YOM KIPPUR (9-23-2015): WILL WE UNDERSTAND THE MEANING OF THIS DAY?

Yom Kippur (9-23-15): Will We Understand
the Meaning of this Day?

Why We “Watch the Calendar”

Students of Bible prophecy pay close attention to dates. We can’t seem to help ourselves. We are eager for the Lord Jesus Christ to return and we seek to know how long it will be before He does. Despite biblical cautions and historical lessons teaching against this practice, we continue to speculate. Driving these speculations are the symmetries of calendric dates and specific time intervals uttered in prophetic passages, particularly in the Book of Daniel and the Revelation. These dates and intervals constitute patterns that to prophecy students infer possible moments when crucial prophetic events will occur.
YOM KIPPUR - THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

Looking backward, the intervals between certain important dates in secular history provide intriguing coincidences that might just signify Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled—and we missed it because we didn’t recognize their prophetic significance ahead of time. This curiosity fuels speculation and heightens anticipation. Moreover, prophecy buffs seem to be constantly on the lookout for “breaking the code” and determining exactly when the Lord will return. Indeed, so much of the intrigue of Christian eschatology remains bound up in this hope. But does this watchfulness actually pay spiritual dividends? Does it grow our faith or does it threaten to dampen our hope when disappointment arises because events fail to happen as expected? This is the dilemma of “date setting” and we know this phenomenon which captures so much attention continues up to this very day.

Indeed, this September 2015, there are many dates of interest. September 13 completes the seven-year Shemitah cycle. September 14 is the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. September 23 is the Day of Atonement, aka Yom Kippur. September 28 is Sukkot called the Feast of Tabernacles. 28 September 2015 also happens to be fourth of the four “blood moons”, this one appearing over Jerusalem. If you combine these dates with various intervals of time before and after this month (in which those intervals culminate in September or begin with dates this September and look forward to future dates), it suggests the month of September will be a September to remember.

As I write this piece, we are two-thirds through the month of September already. The economic collapse didn’t happen on 29 Ellul (September 13).  The rapture didn’t happen on Rosh Hashanah (September 14).  The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, is this week (Wednesday, September 23). Consequently, we must ask, “Is September 2015 yet another example of “much ado about nothing? Is this month, so pregnant with potential dates of prophetic significance, just one more classic example of prophecies that failed?” Yom Kippur is the 266th day in the Gregorian calendar. Does this have meaning?

For the most part, the supposition that these dates are meaningful owes itself to the time intervals between past events of note and specific dates that fall within this September 2015. Perhaps the most important is the fact that there have been 49 Jewish prophetic years (which consist of 360-days) from June 6, 1967 to September 23, 2015 (the Day of Atonement in the Jewish year 5776). This amounts to a total of 17,640 days (49, 360-day years). History tells us that on June 6, 1967, Israel recaptured the so-called West Bank and within it, the Old City of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount (although that area is still under the supervision of the Arab WAQF and not accessible to Jews). It has been suggested that this time interval promises to be highly significant since September 23, 2015 supposedly commences a new Jubilee year. [1] Many things are happening on this date. Some call attention to the fact that the Pope, Francis I, is spending the night at the White House with the First Family and President Barak Obama. Those who have speculated that this meeting is between the False Prophet and the Antichrist are standing on their toes, wondering what will result. Does “something wicked this way come?”

Other experts, however, challenge such assumptions. That it is the 266th day of the year is meaningless. The meeting between the Pontiff and the President is purely a political matter, not an occult maneuver. As to the possibility that this year is the beginning of the year of Jubilee, most scholars opine that we don’t know exactly when the Jubilee year begins because the Jubilee years of the past are uncertain. That is, we don’t know which years are Jubilee years because we have simply lost track. The initial instances of the Jubilee are just too ancient. We can’t enjoy certainty because Jubilee-year “time keeping” disappeared in the dark mists of time many millennia ago.

Does Yom Kippur, September 23, 2015 Commence a Jubilee Year?

On the other hand, popular authors who do see 2015-2016 as a Jubilee year suppose it to be so because not only was Jerusalem’s Temple Mount recaptured in 1967, before that, in 1917 (50-years earlier), English General Allenby captured Jerusalem, deposing the Ottoman Turks. The Jubilee Year is ascertained by counting backwards from events supposed to be during Jubilee years.  We see this in the remarkable prophecy of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel below.  It should be noted that the good Rabbi assumed the Messiah would appear in 2016/17, which he considered a Jubilee year, and it would only be 1,260 days before the actual reign of Messiah commenced.  Despite the amazing prophecy about the Ottoman Turks and the restoration of Jerusalem, the question remains:  “Were any of these years highlighted actually Jubilee years?  Or were they just 50-year cycles where the number 50 is significant, but the actual date/year of the event did not coincide with a true Jubilee?”

new jubilee chart

Therefore, despite these dramatic dates falling about 50 years apart, it should be noted that not all scholars even agree that Jubilees are every 50 years. Some researchers suppose they are every 49 years, with the 50th year comprising the first year of the next Jubilee. In this view, a Jubilee is both the 50th and final year of the previous 50-year cycle and the first year in the next 50-year cycle.[2] This is known as an intercalation.[3]

Furthermore, there are those that go one step beyond the intercalation method to identify Jubilee years. They claims we aren’t just dealing with any old Jubilee; we are dealing with an incredibly special one. They speculate “this Jubilee” (assuming it 5776 in the Jewish calendar–and 2015-2016 in the Gregorian calendar) stands out as the 70th Jubilee since the time when Joshua and the Hebrews entered the Promised Land walking across the dry Jordan River bed. No doubt, it comprises a much less celebrated moment in our modern times, even though God miraculously dried up this riverbed–repeating the famed parting of the Red Sea by Joshua’s renowned predecessor, Moses.

“…Then you shall inform your children, saying, ‘Israel crossed this Jordan on dry ground.’ “For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” (Joshua 4:22-24)

To clarify, for the Jubilee that begins (perhaps) on this September 23, 2015 to be the 70th Jubilee, it requires that the 50-year cycle employ a Jubilee year that is both the 50th and 1st year in the cycle. 70 such Jubilees (49 years in length) would take us back to about 1,366 BC, to the first Jubilee according to this calculation. But there is one big problem:  this date does not square with the year conservative scholars believe Joshua and the Hebrews began the conquest of Canaan, which was 1406 BC (only 40 years before “Jubilee Number One” if September 2015 in fact commences the 70th Jubilee). An article at Bible Archeology.org provides arguments for both the traditional dating as cited (in the 15th century BC) with the “modern” view approximately 150 years later in the 13th century BC. The rationale for the traditional date is highlighted here:

The date of the Biblical Exodus-Conquest is clear. 1 Kgs 6:1 and 1 Chr 6:33–37 converge on a date of 1446 BC for the exodus and the Jubilees data and Judges 11:26 independently converge on a date of 1406 BC for the beginning of the conquest. The 1406 BC date is further confirmed by archaeological data from Jericho…”[4]

If we take the traditional biblical chronological view, which prophecy students are strongly inclined to take, then the 70th Jubilee (still using the intercalated method), would put us in the Gregorian year 2025, which also happens to be a date my co-author Douglas W. Krieger (co-writing The Final Babylon) proposes begins the Millennial Kingdom, with the 70th week of Daniel beginning 7 years earlier, in 2018. Conversely, we must point out that such would contradicts the view the 70th Jubilee begins this September.[5] Those that see this upcoming year, the Jewish year 5776 to be a Jubilee year, would be wrong. Plus, if you happen to dispute altogether the intercalated method of Jubilee calculation (as explained earlier), then those that declare this to be the 70th Jubilee would be very wrong.

And yet, the Jubilee year, in my opinion, will still be a crucial factor in determining the beginning of the Millennium. It is simply that this upcoming year (2015-2016), isn’t it. Those that have calculated this year to be a year of Jubilee have jumped the gun. Good research based on solid authorities disputes this conclusion. Even the calculation of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel indicates we are “one year ahead of schedule.” His timetable asserts the Jubilee year is the Jewish year 5777 (our 2016-2017).  Likewise, the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, some year in the near future, remains a day which we will likely see the fulfillment of Messiah’s coming. For Christians, we should have no hesitancy to uphold this day as a most probable date of the future, visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Of course, those that believe in the rapture of the Church as a distinctive event with a considerable time interval between the rapture and the physical return of Jesus, would suggest that the Yom Kippur upon which Jesus returns is still at least seven years future. Any correlation with a Jubilee year disappears unless the intervening events forecasted by prophecy students (e.g., a rebuilt Temple, the abomination of desolation, the testimony of the two witnesses) are not actual events set to happen in “real time.”

However, despite the fact that this year, 5776, does not appear to be a Jubilee year, that does not mean we are not entering an extremely meaningful time from a prophetic perspective.  But it does mean that associating prophetic events connected to a Jubilee year constitutes a major mistake if we forecast them during the next two weeks.  In other words, even if we don’t detect any specific activity two days hence on September 23, 2015 (which confirms Jesus is coming soon), the relevance of Yom Kippur should not be diminished.

The Jewish High Holy Days

Prophecy students affirm an axiom that the Hebrew calendar is God’s calendar—the major holidays on the Hebrew calendar are prophecies; that is, what they commemorate in the past foreshadows key prophetic events in the future. We can count on the most important salvific[6] events transpiring on these particular days. In other words, we assert that Jesus Christ fulfilled messianic prophecy on these most important calendric milestones—these very specific holy days (which is, incidentally, where we derive our word holidays).

In particular, the Passover (Pesach) and Pentecost (Shavuot) represented two Mosaic “convocations”[7] which were highly prophetic. The prophetic meaning of these holidays were accomplished by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross as he was our “Passover Lamb” (1 Corinthians 5:7) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (and the harvest of souls on that day, see Acts 2) fulfilled the meaning/intent of Shavuot. Both of these holy days are among those considered spring feasts, feasts realized when Yeshua first came; Christ simultaneously fulfilled what they commemorated and what they foreshadowed regarding his death for our sins.

Likewise, those who love the study of Bible prophecy believe that events comprising the future Second Coming of Jesus will be fulfilled on the fall feasts. Specifically, the specific holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur portend to be the days when Messiah returns in the clouds with the shout of the angel and the voice of the Lord calling out “Come up hither” (on Rosh Hashanah, see Revelation 4:1, 11:12). Subsequently, He returns visibly to the earth to judge humankind when “every eye shall see Him” on Yom Kippur (Revelation 1:7). Also important: the interval between those dates (inclusive of those two holy days) is called the “Ten Days of Awe.” (Yamim Noraim).[8]

I am not familiar with any scholar who proposes the rapture transpires on Rosh Hashanah followed by the days of God’s wrath during the eight intervening days during the Ten Days of Awe culminating on Yom Kippur (also known by the way as “Judgment Day”) with Christ’s physical return to the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:11-12). One could argue that such a pattern would be a fulfillment of what is known throughout scripture as The Day of the Lord. I don’t argue this, but I would stipulate it would be a logical approach to encapsulate these most monumental of prophetic events.

Yom Kippur in 2015
Yom Kippur in 2015

Nevertheless, taken together, prophecy students believe these ten days will ultimately prove the most consequential days in human history, whether their fulfillment happens on ten consecutive days, or what they symbolize happens across a series of years (which is the conventional point of view).

To complete the story, we must include the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot, which happens five days after Yom Kippur. “Tabernacles” commences the dwelling of God with humankind on this earth with Messiah sitting upon the throne of David. Ezekiel tells us that when this occurs, Jerusalem will even be renamed announcing that the time has arrived which fulfills our Lord’s heartfelt desire to dwell with men. “The name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there.’” (Ezekiel 48:35) Sukkot is the last major fall feast and symbolizes the Millennium when Christ establishes the Kingdom of God and He dwells on the earth with His saints for 1,000 years (Revelation 20:2,3) while Satan is bound in the bottomless pit unable to interfere in the affairs of humankind.

The importance of the Jewish calendar and its high holy days rightly emphasizes that students of eschatology are spot-on to pay close attention to these special days. While the oft-quoted scripture says “No man knows the day nor the hour” (Matthew 24:36, 25:17) when the Lord comes again, it would certainly be most foolish to assume that major events like the Rapture of the Church, the onslaught of the Day of the Lord (when God’s wrath of Revelation’s “seals, trumpets, and vials” commences), and the visible return of Jesus Christ, will have no connection to the special days set aside to commemorate and foreshadow God’s acts of salvation.

While prophecy may or may not have seemed to fail in this month of September 2015 (depending upon your point of view and without knowing the ultimate outcome of the events transpiring this month), we who love Bible prophecy should not lose heart. Paying attention to special dates and patterns in the Bible are forever sanctioned by our faith in the Lord God who is sovereign and who works out His will within the lives of humanity. The providence of God will always be showcased in the specific events of our history and precisely when they occur. The often-heard cliché, “The devil is in the details” is doubly true when we consider the working out of the plan of our Lord—God is in the details.

Prophetic Calendric Intervals Merit Special Attention

We also pay close attention to prophetic intervals specified by the Bible’s seers for this reason: they are repeated as a means to underscore their significance and because they culminate in monumental predicted events. Biblical numerology plays an important role here too. Numbers used in the Bible like 7, 12, 33, 70, 120, 360, 1,260, and 2,520 all have special prophetic significance. Of particular importance to us in this regard: the prophets Daniel and the Apostle John reference the latter two numbers in numerous passages directing us to make note of the duration between critical prophetic events. Frequently, these durations connect two Jewish holidays stressing the providence of God and the fact that these intervals are not accidental.

First, we need to recall that scholars teach a prophetic year consists of 360 days in length (derived primarily from the “lunar” calendar employed by the Hebrews, 12, 29.5 days plus adjustments over the course of a 19-year period). The Gregorian calendar is based upon the sun rather than the moon—hence, the secular calendar we all follow is a 365.25-day “solar” calendar, with an adjustment every leap year (1 day over four years). In addition to 1,260 days, Daniel also incorporates the count of 1,290 and 1,335 days. These numbers are also highly significant, as we will discuss shortly.

But first we must recount numerous passages in which 1,260 days are referenced (or its calendric equivalent). We see these numbers explicitly or implicitly in the following biblical prophetic passages:

  • John tells us that during the Great Tribulation, that Jerusalem, the Holy City, will be subject to the gentiles who will “trample on the holy city for 42 months.” (Revelation 11:2—42, 30-day months equals 1,260 days)
  • John says “the two witnesses” who testify against “the beast” will perform their ministry for 1,260 days: “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” (Revelation 11:3)
  • John also states that “the woman” who gave birth to the Messiah will flee from the dragon (Satan) “into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days.” (Revelation 12:6)
  • Daniel introduces the “little horn” aka the “prideful king” that arises out of a confederation of ten horns and ten kings: “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time.” (Daniel 7:25) The Hebrew words for time, times, and half a time essentially comprise what we mean in English by “a single, a couple, and half of a single” or 3.5. We understand the “times” in this case—given the repeating pattern—to be years also known as 42 months or 1,260 days.[9]
  • Then there is the mysterious “man in linen”, likely signifying Jesus Christ acting as judge who tells Daniel the period known as “the end of days” should be concluded within the timeframe of 1,260 days: “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” (Daniel 12:7)
  • Then we come across those unique “extensions” Daniel mentions to the standard pattern of 1,260 days. Daniel 12:11-12 states: “From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!” Scholars agree that the person committing the abomination of desolation, referencing the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 24, comprises the same prideful, boastful king of Daniel 7. The action “that makes desolate” is his declaration that he alone deserves to be worshipped while at the same time he speaks blasphemies against the Lord God of the Bible. This act, according to Paul, will occur in a future Temple. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

The passage, Daniel 12:11-12, which mentions the 1,290 days and 1,335 days, has often baffled many Bible scholars as to exactly why Daniel draws out a difference between these intervals and the more standard 1,260 days. Most recently, the Lord appears to be unsealing the Book of Daniel (Daniel 12:9) to his prophets and teachers, enabling those who study these sections of scripture to better understand the prophecies given to Daniel. Many of these authors/scholars now suppose the riddle of this passage involves counting from one of the fall feasts (Yom Kippur the most likely) to day one of Hanukkah. These holidays do not fall on exactly the same day each year and a 75-day interval does not consistently occur between them. But it is usually extremely close. [10]

The Most Studied Scripture for Calendric Events

One of the most important events on the prophetic timeline of the last days is when Antichrist “confirms the covenant” with many—but specifically with Israel. We see this event in one of the most studied passages in all of eschatology.   We read in the book of Daniel:

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:27)

In this verse we see the use of the term “week.” All scholars understand this to be a period of seven years similar to our use of the term decade in the western form of expressing increments of time. To clarify, one week equals seven years, or 84, 30-day months, or a total of 2,520 days. “He” confirms the covenant for one “week” (seven years or 2,520 days). Halfway through the week, at 3.5 prophetic years, or 1,260 days, “he” causes the sacrifice and oblation (a gift to deity such as wine or bread) to cease as well as the “overspreading of abominations” to take place. The King James Version translates the Hebrew word, kanaph, (Strong’s H3671) as “overspreading.” Kanaph constitutes yet another intriguing but somewhat ambiguous word. Kanaph is a feminine noun associated with several different meanings: (1) the wings of a bird, (2) a covering like a mantle, robe, shirt, or bedspread, and (3) a term intended to convey a covering concealing everything “from top to bottom, and side to side including the extreme corners of an area from a small room to the entire earth.” Interestingly in Vine’s explanation, the term kanaph references the summit of the temple itself. The inference: the abomination covers every aspect of the Temple; it contaminates every “nook and cranny,” from the “basement stones to the pinnacle of the temple,” contamination that endures throughout the 1,260 days until the consummation occurs (the consummation taken to mean the conclusion of the period of desolation or the end of the age itself before Christ’s Kingdom comes). Indeed, the time period ending on the 1,290th day may signify the date of “consummation,” with the cleansing of the temple and the anointing of the Messiah 45 days later on the 1,335th day, fulfilling the history and foreshadowing of Hanukkah when the Temple desecration committed by Antiochus IV Epiphanes was thoroughly cleansed and Temple worship restored. “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days.” (Daniel 12:12) The time period mentioned here stands out as the key factor to grasp the sequence and duration of the period known as the “Great Tribulation” and the “summing up” of these most dramatic prophetic happenings.

While the total number of days stated here does not beget much controversy, the issue of its continuity (whether all 2,520 days are contiguous or whether they are split into two halves) comprises a matter of some discussion. Furthermore, when we examine whom the “he” of the verse is, considerable controversy arises. Let’s look briefly at these debates.

The 144,000 Sealed of Revelation 14
The 144,000 Sealed of Revelation 14

Some argue “he” references Christ in his role as savior confirming the covenant between the Lord and His people to make a provision for sin. One author and personal friend takes the position that the “he” of the first half of the week is clearly Christ, while the “he” of the second half of the week is Christ also, but acting distinctly through His two witnesses, the 144,000, and His remnant Church. My friend’s argument: The Lord has a seven-year ministry—1,260 days that he completed during his bodily incarnation at his crucifixion and resurrection. The second 1,260 days are fulfilled when Christ empowers His people, (the 144,000 in particular) who are sealed and imbued with special power to oppose the Antichrist during the 1,260 days of Antichrist’s “reign of terror.” His peculiar (but conceivable) interpretation of this timeframe relative to the “little horn/boastful king amounts to this:” Antichrist will counterfeit this seven-year ministry of Christ and will be the “he” that causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease, overturns the covenant, and commits the abomination of desolation. Thus, for my friend, the ministry of Christ and the “reign” of Antichrist are equally referenced in this passage, one overlapping the other for the full seven prophetic years, but each prophetic reference with very different intentions and outcomes. Admittedly, my friend’s view constitutes a complex interpretation and stands apart from all others with which I am familiar. Time will tell whether his perspective has merit.

Then there are the more traditional views. Those who study Bible prophecy but believe that most prophecy has already been fulfilled (including this passage) are known as Preterists. Like my friend, they interpret the “he” to be Jesus Christ and the covenant that is confirmed and then broken (or nullified) to be the salvific work of Jesus Christ which causes the sacrifice and oblation to cease (as they are no longer needed to pardon sin). Many sincere believers understand Daniel 9:27 in this way.

On the other hand, virtually all authors/scholars who count themselves among futurists (those that believe the many prophecies of Matthew 24, the Book of Daniel, and Revelation are yet to be fulfilled) assert that the “he” of this passage is Antichrist. While Christ confirmed a covenant between the Lord and His people, and the sacrificial death of Jesus put an end to (the need for) sacrifice, certainly Christ did not overspread abominations and make the holy place (The Temple’s “Holy of Holies”) desolate. Hence, contending that the “he” is Christ seems, to futurists, to be worse than a stretch. It constitutes blasphemy.

Without question, the Hebrew word translated confirm (gavär) appears to be vitally important to understand this passage. Strong’s concordance tells us that this word (Strong’s H1396) is used 25 times in the King James Version, but it is translated confirm only once, in this instance (Daniel 9:27). Otherwise, it is predominately translated “prevail.” Consider these examples where it is translated prevail: “And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:24) Likewise, “The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.” (Isaiah 42:13) The term appears to go well beyond confirming as in “acknowledging, stipulating, or verifying.” Instead, Gavär seems to convey “winning a victory over, outlasting another, overcoming an obstacle, or achieving superiority over an opponent.” If we assume the passage refers to the Antichrist, perhaps a better translation of confirmed would be “strengthened/reinforced” or even a translation that is its opposite, as in “overturned the covenant” (in the sense of “prevailing against it.”) The scripture does not say that the Antichrist makes a covenant. Therefore, it should either be understood as the Antichrist (1) reinforces or strengthens an existing covenant; or its reverse as in (2) overcoming or overturning the covenant. Given the subsequent act of breaking the covenant in Daniel 9:27, the logical conclusion is that the first action must be to reinforce the covenant, making the covenant even stronger than it was before. After the covenant has been strengthened, then 1,260 days later, in the middle of the week of years, the Antichrist betrays those with whom he reassured the covenant is still in force. In this immediate context, Antichrist breaks the covenant, declares himself God, and declares war on God’s people. This act constitutes the “abomination of desolation” of Daniel 9:27 (and referenced by Christ Jesus in Matthew 24:15). It is regarding this future time to which Yeshua refers.  It is in this context when He instructs His people to flee Jerusalem.

Many believe this is this triggering event, the revealing of Antichrist (the apokalyptō, 2 Thessalonians 2:3) that leads hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of God’s people to seek refuge “in the wilderness” for 1,260 days.[11] When we come to terms with the implications of such passages, little doubt remains that God’s people must pay close attention to calendric calculations.

Can We Draw Conclusions Based Upon September 2015?

To conclude this article, (but not the whole story which we will take up in a subsequent study), allow me to assert that despite the fact we are likely to see little to substantiate the “calendric principles” in the prophetic outcomes of this September, even Yom Kippur on September 23, 2015, the students of Bible prophecy should not be discouraged. Bible prophecy students know, as I have shown here, that there are crucial calendric elements comprising valid interpretive principles in eschatology. The final outcome of September 2015 is yet to be determined and it will not be clear perhaps for several weeks, months, or even longer. There is likely to be disappointment that dramatic events will be deemed not to have happened even by the most enthusiastic prophecy student. This hardly constitutes a failure in Bible prophecy. Realize that many events associated in the last days are rituals and events effectuated “by the dark side” that are done in secret. We will not know of these occulted events, let alone be capable to grasp their significance when they transpire in secret and in darkness. What happens in the realm of the spirit may remain hidden to us indefinitely.

Indeed, my final comment which foreshadows the discussion in the next article, is that the fulfillment of Bible prophecy remains a mystery, even after it occurs, and sometimes for a considerable period lasting years.

Christians realize that the Messiah came over 2,000 years ago. Despite his appearing as fulfillment of hundreds of prophecies, the Messiah was rejected as Isaiah predicted: “He was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3). He was dismissed as an inauthentic prophetic fulfillment. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11) As far as the nation of Israel was concerned, Bible prophecy had not been fulfilled whatsoever. The Jews of Jesus’ day did not discern the meaning of scripture. The words of the Hebrew prophets were kept hidden from all but the elect.

Likewise, the disciples did not understand what it meant for Jesus to die for their sins. They did not understand he would rise from the dead. Until Jesus appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaus, they were unable to discern the meaning of the events they had just experienced—but more specifically, they were unable to interpret these events in light of Bible prophecy. “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” (Luke 24:27) Imagine a future time when we are with the Lord and He explains the prophecies of the Bible to us so we come to complete understanding!

Furthermore, when the Antichrist finally does appear, Christ predicts that the Antichrist will come “in His own name” and Israel will believe in him. “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43) For at least 1,260 days, the Jews will conclude that the Messiah has come—but he will be a counterfeit—the Antichrist! Only when he is revealed will the deception be dispelled and the remnant of Israel will “look upon whom they pierced and morn for him as one morns for an only son” after the Lord pours out His Spirit upon the House of David. (Zechariah 12:10, paraphrased)

What remains perfectly clear from this brief study: interpreting Bible prophecy is no simple matter. And when it has been fulfilled, we are not always ready to receive it as such. Therefore, let us pray that the Lord grants us understanding in these last days, discerning the meaning of what occurs in the world around us, that we not be caught off guard. Remember: “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5)


 

Notes

[1] The Jubilee year is a year in which debts are forgiven, slaves are freed, and land reverts to the original owners. It was meant to be a biblical “reset”—essentially, a means to keep Israel’s financial power brokers from gaining too much control, and family financial situations from becoming generational “curses” of ever-expanding debt.

[2] “There is a difference of opinion in the Talmud as to whether the jubilee year was included in or excluded from the forty-nine years of the seven cycles. The majority of rabbis hold that the jubilee year was an intercalation, and followed the seventh Sabbatical year, making two fallow years in succession. After both had passed, the next cycle began. They adduce this theory from the plain words of the Law to “hallow the fiftieth year,” and also from the assurance of God’s promise of a yield in the sixth year sufficient for maintenance during the following three years, “until the ninth year, until her fruits come in” (Lev. xxv. 22), which, they say, refers to the jubilee year. Judah ha-Nasi, however, contends that the jubilee year was identical with the seventh Sabbatical year (R. H. 9a; Giṭ. 36a; comp. Rashi ad loc.). The opinion of the Geonim and of later authorities generally prevails, that the jubilee, when in force during the period of the First Temple, was intercalated, but that in the time of the Second Temple, when the jubilee was observed only “nominally,” it coincided with the seventh Sabbatical year. In post-exilic times the jubilee was entirely ignored, though the strict observance of the Shemitah was steadily insisted upon. This, however, is only according to a rabbinical enactment (Tos. to Giṭ. 36a, s.v. “Bizeman”), as by the Mosaic law, according to R. Judah, Shemitah is dependent on the jubilee and ceases to exist when there is no jubilee (Giṭ. l.c. and Rashi ad loc.).” See http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12967-sabbatical-year-and-jubilee#anchor3.

[3] See the Merriam-Webster definition of INTERCALATE: “transitive verb 1 : to insert (as a day) in a calendar 2 : to insert between or among existing elements or layers — in·ter·ca·la·tion …” See www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intercalate.

[4] See http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/03/30/The-Biblical-Date-for-the-Exodus-is-1446-BC-A-Response-to-James-Hoffmeier.aspx#Article.

[5] Douglas W. Krieger, Signs in the Heaven and on the Earth: Man’s Days are Numbered, Sacramento, Trib-Net Publications, 2014. Krieger also argues that 2025 is the 6,000th year of creation, correcting several errors by Bishop Ussher’s chronology.   Ussher calculated creation on Rosh Hashanah 4004 BC. Krieger calculates the creation date of 3975.

[6] A word that means salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ.

[7] Convocation comes from the Greek ekklesia, which means a group of people formally meeting together, and from which we derive our English word ecclesia used to define formal meanings of bishops and church leaders. Pastor Mark Biltz suggests that these convocations were “dress rehearsals” for which would later be a space-time fulfillment.

[8] “One of the ongoing themes of the Days of Awe is the concept that G-d has “books” that he writes our names in, writing down who will live and who will die, who will have a good life and who will have a bad life, for the next year. These books are written in on Rosh Hashanah, but our actions during the Days of Awe can alter G-d’s decree.

“The actions that change the decree are ‘teshuvah,  tefilah and tzedakah,’ repentance, prayer, good deeds (usually, charity). These ‘books’ are sealed on Yom Kippur. This concept of writing in books is the source of the common greeting during this time is ‘May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year.’

“Among the customs of this time, it is common to seek reconciliation with people you may have wronged during the course of the year. The Talmud maintains that Yom Kippur atones only for sins between man and G-d. To atone for sins against another person, you must first seek reconciliation with that person, righting the wrongs you committed against them if possible.” (http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday3.htm).

[9] Two 1,260-day periods added together equals 2,520 days. This number equals seven prophetic years and is known as the Shemitah cycle, the seventh year of which is the Shemitah year. This makes the Shemitah year a sabbatical year. The number 2,520 constitutes a fractal of the sacred cubit, which is 25.20 inches or 2.1 feet. Author David Flynn pointed out many instances where this number seems embedded in reality. See his book, The Temple at the Center of Time.

[10] The additional 75 days (over 1,260) likely relates to a particular interval between Yom Kippur or Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles) and Hanukkah, the festival of light and the cleansing of the temple, upon which the Messiah will be anointed. This interval varies from year to year and therein can provide a clue as to which future year will see a 75-day interval between these holidays. For instance in the year 2016-2017, from Yom Kippur, October 12, 2017 to Hanukkah, is 74 days, (December 25, 2017). 75 days would place us on the second day of Hanukkah. However, two years later, in 2018-2019, Yom Kippur falls on September 19, 2019 and Hanukkah begins on December 3, 2019. That is exactly 75 days. The pattern would be the return of the King on Yom Kippur and the Day of Coronation on Hanukkah. Another example: 1,260 days from Passover, April 11-12, 2016, takes us to Yom Kippur, September 24, 2019. Some might look at this interval and draw the conclusion that it might be meaningful regarding the beginning and end of the Great Tribulation.

The challenge in doing “calendar math” with the Hebrew calendar is that there are numerous rules to determine the holy days and adjustments made to “catch-up” the lunar calendar to the solar calendar by adding extra months during a 19-year cycle on a number of years. It would seem apparent that this calendar keeping methods introduces a high degree of uncertainty regarding when a holiday 2,000 to 3,500 years ago took place. Contending that a particular day, such as September 23, 2015, is the 70th Jubilee is beset with all kinds of problems. But the 70th Jubilee is a day known to God and when that day comes, it is almost certain His people will be made aware of it, perhaps by the Lord Himself when He is with His people in the Kingdom, probably at its commencement!

[11] This area likely is The Negev in the land of Israel and across the border into Jordan. The small and ancient city of Petra is often cited as the locus of this wilderness into which God’s people flee. My friend whose concept of Daniel 9:27 I described herein, actually is the first to own a parcel in the city of Petra, with a legal contract with the Bedouins there. He was able to procure it because he is of the tribe of Benjamin, and therefore an acknowledged relative to the natives, going back to Abraham. If he were not related, the Bedouins indicated it would be impossible for him to own any land there.