A Bible Study by Jack Kelley
Judging by the questions I’ve received, a YouTube video, and an online article have apparently convinced a lot of people that the fulfillment of Rev. 12 and the rapture of the Church will both occur on Sept 29th of this year, which is the annual celebration of Rosh Hashanah, also known as the Feast of Trumpets. Can this be true?
While Sept. 28-29 are the scheduled dates for Rosh Hashanah this year, and while the rapture could happen on any given day, Rev. 12 definitely cannot be fulfilled on Sept. 29, nor on any other day this year or the next or the one after and here’s why.
Rev. 12 speaks primarily of three things. The first is an overview, given in signs, beginning with the time of the Lord’s birth. John used symbolism from Joseph’s 2nd dream (Genesis 37:9-11) to identify the pregnant woman in Rev. 12:1-2 as Israel (represented by Mary) about to give birth to the Messiah. An enormous dragon, identified as Satan in Rev. 12:9, was there waiting to devour the child the moment He was born. This means that from the beginning the Messiah was born to die, and when He did He was taken up to God’s throne. We know this as His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. (Rev. 12:1-6)
Next, Rev. 12:7-9 tells of a coming war in Heaven where Satan and his angels will be defeated and driven to Earth. Rev. 12:10-12 announce the commencement of the Lord’s reign over Earth, although from Heaven.
Third, in Rev. 12:13-16 we see that Satan and his angels will immediately go after the believing Jewish remnant who will flee into the desert east of Israel.
The reason for Satan’s attack is that according to Hosea 5:15 the Lord is waiting for the Jews to petition His return, so if Satan can wipe them out before they can do so he will have won. But the Lord will protect His people and prevent their demise. Enraged, Satan will then go after the Lord’s other followers, the gentile Tribulation believers.
All these things take place in Rev. 12. So how has the idea that this will all be fulfilled on Sept. 29 gained traction?
Here’s Where It Gets A Little Spooky
Most of us know about a comet called Elenin that has entered the solar system and will pass by planet Earth at about 22 million miles in mid October. Proponents of the Sept. 29 – Rev. 12 view are combining the appearance of Elenin with the astrological signs of the Zodiac to proclaim the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. To see how they do this, let’s take a quick look at Joseph’s dream.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”
When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind. (Genesis 37:9-11)
Now let’s compare Rev. 12:1-2:
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.
Finally, here’s their interpretation. During the second half of September, Elenin will be in the constellation of Virgo, the virgin. The sun will also be in Virgo, so the woman (Virgo) will be clothed with the sun. At the same time, the moon will be at the feet of Virgo. During the latter part of September, Elenin will move up the face of Virgo to a place where it would almost appear to be tears coming from Virgo’s eye as if she’s crying out in the pain of child birth. Then Elenin will move further up Virgo’s face to rest on the top of her head, like a crown. All of this will fall into place on September 29, 2011.
Proponents of this view say this is what John was pointing to in describing the woman of Rev. 12 the way he did, and say it will be the fulfillment of John’s prophecy.
It is true that Luke 21:25 says the End Times will be accompanied by signs in the Sun, the Moon, and the stars. But it’s also true that by and large Revelation is a chronological book. Otherwise, tribulation believers would not be able to tell what would be coming and when. Since the Book was primarily written to explain end times events to people on Earth at the time, if it isn’t chronological it couldn’t fulfill its purpose and would have no value to them.
But the Revelation is chronological, so before Rev. 12 can take place, the first 11 chapters have to be fulfilled. Three of them are the introduction and the seven letters to seven Churches, so what are the events mentioned in Rev. 4-11 that have to precede Rev. 12?
Preconditions For Rev. 12
The first one is the rapture of the Church, covered in Rev. 4-5. Next, comes the initial appearance of the anti-Christ which will kick off Daniel’s 70th Week, a seven-year period that immediately precedes the 2nd coming (Daniel 9:24-27). It will also mark the beginning of God’s time of wrath. War will break out over 1/4th of the world. Runaway inflation will make food the most valuable commodity on Earth, and millions will become sick or die for lack of it. The systematic execution of post-rapture believers will begin and a giant earthquake will shake the whole world. These events are detailed in the Seal Judgments of Rev. 6.
Although not specifically mentioned thus far in the book of Revelation, we know from Daniel 9:27 that early in the 70th Week a temple will be built in Israel as a result of their return to their Old Covenant relationship with God. Jesus (Matt. 24:15) Paul (2 Thes. 2:4) and John (Rev. 11:1-2) all confirm this.
After the 6th Seal, the Lord will commission 144,000 Jews to spread the gospel. Many more believers will be martyred as a result of their evangelistic efforts and will start showing up in Heaven (Rev. 7)
Soon afterward a second round of judgments, called the Trumpet Judgments, will begin. These judgments will be even more catastrophic and before they’re over 1/3rd of the world will be aflame, 1/3rd of the oceanic waters will be contaminated, and the light of the sun, moon, and stars will be reduced by 1/3rd.
A plague of demonic locusts will afflict the people and put many in agony so great they’ll long for death, and in the Far East territorial wars will kill 1/3rd of the Earth’s remaining inhabitants (Rev. 8-9).
These events will unfold during the first half of Daniel’s 70th week. When those who survive the Seal and Trumpet judgments refuse to repent of their rebellion against God (Rev. 9:20-21), the stage will be set for the 3rd and final round of judgments.
This round is called the Bowl judgments. They will take place during the Great Tribulation, a 3 ½ year period of catastrophic judgment more devastating than anything the world has ever seen. It’s the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. Just before the Great Tribulation begins, the events of Rev. 12 will take place.
So to summarize, prior to Rev. 12 the Church has to be raptured, the anti-Christ has to be revealed and be nearly finished consolidating his control over Planet Earth, a Temple has to be built and become operational in Israel, 1/3rd of the world’s population has to have died, and a thick pall of smoke has to have settled over Earth reducing the light reaching it by 1/3rd. Now you can see why I say Rev. 12 can not happen on Sept 29th of this year. In fact it’s fulfillment is at least 3 ½ years away.
How Could This Happen?
So how could an idea like this one become so easily accepted by so many? It’s because as a Church we are a people of zeal without knowledge. For several generations now our leaders have consistently misinformed and misled us and we’ve been too lazy to search the Scriptures on our own to see if the things they’re teaching us about the End Times are true. As a result some who should know better can be fooled into believing that applying astrology to the interpretation of Scripture is a legitimate approach, even though its practice was a sin in Old Testament times (Lev. 19:26 KJV).
Some of us want the rapture to come so badly that we’ll believe anything we’re told that points to an early fulfillment even though it’s certain to result in disappointment. Sure the Bible says there’ll be signs in the sun, moon, and stars, but there have always been such things, and history has shown that seeing them is no excuse for ignoring sound doctrine. These signs are meant to support what the Bible says, not replace what it says.
This is an application of Paul’s warning that in the last days people would not put up with sound doctrine but would gather around themselves teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
So when someone comes out with a new idea based on eclipses, or comets, or even Scripture, don’t assume he’s done his homework. And that includes articles you find on this site. Do what Paul told you to do and search the scriptures daily to prove whether these things be true (Acts 17:11).
As the time grows shorter there will be all kinds of false information bombarding us. Some will be out of ignorance and some will be out of malevolence. Either way you could easily become confused or discouraged. Do your homework. Make sure you understand why no part of Daniel’s 70th Week, which begins in Rev.6, can take place until the Church is gone. And above all, don’t let the current fixation on the Feast of Trumpets distract you from the fact that the rapture of the Church could happen on any given day, including all the days before and after Sept. 29. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 09-10-11