Updated: Jul 18
If you've followed my writings over the years, you know I have never gotten overly excited about any (if ever) of the numerous Rapture theories floating across the Internet. That means I intentionally missed out on the: 2011 Craze (2018 - 7 years), 2012 Mayan Calendar hysteria, 2014-16 Blood Moon hype, 2017's September 23rd Revelation 12 frenzy, et cetera. Maybe I'm just jaded like that, but when one holds to a doctrine of imminence (as I do) I've learned early on not to get swept up with the latest and greatest hysteria that comes and goes with increasing frequency.
But it's in our nature to want to know when the Lord will return. Perhaps the increased frequency of trying to figure out when the Rapture will happen (or anything peripheral to it), is in itself a sign of the end. Let me add that while I don't diminish anyone's earnest desires to look into these things, we must always exercise caution as to being dogmatic about a specific day or date because Jesus Himself said that its specificity (i.e., the day or hour) cannot be known (Matt. 24:36).
Now, I've never held to the idea of "strict imminence," i.e., that a) we cannot know anything about His return (we can), nor b) to the idea that Christ could have returned a hundred, five hundred, or a thousand years ago which doesn't seem to fit with the prophetic model He's laid out for us in Revelation 2-3. Imminence, in my definition, simply means, we can't know when exactly/precisely/definitively. However, imminence should not mean arbitrary or random. And apologies for the length of this article, but this is why I'm publishing it on a Friday so you have all weekend to ponder the things discussed here.
Furthermore, I personally have never been one to link the Rapture of the Church to any of the seven Feasts of the Lord either. To me, those were always prophetically significant to Israel, and not the Church. However, the ONLY one I've ever even really considered as a possibility (if the Rapture were to fall on a feast date), has been Pentecost (Shavuot). The only reason I think that is, since the Church was conceived at Pentecost, it makes some degree of sense that it will be born (Raptured) on Pentecost. I mean, if the Church Age does exist in the 'pause' between the 69th and 70th Week of Daniel, starting and stopping on the same feast makes sense.
If Israel's rebirth is the supersign of Bible prophecy, and Israel/Jerusalem/Temple are the timepieces to which God's prophetic timeline is synched too, and the Rapture is not synched to her, then what does that leave us with? Randomness? Arbitrary dates? The last Gentile convert?
I don't know.
Both Jesus and Paul alluded to the idea that although we can't know the specific date, we would know the season, and I've considered some past seasons/years more prophetically interesting than others. Nevertheless, I've had a good track record thus far of being pretty even-keeled when it comes to this sort of thing.
That said, I'm not opposed to people presenting well-thought-through theories either.
Take for example a recent article that a reader from here (h/t Dan H) informed me of by Greg Lauer. As Greg would note in his article, this idea wasn't even original to him, but it was presented to him by someone else to "do something with it," to which, he does a fantastic job. However, before you continue here, please go to his link (already hyperlinked below) to see why I am very intrigued with this idea of the Rapture's connection with the Jewish holy day of Tish B'Av because frankly, it makes a lot of sense. In fact, I've never seen a theory presented before that makes as much sense as this one does. And before anyone rolls their eyes and thinks, oh brother, here we go again, I can promise you four things.
This is not linked in any way to any astrological or cosmological signs
It's not linking the Rapture to any of the seven Feasts of the Lord
It's not setting a specific date (as in a specific day/month/year)
It's not dogmatic either. Greg honestly admits this is just a theory
With that said, please do not proceed any further until reading the linked article.
Ok, I'm moving forward assuming you've read the article by now, hopefully, because if not, you're going to get confused and I'm not really wanting to answer a thousand questions about it. Go back and read the article! Ok, I think I've beaten this dead horse enough, let's get on with the review.
So the article itself is a little long for my taste, but I understand why he does go to the lengths he does. It's a theory that needs to be placed in its proper context, and to do that, requires a certain degree of historical and prophetic perspective. I can respect that. But for this article's sake, I'm going to tie in his comments on the 'Song of Moses' and get down to his summary at the bottom.
And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end will be,
For they are a perverse generation,
Children in whom is no faith.
They have provoked Me to jealousy by what is not God;
They have moved Me to anger by their foolish idols.
But I will provoke them to jealousy by those who are not a nation;
I will move them to anger by a foolish nation.
Deuteronomy 32:20-21 (my emphasis)
Let's review this round by round and see if we can spot it:
1. The Jews' great sin is rampant idolatry, plus failing to trust in God for their protection and instead making a foolish deal with their enemies.
2. The First Temple is destroyed.
3. A major round of judgment falls upon Israel via the Babylonians.
1. The Jews' great sin is turning God's Word into legalism, and rejecting their promised Messiah and having Him crucified like a common criminal.
2. The Second Temple is destroyed.
3. A major round of judgment falls upon Israel via the Romans.
1. The Jews' great sin is dismissing with anger and jealousy the salvation Christ offered them as they watched it go out to the Gentiles. They should have understood Moses' prophecy and repented, but they refused to do so. Not only that, but they will divide God's land.
2. ? ? ? ? ?
3. A major round of judgment falls upon Israel via the Antichrist.
Not to be overly dramatic or anything, but I think you can see the problem. There is a hole in the pattern this third time around, and that's where God destroys or removes the physical, visible representation of His presence on earth, following a great sin of Israel and prior to His unleashing of a round of judgment on them.
• Round One: In 586 BC, it was the destruction of the First Temple.
• Round Two: In AD 70, it was the destruction of the Second Temple.
And that begs the question:
Is there something that fills this hole in the pattern the third time around?
I believe there is:
19What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19 AKJV / emphasis added)
As I've already mentioned, born-again believers may be the body of Christ, but we are also the temple of the Holy Spirit—the physical, visible representation of the presence of God the Holy Spirit on earth, starting on the day of Pentecost two thousand years ago and ending the moment we are caught up to be with the Lord in the translation of the Church.
As a result, I believe it is the Rapture—the removal of the physical, visible representation of God the Holy Spirit's presence on earth—that fills that hole and completes the final round of this pattern. And although I believe the Rapture fills that hole regardless of what day it actually occurs...
IF the Rapture were to occur on Tisha B'Av, just like the destruction of the First and Second Temples, it would dot the last "i" and cross the last "t" of a pattern established by a God who doesn't do random.
If the Rapture were to occur on Tisha B'Av, it would shake Israel to its spiritual core.
Generally speaking, we as believers have utterly failed to grasp something of critical importance, and that is the simple fact that the Rapture has tremendous significance for Israel—almost as much as it does for the Church itself (some might even say more). The Rapture represents the point in time when God no longer has to focus His attention on His Church on earth and will turn His attention back to dealing with His Chosen People. And it grieves me to say it, but it won't take long for His dealings with His Chosen People to involve purging them in this final round of judgment at the hands of the Antichrist—a round of judgment that is going to make the Holocaust pale in comparison.
The Rapture is going to be an earth-shattering, supernatural event that will shake the world to its core, and make no mistake:
If the Rapture were to occur on Tisha B'Av, it would shake Israel to its spiritual core.
It would certainly set them thinking about what it all meant; and as they attempted to put the pieces together, I believe it would play right into what God is going to do to re-establish His relationship with His people.
Incidentally, one other rather striking parallel is the following:
• The First Temple was intimately connected with God the Father—the only form of God the Jews understood.
• The Second Temple was intimately connected with God the Son, who presented Himself as the Jews' promised Messiah in the midst of that temple. Not only that, but its veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple was torn from top to bottom at the moment He was crucified.
• The Church is intimately connected with God the Holy Spirit since we are His temple on earth for the duration of the Church Age.
The bottom line is that, given everything we have discussed, it is virtually impossible to ignore the compelling connection between the Rapture, the destruction of the First and Second Temples, and Tisha B'Av—the day they were both destroyed. It all fits.
Of course, I don't have to remind you that there have been numerous people with really swell theories about the Rapture where everything fit together s-o-o perfectly, and they were all dead wrong as those dates came and went, ruining some really cool charts.
Just so you know, like many Jewish feasts and celebrations, Tisha B'Av occurs over the course of two days and occurs every year sometime in the mid-July to mid-August time frame. This year, it falls on August 6–7. In 2023, it falls on July 26–27, and in 2024 it falls on August 12–13.
So...could the Rapture occur this year on August 6 or 7? Sure. How about next year on July 26–27? You betcha. August 12–13, 2024? In a heartbeat.
And it could happen today—I'm ready and waiting.
So my take away from all of that was not that he was saying it will happen this coming August or next July, but how it makes a lot of sense that it could happen on Tish B'Av, primarily because of a) historical precedence, b) theological connection, c) and it would be the divine motivation to begin waking up the unbelieving Jewish people. Now, I drafted my own visual presentation of Greg's article simply to help me make sense of it.
Now, I've consulted with my buddies Lee Brainard, Randy Nettles, and Pablo Frascini on this article as well. As per the norm, if you ask four people their opinions, you'll get four different opinions. I list these differing opinions for your edification to know that differing opinions on something like this are ok. I've included my thoughts after theirs, so hold on to your hats, we are about to enter into...
The Personal Opinion Zone
I think the pattern has a great deal of merit. But I am hesitant to locate the rapture at any non-God-ordained feast. Moreover, the temple of the church is removed from the earth at the rapture, not destroyed. The most plausible dates for me are Passover and Trumpets. But perhaps this pattern will match with some last days apostasy of the professing church.
That’s a new one…very interesting. I’ve written about Tisha B’Av a few times, such as The Dog Days of Summer:: By Randy Nettles - Rapture Ready. It comes on the 9th day of the 5th month, which is interesting. 9 is the number for judgment and 5 is the number for grace. I never thought about it being anything other than a judgment against the Jews. I think the punishments are more than just the destruction of the temples, however, as there have been 8 tragic events for Israel on this day. Also, when the Rapture occurs, our bodily temples will be removed/remade and not destroyed.
I used to think the A.O.D. would occur on this day, but I think it will occur on or around Passover, probably Nisan 10, when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey as king of the Jews but was rejected. As I said in my article, there are usually 1260 days (42 months; 3.5 years; or time, times, and half a time) between Nisan 10 or 12 and Tishri 1 (the Feast of Trumpets). All the Jews will gather at the newly built third temple in Jerusalem at Passover when the A.C. makes his move. 1260 days later, Jesus will return on Trumpets.
I know that prophecy is steeped in pattern. And so as I read the article, I immediately saw where Greg was going with it. The fact that the first and second temples were destroyed on the same day of the same month, separated by centuries is no coincidence. I also thought it was very astute of Greg to see the steps surrounding each one of the temple’s destruction and subsequent judgment. However, I am not certain of the transition between brick and mortar temples and a third flesh and blood temple being part of Round 3 as laid out in the article. I do agree wholeheartedly that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 6:19.
But, I have a hard time going from Round 1 and 2, which are strictly about Israel (the Jewish nation), and then suddenly shifting to Round 3 and having saved gentiles in the gap, “those which are not a people;” “a foolish nation.” I believe the pattern has to be consistent. Rounds 1, 2, and 3 all should deal with Israel, not just in part. What I believe will complete the hole or gap in round 3 in my opinion is the brick and mortar 3rd temple built during the tribulation. This seems to fall more in line with the consistency in the pattern.
I know that this article is purely speculative in its scope, at least that’s my understanding. Though it’s very well written, highly informative, and accurate in its historical scope, I’m gonna go with the fact that we just don’t know. I want to make it clear that Greg isn’t saying that the rapture IS going to happen on Tisha B’Av, but rather that he is making the case for the possibility that it can. Even then, I remain aloof to anything that even may resemble setting a date. Again, Jesus was crystal clear about that fact in Matthew 24:36 (i.e, no man knows the day nor hour..)...crystal.
My own thoughts on this, adding to what Greg has already written, is that the strongest evidence to me for the strength of this theory is in regards to The Trinity's connection to the Jewish Temples. It makes sense that the Father had a connection with the First Temple. It also makes sense that the Son had a connection with the Second. However, there doesn't seem to be a Holy Spirit (HS) connection with the Third Temple (or Tribulation Temple). This is why linking the Church (i.e., the body of Christ) to the Holy Spirit makes a lot of sense. Is it 100% right? I don't know. I guess we will have to wait and see, but it makes sense to me.
While there are some concerns with regards to pattern consistency (as Pablo pointed out i.e., a physical temple rather than a flesh and blood temple made of a no nation), for me, it's not a bridge too far. There are numerous concepts in the Old Testament like "the Kingdom" and a "bride" that were thought to be physical/natural, only to take on a metaphysical nature in the New Testament (i.e., Mystery Kingdom, Bride of Christ, etc.). That's not to say these are simply spiritualized and were never meant to be taken literally; they were, and will one day, just not yet.
As for Lee's concerns regarding the former temples being destroyed and how we are not destroyed (the Church that is), is not necessarily an issue for me. If we look at the results of what's happened in either destruction or rapture, the temple is removed from the equation. Lee's a lot smarter than I on things of this nature so perhaps he's correct in his logic.
However, what I can't see, is the HS's connection with the Third Temple inside the boundaries of the seven-year Tribulation.
When we think about the renting of the veil in twain (Matt. 27:51), and the role of the Holy Spirit's ministry inside the dispensation of the Church age (John 16:5-15), then there is no rhyme or reason for the HS to work inside a third Temple after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Now, we know aside from the Tribulation Temple, there will be a future Temple inside the Millennial Kingdom (MK) complete with animal sacrifices (Ezekiel 40-48), but that is for a different set of circumstances.
Side note: This is a bit of speculation on my part, but the natural humans who are born into the coming Millennial Kingdom will still need a way to atone for their sins. If our salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9), and faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 12:1), then how can people inside the MK exercise that faith when Jesus is physically ruling and reigning from Jerusalem? They can see Him. They can interact with Him physically. It won't take faith to acknowledge that Jesus is alive and in charge. And yet, those natural humans will still have sinful natures that will have to be dealt with.
This means the Church has to be removed first, and then a third Temple constructed. Even then, we know that according to Scripture, the Third Temple's Holy of Holies is desecrated in the vilest way at the mid-point when the Abomination of Desecration (AoD) occurs. IF the Holy Spirit were to be in there, that presumably wouldn't happen. If He was, then anyone who entered that room should be struck dead immediately.
Now, that add-on by yours truly isn't without its own issues. We know that the precursor of the Tribulation AoD occurred a couple of centuries before Christ. It was done by the Seleucid king Antiochus IV Epiphanes when he managed to slaughter a pig and erect a statue of Zeus inside the Holy of Holies. How was he able to do this if the Holy Spirit was still filling the Temple?
Well, we know historically that the Ark of the Covenant was supposed to rest inside the Holy of Holies, and that it had gone missing sometime before the Babylonians sacked the city and temple back in 586 BC. Yet, as Greg points out, God dwelt in this second temple to some degree (Matt. 23:21). But perhaps the Arks' disappearance modeled (or foreshadowed) the same kind of departure the Holy Spirit would do prior to the crucifixion. When, at the moment of His death, the Temple veil 'rent in twain,' to expose the emptiness of the Holy of Holies which had been reduced to a shadow of its intended purpose by the Jew's vanity in choosing religious legalism over their own Messiah?
Nevertheless, just as there was an overlapping of existence between the conception of the Church 32AD and before national Israel's destruction and subsequent diaspora in AD70, there was no overlapping in the role of the Holy Spirit (again see Matt. 27:51). Thus, it means (in my mind at least) that the Church is this "no nation" who is pulled from the gentiles (a foolish nation) to provoke Israel into a state of jealousy. I think given the global success of the spread of Evangelical and Dispensational Christianity across the world over the past two centuries (right at the time Israel is being brought back as a literal nation) is evidence of this as well.
So let's assume, that the Rapture does fall on a Tish B'Av. Here are the upcoming Tish B'Av dates:
2022: August 6-7
2023: July 26-27
2024: August 12-13
2025: August 2-3
2026: July 22-23
2027: August 11-12
2028: July 31-Aug 1
2029: July 21-22
2030: August 7-8
2031: Jul 28-29
2032: July 17-18
2033: August 3-4
Given the 26 Jewish/Israeli tragedies associated with Tish B'Av (see Jeff Van Hatten's article below), it appears there was and will be a continued connection with this day and the ensuing tragedies that befall Israel. Now, if we add on top of that the already HUGE list of prophetic events converging in our own day, it seems beyond random or coincidence that the Rapture itself is happening sooner, rather than later.
We are coming up on the two-thousandth anniversary of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This means that from the year 29AD (earliest) through 33AD (the latest), plus two thousand years, would land us somewhere between 2029-2033. I think that is the most widely accepted range of dates for Christ's first ministry upon the earth. I also don't need to rectify this on a 30-day lunar/prophetic calendar as the history for the past two thousand years is well understood.
From Adam to Abraham, was 2,000 years.
From Abraham to Christ, was 2,000 years.
From the start of the Church Age til now, is coming up on the 2,000-year mark.
This equals roughly 6,000 years of human history.
God spread creation out over six days and rested on the seventh. God does not need rest, nor did He need six days to Create the universe. God does not do arbitrary or random
If mankind's timeline follows the Creation Week model (a day for a thousand years) then we are coming up on the end of the sixth day
We know the Rapture precedes the 70th Week (aka...The Seven Year Tribulation)
We believe there is a gap in time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week
We don't know how long that gap is though
At a minimum, the Rapture happens seven years before the Second Coming
The only known date is the Abomination of Desolation, which occurs at the mid-point (or 1,260 days or 42 months) into the 70th Week.
All of the prophetic predictions regarding the end are in play:
a. Israel back in her land (Amos 9:14-15, Luke 21:24)
b. Israel in control of Jerusalem (Zech. 12:2)
c. The third Temple is ready to be built (Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:3-4)
d. Technologies necessary to control all buying and selling now exist (Rev. 13:16-18)
e. Geopolitical players are lining up as the Bible says they will (Ezekiel 38)
f. Knowledge and travel greatly increasing (Dan. 12:1-2)
g. The Church Age turning Laodicean (Rev. 3:14-22)
h. Wickedness being normalized globally (2 Tim. 3)
i. Man caused birth pangs- Wars, rumors of wars, deception, love growing cold (Matt. 24)
j. Natural birth pangs- Earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc. (Matt. 24)
j. Scoffers within Christendom abounding (2 Peter 3)
k. Greed and corruption abounding (James 5:1-6)
l. Spiritual blindness upon the Jewish people until the end (Rom. 11:25)
So could the Rapture happen on Tish B'Av?
It could and if it did, would be a mighty powerful sign to the Jewish people when they begin to connect the dots about what just happened. It certainly brings 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:9 into more context.
That said, it could also happen tomorrow. We simply can't know definitively.
Although it is fun to work through all the potential dates and outcomes of when it could happen, we just need to remember one thing. Each day that passes, moves us one day closer to whenever that Day of Christ arrives.
1. Dr. Chuck Missler on Tish B'Av
2. Jeff Van Hatten on The Ninth of Av
3. Cynthia Nuara on A Prophetic Occurrence as Tisha B’Av Approaches