Gary Thursday, July 05, 2018
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
I will show wonders in the heavens
and on the earth,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved;
for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem
there will be deliverance,
as the Lord has said,
even among the survivors
whom the Lord calls.
It is my fervent belief that we are witnessing the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and it may in fact be complete this year or in just the next couple of years. But before I dive into the details, I want to first explain that I believe Joel’s words will be fulfilled twice and this dual fulfillment are the bookends of the Church Age. The first fulfillment occurred around the time of the LORD’s crucifixion and resurrection and then culminated on Pentecost. The Apostle Peter makes clear reference to this fulfillment in Acts 2 as I explain in my recent article Stranger Things:
Peter was citing the prophecy as if it was just fulfilled [Acts 2:16–21] and I personally agree with him. How so? The Holy Spirit had just been poured out for the first time on the disciples (literally moments before Peter’s sermon), the Spirit had descended on them as tongues of fire. The blood of Christ had been poured out a little over 50 days prior, the sun had been turned to darkness for three hours, and, if the crucifixion occurred in 33 AD, the moon looked like blood from Jerusalem on the evening after His crucifixion. Lastly, Peter was now proclaiming to the people the Gospel message of how, because of Christ’s death and resurrection, everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved. All the pieces were there.
While this prophecy had been fulfilled once before, signalling the start of the dispensational “pause” called the Church Age or Age of Grace, there are certain details in the broader context of Joel 2–3 that can only apply to the time at the end of the age when God’s wrath is poured out upon the earth. The first fulfillment of the prophecy signaled the spiritual salvation of the Gentiles through faith (justification), but the final fulfillment signals their physical salvation and rapture to Heaven (glorification).
Let’s break down this dually-fulfilled prophecy piece by piece, so you can see with your own eyes that we are within just a handful of years/months/weeks of the end of this dispensation:
Holy Spirit poured out…
1. May 24, 33 AD: The Holy Spirit is poured out on the disciples on Pentecost.
2. April 9, 1906 AD: Roughly halfway between the First Zionist Congress and the Balfour Declaration, while some Jews are already regathering to Israel, the Pentecostal movement begins during the Azusa Street Revival—a final end times work of God that ultimately succeeds in bringing the evangelical message to the far reaches of the planet and hundreds of millions more.
Dreams and visions…
1. ~3 BC–95 AD: The Holy Spirit gives dreams and visions to numerous people, opening their hearts to the Gospel (e.g. Mt. 1:20; 2:12–13, 19; 22; 27:19; Lk. 1:22; Acts 9:10–12; 10:3–11:5; 16:6–10; Book of Revelation).
2. ~2000 AD to present: The Holy Spirit gives dreams and visions about Jesus Christ to thousands of Muslims who would otherwise not hear or understand the Gospel. Simultaneously, Christians around the world begin experiencing an increasing number of rapture and end-time related dreams indicating the nearness of Christ’s appearing.
Wonders in the heavens and on the earth…
1. 3–2 BC: The Star of Bethlehem sign, a multitude of angels in the sky appearing to shepherds, etc. Later, in 29–33 AD, wonders on the earth like the miracles Jesus was performing, the Transfiguration, the earthquake at His resurrection, and the Temple veil being torn in two. There were also wonders in heaven including the darkened sun and blood moon.
2. September 23–24, 2017 AD: A once-in-historyGreat Sign in the heavens that perfectly fit the description in Revelation 12:1–2. Other heavenly signs in the last few years included the 2014–15 Blood Moon Tetrad, Great American Eclipse, Super-Blue-Blood Moon on January 31, 2018, September 2017 solar flare (largest in 20 years), reappearance of the Star of Bethlehem, etc. There were also numerous “wonders” on the earth (see here, here, and here) and the single greatest wonder on earth that we are all witnessing is that The Parable of the Fig Tree is being fulfilled in our lifetime.
And other heavenly signs are about to happen this month. Mars will appear nearly twice as bright as the King Planet Jupiter (for the first time in 15 years). Furthermore, the eight planets in our solar system will form an exceptionally rare alignment on one side of the Sun on July 19th.
Fire and pillars of smoke…
1. 33 AD: The Holy Spirit descends on the disciples as tongues of fire.
2. 2017–18 AD: In September of last year, record wildfires (fire and pillars of smoke) in the Pacific Northwest and Europe caused unexpected “blood moons” to appear across a large swath of the Northern Hemisphere. Then in October the number of volcanic eruptions worldwide began increasing from a daily average of about 10–20 to 35 (see here). At present there are 37. This includes the symbol-filled eruption of Kilauea, which continues unabated and the deadly eruption of Mount Fuego (“Fire”) that killed hundreds and completely destroyed the town of St. Miguel just weeks ago.
Sun turned to darkness…
1. April 3, 33 AD: The sun was darkened for the final three hours of Jesus’ life while He hung on the Cross (Mt. 27:45; Mk. 15:33; Lk. 23:44–45). Besides the biblical record, there are also secular historical records indicating that an unnaturally long solar eclipse caused darkness in the middle of the day all across the Mediterranean region. The unprecedented crucifixion darkness was known in Roman historical archives.
2. August 21, 2017 AD: Now there is only one thing known to mankind that can make the disc of the Sun itself look dark and that is a solar eclipse. We can then assume that Joel’s prophecy would be fulfilled by just such an occurrence. That being said, solar eclipses are fairly common, occurring about once every 18 months. For that reason I would expect that for something to fulfill Joel’s prophecy it would need to be extraordinary like the three hours of darkness during the crucifixion. The Great American Eclipse last August fits the bill. The eclipse was the most watched in history, encompassed the entire width of the world’s most powerful and prosperous Gentile nation, occurred during the formation of the Revelation 12 Sign, and was filled with an overwhelming amount of symbolism (see here and here).
Moon to blood…
1. April 3, 33 AD: There was a blood moon visible in Jerusalem on the evening of Christ’s crucifixion.
2. July 27, 2018 AD: Like solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are also quite common. There have been several in just the last couple of years, so I would think we should be looking for something extraordinary—something even more significant than the blood moons in 2014–15 or the January 31st eclipse this year. This month’s lunar eclipse is just such an occurrence. It’s the longest lunar eclipse this entire century (2001–2100), is visible in totality over all of Jerusalem, Israel, and the Middle East, and is a rare central lunar eclipse (there hasn’t been one in seven years, since 2011).
BEFORE the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the LORD…
Both bookends of the Church Age occur beforethe Tribulation and subsequent Millennial Kingdom.
And everyone who calls on the Name of the LORD will be saved…
1. May 24, 33 AD: Peter declared the Gospel message to those gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost and proclaimed to them that their sins could be blotted out through faith in Christ’s atoning work. The message of justification by faith and reconciliation with God was proclaimed and over the last 2,000 years the Church has carried this message to the far corners of the earth. Through faith in Christ we have all experienced spiritualsalvation.
2. 2018 AD?: At the sound of the last trump, all of those who call on the Name of the LORD will be transfigured and raptured into Heaven, experiencing the final and physical step in the process of redemption called glorification. Salvation is a threefold process beginning with justification, continuing with sanctification, and completing with glorification. Like a baby that is conceived in his mother’s womb yet not manifest to the world is justification and that is how the Church began on Pentecost in 32 or 33 AD. Then the baby grows and matures, which is what the Church has been doing for the last 2,000 years (sanctification). Finally, the baby enters a new world [to him] fully formed, which is glorification (a.k.a. the rapture).
For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance…
1. May 24, 33 AD: This spiritual deliverance began on Pentecost in Jerusalem just as foretold.
2. 2018 AD?: It’s interesting that in the Hebrew of Joel 2 there is a poetic double reference (both Jerusalem andMount Zion). In Scripture Zion can refer to the earthly city of Jerusalem, but it often refers instead to the heavenly Jerusalem or city of God “up there” where Jerusalem down on earth is just a shadow of the greater heavenly realm or reality. Look at what the author of Hebrews says about Mount Zion:
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.
From a new covenant perspective, Mount Zion is God’s heavenly city where the Church of the Firstborn will be taken at the rapture (see Jeff’s excellent article on the subject). We who have faith in the Son of God will be delivered to Mount Zion, finally fulfilling the prophecy in Joel 2.
Is a possible timeline emerging?
In the aftermath of the Revelation 12 Sign I did a more in-depth research into the biblical festivals and their association to trumpets than I had done before. We know from Scripture that there is an unequivocal association of the rapture with “the last trumpet” and it’s perhaps the most important clue as to the timing of the rapture event. From my study I believe that Shemini Atzeret, Feast of Trumpets, and Pentecost are the most likely holidays to fulfill the resurrection and rapture of the Church (you can read my Shemini Atzeret logic here and a study of the trumpets here).
Some interesting (and speculative) dates coming up include September 11th (Yom Teruah) and October 1st (Shemini Atzeret). Both of these dates happen to be about nine months from the completion of the Revelation 12 Sign on Christmas Day 2017, but Shemini Atzeret on October 1st is 40 weeks or 280 days, exactly, from the sign’s completion, which is the exact average gestation of a human child. Then, exactly 2,550 days (inclusive) from October 1, 2018 is September 23, 2025, the Feast of Trumpets—the exact festival to end the Tribulation if Christ fulfills the three final festivals in subsequent order at His return just as He fulfilled the first three festivals in order during His first appearing. Where have we seen September 23rd before? It’s exactly eight years to the day from the Revelation 12 Sign and eight is the number of resurrection and new beginnings. The Tribulation is a period of 2,550 days (1,260 + 1,290), with an additional 45 days tacked on at the end (perhaps for The Sheep and Goats Judgment; see Dan. 12:11–12).
September 11th is also quite interesting since it is Yom Teruah (the Feast of Trumpets). It happens to be the likely anniversary of Christ’s conception or birth and like in the harbinger warning of September 11, 2001, 17 years before, it also occurs on a Tuesday. And with at least 5,000 commercial aircraft in the sky over the United States at any given time, no doubt many will be unpiloted as the rapture occurs, causing catastrophic crashes—an eerie similarity to 2001.