Q. I have been looking through a lot of rapture web sites lately and some of the stuff I read is pretty “out” there. Date predictions abound but all that has done for me is cause disappointment and discouragement since they are always wrong. My question for you is do you think it’s possible to know the date or predict it with any accuracy? Considering Jesus’ statement that we cannot know the day or the hour, do you think Jesus was speaking about the rapture or His second coming? Forgive me if I’m being a pest. I’ll bet you have had this question before.
A. I do not believe it’s even remotely possible to predict the date of the Rapture because I believe it will happen when the Church reaches its predetermined number, not when our calendar reaches a predetermined date. In other words, there is no predetermined date, at least on Earth. My authority for this is Romans 11:25
I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.
The phrase “full number” was a nautical term describing the number of crewmen legally required for a ship to set sail. The phrase “come in” means to arrive at a pre-determined destination. Paul was hinting that on the day and hour the Church reaches its full complement, we’ll be launched toward our pre-determined destination, regardless of the date on the calendar. Some days I can almost feel the excitement and anticipation of those in Heaven as they watch the counter steadily click upward toward that “full” number.
It’s interesting that Jesus said we wouldn’t know the day or hour four times in the Olivet Discourse, but each time He was talking about the 2nd Coming. (Matt. 24:36, 42- 44, & 50, and Matt. 25:13)
It’s easy to calculate the end of the Great Tribulation. It’s 1260 days after the Abomination of Desolation appears. But apparently there’s an unknown period of time between the end of the Great Tribulation and the 2nd Coming when all that’s visible in the sky is the sign of the Son of Man, not the Lord Himself. (Matt. 24:30)
The connection of that phrase to the Rapture probably originated with an incorrect interpretation of these verses from Matt. 24-25, attributing them to the Rapture instead of the 2nd Coming.