Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Revelation 20:1-10
What if Revelation is primarily a literal book like the rest of the Bible that uses symbolic-like descriptions which are meant to hint at where to find clues on the full meaning elsewhere in the scripture? Remember, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
As we have discussed, this is what Jesus was referring to when he said "the Scripture cannot be broken" to the Pharisees in the debate with them (John 10:35). He was reminding them of this literal interpretation rule that required every potential interpretation to fit the plain sense meaning of every verse in the Bible. If it contradicted even one verse, in that case a verse from Psalm 110, then it was breaking Scripture and wrong because the plain meaning of Scripture could not be broken.
Of course, it's not enough to just decide that you are going to interpret the Bible literally from now on. Sometimes you'll be stuck for years, waiting for a key piece of information to arrive and illuminate a passage literally. Just because we do not understand how a certain scripture could come to pass, does not make it less true. Many Christians believe that "no man knows the day or the hour" applies to any prophetic events in the future. They believe we are not supposed to understand it until after it happens. They therefore believe studying prophecy is a waste of time and tend to stay away from it. Believe it or not, this is the very belief that leaves a lot of Christians with a poor understanding of God's plan. Have you ever noticed that Jesus phrased that in a very odd way, "day or hour" instead of "time," or simply "day"?
What about Daniel and Revelation where day counts of 1260, 1290 and 1335 days are given from one event to the next. Isn't it clear when you see the starting point that you can count and know the day of the ending point as well?
Why does Daniel 12 says that "the wise would understand" Daniel's prophecies, including those very day counts in the same chapter in the time of the end, our time? When Revelation 1:1 says it is written to show God's servants what will come to pass, does that mean everything except the timing given all over the place in 42 months, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time, etc.? Of course it does not. The scriptures were given to the sheep so that they may hear and understand their Shepard’s voice.
One interesting fact is that "no man knows the day or hour" is a Hebrew phrase that was very specifically referring to the Day of Trumpets. This is one of those words of Jesus that you have heard of but did not realize applied here. Jesus used that phrase in the Olivet Discourse in the context of talking about the day of his angels coming to rapture God's servants. Was he really telling us the day of his return, rather than discouraging us from asking? It even says a few verses earlier that this gathering will happen with the sound of a great trumpet!
As we saw in the previous chapter, the reason the Jews referred to it as the feast of the "unknown day and hour" was because it was the only one of their holy days that came on the first day of the Biblical lunar month. And in Jesus' day the Biblical calendar months were based strictly on the lunar cycle. This meant a month could be either 29 or 30 days since the lunar cycle is 29.5 days long. So the month began on the evening that the first sliver of the new crescent moon became visible. Their system was to wait for two witnesses to confirm that they had seen the new moon before a new month could be declared on the 29th instead of the 30th, today they follow a pre-calculated Jewish calendar instead.
But even with today's technology we cannot predict with 100% accuracy at what day or hour the first day of the new Biblical month of the original observation-based calendar will begin. Weather and atmospheric conditions just are too variable to predict if two sets of human eyes will be able to spot that dim sliver of the new moon. Therefore the one holy day that falls on the first day of the month is still the "feast that no man knows the day and hour of," The Feast of Trumpets.
So you can see now that Jesus was not discouraging us from studying prophecy to know the dates of events in advance at all. He was actually confirming that the day of the rapture would be the Feast of Trumpets at the end of the Great Tribulation!
I know the above conflicts with the pre tribulation rapture theory popularized in Late Great Planet Earth and Left Behind, which you will find in the fiction section of most bookstores, right where it belongs. We will discuss this fallacy later in this chapter. Remember, that doctrine relies upon unreliable allegorical interpretation which Jesus rejected. Instead Jesus plainly stated that the rapture would be "after the tribulation of those days" Matthew 24:29. Who are you going to believe, Jesus' plain words or prophecy teachers breaking the interpretation rules Jesus taught and adhered to? You have heard that Jesus fulfilled the Passover by being sacrificed on the very day of Passover? It's true.
You see, there are seven of these feasts of the Lord and all of them are prophetic days which must be fulfilled for all mankind, not just the Jews. As we also discussed previously, Jesus fulfilled another "Jewish Feast" day in his ministry as well.
That other day on the prophetic calendar is the Feast of the First fruits. This is the day when the wave sheaf was presented towards heaven by the high priest. This day is always on a Sunday, seven weeks before Pentecost Sunday. As you know, Jesus ascended to heaven on a Sunday.
Yes, it turns out that Jesus ascended on the very day that the high priest was waving the first fruits sheaf to God as prescribed in23, in direct fulfillment of this prophetic feast day just as he had fulfilled Passover. Jesus himself established this principle in Matthew 5:17-18 that not a jot or tittle of the Law or Torah would pass away until "all were fulfilled" and heaven and earth finally pass away, too. Paul also said that the feasts are "shadows of good things to come". But few have understood or applied this key until now. The Sabbath year timing breakthrough is one of the most exciting discoveries in all of Bible prophecy. Not much trumps being able to immediately narrow down the list of possible fulfillment years for prophetic milestones such as the start of the Great Tribulation by one seventh. This is made possible by the fact that the 70th Week of Daniel scripturally must end in a Sabbath year. Consequently, this means that, Jesus must return in a Sabbath year.
The post-tribulation Rapture therefore only happens in a Sabbath year. The Great Tribulation must begin in year 4, the middle year, of a Sabbath year cycle Dan 9:27 - Mt 24:15. Wormwood must come soon before that, probably in year 3 of a Sabbath year cycle. In other words, none of these events can happen at any moment, but can each actually only happen in one out of any given set of seven years! And, yes, we can reliably prove when the historical Sabbath years were and calculate down to the present day to know when the next Sabbath year is. But not only does this timeline have accurate years, it also has all the important events from Daniel, Revelation, the Olivet Discourse and other prophecies put together in chronological order with the related verse references you can check yourself. Fall of 2008 started a Levitical week cycle, 2012 is 3 years in reference Revelation 8 the 3rd trumpet and fall of 2015 is a Sabbath year ending. Is this the 70th week of Daniel? We shall see. It is for sure a Levitical week. This research will simply help you to fulfill Jesus' command to "watch" so that you may be able to "endure until the end" and "to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" Luke 21:36; Matthew 24:13.