The greatest hope of Dispensationalism is the Rapture of the (gentile) Church. The view states that no Jew will be raptured, but that they will remain on earth during the Great Tribulation. This is based on the mistaken idea that the Jews represent all twelve tribes of Israel listed in Revelation 7.
Some say that the Rapture will come at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week; others say it will occur in the middle of the week; and still others say that it will come afterward. All of these views, of course, assume a Rapture (removal). They only differ on its timing. None of them understand the second coming of Christ as prophesied by the feast days of Israel.
Israel’s feast days were divided into two parts. The Spring feasts (Passover and Pentecost) prophesied of Christ’s first work on earth; the Autumn feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles) prophesied of the events surrounding His second coming.
The Dispensationalists developed their concept of the Rapture without understanding the prophetic feast days. Hence, they misinterpret many of the New Testament statements which presume a prior knowledge of the feast days.
The second coming of Christ is one of the major themes in both the Old and New Testament. It was prophesied in the law and the prophets, and some of the most important patterns of His coming were recorded under Moses, when God came down upon Sinai, and Moses “rose up early in the morning” (Ex. 34:4) to meet Him in the clouds on the mount.
The two comings of Christ are mandated in Leviticus 14 and 16 in the laws of the two birds and the two goats, all of which represent Christ. In Leviticus 14 we find it takes two birds (doves) to cleanse lepers. Leprosy is a type of slow death (mortality), which is overcome not by a single bird, but by TWO of them. The first is killed, representing the death of Christ in His first coming; the second is dipped in the blood of the first and released into the open field (Lev. 14:5-7). Hence, Rev. 19:13 pictures Christ in His second appearance being released into the “field” (i.e., the world, Matt. 13:38), with His robe dipped in blood.
Likewise, in Leviticus 16 we find two goats necessary to cleanse sin. The first is killed, which prophesies of Christ’s death on the cross. The second is released alive into the wilderness (same meaning as the “field”).
So there is no question that the law prophesies of two comings of Christ. The question is not IF, but HOW He will return. Many have also tried to figure out WHEN He will return.
How the Spring Feasts Were Fulfilled
The most important details of His coming are found in the prophecies of the feast days of Israel. The feast days are divided into two parts—Spring and Autumn feasts. Similarly, the daily sacrifices were divided into morning and evening sacrifices. All of these picture two comings of Christ.
The Spring feasts were fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. He died as the Passover Lamb at the time when the people were killing the lambs on the afternoon of Abib 14 (or Nisan 14). He was raised from the dead on the first Sunday after Passover, according to Lev. 23:11,
11 And he [the high priest] shall wave the [barley] sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it.
Jesus was raised from the dead while it was yet dark, probably the moment that the new course of priests arrived at the temple to perform their duties for the week. They had to arrive about 3:00 a.m. in order to start preparing the morning sacrifice.
The sheaf was waved around the time of the morning sacrifice around the third hour of the day. That was the time when Jesus was presented to the Father in heaven. He had to wait for some hours after His resurrection until the high priest waved the sheaf, because that was the appointed time prophesied in the law for His presentation as the “First fruits” of Creation (1 Cor. 15:23).
Seven weeks after the sheaf was waved, the wheat offering of Pentecost was made in the temple (Lev. 23:17). It too was offered at the third hour of the day, the time of the morning sacrifice. This was the moment when the fire came down from heaven and accepted the offering of the hearts of the people. But God did not validate the offering being made in the temple. Instead, He came down upon the disciples in the upper room, validating their true “wheat” offering (Acts 2:1-3).
The disciples went out into the streets, prophesying in tongues, and some people thought they were drunk. Peter responded in verse 15,
15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day.
Once again, we see how timing is so important. The law had prophesied the timing of the crucifixion (mid-afternoon of the 14th of Abib). It had prophesied the timing of His resurrection (the coming of the new course of priests). It had prophesied of His presentation as the First fruits at the third hour of the day. It had prophesied of the Spirit’s coming on the day of Pentecost at the third hour of the day, while the high priest offered a new meal offering of wheat.
How the Autumn Feasts Will be Fulfilled
By the time we have finished studying the correlation between the Spring feasts and the New Testament events surrounding the purpose of Christ’s first coming, we should have a good grasp of the mind of God and how the law prophesies also of His second coming. The Autumn feasts (Trumpets, Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles) prophesy of the events of His second coming.
The blowing of Trumpets on the first day of the seventh month (Hebrew calendar) prophesies of the resurrection of the dead. The Jews traditionally called it “The Day of the Awakening Blast,” and they often go to cemeteries to commemorate this day, because they have long understood this to prophesy of the resurrection of the dead.
Paul tells us in 1 Thess. 4:16 that “the dead in Christ will rise first.” This is the first event in the sequence of events fulfilling the Autumn feasts. Paul also says in 1 Cor. 15:52,
52 in a moment (atomos, an atomic change), in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
In those days the trumpet was blown to signal the beginning of each month when the witnesses caught sight of the first crescent moon on the horizon at sundown. The first day of the seventh month was a special trumpet called “the last trumpet,” because it was the final month of the original Mosaic feast days.
As for the timing of Christ’s return, Paul seems to indicate in 1 Thess. 4:16 that the Lord will “descend from heaven" at the time of the resurrection—that is, when the trumpet is blown on the morning of the first day of the seventh month. If so, there is more to the “return” of Christ than just His descent from heaven. The Head must yet be joined with the Body, but He cannot do so until the living saints are changed in their atoms and made immortal and incorruptible.
That change is prophesied to occur on the first of Tabernacles, which is two weeks after the trumpet of resurrection is blown. We will discuss the feast of Tabernacles shortly.
So the first day of the seventh month, the day of Trumpets, prophesied of the raising of the dead. But contrary to much modern teaching, not everything is to occur on this day. This is only the beginning of end-time events.
The Day of Atonement
The blowing of trumpets began a 10-day time of repentance and introspection that culminated on the Day of Atonement on the 10th day of the 7th month. When the dead are raised, many will repent, including many in the Church itself, because many Christians will be shocked and frightened when they see that the “rapture” did not occur—or perhaps they will assume that it DID occur, but they were “left behind.”
Some major adjustments in their eschatology will have to be made very quickly, because the living saints will not be caught away on the same day that the resurrection takes place. The catching away is scheduled for Tabernacles.
The Feast of Tabernacles (Booths)
Five days after the Day of Atonement is the beginning of the feast of Tabernacles (7/15). It extends a full week and ends with a final ceremony on the eighth day (7/22). This feast prophesies of the “change” that will occur in the bodies of those who are alive at the end of the Age. Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:51,
51 Behold, I tell you a secret: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.
The “change” will occur on the first day of Tabernacles. This change from mortal to immortality and from corruption to incorruption will allow the living to be united with those who were raised from the dead two weeks earlier. At this point, they will have the same kind of “flesh” for it will be spiritual flesh. The two groups cannot be united until they have the same body.
This is also the time of Birthing the “Manchild,” which is “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Believers are impregnated with Christ by the Holy Spirit, following the same pattern as Jesus and His mother. Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35), making Jesus the product of a Heavenly Father and an earthly mother.
He was thus both Son of God and Son of Man, having two parents. This was necessary in order for the law to be fulfilled in giving Him dominion in both heaven and earth.
It is the same with the believers in Christ, for we are co-heirs with Him (Rom. 8:17). The great secret (“mystery”) of the Church is “Christ in you” (Col. 1:27). That holy seed in us is the spiritual fetus having a heavenly Father and an earthly “mother.” In that sense, we are all part of the Bride company, whether we are male or female in the natural.
When we experience the feast of Passover (justification), we are impregnated by the Spirit. Pentecost prophesied the growth of the child (sanctification). Tabernacles prophesied of its birth, and the eighth day of Tabernacles prophesied of its “circumcision” and presentation to God, which by law must occur on an eighth day.
This holy seed, “Christ in you,” is not Jesus Christ Himself. It is a new generation, “a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). It is an extension of Christ, for it is His Body. Yet it is also “us,” because it is “the real you.” We are becoming that next generation, so to speak. Our “natural man,” like Rachel, “dies” in childbirth (Gen. 35:18), and we take on a new form of existence, immortal, incorruptible, perfected, and complete.
When the living saints are changed and the Manchild brought to full birth on the first day of Tabernacles, they will enjoy the same kind of perfected body that the dead had already received two weeks earlier at the blowing of the trumpet. At that point, they will be united in perfect harmony into one Body.
However, this Body will still be incomplete until the Head is joined with the Body. The Head cannot join with the Body until the Body itself is united as one, and for this reason the joining of the Head with the Body must come in the midst of Tabernacles. This must occur some time between the first day and the eighth day when this New Creation Man (having both Head and Body) must be presented to the Father in its perfected state.
The Midst of Tabernacles
The joining of the Head with the Body, I believe, will come some time between the first and the eighth day of Tabernacles. The biblical pattern for this event is shown in John 7, the only account where Jesus kept the feast of Tabernacles. We read in John 7:2,
2 Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths [Tabernacles], was at hand.
Jesus told the disciples to go to Jerusalem ahead of Him in verses 6-8,
6 Jesus therefore said to them, “My time is not yet at hand; but your time is always opportune... 8 Go up to the feast yourselves; I do not go up to this feast, because My time has not yet fully come.”
But once He had sent the disciples ahead, He went to the feast in secret. We read in John 7:10-14,
10 But when His disciples had gone up to the feast, then He Himself also went up, not publicly, but as it were, in secret... 14 But when it was now the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach.
This highly prophetic story gives us the timing of His second coming. The “temple” is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 3:16). Though He “comes” prior to his Temple appearance, it remains “secret” until the middle of the feast of Tabernacles. This prophesies, I believe, of the fact that Jesus Christ will “come” at or before the beginning of Tabernacles, but will not be in contact with His disciples (the true temple) until the middle of the feast.
In the story in John 7, He had to separate Himself from the disciples for a time in order to rejoin the Head with the Body in the midst of the feast. So also in the second coming of Christ, the Head cannot join the Body until the whole Body has been made “one flesh” on the first of Tabernacles. He must join with them before the eighth day when the complete Body must be presented to the Father. Hence, He comes in the midst of the feast.
The Eighth Day of Tabernacles
The “new man” is not allowed to be presented to the Father until the eighth day. This law is found in Exodus 22:29 and 30,
29 You shall not delay the offering from your harvest and your vintage. The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep. It shall be with its mother seven days; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.
The “birth” of this corporate Son occurs on the first day of Tabernacles. The presentation of this corporate Son occurs on the eighth day, according to the law (above). Any and all presentation of sons to the Father can only occur on an eighth day. After His birth, Jesus was presented to the Temple on the eighth day (Luke 2:21). After His resurrection-birth, Jesus had to present Himself to the Father on the day after the Sabbath (Lev. 23:11), commonly known today as “Easter Sunday” It was the eighth day.
Likewise, insofar as the corporate Son is concerned, the presentation must occur on the eighth day of Tabernacles, and this is why there are eight days associated with Tabernacles (Lev. 23:39). So also in the story in John 7:37-39, Jesus prophesied of the glory-fire of God coming on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If any man is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
There are some who believe that the great day of the feast was the seventh day of Tabernacles. Other scholars say it is the eighth day. The issue is resolved when we understand that it prophesies of the glory of God being manifested through the Sons of God. This is prophesied in Leviticus 9 as being on the eighth day. It is in the story of the priestly consecration in Leviticus 8 and 9. God told Aaron and his sons in Lev. 8:35 to 9:1,
35 At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that you may not die, for so I have been commanded. 36 Thus Aaron and his sons did all the things which the Lord had commanded through Moses. 1 Now it came about on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel.
So the priests in that day were consecrated for a full seven days and then emerged from the tabernacle on the eighth day. The main event of the eighth day is expressed in Lev. 9:4, “for today the Lord shall appear [manifest Himself] to you.” Verse 6 adds to this revelation, saying, “the glory of the Lord may appear to you.” The actual fulfillment is found in verse 24,
24 Then fire came out from before the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the portions of the fat on the altar; and when all the people saw it, they shouted and fell on their faces.
Thus, the fire (glory) of the Lord was manifested to all of the people, and “all the people saw it.” This prophesies of the results of the manifestation of the Sons of God after their presentation on the eighth day. For this reason, I believe that the priests of God must be consecrated to God for a full seven days before being manifested on the eighth day. Hence, Jesus’ prophecy in John 7:37-39 on the last great day of the feast, prophesying of the outpouring of the Spirit, applies to the eighth day of Tabernacles.
Priests of Levi and of Melchizedek
In our day, of course, God has raised up a new order of priests of Melchizedek, and yet the pattern under Moses is a prophetic type that applies today. The Melchizedek priesthood is not bound by genealogy, as was the Levitical priesthood. One had to be of Levi (and specifically of Aaron) to be of that priesthood. But Jesus was of Judah. He was not qualified as a priest of Levi, but He was certainly qualified as High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6).
Many today think that Jesus is returning to be High Priest of a temple in Jerusalem where Levitical priests will conduct daily sacrifices and minister to God in an Old Covenant manner. But the law forbids a Judahite to be High Priest of the Aaronic Order. Jesus is coming as High Priest of an entirely different Order that preceded the Order of Levi. He will be High Priest of a new corporate Temple, of which we are “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5).
This Temple is of the New Jerusalem, not the old city. It is the City of Freedom, not of Bondage (Gal. 4:25, 26). It is a New Covenant city, not belonging to the Old Covenant that is given a New Covenant label.
And so the “priests of God and of Christ” mentioned in Rev. 20:6 are not priests of Levi, but of Melchizedek. One does not need to have a particular genealogy to qualify for this priesthood. The rulers in the Tabernacles Age to come are not Jewish priests (as some have taught), but are the overcomers of all past ages, irrespective of their genealogy. (See Hebrews 7:3.)
Leviticus 21:17 demands that the priests not be handicapped.
17 Speak to Aaron, saying, “No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the bread of his God.”
Under the Old Covenant, the Levitical priests could not minister to God if they had any physical defects. Under the New Covenant, the Melchizedek priests cannot minister to God with any spiritual defects.
The New Creation Man is the corporate Body of Christ which is healed of all defects through the resurrection or through the feast of Tabernacles. This New Man is also a corporate Priest, as we read in Rev. 20:6, “they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
This Priestly Body must be without defect, having all of its body parts in order to qualify under the Melchizedek priesthood. The dead overcomers are the first to find healing from death when they are raised from the dead at the sound of the Trumpet. The living overcomers find healing from death (mortality) two weeks later on the first day of Tabernacles.
These two groups are then able to be joined together as this Body comes together. The Head then comes in the midst of the feast in order to make the body complete in all its body parts. Only then does this New Creation Man qualify as a priest of God in the Order of Melchizedek or to be presented as a Son on the eighth day. This is the pattern seen at the end of Leviticus 8 and all of chapter 9. Then the glory of God is manifested.
Needless to say, the “New Creation Man” is not a “gentile” Church, but includes all true believers. Jewish believers will not be excluded, nor will they “remain on earth” as a separate group.
The Catching Away
In 1 Thess. 4:17 Paul speaks of being “caught up” or “caught away.” The Greek word is harpazo. The term “rapture” comes from the Latin translation of this word: rapto.
16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel; and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up [Greek: harpazo; Latin: rapto] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we shall always be with the Lord.
The Greek term harpazo is used of Philip’s translation from one place to another in Acts 8:39. Of course, Philip did not leave the earth, but he did have a momentary experience transcending time and space. It was certainly a spiritual experience, which physicists would call a “hyper-dimensional travel.” That is, one can leave the earth-bound dimension of time and space, going into a heavenly or spiritual dimension, and then return at any point of time and in any location of space.
Philip’s experience was no doubt prophetic of the catching away that is prophesied through the feast of Tabernacles. In fact, what people call “the rapture” is more accurately defined and described by the feast of Tabernacles. For a fuller study on this, see my book, The Rapture in the Light of Tabernacles.
Paul uses the term harpazo in 2 Cor. 12:4, where he says he “was caught up into Paradise” in a spiritual experience. The other time the word is used is found in Rev. 12:5, where the child “was caught up to God and to His throne.”
Philip did not “go to heaven” but was taken from one location to another on earth. Paul was caught up to Paradise, but his physical body probably did not leave the earth. The woman clothed with the sun gave birth to the Son who was caught up to the throne (position of rulership).
Finally, Paul says that that those who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17). It is hard to prove exactly what will transpire at this time, but because it involves more than just the dead who are being raised, it must be an event that occurs during the feast of Tabernacles. It seems most likely that this refers to the presentation of the Sons on the eighth day of Tabernacles.
In other words, 1 Thess. 4:16-17 focuses upon the first and last events in the sequence of feast day fulfillments. Resurrection and presentation of the Sons are all that Paul mentions here. It is by no means a complete treatise on the subject. Paul does NOT say that both the resurrection and the “catching up” of the living saints must occur at the same time. He is merely giving us the order of events. We know from the law that the entire time frame will take three weeks, even as it took just over seven weeks to fulfill all the prophetic events from Passover to Pentecost.
The Description Taken from Exodus
Paul’s description in 1 Thess. 4:17 draws on the picture of Moses ascending the mount in the book of Exodus. Moses went up the mount eight times, the final time returning with his face glowing with the divine presence (Ex. 34:35). This experience was commemorated thereafter as the eighth day of Tabernacles.
There was “a thick cloud upon the mountain” (Ex. 19:16), “because the Lord descended upon it in fire” (Ex. 19:18). The people had to prepare for “the third day” (i.e., after 2,000 years) when they were expected to appear before God on the mount.
Of course, the people themselves were too fearful to approach God (Ex. 20:18-20), so Moses was the only one who fulfilled the patterns of meeting the Lord in the air and in the clouds. The final trip up the mount is the most important pattern of this “rapture.” Verse 4 says, “Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai.” This prophesies of the resurrection and ascending to meet the Lord. Verse 5 continues,
5 And the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord.
Another important detail is the fact that Moses was given the law here. In a previous visit he had been given the tablets of the law, but when he returned and found Israel worshiping the golden calf, he broke those tablets (ex. 32:19). So later, God re-wrote the same law a second time, prophesying of the second law that is given in the second coming of Christ. It prophesies of the time when the law is written on our hearts so that it is not broken. This is done through the New Covenant.
Meeting Christ in the Air
It is also important that we understand the purpose of meeting the Lord in the air. The Greek word that Paul uses is apantesis, which is specifically a word used to describe welcome delegations going out to meet visiting dignitaries. For instance, in Matthew 25:1 the virgins went out “to meet the bridegroom.” The story shows that they were welcoming the bridegroom and were not expected to return to the home of the bridegroom. He was not welcoming them. They were welcoming him.
The word is again used in Acts 28:15 when the brethren from Rome came to meet Paul as he was being taken to Rome.
15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the Market of Appius and Three Inns to meet us [apantesis]; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.
Once again, the brethren in Rome considered Paul to be a visiting dignitary, and honored him by coming “to meet” him. At no time did anyone contemplate turning around and returning to Jerusalem with Paul.
Likewise, when Paul used the term apantesis in 1 Thess. 4:17, he was not intending to imply that the saints would meet Christ in the air and then return to heaven with Him. The Lord descends to earth here, and the saints go out to meet Him in order to escort Him to earth with honor due to Him.
They meet Him in “the air” as opposed to being underground. The force of this is to show that they have been raised from the dead in order to meet Him in the air. Because Paul also says that they will meet Him “in the clouds,” we usually think that this must take place high off the surface of the earth. But the Greek word is aer, from which we get our English word air. The word is used in Acts 22:23,
23 And as they were crying out and throwing off their cloaks and tossing dust into the air [aer].
Likewise, Paul says that his purpose in life was not like a shadow boxer “beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26). The term was to be understood in contrast to underground, the place of the dead.
In talking about “clouds,” Paul was using the terminology of the scene described in the book of Exodus, when God came down upon Sinai and a cloud surrounded the mount. Exodus 19:9 says,
9 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud in order that the people may hear when I speak with you and may also believe in you forever.”
Later, we read in Exodus 24:18,
18 And Moses entered the midst of the cloud as he went up to the mountain; and Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.
While it is true that Moses ascended the mount into the cloud, it is equally true that he never left the earth itself. The Greek word for “cloud” is nephele, from the root, nephos. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words gives its meaning,
“denotes a cloudy, shapeless mass covering the heavens. Hence, metaphorically, of a dense multitude, a throng. Heb. 12:1”
It can mean physical clouds, of course, but the Bible often uses it in a metaphorical manner. Heb. 12:1 uses the term to refer to “so great a cloud [crowd] of witnesses surrounding us.”
Jesus testified to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin in Matt. 26:64 that He would come “coming on the clouds of heaven.” At the same time He was to be seen “sitting on the right hand of Power.” It appears that the great cloud of witnesses are seated with Him in heavenly places even now (Eph. 2:6), and from this position of power He comes on the “clouds” of heaven. Is this literal or metaphorical? I do not know that it matters in the end, but it seems to me to be more of a metaphor that speaks of the manifestation of the sons of God. Christ comes on them—the clouds—because He is the Head that has joined with the Body.
Yet regardless of our interpretation, the divine plan is not for the saints to go to heaven to live with Him, but rather that Christ is coming to earth to dwell with men. Rev. 21:3 says, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them.”
The second coming of Christ is bound up in the Autumn feast days. The resurrection of the dead comes first at the feast of Trumpets. Then those who are living overcomers will be changed into immortality on the first day of Tabernacles. Their Head will come and join with the Body in the middle of Tabernacles, so that the New Creation Man may be presented to the Father on the eighth day, as the law commands.
Then on the same day (earth time) they will be manifested as sons of God to the rest of the people on earth, and the Kingdom of God will begin to grow rapidly as men see Christ in them and desire to enter into the same experience. Soon all nations will come to learn of His ways (Isaiah 2:2-4), and the greatest era of world evangelism will begin.
The Dispensationalists developed this idea of the “Rapture” in the 1800’s without understanding the feast days of Israel and how they prophesied of both comings of Christ. They attempted to fit it into the time frame of Daniel’s 70th week, which they believed was to have a future fulfillment.
They identified this 70th week with The Great Tribulation in which time an Antichrist would arise either at the beginning or the middle of the Tribulation.
They assumed that the Jews were Israel and that God would gather them to Palestine, where the Antichrist would establish a temple in old Jerusalem. They assumed also that the “gentiles” would be taken out of the earth at some point, leaving the Jews to suffer tribulation under the Antichrist. But then Jesus would come at the last minute, after all but 144,000 Jews had been killed, and that when they saw Jesus coming, they would then recognize Him and confess their faith in Him.
Then, as a reward of their last-minute confession of faith, they would be given positions of rulership over the “gentiles.” There is no requirement to be an overcomer, or to learn the character of Jesus Christ as a qualification of rulership. The only qualification is to be a genealogical Jew (or Israelite, as they suppose). It is as if the great dividing wall in the temple is being rebuilt today, and that non-Jews will be second-class citizens in the Kingdom. It is as if Jesus tore down the dividing wall only for a short time, but that it will again be rebuilt in a Jewish Age to come.
If that were not enough, they believe animal sacrifices will be re-instituted, making the blood of Christ a temporary solution for gentiles during the interim between Daniel’s 69th and 70th weeks.
They believe that the old Jerusalem, which Paul calls “Hagar,” will bring forth the Promise of God. They believe that the “fig tree” that Jesus cursed will again bear fruit, even though Jesus said that the kingdom of God would be taken from them and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom.
All of these things are founded on the most basic idea that Daniel’s 70th week was disconnected from the first 69 weeks and placed into the far future. There is absolutely no proof for this assumption, and it is based upon a lack of historical knowledge in regard to the timing of Jesus’ birth, ministry, and crucifixion.
History proves that Daniel’s Seventy Weeks began in 458 B.C. and ended in 33 A.D. History proves that Jesus was born in September of 2 B.C., and that He was 30 years of age in September of 29 A.D. when Scripture says He began to minister.
His ministry covered the last half of Daniel’s 70th week. That week was not delayed for a future time. Jesus ministered during that week of years. The week ended in the first month of the Hebrew year precisely 70 weeks (490 years) after the decree of Artaxerxes commissioned Ezra to go to Jerusalem to make a sacrifice (Ezra 7:9). Jesus then made the greater Sacrifice of Himself in Jerusalem in the same month 490 years later.
It had to be done 490 years later, because God was obligated to forgive the nation “seventy times seven” or 490 times (Matt. 18:22), according to Jesus’ parable. God forgave the nation once a year on the Day of Atonement, and His obligation to forgive did not end until the year 33 A.D.
Once it is established that Daniel’s Seventy Weeks expired in 33 A.D. with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, then the entire theory of Dispensationalism and its twin sister, Christian Zionism, disappears in a puff of smoke. All of the unscriptural theories of Levitical priests with animal sacrifices and physical temples in Jerusalem collapse of their own weight. None of these Old Covenant ideas can stand the light of the Book of Hebrews.
When one has been indoctrinated for many years in these false assumptions of eschatology, it is difficult to re-wire our minds and re-learn the Truth of Scripture. We expect people of other religions to make great changes in their thinking, but we would not expect to have to make similar changes ourselves.
The place to start is to study the feast days and to learn the basic history of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks. These two things will be the most helpful in re-establishing the foundations of eschatology that will take the book of Hebrews out of the trash can and put it back into its place of prominence.
Suggested supplementary reading for a greater understanding: Hebrews: Immigrating from the Old Covenant to the New.