The Big Picture & Questions Answered

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Dear Friends,

I wanted to say thank you for your continued prayers, support, and participation.  God has done some amazing things through this ministry and it has as much to do with the Gospel as it does with prophecy.  The two go hand-in-hand.  This summer we reached 300,000 unique readers per month with the truth of Christ, becoming one of the largest prophecy news websites on the planet.  Our Revelation 12 Sign video has been seen in various languages over three million times and one of our ministry partners used our Gospel video on Facebook and it has gone viral – watched over one million times and shared all across the Middle East.  A few of our articles were shared virally by you on Facebook this year and it caused a number of news organizations to take notice.  It gave us the opportunity to share the message far and wide that Jesus Christ is really coming back.  And soon.

I share this success with you because I want you to be empowered and motivated to imitate us as we imitate Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).  Go and share the Gospel.  Go and tell someone Jesus is coming soon.  As you are all well aware, there may be little time left (Jn. 9:4Gal. 6:10).  We.  Are.  Nobodies.  We take no profit.  We receive no ad revenue.  We’re not in it for fame or a following and have tried to personally avoid the limelight as much as possible.  We’ve dedicated an incredible amount of time and our own financial resources, often at the expense of our personal lives and families, to bring you the hopeful message of grace and our soon coming King.  Our heart has been to share the Gospel, pray without ceasing, and teach only what is true – leaving no stone unturned and changing course when we think we’ve taught something incorrectly.  I pray for discernment daily.  I think I can speak for the whole team – Greg, Jeff, Dolley, Sam, the leaders on our online community, and myself – and say we do this for your edification.  We want you to know the truth and be aware and awake to the times, so that you are in turn empowered to go do greater things – and I personally know many of you are.

God hates the works of the Nicolaitans, those who would steal from His flock and rule as spiritual tyrants over the people.  So many churches and ministries these days are cults of personality – their pastors’ faces are plastered everywhere and they have “their” flocks and “their” followers.  They live on islands and don’t allow anyone to challenge them or speak into their lives (Prov. 18:1).  They become their own source of spiritual authority not realizing that they are only foot-soldiers like the rest of us in the service of the King.  They wave their pulpits, PhDs, and fame in your face to show you why you have to listen to them because they’re the shepherd and you’re just a sheep.  Just like the priests and Nicolaitans of old who withheld the Word of God from Christ’s flock.

Jesus never gave any apostle a flock.  Rather He told his apostles to tend His flock.  The flock is Christ’s and we are just part of it.  We will all be held to account for how we fed and tended His flock.  There is only one High Priest and one Good Shepherd.  All glory and honor and praise belongs to Him and Him alone.  The news and the prophetic signs we share, if we’ve misinterpreted any of them, are nothing, and if we’ve interpreted them correctly all glory and credit goes to God alone who in His loving-kindness chose to reveal a bit of Himself and His plans to the Body of Christ through the least of these – the unqualified, rather than those who boast in their self-appointed position.

We are walking daily in community with other humble men of God who see these signs unfolding, so that none of us becomes an island and all of us have accountability in what we do, say, and teach.  I want to give credit to these other brothers who we are fellowshipping with daily who are as much and even more a part of this last-minute wake-up call to the Church:

AdamBarryBradDaniel, Jim, Paul, and Scottie.  God has done wonders through your ministries to open eyes, soften hard hearts, expose the traditions of men and wickedness in high places, and to further reveal truth to the Church.  Greg, Jeff, and I appreciate you greatly.  You are humble warriors and we salute you.  There are many others who encourage us daily and continue to walk beside us – you know who you are and equal credit to you.  I pray for many of you by name daily.  Let us pray without ceasing.  I’ve written a prayer here that I would encourage everyone to be praying with me and I know some of you are.

Honestly, it is hard waiting, not knowing exactly how or when things are going to unfold.  We have to trust the LORD with the timing.  As I’ve said before, I am now convinced that the literal fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-2occurs next week and to be honest, the connection of Revelation 12 to the rapture seems to be pretty clear at this point.  That said, I refuse to set dates.  I know exactly when this sign occurs, but I don’t know exactly when we go home.  My timing and interpretations could be off and I don’t trust myself.  I have to trust God, which can be difficult to do at times.  Whether we’re before the Throne of God next week or in a year, the Great Sign is still the Great Sign and Jesus is still going to keep His promises.  Right now I have many feelings: trepidation, joy, hope, faith, unease, and perplexity.  Someone recently shared with me that what we are collectively feeling is probably a bit like what Jesus’ disciples felt after His death and before His resurrection and also what they felt after He ascended, but before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given.  It’s an uneasy feeling to wait, but we must cling to God’s promises no matter what.  This song has been on my heart lately:

The Big Picture

The second thing I wanted to remind you of is not to overlook the big picture.  Many of us have focused so much on the Revelation 12 Sign that it has seemed to create a sort of target for ridicule.  The mockers, scoffers, and closed-minded both inside and outside of the Church think that if they can somehow debunk this then our hope falls to pieces.  But it doesn’t.  This year has seen the most incredible convergence of signs that we have ever seen.  Here are a few of the biggest confirmations for me:

1. Every prophetic date in the modern era seems to have as its endpoint the year 2017.

1897 (120 years before): the First Zionist Congress and the founding of political Zionism where the world’s Jewry made a collective decision to pursue a Jewish homeland.  120 years was the divinely instituted period of probation before the first global cataclysm (Gen. 6:3).

1917 (100 years before): the land of Israel was conquered by the British.  The land was transferred from Israel’s enemies to Israel’s friend and the Balfour Declaration made known to the world that it was the intention of the British government to establish a Jewish homeland in the Holy Land.  Abraham was 100 years old when his promised son was born.  Likewise we are waiting for the true Son of Promise to make His second appearance and take us home.

1947 (70 years before): the United Nations mandated the creation of the Jewish state.  The decree was given and Israel declared its independence just six months later.  70 years is the only explicitly defined length of a generation given in the Bible (Psalm 90:10), which becomes hugely significant in light of the Parable of the Fig Tree, which says that the generation that sees the signs mentioned in the Olivet Discourse begin to come to pass would live to see all of it fulfilled, up to and including the return of Christ.  70 years was also the length of the first Jewish exile.

1948 (70 “prophetic” years before): the State of Israel was born.  The prophecy of “weeks of years” given in Daniel 9 seems to use 360-day years for counting long lengths of history.  Daniel and Revelation also seem to define a single period of “time” as consisting of 360 days (e.g., Dan. 7:2512:7Rev. 12:614).  Based on this measurement, Israel experienced its 70th anniversary on May 12, 2017.

1967 (50 years before): Israel captured Jerusalem – the city at the very center of Bible prophecy.  50 years is the length of a biblical Jubilee when all slaves went free, debts were forgiven, and the land returned to its rightful owner.  Israelis marked this Jubilee back in May with huge celebrations.

1977 (40 years before): the modern Middle East peace process began when Egyptian President Sadat delivered his November 1977 address to the Israeli Knesset.  Then in December 1977 the first Middle East peace conference was held in Cairo.  This led to the Camp David Accords the following year.  40 is a biblical period of testing.  Rain fell upon the earth for 40 days leading up the Flood.  The Israelites were tested in the wilderness for 40 years.  Jesus was tempted for 40 days.

1987 (30 years before): The Temple Institute was founded in Jerusalem in preparation for building the Third Temple.  This organization has prepared all of the vestures and artifacts necessary for service in the Temple.  They have also trained Aaronic priests, cut the Temple’s cornerstone, and built the main altar.  Joseph, a type of both Christ and the Church, was 30 years old when he left prison and became second-in-command of Egypt (Gen. 41:46).  Priestly service in the Tabernacle began at the age of 30 (Numbers 4).  David was 30 years old when He became king (2 Sam. 5:4).  Jesus was about 30 years old when He began His ministry (Lk. 3:23).

2. All of the apparent signs leading up to the initiation of Daniel’s 70th Week (a.k.a. the Tribulation) have converged and the setting for the end of the age is now in place.  Now you might say this convergence will still be here next year or possibly the year after, but look, there is a shelf life to this.  Eventually Jesus really is going to come back, a fact that many pastors, even teachers of Bible prophecy, seem to give lip service to, but not accept the reality of.  Here are 19 reasons why the end of the age could begin this year and here is why2017 to 2024 is a prime candidate for the seven-year Tribulation.

3. The numbers.  I know some people are uncomfortable with finding God in the details and seeing His sovereign hand at work in the minutiae of life, but all of these numbers and “coincidences” people have uncovered this year are beyond anything I’ve ever seen before.  I would argue they defy probability and can’t easily be explained by confirmation bias.  Read about these more here and here.

4. We may have just witnessed the fulfillment of key parts of Joel 2:30-31, like in just the last few weeks and Billy Graham’s daughter is now on record saying she sees a parallel between what has just transpired and the time leading up to Elijah’s rapture, but you know, close your eyes, cover your ears, and go back to sleep.


Just a final point here: from the time of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection in AD 33 (His first visitation) to 2017 is 1984 years.  Strong’s 1984 is “visitation”.  The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were unaware and willfully ignorant of His first visitation and even tried to “shoosh!” the people when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, so it shouldn’t be any surprise to us that history is repeating itself and our religious leaders are again trying to quiet the welcoming party using the traditions of men to override the truth of Scripture.  “Visitation” (Strong’s 1984) is only used a few times in Scripture.  Look where it is used:

They will level you [Jerusalem] to the ground–you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.

And

Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

 

 
Questions Answered

In this last section I want to begin answering various questions and critiques that have been coming our way.  We get a lot of questions through comments, email, and social media and these have been piling up.  Please be aware that we see them, but we are impossibly under-resourced to respond to everything.  Below I will respond to a few of the most frequently asked questions and critiques and if you have any other please ask it in the comments section below.  Again – I can’t get to everything, but I will try.

Q: You’re date-setting and/or saying the world is going to end on 9/23/17.

A: This is largely false.  We actually believe the world will never end (Ecc. 1:4), except for possibly a very brief period of time as described in Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1 when God creates a new heaven and earth (there is debate regarding whether this means God creates an entirely new creation or if He rejuvenates the existing creation).  In any case, we definitely do not believe the world is going to end on 9/23 nor anytime this year.  Also, absolutely zero ministries that are promoting the Revelation 12 Sign are saying the world is going to end this year (at least that I’m aware of).  It’s fake news.

We are also not saying the rapture has to happen next week.  I would steer clear of being dogmatic either way.  It would be foolish to say the rapture will happen sometime next week and it doesn’t happen.  It would be far, far more foolish to say it won’t happen next week and then it does – or happens sometime later this year.  I’m open to any possibilities.  God is the One in charge and He knows the timing.

am date-setting in one sense, though.  I believe the Revelation 12 Sign is going to happen on 9/23 or 9/24.  I believe that is now a firmly established fact based on what Scripture plainly says.  No one has yet debunked this aside from recycling the same untruths in article after article (e.g., “it’s astrology”, “it’s not unique”, “it’s just figurative of past history”, etc).

Q: Could the male child of Revelation 12:5 be the 144,000 sealed Israelites mentioned in Revelation 7 and 14?

A: I’ve seen a few people throwing around this theory, but I see little basis for it.  In my humble opinion it suffers from some of the same problems that the theory that the male child is only Christ suffers from.  For starters, the male child is going to “rule all the nations with a rod of iron”.  This promise is made only to Christ (Psalm 2:7-9) and the Church (Rev. 2:26-27) – never to the 144,000.  Secondly, the child is caught up to God’s throne.  Again, this promise is only made to Christ and the Church (Rev. 3:21), not the 144,000.  Thirdly, Revelation describes Christians and Tribulation Saints in Heaven (Rev. 6:9-117:912:510-12), but this description is never applied to the 144,000.  To the contrary, they are not before the throne of God, but are gathered to Mt. Zion (Jerusalem), apparently at the time of Jesus’ physical second coming.  Fourthly, as Harry Ironside is famous for saying, correctly identifying the characters in Revelation 12 is foundational for a correct understanding of the rest of the book.  The woman is Israel and perhaps also figurative of “heavenly Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:26).  The woman is not the Church and neither is the woman only Mary.  The Church didn’t give birth to Israel and neither can Israel give birth to itself.  Each character has a unique identity.

I tend to agree with the traditional, historical-grammatical interpretation of the purpose and ministry of the 144,000 (see here).

Q: Will there be a partial-rapture and do you have to be watching to be raptured?

A: No to both (in my understanding).  There are a few people who are promoting these views and they have caused a lot of fear in the Body of Christ in addition to causing some to even abandon their faith in Christ’s blood and instead to trust in self.  Woe to them.  And having carefully studied their views, I see some major Scriptural twisting and self-righteous assumptions going on.  You don’t want to be trusting in your works and “worthiness” when the trumpet sounds.  My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  The Gospel + anything = nothing (Rom. 11:6Gal. 5:12).  Worse even than the sexual immorality and wordliness that has crept into Christianity over the past 50 years, is the abandonment of sola fide among evangelicals.  A recent Pew survey finds only half of Protestants in the United States still believe in the cornerstone Protestant doctrine.  And sola fide isn’t a new invention – it was just as true in the early Church as it is today (see here).  Augustinian allegorism, coupled with a number of other heresies slowly crept into the Church, denying the plain truth of God’s Word, and became the dominant school of thought in Christianity for some 1500-1700 years.

There are a number of more detailed exegetical issues with the partial-rapture theory, which is why most premillennial, evangelical scholars disagree with the theory.  Time does not permit me to unpack all of those here, but if you want to study the issue further for yourself, take a look at articles I’ve written here and here.  The male child of Revelation 12:5 is the Church and the whole baby gets taken to Heaven.  The whole Body of Christ is united to the Head.  A Christian’s performance is not judged by being taken or left.  It is judged for rewards at the Bema Seat when we all stand before the Son of Man (1 Cor. 3:10-152 Cor. 5:6-10).  The Book of Revelation is absolutely clear about the Gospel (Rev. 1:5).  The raptured Church is only in Heaven because of Jesus’ blood (Rev. 12:10-11) and the later martyred Tribulation Saints are in Heaven for the same reason (Rev. 7:14).

To be absolutely clear: I believe that Scripture clearly teaches that all Believers will be raptured to Heaven and thus we are to encourage one another rather than cause fear and our brothers and sisters to lose heart (1 Thess. 4:18Gal. 1:6-105:1-121 Jn. 4:185:13).  Paul has harsh words for those causing fear and loss of faith in Christ’s flock.  However, not all Christians will be raptured, if by Christian you merely mean someone who identifies with the Christian religion.  Those who trust in themselves or who have added to the Gospel are standing on sinking sand.  Repent.  So I believe there will be a full rapture of Believers and a partial rapture of Christians.  It’s scary to think you might have covered yourself in all of the trappings and do-goodism of Christianity while all the while your foundation was something other than Christ and Him crucified.  Those “Christians” who enter the Tribulation with defiled garments do not cleanse them with their own efforts, but with the blood of the Lamb.

Q: Will all children be raptured?

A: Certainly all children that believe in the LORD will be raptured.  There is no dispute about that.  The question usually concerns young children who have not yet consciously placed their faith in Christ.  I think there is a clear Scriptural basis for saying that all young children of Believers will be taken (even if only one parent is a Believer), if the child is not yet old enough to make a conscious decision of faith (1 Cor. 7:14).  This seems to be some precedent through history: only Noah was found righteous, but he took his whole family on the ark.  Likewise, Lot was the only righteous man found in Sodom, but he took his wife and daughters with him to safety (but his wife was killed during the escape because of her own lack of faith).

Some other scholars believe that a fundamental shift occurred after Jesus’ resurrection, so that all children up to a certain age or cognitive ability will be taken, regardless if their parents are Believers.  The theory goes that the blood of Christ covers all of those who can’t believe the Gospel, either because of age or mental retardation.

I am open to both possibilities and am dogmatic about neither.  I’m reminded that some things are left to faith and there is a tension in not knowing.  We have to trust God.  He is good – very good.  I believe all young children of Believers are perfectly safe, but by all means, pray for and teach all of your children to know the LORD.


Q: Will our pets be raptured?

A: I’ve been surprised by how often this question comes up, but it is very important to many.  At first I brushed off the question, but I think I was wrong for doing so.  First, trust God no matter what.  He is good.  He cares for animals (Jonah 4:11Prov. 12:10Matt. 10:29-31).  The truth is we really don’t have a clear answer from Scripture.  My personal position is that animals will be resurrected at some future point, though I don’t believe that is likely to be during the rapture of the Church.  Possibly later in the Millennial Kingdom or when God makes a new heaven and earth.

That being said, I was blown away by a discussion in the Revelation 12 Sign 2017 community on Facebook about this topic.  Some brothers and sisters were making a surprisingly strong case for why the animals of Believers will be going and/or protected in some way.  They pointed out the biblical precedent of all the animals taken on the ark, as well as the Israelites leaving with their animals during the Exodus.  I’m always amazed by pastors who give the default “animals are just temporary” response to genuinely concerned Believers.  The truth is the Bible doesn’t say much about this one way or the other.  Who is to really say?  What we know is that God is better than we can imagine.  God is love.  Trust Him and please don’t do anything foolish like euthanize your animals.  That would not be in any way an act of faith.

Q: Leo doesn’t have nine stars.

A: Dr. Faulkner is at it again with another article trying to debunk the Revelation 12 Sign.  He recycles the same argument that the sign isn’t unique, so I don’t need to address that in detail – the sign is absolutely unique and the years he cites as matches were simply not matches (see here).  Regarding his claim that Leo has more than nine stars, we’ve addressed this several times before (see #7 here).  In short, his argument is mostly arbitrary.  Here is my response:

-The most common depiction of Leo (BY FAR) shows nine stars.  Google it for yourself and see.  Most astronomy program also use nine stars (not just Stellarium, although there are a few exceptions like Google Sky).

-Those nine stars are the common denominator across all ancient and modern depictions of Leo.  One example he cites is the Almagest’s depiction, which shows 27 stars, which he calls the “standard” depiction.  In that case Revelation 12:1-2 could never be fulfilled literally because the only grouping of stars above Virgo’s head is Leo and 27 stars would make a 12-star crown impossible.  The Almagest is definitely not the “standard” depiction.  It differs substantially from ancient Babylonian and Egyptian depictions, as well as an ancient mosaic showing the Jewish mazzaroth.  The are many and various depictions of Leo.  Some have 10 stars, some 13, some even 15 or more, but the most prevalent depiction shows nine stars.  Those same ninestars are also the common denominator across all depictions.

-He says that when he looks outside he clearly sees 13 stars.  That’s fine.  I’m sure that on an exceptionally clear night you could see 13 or more stars, but many of those are very dim.  The interesting thing is, under normal conditions only those nine stars stand out.  I spent more than a month tracking Leo and on clear nights I could only see nine.  Many others have reported the same thing.

Brad over at Revelation 12 Daily has a great response to these “straining out a gnat” debates about the crown of 12 stars.

Q: Revelation 12:1-2 is about Heaven, not the sky.

A: Carl from PNN has claimed that when the Greek word ouranos is singular it means capital ‘H’ Heaven, as in God’s dwelling, but when ouranos is plural it refers to the sky.  Thus, as his theory goes, Revelation 12:1-2 has nothing to do with a real sign in the sky because ouranos is singular.  Furthermore, he argues that Revelation 12 is just a historical recapitulation.

His first argument is simply incorrect and in fact the exact opposite is often true. The plural form is most often used to describe the “kingdom of Heaven” – in the Greek, literally “kingdom of the Heavens” (e.g., Matt. 3:24:175:3101216Mk. 11:25-2612:2513:25).

Compare to the singular use of ouranos, which frequently means “sky” (Matt. 8:2013:3216:2-324:29-30Mk. 4:3214:62Lk. 4:258:59:58).

In Revelation John even uses the singular form of ouranos for sky several times, a couple examples are Revelation 6:14 and Revelation 11:6.

It’s impossible to determine whether the translation of ouranos in a given passage should be “Heaven” (capital ‘H’) or “sky” based on whether the word is singular or plural.  Context is king.

The context of Revelation 12:1-2 is the visible sky (sun, moon, and stars) and Genesis 1:14 tells us that the sun, moon, and stars were made for signs.  Luke 21:11 tells us there will be “Great Signs” preceding the return of Christ and Luke 21:25 tells us there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars.  Try this on for sizeRevelation 12:1-2 is the only sign in the entire Bible that involves the sun, moon, and stars and is also called a “Great Sign”.  I sure wouldn’t ignore it.

No one is interpreting Revelation 12:1-2 as literally and accepting it prima facie as much as the Revelation 12Sign proponents are.  Let God be true and every man a liar.

Regarding the recapitulation theory.  I just have three things to say: firstRevelation 1:1Revelation 1:19, and Revelation 4:1 would seemingly disagree with you; second, as we’ve recently uncovered, historically speaking, Protestant scholars would largely disagree with the “purely recapitulation” view (see here); third, taking Scripture literally and “line upon line” and avoiding assumptions at all costs leads to the conclusion that the male child of Revelation 12:5 is the Church, which is why so many Protestant scholars have taught that the child is the Church since the 1500s (see here and here).

Q: Are constellations mentioned in the Bible or is that astrology?

A: Biblical astronomy and astrology are completely different things.  Astronomy is the study of the stars, astrology is occultic practice.  Astrology is worshiping or divining the stars.  Astrology is trying to run your life by the stars.  No Christians who are talking about these signs in the heavens are worshiping the stars or trying to cast hexes using constellations as Balaam did.  Nor are they using the stars like a horoscope.  Constellations are mentioned frequently in the Bible and it is God Himself who made them.  Satan has only twisted what God has made.  The astrology accusation has been debunked a thousand times now and is simply untrue.  Revelation 12 Daily has an excellent discussion of this here and Parable of the Vineyard has two awesome videos on the subject here.

The Bible is absolutely crystal clear that there will be signs in the sky preceding Christ’s return, so those in the Church who are coming out against these things are not doing their due diligence nor are they accepting what the Bible plainly says (Gen. 1:14Ps. 19:1-6Dan. 6:27Matt. 24:30Lk. 21:1125Acts 2:19,  Rev. 12:1-2).

Regarding constellations, will people continue to claim they are pagan in origin in the face of so much biblical evidence?  Again, let God be true and every man a liar.

God made the constellations: Genesis 1:14Job 38:33

God brings out the constellations night after night: Job 38:32

Constellations are frequently named and/or referred to in Scripture:

Orion: Job 9:938:31Amos 5:8

Pleiades: Job 9:938:31Amos 5:8

The Bear and her cubs (Ursa Major): Job 9:938:32

Leo: Gen. 49:9-10Num. 24:917Rev. 12:1

Virgo: Is. 7:1114Rev. 12:1

Gemini: Acts 28:11

Taurus: Num. 23:2224:8Deut. 33:17

Aquarius: Num. 24:7

The constellations were created by God to serve as signs and to tell the story of His redemptive plan in history (see herehere, and here).  Satan has twisted culture to worship the constellations and to use them for divination.


Maranatha!  (Click to Site)

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