“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”(Matt. 25:13)
"But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matthew 24:36)
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matt. 24:42-44)
"Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief." (1 Thes. 5:1-4)
"Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you." (Rev. 3:3)
“Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” (Rev. 16:15)
"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." (Romans 11:25)
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near...Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled....Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Then he told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place." Luke 21:5-36,
The "great tribulation" is 3.5 years in duration and IS the time of God's wrath. The question is, will His wrath begin at the start of this 3.5 year period or in the second or third year of this period. Or is it only during the last 6 months of this 3.5 years. In any event, the saints WILL remain on earth to finish the Great Commission until the LAST soul of the "Church Age is harvested and THEN and ONLY then will the wrath of God begin.
The "tribulation" of "those days" the Jesus spoke of is already under way and will continue to escalate as described below and UNTIL THE RAPTURE of the Church, (Believer).
When the anti-Christ stands in the holy place, the "Great Tribulation" commences.
So we remain here upon the earth as these prophetic events proceed:
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (THIS SPEAKS OF THE GREAT COMMISSION'S FULFILLMENT).
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) (THIS SPEAKS OF THE SOON COMING INTRODUCTION OF THE ANTI-CHRIST).
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: (THIS SPEAKS OF ISRAEL SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS DURING THIS TIME)
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (THIS DESCRIBES THE BEGININNING OF THE REIGN OF ANTI-CHRIST).
22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (THIS IS SPEAKS OF RATPURE).
23 THEN if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. (THIS SPEAKS OF THE DECEPTION AND APOSTASY THAT WILL PREVAIL AT THE TIME OF RAPTURE).
24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; (THIS SPEAKS OF THE DECEPTION AND APOSTASY THAT WILL PREVAIL AT THE TIME OF ANTI-CHRIST).
Insomuch that, IF IT WERE POSSIBLE, they shall deceive the very elect. (THIS SPEAKS OF THE RAPTURE INTERVENTION KEEPING THE CHURCH FROM THIS HOUR OF DECEPTION BECAUSE IT HAS BEEN TRANSLATED FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN AND IS NOW IN HEAVEN AS THE BRIDE OF CHRIST).
25 Behold, I have told you before.
26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. (THIS SPEAKS OF THE DECEPTION AND APOSTASY THAT WILL PREVAIL AT THE TIME OF RAPTURE).
27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (THIS IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE PHYSICAL RETURN OF CHRIST TO EARTH, NOT THE RAPTURE).
28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (THIS IS THE RESULT OF 7 TRUMPET AND VIAL JUDGMENTS THAT OCCUR DURING THE 3.5 REIGN OF THE BEAST.) (THIS IS NOT THE SIXTH SEAL WHICH HAS ALREADY BEEN OPENED).
30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (THIS IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE PHYSICAL RETURN OF CHRIST TO EARTH, NOT THE RAPTURE).
31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect FROM THE FOUR WINDS, FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN ... HEAVEN .... HEAVEN to the other." (THIS IS THE MANIFESTATION OF THE PHYSICAL RETURN OF CHRIST TO EARTH, NOT THE RAPTURE).
Notice that this specific scripture does not say: "they" the (angels) shall gather together his elect from ONE END of EARTH to the other BUT RATHER "ONE END OF HEAVEN TO THE OTHER" . This is because the rapture has already occurred earlier and these are the saints being gathered together to RETURN with HIM to the earth. This is the physical return of Christ not the Rapture.
Yes there is a final SEVEN year period, "Daniel's missing week". I never claim to be pre mid or post "tribber", however I'm am indeed a pre-wrath rapture person.
SEVEN years is irrelevant with regards to the Rapture. The Great tribulation is a period of 3.5 years during which time ALL THINGS prophetic concerning the wrath of God upon the earth will be executed. You stumble over the number seven.
7 is relevant in the things of God and His creation. The number SEVEN is irrelevant with regards to the RAPTURE.
The number 7 is the number of years to complete Daniel's missing week.
The treaty of death and hell will fall apart after 3.5 years not seven.
Attempting to locate the rapture event in relationship to SEVEN is misguided.
The rapture event occurs BEFORE the wrath of God is executed upon humanity.
We do not know whether all or part of the 3.5 year the Great Tribulation will manifest this wrath. His wrath may occur immediately at the onset or anytime during this 3.5 year period.
The Believer remains on earth for the original purpose as commissioned by Christ prior to His Ascension, to "fulfill" the Great Commission.
Once this commission is decommissioned, the Church will be taken.
I am convinced that the Sixth Seal of revelation will be the "catalyst" for this final harvest.
The Sixth seal will occur BEFORE the wrath of God begins to be executed, thus the Church remains on earth as a witness during the events of the sixth seal right up to the moment that finale soul is harvested.
Will the sixth seal open before the 3.5 year Great Tribulation period? I do not have the answer for that question, however following the events of the opened sixth seal and the final harvest of the "CHURCH AGE", the WRATH will commence.
No one knows if these judgments of wrath will occur in the first, second, third or last six months of this 3.5 year period. It is traditionally assumed that these trumpets & vials of wrath and judgments will occur over the entire 3.5 years however that is assumption and conjecture. -BOZUNG
Sukkot is a wonderful, joyful Jewish holiday one of the three Torah festivals on which Jews everywhere were required to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. It is a seven day holiday with the first day being observed as a holy day, similar to the Sabbath, upon which no work is permitted. Outside of Israel the first two days are observed as holy days.
Originally, Sukkot was more of an agricultural festival, as the Torah itself calls it: The Feast of ingathering when you gather in your labors from out of the field. (See: Exodus 23:16; Leviticus 23:40-43; Deuteronomy 16:13). It was a thanksgiving festival to God for the year's harvest. Today, it is observed by some as a holiday of rest and reflection for the miracles that God did for the Jewish people when He led them in the desert for forty years.
Analysis of Sukkot suggests that the resurrection of the faithful may take place during the Fall Feast observance of Tabernacles, in the Jewish month Tishri. The disciple John writes an account of what Jesus did on the Feast of Tabernacles during His life in Israel. Considering the mounting evidence that the resurrection of the saints fulfills the typology of Tabernacles, John's description is astounding.
Jesus' secret entry to the Feast of Tabernacles is described in John chapter 7. When the Feast of Tabernacles drew close, Jesus' brothers thinking "after the flesh" suggested that He go and do miracles in Judea (John 7: 2-5), as it was time for the Tabernacle Ceremonies, one of the annual Jewish holidays... "Go where more people can see your miracles and prove who you are to the world!
Jesus told his brothers that His time had not yet come, and He told them to go up to the feast by themselves. Jesus then waited to go up to the Feast of Tabernacles in Galilee, which means a "circuit or circle". In the midst of the feast, 3 and 1/2 days from its beginning, Jesus then went up to Jerusalem "not openly, but as it were in secret" (John 7:9). Jesus will again come to the Feast of Tabernacles secretly, "as a thief in the night". The midst of the Feast of Tabernacles is the 18th day of the seventh month.
The number "18" symbolizes the combination of the perfection of order,"10", plus "8" the number of resurrection. It is remarkable that the Bible contains 8 accounts of individual resurrections, (besides the Lord or the saints), 3 in the Old Testament, 3 in the New Testament and 2 in the book of Acts. There are 8 songs in the Old Testament, (besides the Psalms), the eighth song, last in order to the first seven, is Isaiah 26, which declares, ". . . My dead body shall rise, Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust... Jesus sometimes referred to in the Bible as "the first fruit of the resurrection", rose from the dead on the 18th of Nisan, by necessity the 8th day or first day of the new week.
The resurrection of Jesus was, significantly, on the Feast of First-fruit. The resurrection of the dead in Christ may occur during the "harvest of the final fruit", the "Feast of Ingathering" (Exodus 23:16) descriptions for the Feast of Tabernacles. The apostle John saw this harvest in Rev14:13-16, calling it "the harvest of the righteous". The "harvest of final fruits: "Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the millstone; one will be taken, and one will be left." The harvest of the wine and oil takes place in the Feast of Tabernacles. Wine is always symbolic in scripture for joy in the spirit of God. Tabernacles seems to foreshadow the "ingathering" of the saints, absolute joy experienced at the resurrection.
The word Sukkot means huts or booths, referring to the booth-like structures that Jews are to eat their meals in over the course of the holiday, and preferably to sleep in them too! What's unique about these booths is that they are walled structures, usually from wood or canvas, but their roofs must be made of schach organic material grown from the earth such as bamboo shoots, branches, or palm fronds.
Eating and sleeping in the sukka is intended to remind us of the booths that the Jewish people built for themselves while wandering in the desert for forty years. It also recalls the clouds of glory that accompanied the Jewish people throughout their desert trek, protecting them from the elements and other dangers that lurk on the desert floor. The Feast of Tabernacles reminds the believer in Christ that his earthly physical body is only a temporary tabernacle. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle is taken down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in heaven. For indeed in this we groan, greatly desiring to be clothed with our dwelling place out of heaven. (2 Corinthians 5:1)
The prophecies concerning the END of Daniel's 70th week, and the defeat of the Antichrist, refer to a "sign of the coming of Jesus in the heavens". All eyes will see the sign before Jesus physically returns to the Mount of Olives. This physical coming of Jesus will not be a secret, or a surprise. The prophecies connected with the coming of Jesus as a "thief in the night" refer to the secret coming of Christ for his Church. The Bible account of Jesus' secret arrival at the Feast of Tabernacles alludes to the secret coming of Christ to gather His faithful.
The book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible also describes the changeover to immortality, as Job himself declares a physical resurrection:
For I know that my redeemer is living, and He shall rise on the earth at last and even after they shall corrupt my skin, yet this: In my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not a stranger's: though my reins be exhausted in my bosom.
As Jesus was changed at the Transfiguration, so we all will one day change-over to immortality, (I Thess. 4:15-18). This feast day of the seventh month will be fulfilled at the rapture and the glorification of the saints of all the ages.
The remaining days of the holiday are referred to as Chol Hamoed. The Chol Hamoed days are not outright holy days but they are treated with more sanctity than regular weekdays complete with elaborate meals and nicer clothing. Family trips are common during these days. At the conclusion of Sukkot there is yet another holiday, Shemini Atzeret, but more about that next week.
Another prominent feature of sukkot is the Lulav and Etrog bundle, also referred to as the Four Species. These are four specific plants that are held during the course of the Sukkot prayers. The four species are: The Lulav (a tall frond from a date palm tree), the Hadas (myrtle leaves), the Arava (willow leaves), and the Etrog (a citron fruit). It is taught that the four species represent the four character-types among Jews.
The Lulav is a plant that has taste but no smell symbolizing those who study the Torah but do not do enough good deeds, the Hadass has a good smell but no taste symbolizing those who do many good deeds but neglect to study Torah as much as they should, the Arava has neither taste nor smell symbolizing those who are lacking in both the study of Torah and the performance of good deeds, and the Etrog has both a good taste and a good smell symbolizing those who both study Torah and perform good deeds.
Sources: Living Torah by Rabbi Ari Enkin: Jerusalem Festival in Atlanta SUKKOT! (Sept 22, 2013)