The Time Quest
The Exact Time The Tribulation
The Day of the Second Coming
The day the Tribulation will begin should be tied to the day of the Second Coming: Either it is on the same day of the year, or it is offset six months from that day, if the Tribulation is to last a number of complete years [for example 7 yrs.] or half an odd number of years [3 1/2].
So if the Second Coming were on Passover, it would appear that the Tribulation would also be on Passover, or alternatively, on Tabernacles-- the Feast of which is exactly six months later. But it is not clear that either of these is the correct date, since the rabbis reckoned a brand new calendar around 361 ce[AD]. That calendar's date for Passover is fixed centuries in advance by mathematical calculation, whereas the Bible, in the Law of Moses, requires an actual on-site observation be made of the condition of the new barley and a sighting of the first light of the new moon, from which first the Passover is set, then from the Passover, Pentecost. The rabbis, however, replaced this Biblical calendar with a man-made one in which no observations are made, nor does Pentecost fall on Sunday, as the Torah requires, but on the 6th of Sivan, which can be on any day of the week.
As we shall see, this may turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes the rabbis could make--
Even so, all this is but an additional layer of complexity in the solution of what is likely to be the most difficult of all problems in the field of Biblical chronology.
Some people feel the problem is forbidden to be solved. They cite Jesus words just before He ascended into Heaven:
It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has fixed by His authority [KJV: has put in His own power]. [Acts 1:7]
One problem with this interpretation is that Jesus is answering the Apostle's question about whether He will "AT THIS TIME restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus answers that, "It is not for you [Jewish Christian men of that time] to know" when the kingdom will be restored, for the Father put those times, "in His own power."
That certainly was true. But then He adds:
But ye shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. [Acts 1:8]
So Jesus qualifies this, by saying that they would have a change in their status of power in the kingdom after they receive the Holy Spirit, which was on the first Pentecost.
It may be significant that Pentecost is also one of the possible dates for the Second Coming and by extension the restoration of the kingdom in Israel when Jesus sits on David's throne. So Jesus might have been answering their questions indirectly.
Yet in Mark's Gospel Jesus seems to deny His own knowledge of the date:
But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels that are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father [only]. [Mark 13:32]
However, once again, the context of this was Jesus saying "Heaven and earth shall pass away" and not the Second Coming When will the earth "pass away" That may be in the distant future billions of years from now. It is not the same date as the Second Coming, and it clearly isn't the time the Tribulation begins.
We can now see that determining the date for the start of the Tribulation is not forbidden--even assuming it is keyed to the Second Coming. Jesus told those first-century Jewish Apostles, who would die long before the restoration, that it was not for them to know when this was going to happen. But the generation of the last days is actually told a lot about the signs to watch for. Note the lesson of the fig tree:
When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. [Mt 24:32-33; cf Mk 13:29]
Note that the "gates" here seem to be linked to summer. Indeed, in the Greek, the word used for summer is "THEROS" and for gates "THURAIS." So it is a word-play on similar sounding words.
Is Jesus giving a clue as to the time of His return? Is He coming back at the 'gate' of the summer, that is, the beginning of summer, which we call the Summer Solstice?
Even more curious, in the book of Enoch that is quoted from by Jude in his epistle, there is a lengthy discussion about the 'gates' or doors of the sun, referring both to the solstices and the equinoxes. Some commentators have now even suggested that these 'gates' might be referring to the sun's positions amidst the stone pillars of Stonehenge, or a similar solar gateway site.
The word "THURA" or "door" is also used when Jesus says "I stand at the DOOR," and when John is caught up to Heaven around Passover: "A DOOR was opened in Heaven." Jesus states, "I am the DOOR," specifically, the door of the Sheepfold.
Amazingly, there are several such 'doors' in Biblical astrology. One such door was inferred to be at the entrance to Cancer, which was once considered to be the sign of the "Manger" where animals were fed at an Inn. Associated with the Manger or Inn of Cancer were the three "decans" or 10 degree segments of Cancer's 30 degrees:
(Explanations for these associations are found in, God's Voice in the Stars, by Ken Fleming, published by Loizeaux Brothers of Neptune, New Jersey on pages 123-133.)
All these signs point to a GATE OF SAFETY by which sheep or those on a ship are protected. A door or gateway is actually seen in the heavens at this place: It is the "Bull's Eye" or eye of Taurus, known as the Hyades star cluster. Right at the outer end of this "V" in Taurus there is the brightest star of that constellation, which is Aldeberan, which supposedly means, "Leader." However, it is a Semitic word, and in Hebrew it could mean "The One who is the Word."
So we have "the Word" standing at the opened 'door' in Taurus. This star is at 15 degrees of Taurus, which is right at the center. In fact, Cyril Fagin, a historian of sidereal astrology, argued that the entire zodiac and heavens could have orignally been mapped out from this star.
Taurus was the Passover sign of Moses at the Exodus, when the spring equinox or solar "gate" was there. When the first point of Taurus fell on the first day of the year, the Passover came on the day when the sun conjuncted Aldeberan.
In the year of the Crucifixion, which we now have identified as 31 AD, the Passover meal was eaten on the evening of April 26th. That night the Sun was just passing over the Pleiades, the asterism associated with the Deluge and the Ark of Noah, as well as the seven churches in Asia, to which Revelation is addressed. The Pleiades are at 5-7 degrees Taurus, about 9 degrees from Aldeberan.
Just above Taurus in the sky is Auriga. This sign depicts a Shepherd, whose heel is wounded. Taurus the Bull and Aries the Ram together form the giant ancient sign of the Shepherd. Indeed, the entire third of the heavens from Taurus and Aries to Cancer, the Sheepfold, is connected to the idea of the Great Shepherd and His flock in the Sheepfold.
There is one more gate in this region of the heavens: The Milky Way's crossing of the Zodiac is a kind of gateway.
To understand this vast image, we need to go to the far end of the heavens, opposite Taurus: There we find Scorpio, the Scorpion whose Death sting Paul refers to [1 Cor 15:54-55]. Scorpio has the tip of its stinger pointed at the black hole at the heart of our Milky Way galaxy. Out of this dark pit the Milky Way appears to flow, gushing forth like prisoners set free, its star path arcing across the whole expanse of heaven, and plunging across the track of the Zodiac, at the juncture of Taurus and Gemini, the opening, or gate, through which it pours its lights into the Argo, Noah's Ark of safety. Auriga and the Great Shepherd are on either side of this Milky Way gate.
Because of the Precession of the Equinoxes-- that slow drift of the heavens caused by wobble in the earth's axis--this great Milky Way gate, which symbolizes the resurrection of the saints at the Second Coming, is now lining up with the Gate of the Summer Solstice.
The time of year being indicated is June 21, plus or minus a couple of days. In the time of Jesus, the 'gate of summer' lasted five days at the solstice because they could not detect when the sun began to rise away from its solstice or 'stationary' or north-most position at sunrise.
Jesus seems to be referring to this 'summer-gate' rather often. But He gives other clues:
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over His household to give them their food at the apoointed times? Blessed is that servant whom his Master will find so doing when He comes. [Mt 24:45-46]
Scholars agree that this reference was about Jesus leaving His church in charge of Apostles, who were supposed to feed the flock, or preach, "at the appointed times" or Biblical Feasts. It is well-established that the early church would meet on Passover, for example, and it still has services on Pentecost to this day.
Jesus appears to rather openly state that He will return on one of the Feasts. Pentecost is the only one still kept on the correct day, and even the Jewish people no longer keep it on the correct day most of the time. Due to quirks in the Catholic and Orthodox calendars, even their Pentecosts can fall on the wrong Sunday.
Pentecost is the birthday of the church, the day the Holy Spirit entered the church. It was the next Feast that Jesus was to keep before He ascended into Heaven. One could argue that His Second Coming should resume His sequence by His keeping of Pentecost upon His return.
Pentecost also initiates the New Testament--that is, it is the earliest datable event of it if one accepts that Zacharias was serving prior to Pentecost on Saturday night when Gabriel had appreared to him.
More to the point, Pentecost is the very day of the Jubilee release. It is the moment where all the slaves are freed and debts forgiven. It is the perfect Feast to depict the resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming. And that day is also the perfect symbol of how the Milky Way liberates the stars from the dark hole of death in Scorpio and pours them out into Argo the Ark of Safety.
How approriate then for Pentecost that there is even a way for it to fall on the very day of the summer solstice. Here's why: Jesus began His parable of that faithful and wise servant by first mentioning how his Master had gone away into a far country to get Himself a kingdom and then return. Now this theme runs through many of his parables. They often speak of a man who has left on a long journey.
Few realize that the Laws of Moses permitted those who'd been away on a long journey to keep the Passover in the second month. This included the counting of Pentecost. That meant everyone who missed Passover for this reason could later keep Pentecost a month behind schedule.
That part of the Law allowed Pentecost to be kept in June. In fact, in some years it became possible for Pentecost to fall at the very time of the summer solstice. This requires that the initial Passover fall during the first few days of April. It does so in 2012.
But the prophecy is about the Second Coming, not the start of the Tribulation. So we cannot use the second Pentecost rule to figure out how soon the Tribulation will occur. All we can do is observe that if the Tribulation timeframe is measured in complete years, then it could begin around June 21st, given that so many indicators point to this Gate of Summer as a Second Coming candidate.
The only viable alternative may be Passover, but compared to Pentecost, it seems unlikely.
The Year of the Tribulation
Identifying the year the tribulation begins, in theory, should be easier. After all, Christ never says we will not know the year He returns at the End. It is the 'day' and 'hour' that He says may be hard to know.
Indeed, the cutting short of the days at the start of this Tribulation requires that a large object of considerable mass pass near enough to speed up the rotation of the earth dramatically without hitting us and killing everyone. Still, this near-miss would be terrifying. Jesus says some men would die of heart failure due to fear of what is coming upon the earth. That requires them to see it coming well in advance.
So it will be difficult not to know what the year of the Tribulation will be once it is upon us. Everyone will know by then.
The hard part is predicting it several years ahead of time, before this massive object would be visible.
One clue we have is that everything that the New Testament describes seems to have been some chronological parallel. The Crucifixion is one obvious example. The resurrection also matches up with a Feast, the Wave-Sheaf Offering. Then of course we have Pentecost itself.
This practice of parallels extends also to a pattern of years. The Crucifixion was 40 years before the demolishing of the Temple in 71 AD-- which is often confused with the fire of 70 AD, but that fire left the stones intact.
There are reasons to believe the End will be accompanied by 2000-year parallels. One of the 'orphan' events for which no clear parallel has occurred was Jesus in the Sanhedrin when he was twelve years old. By our calculation, this was in the spring of 11 AD. [We dated Jesus' birth to September, 3 BC.] Jesus would become twelve in the fall of 10 AD and be twelve years old at the Passover of 11 AD, if He were born in 3 BC.
The 2000th anniversary of this event must be in the spring of 2011. Could this be when Mars comes by the earth?
At first galnce, it seems hard to avoid this conclusion. But the Mars close encounter isn't the first event of the Tribulation period. The fact that Jesus warns of 'men dying out of fear of what is coming [Mars] upon the earth' proves that the suffering begins BEFORE Mars arrives--perhaps well before.
Mars takes a bit over two years to orbit the sun. If it is to be hit by another object from deep space and knocked out of its current orbit so that it falls inward toward the sun, then it will probably be hit up to two years BEFORE the actual close approach to the earth.
Now we see the problem: People on earth will witness this 'war' in heaven as a large object, the size of a moon, strikes Mars. Up until the moment of impact no one would be able to figure out what will happen to Mars, much less to this planet, if Mars orbit changed.
So we are left with a possible two-year time of 'anticipation' after Mars is struck. Hardly a 'nice' time to be living: Panic would quickly sweep the globe. The stress would mount in one sickening escalation without a break right into the moment of Mars coming by. Men would die of heart failure from the stress of anticipation.
If 2011 marks the time of the impact on Mars by this object, then the shortening of the days when Mars passes near the earth would be closer to 2013. And as we have seen, the likely times for that are around the Summer Solstice.
But wait a minute. Do not assume everything will be fine until the spring of 2011. If Mars is hit by something big enough to shift it from its current orbit, then that object must have a sizable mass. And that means it would be large enough to be visible in telescopes for at least two years, and probably more, prior to striking Mars.
Think of how the world would react to a news report stating that an object big enough to hit a planet and change its orbit was suddenly on a comet-like track headed into the inner parts of the solar system. It might not be at all clear that this object would avoid the earth. People would fear a direct hit on the earth. When the collision with Mars was calculated, some people might breathe a sigh of relief.
But it wouldn't last. After Mars is hit, an evaluation of its new orbit will quickly reveal the threat to the earth.
Curiously, there was a parallel to this when the Romans [who worshipped Mars] first beseiged Jerusalem in 68 AD, then withdrew for two years after Nero died, only to return at the Passover of 70 AD. Those Christians who failed to escape before the war got a brief second chance.
However, Josephus indicates that the rebels, the Zealot extremists, held people in virtually a hostage situation during these two years. Few actually escaped, not because the Romans barred them from fleeing, but because their own people held them captive.
The modern equivalent would be either gangs, criminal or revolutionary, or Martial Law. The irony is that "MARTIAL" Law is named after Mars originally. And this would be a text-book time and circumstance for imposing it.
So don't expect to flee after the big object that is going to hit Mars is tracked headed for the inner solar system. That will set off such a panic that Martial Law may be imposed at once and leave you no further opportunity to escape.
Remeber that Jesus tells the Apostles to not even dash inside their houses to fetch a cloak, but flee to the mountains at THE FIRST SIGN the end has arrived.
This indicates, if it is also to apply to us at this time, that we must already have found a place of escape in the mountains and be already 'packed' and ready to roll as the time nears.
Indeed, if it is a long drive, you will very likely be stopped long before you get there, if they set up roadblocks. You need to be at your retreat within an hour or so of hearing about a large new object headed into the solar system.
That means you have to establish such a home well in advance. And the time to find it would add another year or more to your lead-time. If you add it all up, there is essentially no time to waste. If Mars gets it in 2011, then we can expect the object to be spotted by 2009, at the latest. It could be as early as 2007. Finding a retreat brings you back to 2006.
So we have potentially less than three years to make plans before the door of safety closes. I would not count on being able to buy, or even afford to buy, a retreat after 2006. Allow the pre-Mars period seven years, and expect to have your retreat established by then.
?Of course, this estimate of the time may yet be revised sooner by two years, if we move Mars passing by the earth up to 2011.
In that case, the seven year count-down will begin next year. Let's hope we have more time.
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