How near is near? It is evangelical belief that the rapture is imminent (meaning nothing has to happen, it could happen now, or next month or in 7 years at the end of the tribulation. Now Jesus, at his first coming, fulfilled the four prophetic Jewish spring feasts. He fulfilled the feast of Passover, crucified as the Passover Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world (Jn. 1:29, Matt 26:2, Lk. 22:7ff). He fulfilled the feast of Unlevened bread (Lk. 22:7) when He was buried and raised three days later (Lk. 24:2). He fulfilled the feast of firstfruits when He rose on the third day from the grave, as a firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:20) of those resurrected to eternal life. And He fulfilled the feast of Pentecost, when He poured out the Holy Spirit on believers who confess His name (Acts 2:1ff).
In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, it says the Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, the voice of an archangel and the trumpet of God. Mark Bilz, a Messianic Jew and founder of El Shaddai ministries explained in an interview on prophecyinthenews.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isj-eumZnuQ about the feast of Trumpets.
The Feast of Trumpets begins at the sighting of the news moon at the beginning of the month of Tishri, which is late September on the Gregorian calendar we follow (Lev. 23:24). Six pm tonight (Sept. 28, 2011) begins the month of Tishri for the Jewish calendar, where their days run from 6 pm to 6 pm. Since the beginning of the festival begins on the sighting of the new moon, as Pastor Biltz explains, the Jews have a saying, that "no one knows the day nor the hour" of its starting. And when it is sighted, people awake the next morn, their day half over, but the must keep the festival a full day, often running into the 2nd of Tishri, being one long day, so "no one knows the day or the hour" of its coming.
Do we know if the LORD is to return this week, tomorrow, which will be the first, going on the second of Tishri? I believe the LORD's return for the Church in the rapture is imminent. It could happen any time, but when my Messianic Brother teaches these facts about the fall feast of trumpets, I take heed. As believers we are not to despise prophetic utterances, but to examine everything, and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thess. 5:20-21).
I believe that the formation of the one world government prophesied in Dan. 7, which tramples and devours the whole earth (Dan. 7:7-8) is very near. The groundwork is being laid around us, and has been for decades. The groundwork for the battle of Ps. 83 and Ezek. 38 are in the works and appears likely a war will break out in the Middle East, knowing that God's word is truth, and He has declared the end from the beginning. (for a great study resource, see http://www.arewelivinginthelastdays.com/)
Ezek. 39 teaches that it will take Israel seven years to clean up from the destruction of the battle when Russia, Iran and the other countries come against it for battle (Ezek 39:9), and it will take them 7 months to bury all the bodies (Ezek. 39:12). Crises are mounting in the Middle East as we hear of wars and rumors of wars. We have seen Isaiah 19 begin to be fulfilled as the sons of Egypt have turned against one another (Is. 19:2) and it appears that a hard king is coming to rule over them in the likes of the Muslim brotherhood (Is. 19:4)
Is Christ’s return near? Emphatically, I say YES!. Is it going to be this week, tomorrow? I HOPE SO! I’m ready to leave this world of sin and strife, of physical pain, suffering and sorrows. I’m ready to go and be with the LORD forevermore!
Will it be this week? MAYBE. Jesus said Matthew 24:33-34 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
This generation He was speaking of began in 1948. That was almost a generation ago. But Jesus, the Truth, said this generation will not pass away. The time is close.
Now what happens if Thursday is not the day of the Lord’s return for His people. Then we didn’t understand fully the teaching of the LORD. The evangelical church, who hold to a view in the pre-seven year (in place of “tribulation”) rapture of the church must believe it is coming soon, for the world stage is being set, and the people are being conditioned to accept a “savior” to deliver humanity. I appears from the events scripture lays out, the coming battles of Ps. 83 & Ezek. 38, that for Yhwh to turn back his focus to the Jews for the 70th seven ("week" or "shabua"; Dan. 9:27) the church will be raptured at least by the timing of the battle of Magog (Ezek. 38).
But if this teaching doesn’t pan out, some believe Christians will live into the time of the seven year treaty heralded by the antichrist. We will applaud the two witnesses when they come to earth from heaven and testify in Jerusalem. We will either be put to death as “domestic terrorists” or will starve to death, not being able to buy or sell because we refuse to take the mark of the one-world leader.
Regardless of which theological, eschatological (end-time) position you hold, hard times are coming. The LORD's prophecies concerning the last days are being fulfilled. Those who remain upon the earth are going to see the judgments of God poured out upon earth as never before. They are going to see terrors that will literally frighten them to death, and make the drop in their tracks, according to God’s word (Lk. 21:26).
Those who are in Christ? We belong to the Lord, and are looking for the blessed hope and glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good works! Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus.