It has been approximately 1,986 years since Jesus ascended to Heaven.
It is estimated that Jesus died and was resurrected around 30 AD, which means (at the time of writing) it has been approximately 1,986 years since He ascended to Heaven. 1,986 years since the angel said to the disciples, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing here staring at the sky? Jesus has gone away to heaven, and some day, just as he went, he will return!” (Acts 1:11, The Living Bible). That’s quite a long time! It was 65 years later, in the year 95 AD, that the apostle John was exiled to the isle of Patmos. Whilst there he wrote the book of Revelation, at the end of which Jesus said, “Surely I come quickly“. It has been approximately 1,921 years since Jesus spoke those words to John – that doesn’t seem very quick!
The Church taught that Christianity had replaced Israel.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since Jesus returned to Heaven, it would be easy to become complacent and think that His return was not going to happen any time soon. But after the Jewish kingdom was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, hundreds and hundreds of years passed, without the Jews’ promised return to the land. A thousand years passed, then several more hundred years. It would have been easy to think that it was never going to happen – and that is just what the Church taught, that Christianity had replaced Israel and they were never going to return. But the people who thought that were wrong, they only had to read the book of Romans to know that God would never forget the promise He had made to His people. The Jews themselves kept declaring at every Passover, “Next year in Jerusalem“. When all the evidence was against it happening, they kept on declaring it. Then, in 1948, nearly two thousands years after the Roman destruction, Israel once again become a nation and in 1967 Jerusalem returned to Jewish hands. What God had said, did come to pass, because God always keeps His word.
We need to be ready for His return.
The J.B. Phillips translation of 2 Peter 3:4 says that in the last days people will say, “What has happened to his promised coming? Since the first Christians fell asleep [i.e. died], everything remains exactly as it was since the beginning of creation!“. Peter then says, “Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change“. So we can see, that just because it has been nearly two thousand years, doesn’t mean it is not going to happen. Therefore, we need to be ready for His return, because whilst at the moment God is still giving people time to change, that time is not going to last forever.
There is certainly no room for complacency.
We have established that God has not forgotten about sending Jesus back and that, in theory, it could happen at any time. For Christians, that means the taking of the Church into Heaven. For non-Christians, that means what happens once all the Christians are gone – what the Bible refers to as, ‘the tribulation’. I do not want to get into what will occur during the tribulation period here, instead I want to look at whether there is any evidence that shows whether these things are going to happen any time soon. There is certainly no room for complacency, because Jesus said He would come as thief in night and that we should be ready, but is that likely to be sooner rather than later?
To Jewish ears, this talk of the final, or last, shofar would sound familiar.
Let’s look first at the timing. Can we know what time of year the rapture is likely to happen on? 1 Corinthians 15:52 in the Complete Jewish Bible says, “It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed“. Most versions translate the Hebrew word ‘shofar’ as ‘trumpet’. A shofar is a musical instrument, usually made from a ram’s horn. This verse in First Corinthians connects with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord“. To Jewish ears, this talk of the final, or last, shofar would sound familiar. During the feast of trumpets (or Rosh Hashanah as it is now called), the shofar is sounded throughout the day, the final long blast being referred to as the last shofar, or the last trumpet. We know that the spring feasts of Passover, Pentecost, etc, have specific significance for Christians (i.e. the death of Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit, etc), surely it follows that the autumn feasts also have (as yet unfulfilled) significance for Christians. So could the feast of trumpets be fulfilled by the sounding of the last trumpet at the rapture of the Church? (Listen to the sounding of a shofar below)
Jesus did not say that we couldn’t know the time of year.
Of course we cannot be sure, but there is certainly evidence that what we call the Last Trumpet, signalling the taking of the Church to Heaven (the rapture), will occur during Rosh Hashanah. “Wait a minute, Matthew. Didn’t Jesus say that no-one knows the day or the hour?” Yes He did, but Rosh Hashanah takes place over two days, so it would be impossible to pinpoint the exact day that the last trumpet would sound, as it is sounded on both days. Jesus did not say that we couldn’t know the time of year, just that we couldn’t know the day. Let’s take this further, Rosh Hashanah means the head of the year. In other words, it is the Jewish New Year. But could the Last Trumpet, signalling the rapture, occur at the start of any Jewish New Year, or would it need to be a specific one? Well in theory it could be any, however, if the tribulation period begins immediately after the Church is removed – which is very likely – it would have to occur at the beginning of a specific year.
You may have noticed that we are still here.
God has divided time up into seven year segments (see Leviticus 25:1-4), so as the tribulation period takes place over seven years, it makes sense that it would begin and end in concurrence with the already established seven year cycle. The most recent seven year period ended on September 13th 2015, with the current seven year period beginning the next day and you may have noticed that we are still here (so far)! This current period will end on September 25th 2022 (using Jewish years, not Western years), which means that the Last Trumpet or Last Shofar could sound on either September 26th or 27th (or 7 years later). Now the evidence is by no means conclusive; the important issue is, of course, to be ready. However there is no reason that God would not give us clues as to when the rapture will occur.
The morals that people had in the past, have gradually been eroded.
As I said, the important issue is to be ready, but what evidence is there that we are close to the appointed day, whether it occurs at the beginning of a Jewish New Year or not? The Message translation of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 says, “As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people“. That’s a pretty accurate description of the people we see around us today, the morals that people had in the past, have gradually been eroded. The moral state of society today and what is considered right and wrong, is vastly different to what it was in the 1940’s. Society is on a downward slide, which seems to be increasing in speed.
America and most of the world have moved further and further away from God.
Matthew 14:12 in the New Century Version says, “There will be more and more evil in the world, so most people will stop showing their love for each other“. In his excellent book ‘The Harbinger’, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn (a Messianic Jew) writes that 9/11 was a warning to America to repent, and turn back to God. However since 9/11 America, and most of the world, have moved further and further away from God and sunk deeper and deeper into the depths of depravity. It is no longer considered acceptable to mention the name of Jesus in public speaking; as detailed in my post, ‘The Homosexuality Issue‘, homosexual marriage has been legalised across the Western world; people who stand up for God are ridiculed or persecuted and given names like ‘right-wing’, ‘homophobic’, ‘islamaphobic’, ‘extremist’, etc; all religions are increasingly being encouraged to work together, as though one is much the same as another (see ‘All Roads Lead To Heaven (Apparently)‘). At the same time, the evils of Islamic terrorism have sunk to depths we could never have expected: beheadings posted on social media, people being burned alive, crucifixions, etc. Evil has increased to worse levels in the twenty first century than anyone would have thought possible.
Jesus is coming soon for His church, so make sure that you are ready.
In order to bring this post to a close, I will not go into details, but Israel returning as country and being the centre of the world’s attention, is major sign that the end is fast approaching. You can stick your head in the sand and deny that we are in the final part of the last days, but the evidence is all around us. Jesus is coming soon for His church, so make sure that you are ready. Let’s end today with Mark 13:36 from the Easy to Read Version, “If you are always ready, he will not find you sleeping, even if he comes back earlier than expected“.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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