Anticipated Prophetic Events:
Delayed 1-3 Years?
The signs in the anticipated prophetic events section of my “End of the Age: 2020?” commentary did not take place in my suggested time frame. Had my basic assumptions been correct, it seems that those events should have occurred during Passover week: April 10-18, 2017.
My hypothesis was that the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) could be the 7-year agreement of Daniel 9:27a, which appears to confirm, strengthen and increase a prior covenant: the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). Both 7-year accords—the ENP: January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2013 and the ENI: January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2020—have involved many nations, including Israel.
Many cannot believe it is possible that the final 7 years of this age could have begun because a third temple has not been built on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, a “Pre-tribulation” Rapture has not taken place, and the Gog/Magog hordes have not attacked Israel. I am convinced that none of these are prerequisites for the final 7 years to begin, as explained in these three sections:
The following two events, prophesied by Jesus, presumably will make international news soon after they occur at or near the middle of the prophesied 70th Week of years, and then the Great Tribulation period will commence:
- armies surrounding and/or attacking Jerusalem, and
- people fleeing out of the region of Judea to the mountains (Luke 21:20,21).
Since those and other anticipated prophetic events did not take place in 2017, it would seem to put into doubt the notion that the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) could be the prophesied 7-year agreement of Daniel 9:27a. If it is not, it would seem logical to assume that there will be a 7-year agreement, fulfilling this prophecy, at some point in the future.
However, there may yet be a another possibility to consider. Conceivably, the final half of Daniel’s prophecied 70th Week could begin in 2018, 2019 or 2020, rather than in 2017. If so, the end of the age and Jesus’ return to earth to rule and reign, being delayed 1-3 years, would take place in 2021, 2022 or 2023. Of course, an explanation is in order.
final 7 years
First, consider the prophesied 70 weeks of years, described by the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel almost 6 centuries B.C. This prophecy applied to Daniel’s holy people, Israel, and to their holy city, Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24). The final (70th) week of those prophesied 70 weeks of years will be the final 7 years of this age, prior to the return of Jesus to rule and reign over the earth.
A common assumption, particularly among those who have studied Bible prophecy, has been that the final (70th) week of the prophesied 70 weeks of years would be equivalent to the week of 7 years that begins with the confirmation of a covenant (involving Israel and other nations) for one week of years:
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week.... (Daniel 9:27a—NKJV)
However, what if those two 7-year periods do not coincide precisely? That is, perhaps the following two 7-year periods are not identical, even though they may overlap:
- the 7-year span of the man-ordained agreement, which confirms a prior man-made covenant; and
- the 7-year span of the God-ordained 70th Week, which constitutes the final 7 years of the 70 weeks of years spoken about by the angel Gabriel, God’s messenger to the prophet Daniel.
Many would consider this speculation, that the two 7-year periods in question might be different, to be implausible and improbable. Yet, it is a fact that Satan counterfeits countless things of God to mislead people and to throw them off-track. Thus, it seems reasonable to contemplate the possibility that Satan might try to confuse the timing of the final 7 years of this age so that it would be less likely for people to know when this time period has begun and is transpiring.
Furthermore, God will be opposed to the 7-year accord, involving Israel, because His chosen people (the Israelites) will have entered into the covenental agreement without having consulted Him and without having gained His approval. This is shown in the Old Testament book of the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 28:15-19, 57:8,9). The Israelites will be relying on a man to protect them from their enemies, rather than looking to God to guard and defend them.
Presumably, it is the satanically-inspired Antichrist—that is, the man of lawlesssness who will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped (2 Thessalonians 2:3b,4)—who is the man that confirms a covenant with many (including Israel) for a week of 7 years (Daniel 9:24). Perhaps this would be done with the intent of counterfeiting the correct timing of the prophesied 70th Week of years, which are the actual, final, and God-ordained 7 years of this age.
middle vs. midst
In most Bible versions, Daniel 9:27 states that it is in the middle of the period launched by the 7-year agreement when sacrifice and offering will be put to an end:
He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven,” but in the middle of that “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (Daniel 9:27—NIV)
However, there also are Bible versions stating that it is in the midst of the 7-year agreement period when this occurs:
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate. (Daniel 9:27—NKJV)
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—KJV)
So, what if “midst”—implying that it would take place at some unspecified time during the 7-year span—is the more accurate translation? Seemingly, this opened the possibility that the sacrifice and offering being stopped could be at some point within the 7-year agreement period but not necessarily in the exact middle (or even middle year) of that period.
And he shall confirm a brit [covenant] with rabbim [the many] for one heptad [week of seven years]; and in the midst of the heptad he shall cause the zevach [sacrifice] and the minchah [gift offering] to cease, and on the kenaf [wing or overspreading] of the abominations is one making desolate, even until the complete destruction, a destruction that is decreed, shall be poured out upon the Shomem [Desolator, Destroyer]. (Daniel 9:27—OJB)
Thus, it remained possible that the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the 7-year agreement of Daniel 9:27a. If so, since none of the anticipated prophetic events took place during Passover week of 2017, then it seemed possible that they might occur in one of the subsequent years spanned by the ENI agreement.
God’s timetable vs. man’s schedule
Events on God’s timetable typically take place later than events on man’s presumed schedule. Here are a handful of examples:
God always is the one who ordains the things that will happen. Furthermore, they usually take place much later than people expect them to happen. God exists from “everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2). His thoughts and ways are infinitely higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8,9), and the bounds of His ordained time frame typically are later and longer than ours.
- God made an everlasting covenant with Abram (Abraham) and promised him a son, indicating that there would be descendants of that son (the Israelites) who would be enslaved and mistreated 400 years (in Egypt). However, it was another 15 years before that son, Isaac, was born to Abraham (at age 100) and his wife Sarah (at age 90).
- After God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, He sent Moses to Pharaoh in Egypt to tell him to let the Israelites leave Egypt. However, it was a lengthy period of time time—during which the Israelites had to undergo a great deal of suffering—before they were able to flee from Egypt the day after the first Passover.
- Israel chose Saul to be their first king. However, after some time, God rejected him and selected David to be His anointed king over Israel.
- When Jesus came the first time, His followers thought that He was going to defeat Israel’s enemies so that Israel could live in peace and security. This did not happen at that time, but it will when He returns the second time to rule and reign, all on God’s timetable.
- The United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine was proposed in 1947 as a way to carve up Palestine. But this sparked the Israel War of Independence, beginning in 1947, and then The Declaration of the State of Israel in 1948. Moreover, there still is no official Palestinian State.
God’s calendar vs. man’s calendar
God’s Hebraic calendar is based on specific Spring and Fall festivals and holy days that take place each year. He said, “These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the LORD...” (Leviticus 23:2). He does not abide by a human-made Gregorian calendar, which runs annually from January 1 to December 31.
Thus, the span of the artificial, man-made European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI), running from January 1, 2014, to December 31, 2020 (exactly 7 years), does not synchronize or harmonize with God’s calendar of Hebraic feast and holy days. To get an idea of the timing of the end, it is a good idea to look at the beginning. Since the beginning, God has used lights in the sky (particularly the sun and the moon) as “signs to mark seasons and days and years” (Genesis 1:14).
It seems noteworthy that in the Spring and Fall of 2014 and 2015, several lunar and solar eclipses took place on Hebraic feast and holy days, which is a very rare occurrence in two consecutive years (see “Blood Moons” on Hebraic Feast and Holy Days):
Lunar and Solar Eclipses: 2014 & 2015
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Apr. 15, 2014
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Oct. 8, 2014
|| Feast of Tabernacles
| Total Solar Eclipse
|| Mar. 20, 2015
|| Rosh Chodesh Nisan
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Apr. 4, 2015
| Partial Solar Eclipse
|| Sep. 13, 2015
|| Erev Feast of Trumpets
| Total Lunar Eclipse
|| Sep. 28, 2015
|| Feast of Tabernacles
The man-ordained European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) began on January 1, 2014. However, perhaps the the God-ordained 70th Week of years—the final 7 years of this age—began later in 2014 or in 2015 to fit into His holy calendar.
Interestingly, Sukkot = Feast of Tabernacles is observed for one week of 7 days:
The LORD said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the fifteenth day of the seventh month the LORD’s Feast of Tabernacles begins, and it lasts for seven days.’” (Leviticus 23:33,34)
We know that God’s prophesied 70th Week will last for one “week” of 7 years. Feasibly, then, this may have been a hint that the first day of a 7-day Feast of Tabernacles also will begin the final 7-year period of this age, prior to the return of Jesus to rule and reign over the earth.
I am virtually convinced that Jesus will return to earth on a future Yom Kippur, which usually is in the early Fall of the year and always is five days before the first day of Sukkot = Feast of Tabernacles. It seems logical that the commencement of the final 7 years prior to His return also could have been in the Fall of a recent year—maybe at the time of the total lunar eclipse on the Feast of Tabernacles, either in 2014 or in 2015.
In 2014, the two lunar eclipses—on Passover and on the Feast of Tabernacles—were significant. However, in 2015, the two lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses—on Passover and on the Feast of Tabernacles, as well as on Rosh Chodesh Nisan and on Rosh Chodesh Tishrei—appeared to be extremely significant. So, while there were two eclipses on Hebraic holy days in 2014, there were a very impressive four eclipses on Hebraic holy days in 2015. Thus, it seemed reasonable to consider that God may have been focusing on 2015 in which to begin His 70th Week: the final 7 years of this age.
Interestingly, the final “blood moon,” on Sep. 27,28, 2015, was a supermoon eclipse. The moon was at its perigee, the closest point to the earth in its annual orbit around the earth. A total eclipse of the moon at this location is a very rare event, occurring only once every 18 years.
Therefore, it seemed plausible that the timing of the last of the six solar and lunar eclipses in those two years—the “blood moon” on the Feast of Tabernacles, Sep. 28, 2015—could have been the most likely date for God to begin the final 7 years of this age on His holy calendar. Interestingly, two days later—Sep. 30, 2015—was when the Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War began, and their presence in Syria still continues.
However, if the final seven years of this age had begun in the Fall of 2015, then the set of anticipated prophetic events should have taken place about 3˝ years later in the Spring of 2019—presumably, during Passover week: Apr. 19-27, 2019—which they did not. That left Passover week a year later—Apr. 8-16, 2020—as the last remaining viable time for those events to happen if the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) was the 7-year agreement of Daniel 9:27a.
dates in upcoming years
In my significant dates section, I noted how I am convinced that the return of Jesus back to earth will take place on a Yom Kippur = Day of Atonement. I also noted how I believe that the second half of the 70th Week will be 1,260 days (Revelation 11:3) + 3˝ days (11:9,11) = 1,263˝ days (rounding up to 1,264 days) in length.
|Yom Kippur Minus 1,263˝ Days
|Yom Kippur||Minus 1,263˝ Days||Dates||During Passover Week?
|September 16, 2021|
October 5, 2022
September 25, 2023
|– 1,263˝ Days =|
– 1,263˝ Days =
– 1,263˝ Days =
|April 2-3, 2018|
April 21-22, 2019
April 10-11, 2020
|Yes: March 30-April 7, 2018
Yes: April 19-27, 2019
Yes: April 8-16, 2020
So the 1,260 days of the 1,263˝-day period of Revelation 11:3,7,9,11 will commence when the the two witnesses begin their prophesying in Jerusalem. However, the 1,260 days of Revelation 12:6, with many people in Judea fleeing to a mountainous/desert region (Matthew 24:16-18; Luke 21:21)—some feel to Petra in Jordan—probably will constitute the final 1,260 days of the 1,263˝-day period.
I feel very strongly that the anticipated prophetic events, initiating the Great Tribulation period, will take place during a Passover week in some year. In the chart above, it can be seen in each of the remaining years while the European Neighbourhood Instrument is in effect—2018, 2019 & 2020—that the events commencing the final 3˝ years of this age potentially could begin in one of those years.
season of Teshuvah
Teshuvah, meaning “return” or “repentance,” is a 40-day season each year on the Hebraic calendar. This probably was the period of forty days and forty nights when Jesus was tempted in the desert by the devil, yet He resisted every temptation (Matthew 4:1-11).
The season of Teshuvah begins on Av 30 (at sunset following Av 29), thirty days before Rosh haShanah begins on Tishri 1 (at sunset following Elul 29), and ends on Yom Kippur (Tishri 10). It always begins on a new moon, which is an example of how God uses lights in the sky (particularly the sun and the moon) as “signs to mark seasons and days and years” (Genesis 1:14).
During the month of Elul, one is to examine one’s life, to repent and turn from one’s sins, and to restore broken relationships with others and with God, knowing that the “Day of Judgment” (Rosh haShanah) is approaching. On each day of Elul, a shofar (horn or trumpet) is blown, reminding everyone to repent because Rosh haShanah is drawing near.
Psalm 27, and often Ezekiel 33:1-7, are read. Psalm 27 states that the Lord is our “salvation” when our “enemies attack” us, “sheltering” us and keeping us “safe” in the “day of trouble” (Psalm 27:1,2,5). Ezekiel 33:1-7 pertains to the blowing of the trumpet to “warn the people” of the “...sword coming against the land...” (33:3). For whoever does not heed the warning and loses his life, “...his blood will be on his own head” (that is, it is his own fault) because “if he had taken warning, he would have saved himself” (33:4,5).
In 2017, a significant total solar eclipse, with the zone of totality observable only in the United States, took place on Av 29 (August 21). It ushered in the 40-day season of Teshuvah, which began at sunset. It very well may have been a warning, not only to the U.S. but to all the nations of the world, that a sincere repentance was and is expected by God—or else severe judgment will result.
total solar eclipse: August 21, 2017
On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse crossed the entire United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. The U.S. was the only country that was on the eclipse’s path of totality, which was seen by observers in 12 states (and maybe in a tiny portion of 2 other states).
The last total eclipse that crossed the U.S., from coast to coast, was in 1918. However, the August 21, 2017 eclipse was the first total eclipse that was exclusive only to the U.S. in the nation’s history. These two videos provide more information:
sign of Jonah
Jesus spoke about the sign of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish or whale (Jonah 1:17), Jesus said that He would be three days and three nights in the grave or “heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39,40).
Interestingly, ancient cuneiform tablets, discovered in the 19th century, describe events in ancient Nineveh. One event was the Bur-Sagale or Assyrian total eclipse, which has been verified by NASA as taking place in 763 B.C.
Evidently, the eclipse passed directly over Nineveh just before Jonah arrived. This very likely was a primary reason why the people of Nineveh were ready and willing to repent when God sent Jonah there to warn them that they had only forty days left to repent (Jonah 3:1-10).
It very well could be, then, that the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017, was a warning sign to America—which presently is an extremely divided nation—to repent during the 40-day season of Teshuvah...or else. Realistically, though, it is difficult to imagine that such a massive, coast-to-coast repentance would take place and that the majority of the people in the United States would unite and turn exclusively to the one, true God.
Click on image to see a larger view.
Not only are Americans deeply divided in their pro-God vs. anti-God views, they also are deeply divided in other ways, such as conservativism vs. liberalism, lawfulness vs. lawlessness, legal vs. illegal immigration, females vs. males, and along racial lines. As such, what Jesus said about division becomes very concerning:
Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12:25)
Ancient Israel is an example to all the nations of the world, including the USA. The Israelites gradually began transgressing against God’s covenantal laws, and then they started embracing and worhiping gods other than the one, true God. God’s compassion and mercy lasted for quite awhile; His desire was for the people to repent and turn back to Him.
However in due time, when they did not repent of their ways, His harsh judgment fell upon them (Daniel 9:9-15; Jeremiah 15:6-8). This actually applies not just to Israel but to every nation and to all people (Jeremiah 18:7-12; Hebrews 10:26,27). God’s gracious mercy gradually wanes, and eventually it is out-weighed by His severe judgment.
Following the total solar eclipse that essentially “sliced America in half,” further stark warnings seem to have occurred, perhaps portending the beginning of God’s pronounced and perilous judgment on the U.S., along with other nations such as neighboring Mexico. Possible warnings may include the following disasters, all of which took place or commenced within a month of the solar eclipse of August 21:
- Aug. 25: Hurricane Harvey made landful in Texas as a Category 4 storm. It caused catastrophic damage to eastern portions of the state along the Gulf Coast.
- Sep. 6: Huge wildfires in CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, NV, UT, WY and CO were raging. They lasted for several weeks and caused catastrophic damage. They culminated in the October 2017 Northern California wildfires, burning throughout most of October and including the Napa Sonoma fires in the famed wine country of No. CA.
- Sep. 7: The Chiapas earthquake, with Magnitude 8.2, struck off the southern coast of Mexico. It generated a tsunami with waves of 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 meters) above tide level. It was the strongest earthquake recorded in Mexico in a century, as well as the strongest earthquake in the world in 2017.
- Sep. 7: Hurricane Irma pummeled the Caribbean Islands as a Category 5 storm. It caused extensive and widespread devastation.
- Sep. 10: Hurricane Irma made two landfalls in Florida, as a Category 4 and 3 storm. Moving northward along the west coast, it caused catastrophic damage to much of the state.
- Sep. 19: The Central Mexico earthquake, with Magnitude 7.1, struck southeast of Mexico City. It caused considerable destruction in the Mexican states of Puebla and Morelos and in the Greater Mexico City area, where more than 40 buildings collapsed.
- Sep. 19: Hurricane Maria roared across the Caribbean island of Dominica as a Category 5 storm. It caused catastrophic damage throughout the entire island.
- Sep. 20: Hurricane Maria made a direct hit on Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. It caused calamitous devastation across the island, from which it may never fully recover.
Then on Oct. 1, the day following the final day of the season of Teshuvah (Sep. 30), there was a horrendous, unprecedented, record-breaking shooting attack in the U.S.:
- Oct. 1: A Las Vegas shooting took place, resulting in 58 deaths and 851 injuries. The killer fired from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel onto approximately 22,000 people below, who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival. It was the worst and deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in United States history. (Also, see 2017 Las Vegas shooting.)
In time, it could be that the U.S. will become proccupied with innumerable problems and hardships. Potentially, this might prevent the U.S. from aiding and protecting Israel in an upcoming attack.
Within the final “ten days of awe” during the season of Teshuvah, it seems that God had prepared yet another amazing sign in the sky on September 23, 2017. Seemingly, this was another manifest warning by God.
sign in the sky: September 23, 2017
On September 23, 2017, there was a combination of two constellations, stars, planets, the sun and the moon, and other signs in the sky. Many believe that these signs fulfilled the first couple of verses of Revelation 12, with “the woman” being a prophetic representation of Israel:
Click on images to see larger views.
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Revelation 12:1,2)
The 9 stars of Leo (the “lion”) plus the 3 planets Venus, Mars and Mercury appeared to form the 12 stars of a “crown” above the head of Virgo (the “virgin”). From our perspective on earth, the sun appeared to be near her head with the new moon near her feet.
Also, from our perspective, the planet Jupiter was in apparent retrograde motion, which is the perceived, limited reversal of the motion of a planet as seen from Earth. Jupiter appeared to be moving around the “womb” of Virgo (the virgin), for nine months, as if “she” were pregnant.
There are many “cyclical” prophecies in the Bible, meaning that God can cause prophecies to have mutiple fulfillments, on different levels. So, among other things, Virgo could represent Israel and also the virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus (Matthew 1:20-23). Leo could represent Judah (Genesis 49:9), the son of Jacob/Israel, and also Judah’s descendant Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
The prophecy describes another sign to appear:
Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. (Revelation 12:3,4)
In the time of Jesus, Satan looked for ways to kill Jesus. Eventually, he influenced Judas to betray Jesus. Then Jesus was interrogated, humiliated, flogged and crucified. It seemed that Satan had won.
However, after three days, Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the Feast of Firstfruits (commonly known as “Easter Sunday”). For forty days, Jesus appeared to apostles and to others, proving that He was alive (Acts 1:3); and then He was taken up to heaven in their sight (1:9). He was the first of many who, having placed their faith in Him, eventually will be caught up to be with Jesus in heaven.
Evidently, there appeared to be something between the “legs” of Virgo on September 23, 2017. Some have said it was a binary solar system that could be viewed only with an infrared telescope. The two stars in the system seemed to resemble the two eyes on the face of a fiery red dragon.
Click on images to see larger views.
Others have said it was Nibiru or Planet X which, allegedly, it is a large planet with a very long elliptical orbit around the sun. They claim that at some point, allegedly, it will pass near the earth—or even crash into the earth—causing untold destruction.
It should be noted that Revelation 12:3,4 (shown above) is not the same event as Revelation 12:7-9 (described below):
And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)
In the first passage (Revelation 12:3,4), it is Satan (the “red dragon”) who sweeps a third of his “stars” or evil angels out of the sky or heaven and flings them to the earth. Presumably, they were sent to have a negative effect on the earth and influence on people everywhere for an unspecified period of time.
There have been mysterious loud booms, followed by brief shakings, in the world for a few years. However, their frequency escalated in the U.S. in 2017, especially during the final few months of the year. These included booms/shakings in San Diego, CA & Bridgewater, NJ, in Centreville, AL, and in Denver, CO, as well as in numerous other locations. The mystery booms, shakings and flashes of light continued throughout 2018. In early 2019, they happened in various places across the United States, from Arizona to Rhode Island, including Louisville, Kentucky.
Some have suggested that many of these booms are caused by supernatural beings, perhaps being flung out of the sky by Satan (Revelation 12:3,4a), that are traveling through the atmosphere at an exceedingly high rate of speed. If so, and if they are falling to the earth, there is no telling what all they are doing once they get here. Perhaps they are being instrumental in leading the world down the pathway toward the Great Tribulation.
If the United States—the main protector of Israel—were to be preoccupied with or to have its attention diverted toward its own natural, human-caused and/or socioeconomic disasters, this potentially could open the door for Israel to be attacked by its enemies. Then Jerusalem might be surrounded by armies, and people may flee (perhaps to a mountainous desert area like Petra), thus fulfilling Luke 21:20,21 and Revelation 12:6 and commencing the final 1,260 days = 3˝ years of this age.
In the second passage (Revelation 12:7-9), Satan will battle with the archangel Michael. Satan himself, along with the remainder of his evil angels, will be hurled permanently to the earth. A warning is given to the earth and to the sea because the devil, filled with fury, knows that his time is short (Revelation 12:12b). He will have only “a time, times and half a time” (or “a year, two years and half a year” = 3˝ years or 1,260 days) to unleash his devastation and destruction upon the earth; it will be the same length of time that the remnant of “the woman” will be protected, by God, out of Satan’s reach (12:14).
So for 3˝ years, Satan and his evil angelic host will wreak immeasurable and unprecedented havoc in the world. Most of this will take place during the Great Tribulation period and will continue into the day of vengeance period, culminating with Jesus’ physical return to earth to rule and reign.
Next, in the prophetic vision, we see this:
She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. (Revelation 12:5)
A common view always has been that the “son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter” (Psalm 2:9; Revelation 19:15) was Jesus, who indeed “was snatched up to God and to his throne” after His resurrection. However, since the Revelation 12:5 prophecy was written decades after Jesus’ death and resurrection, it also seems to describe something that is yet to come.
Thus, this would seem to indicate that another “child” of the woman will be “snatched up to heaven” at some point after the sign of the woman appears in the sky. Indeed, believers in Jesus have been grafted into the “olive root” of Israel (Romans 11:17). Those who overcome the temptations, enticements and seductions of world, and who submit to the will of God, will be given authority to “rule the nations with an iron scepter,” along with Jesus:
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—“He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery”—just as I have received authority from my Father. (Revelation 2:26,27)
If those being snatched up to heaven are believers in Jesus who have learned to overcome the world and its temptations, we might wonder when this would happen. Many believe that this points to a Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Personally, I do not believe that a Pre-Tribulation Rapture will take place, as explained in my Rapture commentary and in my Rapture Questions and Responses section.
Presumably, if a third of the Satan’s “stars” (or his evil angels) are flung to earth (Revelation 12:4a), they would spend an unspecified amount of time disrupting people’s lives and trying to tempt people, including believers in Jesus, to stray away from God. It seems plausible to consider that they might do this until Passover week in a subsequent year because of what we see a couple of verses later in the prophecy:
The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:6)
Perhaps being “snatched up to heaven” (Revelation 12:5b) might be in a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, as it seems to take place just prior to the fleeing of the woman into the desert to be taken care of by God for 1,260 days (12:6).
The latter represents a remnant of Israelis escaping Judea and Jerusalem and fleeing into the desert, where they will be taken care of by God for “a time, times and half a time” (Revelation 12:14), which is the final 3˝ years or 1,260 days of this age. This equates to Jesus’ warning to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:16; Mark 13:14; Luke 21:21), which is one of the anticipated prophetic events. Some feel that the people will flee to Petra, a mountainous desert location in Jordan, just prior to the onset of the Great Tribulation.
It is conceivable, then, that a “firstfruits rapture” could take place for a remnant of “firstfruits believers,” perhaps on the Feast of Firstfruits = Resurrection Sunday (Easter), during Passover week in 2018, 2019 or 2020. Furthermore, the following (and other) anticipated prophetic events would be expected to take place during the week following Passover, in the Spring of one of those three years, at the beginning of the Great Tribulation period: