Atonement this year—Tishri 10 instead of Tishri 1—and that a shofar is to be blown on that day. Just to reiterate, that means that, in this special instance, the “last trumpet” of the year is not going to be blown on Yom Teruah, but Yom Kippur. It also happens that Yom Kippur falls on a Sabbath this year, which is not always the case. Yom Kippur itself is known as the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”, and this year, it’s on a Sabbath—and so was Yom Teruah.
HEBREWS 4:1-11 — “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, ‘So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘On the seventh day God rested from all his works.’ And again in the passage above he says, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’ For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”
Sabbath, the day of rest. Only Christians, through a saving faith in the finished works of Jesus Christ, rest from the law of justification by works. It would be fitting, then, for the rapture of the Church to occur on a Sabbath, especially if it’s also Yom Kippur, the “Sabbath of Sabbaths”…
… And what would make the Jews more jealous for their God than to actually witness on their holiest Holy Day the gentiles obtaining salvation? The Apostle Paul makes clear that stirring the Jews to jealousy is exactly God’s plan to bring about their final awakening to Yeshua HaMashiach, their true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
ROMANS 11:11-15 — “So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather, through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass means riches for the world, and if their failure means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?”
Envision this: 7 days after the midnight cry is heard with the Revelation 12 sign fulfilling the Feast of Trumpets, a rapture of the Church takes place on the Day of Atonement—just as Noah was given 7 days advance warning before the Flood… Is that how it’s going to happen? It’s hard to be certain about anything, but there’s a lot of signs pointing to it. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, certainly would make a perfect memorial for the Church considering that the whole identity of the Church is in the atonement Christ made for it by the sacrificial shedding of His own blood.
Whether or not Yom Kippur this year brings the ultimate consummation of the Church, I think that the coming days are going to be very exciting—if we faithfully continue watching, staying alert, and do not recede into worldliness. Many, I fear, will fulfill this prophecy:
LUKE 12:45-46 — “But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of THAT servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.”
I believe the midnight cry has gone out on September 23, Revelation 12 fulfilled, the sign of the Son of Man in heaven.
Grace, peace, and blessings to all of you eager and vigilant believers. Let’s continue in faithfulness, maturity, hope, and use whatever time remains to continue feeding the flock. These last days are going to be a very divisive time within the Body, to separate light from darkness, wheat from weeds. Already, many false brothers are revealing themselves in gracelessness and immaturity, abandoning hope so easily. Encourage one another.
After September 23 came and went, after every prediction and hope of a rapture came to nothing, a sharp dividing sword came down amongst those waiting for the Bridegroom. That was almost more of a sign than the stars painting the night with Revelation 12 — “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Pet. 3:3-4)
It’s not the last days without 5 foolish virgins.
To all mockers, scoffers, don’t be so quick to speak in this auspicious time. Consider the role you’re playing in this retold story of Noah and Lot, and ask yourself who you would’ve been in their time, the faithful or the scoffer — “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man.” (Luke 17:26-27)
Love and patience be with the Bride.