Despite the failure of Rapture date setters in the past, many people continue to try to outwit the Lord by predicting when Jesus will come back for His true church to snatch us away into the clouds to be with Him forever. It hasn’t worked out well previously, and I predict it won’t work out for this current crop of know-it-alls.
Many people attempt to tie the Rapture to the Jewish feasts. They say that such and such has already been fulfilled and so the final one based on the Feast of Trumpets must be next so as to correlate with past prophetic feasts and events.
The most recent well-known Rapture dating exercise was by Edgar Whisenant with his infamous 88 Reasons Why the Lord is Returning in 1988. With the “oops” when that didn’t occur, and the explanation that he’d made a mistake in his calculations, Whisenant foolishly followed up with 89 Reasons Why the Lord is Returning in 1989. That failure was the end of his attempts to outwit God.
As with many pre-Tribulation Rapture teachers, I get comments and emails. I’m rather fortunate to have a small following because more people would mean more contrary letters. Many writers disagree with my pre-Tribulation Rapture stance and can be quite insistent as to how wrong I am – to the extent that this Biblical doctrine is demonic in origin, and I’m a tool of the devil for advocating it. I can’t imagine the amount of correspondence that someone like Pastor JD Farag gets every week. One such writer has me on his mailing list. He calls himself a Scripturalist for the Lord and expounds his views – based on his understanding of Scripture – particularly in regards to the Rapture and Tribulation. Lately he’s been quite insistent on setting a Rapture date based on the Jewish calendar.
In a series of emails our Scripturalist has determined the date the Rapture will occur based on the following:
- It will be after the Gog-Magog War
- It will be in the month of Nisan on the Jewish calendar following this war
- It will be on a Sabbath, i.e. Saturday
- Based on these occurrences, it will be on Nisan 10 = April 1, 2023
And, as our friend says in each of his missives: “So There You Have it.”
In other words, you can take it to the bank that the Rapture is scheduled by God for this particular date; so when it approaches, keep watching.
In addition to this certainty, just so you can know how accurate this date setting is, our email writer is also adamant that we are already in the midst of the Seal Judgments because the Rider on the White Horse of the 1st Seal has been revealed as Jared Kushner in his role of negotiating the Abrahamic Peace Accords.
Well, if none of this sits too well with you, join the club. There is a very good reason that no one will know the date or the hour of the Rapture except the Father. We are to know the season (NOW!), but anything more specific than that other than its imminency is not for us and is a false prediction.
In actuality the Rapture correlates to a Galilean-Jewish wedding. According to Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum in his must-read book The Footsteps of the Messiah, there are four steps involved with such a wedding:
- The father of the groom makes the arrangements
- After a period of time, the groom fetches his bride under two conditions:
- The father determines the timing
- The groom has prepared a place for himself and his bride at his father’s house
- Prior to the wedding ceremony – to which few would be invited – the bride undergoes a ritual cleansing
- The marriage feast occurs with many more people invited
This simple outline makes it clear as to how the Rapture follows these steps:
- God the Father has made all the arrangements. A bride price was necessary to be paid. It was done so through the blood of Messiah.
- The Rapture is the fetching of the Bride. Once everything is set, the Father gives the go-ahead to His Son to retrieve His beloved. Jesus as the obedient Son does so by snatching her up in the clouds at this unexpected and unannounced time that only the Father knows. The Son has spent the last two thousand years preparing our place in His Father’s house. This is the meaning of John 14:1-3:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
- One of the necessities for us as the Bride of Christ is to stand before the Bema Seat to be judged for our works on earth in Christ in order to receive our rewards. This is the burning up of hay and stubble leaving only gold and silver. In other words, it is the ritual purification of the Bride for the wedding ceremony. All this plus the ceremony itself take place in heaven. Given the events that occur and the necessity of their timing, it’s easy to see that the Rapture and the 2nd Coming are completely different and separated by a period of time.
- Upon the consummation of the marriage by the Bridegroom and Bride – typically considered to be seven days which correlate to the seven years of the Tribulation, the wedding feast will begin. In our case, the Bridegroom – Jesus – leads His Bride back to earth where this takes place. Many guests are invited. These include Old Testament saints and tribulation saints, i.e. those martyred during the Tribulation plus those who endured through to the end.
If you wish to gain a terrific understanding of a Galilean wedding and further insights into what is presented here, I urge you to watch the film Before the Wrath.
The reason that no one can or will accurately predict the timing of the Rapture is because of its unknown quantity. God the Father will determine when to send His Son for His Bride. For those trying to discern the mind of God in this matter – good luck.
We who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ have a marvelous day ahead when our bridegroom comes for us. At that moment we’ll gain glorified bodies and be like Him. Jesus is coming for us before the Tribulation because 1) we believe in Him, and 2) He loves us and won’t allow the depravity of the world to stain us with the horrific events of the Tribulation. Anyone who thinks differently simply doesn’t understand the nature and character of God.
Our job between now and then is to be about our Father’s business. In so doing, we are to occupy, while eagerly watching and anticipating our Lord’s return to bring us home. As we faithfully do this, let’s not forget to tell others and share with them the hope that we have in Christ. For those who don’t believe in this marvelous promise that Jesus has given us of our Blessed Hope, how dreary must their days be as they wait like unbelievers for the coming wrath of God upon this lost and dying world.
Excellent and concise commentary Gary, thank you. I have a copy of Footsteps of the Messiah on my nightstand and refer to it every time a question comes up about the times we are in. As you know, it is a wonderful resource and is so comforting, in addition to being Biblically sound and well researched.
While it is kind of fun trying to guess when the Rapture will occur (sort of like a Christian version of picking up Christmas presents and shaking them, trying to guess what’s inside), I absolutely believe the Lord when He says no one knows the day or the hour.
The good news is we are in the season of the Rapture! It couldn’t be more obvious, if Jesus was walking among us right now I’m certain He would be utterly exasperated with anyone who wanted to debate Him over this subject. He has given us so many signs to watch for, short of sending angels in the sky with trumpets and a scroll (yes, I know that day will come) that all the world can see, all of the prophesies are quite visible among us. Daniel 12:10 says “Many shall purify themselves and make themselves white and be refined, but the wicked shall act wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but those who are wise shall understand.”
There is GREAT confusion and dare I say, deception, in the world today, among the unrighteous. I am not judging them, gratefully, multitudes will become our brothers and sisters in Jesus, as Tribulation Saints, in the coming years. However, for now they just can’t see the signs because they don’t know the Bible, or they don’t even want to understand what is underway. My heart aches for them, so many who are my family and friends.
Most of the American population is clinging to the hope that the mid-term elections are going to save them, and our nation. I unashamedly predict that the coming disappointment is going to be devastating for that crowd, and it includes too many ‘Christians’ who are tenaciously clinging to the things of this world.
The Believers I know who are truly indwelled by the Holy Spirit and are longing for Jesus’s return have let go of this world and anything that it offers. I’ve never known so many people who have NO MORE interest in buying, selling, marrying, giving in marriage and so forth. This seems to be yet another of the wonderful gifts the Spirit has given to all of us to prepare us for the Lord’s soon return, hallelujah!
For those who become saved AFTER the Rapture, they will surely lament that they didn’t see what is right in front of them today. I pray that our words and our warnings, and most importantly our witness will open their eyes before that wonderful day. And if not before the wrath, then after…say…that would make a great movie as well 😉 !