What can we expect in coming days? In just around four short years, according to the Essenes, we will be entering the final jubilee of our age, the final age before the return of Christ. Of course, we don’t want to become overly excited and begin setting definite dates. Speculation and wondering “what if” is one thing, but we can fall into serious error if we begin setting specific dates for events like the Rapture of the Church. In fact, Jesus tell us this Himself:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch! (Mark 13:32–37)
There has been much discussion about what Jesus is referring to here. Some say this describes the Rapture, while others say it’s a reference to the day Jesus returns to earth. However, the message in this passage is that this “time” is a mystery; this “day and hour” cannot be known. The angels in heaven haven’t figured it out, and neither has Jesus Himself; only the Father knows the timing of these events. The books of Revelation and Daniel tell us how many days after certain events (such as the abomination of desolation) we can expect to pass before we see the end of the Great Tribulation and the return of Jesus. Also, with the ancients’ understanding of ages, it would seem that they would be able to assume that Jesus would be returning immediately after AD 2025. It is true, from the perspective of those living during the time of Jesus, and even from our perspective today, that we wouldn’t be able to perfectly calculate the day or hour Jesus will return, because we don’t know when the Antichrist will come on the scene and initiate the seven-year Tribulation with the confirmation of the “covenant with many.”
God, of course, can certainly do anything He wishes. However, another event, some believe, could occur at any moment during the period between the time of the apostles to the time of Jesus’ bodily return: the Rapture of the Church. For some, a more consistent interpretation of this passage would say that Jesus is speaking of the Rapture rather than the Second Coming. For those who don’t like either of those options, there is a third.
When we compare this passage with a familiar one in Thessalonians, we pick up more context that helps us more clearly understand what Jesus was talking about:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (1 Thessalonians 5:1–5, KJV)
Here, Paul points out the contrast between the children of light and those of darkness (which, interestingly, is a common theme throughout the Dead Sea Scrolls). The day of the Lord comes as a thief to those in darkness, but not to those in light. Paul is telling believers in Jesus that we are children of light, so that day won’t take us by surprise; we should be watchful. With that, we can understand Mark 13:32–37 in the same way. Unbelievers will know neither the day nor the hour of the day of the Lord; it will come as a surprise.
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Now, that’s not to suggest that we absolutely can know the day and the hour. One thing anyone who spends enough time in the study of Bible prophecy will say is that there are several possibilities. However, as time marches on and the end draws closer, our perception of the times and seasons can become more clear. We can pay attention to current events while we continue to study the Scripture and try to narrow down the possibilities. That way, once the Antichrist does confirm that covenant, believers who come to Christ during the Tribulation will have a better chance of understanding these things and preparing for them. Lastly, I must emphasize that this is not something we as believers in Christ should become dogmatic and divisive about.
Whether or not this verse is talking about the Rapture, most Christians who believe in any kind of Rapture (whether it’s pre-, mid-, or post-Tribulation) agree that we cannot know its timing with any certainty. The best we can do is speculate and wonder as we discern the signs. I absolutely plan on doing just that here, but it’s important to keep in mind that I’m not saying it absolutely will play out this way. I’m only offering a possibility. Further, if the past speculations of many other researchers concerning the timing of the Rapture are any indication, the safest bet is to assume that the timeline I’m going to provide as a possible scenario of how it all could pan out is wrong. But, there is always that part of us that asks “what if?”
The Final Jubilee of the Previous Age
The Essene calendar absolutely does put an exact year as being the end of one age and the beginning of the next; however, prophetic events that are supposed to happen around this time don’t always work out so precisely. In fact, the beginning of one age tends to bleed into the end of the previous. This “bleeding through” of ages tends to occur within the final jubilee of an age. It’s almost as if the old age is winding down, getting tired, and the new age is so excited to begin, it begins preparing a bit earlier than its exact starting date.
We can think of this in terms of a relay race, in which team members cover equal distances in a race where each takes a turn carrying and then handing off a baton. During that handing-off period, at the end of one runner’s time and the beginning of the next, both runners are actually running together, at the same time, in a marked exchange zone. Ages work exactly like that. The marked exchange zone of ages is the final jubilee of the age that is about to end. In AD 2025, if the Essene calendar is correct, we will enter the marked exchange zone of our age and the Kingdom Age; what an exciting time to be alive!
We see many examples of this when we consider how the Age of Torah ended and the Age of Grace began between the AD years 25 and AD 75. As Christians, of course, we agree that the Church really started with Jesus. Some would say it began at His birth, because there was finally a Messiah on earth for people to accept. Others would say the Church originated at the start of, or possibly sometime during, His three and a half years of ministry on earth. Still others still would say it started at His death, or His resurrection, or His ascension, or at Pentecost with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. All of these events have three things in common: First, all contributed to formation of the Church; second, all were the main fulfillments of prophecies those living in that age were looking for; and third, all occurred before the technical end of the age in AD 75.
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We must remember that when we say that an age begins on a certain year, we are talking about an exact number; by the time of this exact year, everything that needs to be in place for the operation of the next age should be in place. Here’s an illustration of how that works. Let’s say we’re going to have a birthday party at three o’clock this Friday afternoon, and there’s going to be cake, presents, games, and live performances. By that exact time on that exact date, every aspect of the party will already be in place. On Tuesday, I might hire the live performers. Wednesday, I could start buying all the presents. When Thursday rolls around, I can have all the games delivered, and at noon on Friday I can pick up the cake. Finally, between one o’clock and two forty-five on Friday afternoon, I might make sure all of the components of the party are together and go through my final checklist before guests start arriving. Technically, as stated on the invitation, the party starts at three o’clock on Friday afternoon, but many of the elements of the party were changing and coming to pass since the prior Tuesday. Much is the same with ages: By AD 75, everything should have been in place, without any event remaining to be completed before the Church Age could officially begin. The Messiah had to be born, teach, die, resurrect, and ascend. The Holy Spirit had to come, the Temple in Jerusalem had to be destroyed, and the sacrificial system had to be finally done away with. Then, and only then, when all of those prophecies were fulfilled, could the Age of Grace (Church Age) officially begin.
This might lead us to wonder what the final event was that occurred in AD 75. We all have at least a basic understanding of the Temple in Jerusalem being destroyed in 70 AD, but what occurred five years later? There’s some really interesting history here. While the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple definitely dealt a hard blow to the sacrificial system of the Pharisees, it didn’t completely demolish it. There was actually another Jewish Temple in Egypt that was destroyed by the Romans in AD 73.[i] Then, the final nail in the coffin of the Pharisaical sacrificial system was hammered in when a new type of Sanhedrin was established[ii] in Yavneh that decided prayer, rather than sacrifice, was sufficient.[iii] This reestablishment was the beginning of modern rabbinic Judaism. According to some sources, the last president of the old Sanhedrin (Rabban Yochanan ben Zakkai) died[iv] and the first president of the new, reestablished Sanhedrin (Gamliel II of Yavneh) officially began his duties in exactly AD 75.[v], [vi] This means by AD 75, everything was in place for the Age of Grace to officially begin.
We can assume that the same would be true for the end of our Age of Grace. If the Essene calendar is correct, by AD 2075, everything should be in place for the millennial reign of Christ to begin. This mean all of the prophecies should already be fulfilled—not only everything having to do with the seven-year Tribulation (Daniel 9:24), but also the return of Jesus (Revelation 19:11); the judgment of the Antichrist, the False Pphet, and everyone who took the mark of the Beast (Revelation 19:20); the binding of Satan in the abyss (Revelation 20:2); the rewards of the righteous being received (1 Corinthians 3:12–15; Revelation 20:4); and the establishment of Jesus’ rule in Jerusalem (Jeremiah 3:17; Zechariah 14:9); the placement of international politics during this time (Zechariah 14:16–19); and anything else, so that the 50-year countdown that starts in 2025 and ends in 2075 will produce everything needed for the Kingdom Age to begin without any pieces left to be put into place…except enjoy the next thousand years.
Numerous prophecies still must be fulfilled prior to the Kingdom Age; however, many of them concern the seven-year Tribulation period. We also have a possible Rapture and the events after the Tribulation to deal with, and it is impossible to know exactly where to place these happenings along the prophetic timeline. However, we can look for patterns shown to us from the end of the previous Age of Torah. If Jesus came the first time relatively early in the final jubilee of the Age of Torah, is it reasonable to assume that He might return early in the final jubilee of our Age of Grace?
Enoch’s Ninth Week
Another pretty amazing piece of evidence comes in the form of an ancient prophecy from the Book of Enoch, which was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. In it, the writer organizes all of human history (seven thousand years) into ten “weeks,” with each week being seven hundred years and each day being one hundred years. The whole prophecy would be worth studying because it is amazingly accurate, but for our purposes here, we focus on week nine which, if we do the math, involves our time today. About this period, the Ethiopic version of the Book of Enoch states:
And after that, in the ninth week, The righteous judgement shall be revealed to the whole world, And all the works of the godless shall vanish from all the earth, And the world shall be written down for destruction. And all mankind shall look to the path of uprightness. (Enoch 91:14)
It is probably obvious that this is referring to the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Of particular note, though, is that this “week” occurs between the years AD 1675 and AD 2375. The exact midpoint of week nine (half of 700 is 350, so 350 years after 1675) is 2025! This is, as we saw earlier, the beginning of the final jubilee of our Age of Grace before the Kingdom Age will begin. Is it coincidence that this halfway point falls at the beginning of the final jubilee of our age? Or, could it be that Enoch’s ninth week is pointing exactly to the year 2025 by supreme design?
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[i] Josephus, Wars of the Jews, vii.
[ii] Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 56b.
[iii] Rabbi Nathan. Avot 4.
[iv] Leo Baeck College Library Lecture Archives. Rabbi Akiba (25/2/55). https://lbc.ac.uk/direct-archives/lectures/L35-L53/39.pdf.
[v] The Sanhedrin English. The Re-established Jewish Sanhedrin. http://www.thesanhedrin.org/en/index.php?title=Historical_Overview&mobileaction=toggle_view_desktop#Table_of_Zugos.
[vi] Geni: The Great Sanhedrin. Sanhedrin Presidents. https://www.geni.com/projects/The-Great-Sanhedrin/13069.
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