We all have that gut feeling that things just aren’t right in the world… that we are facing an impending disaster, collapse, or apocalypse. We discuss God’s prophetic framework extensively on our site—it provides a lens through which we can gain understanding into these last days and where we are headed. However, we assume that our readers have some basic understanding of this. In this article, we’d like to share some fundamentals about two key prophetic components: Daniel’s 70th week and the “Fig Tree Generation” spoken of by Jesus and how they relate to God’s prophetic clock and our future.
Most of us our familiar with the “doomsday clock” that has been maintained since 1947 by the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. This clock represents the threat level in our world—how close we are to a global apocalypse (represented by midnight). On January 23, 2020, it was moved forward to 100 seconds (1 minute 40 seconds) before midnight—the closest we have ever been to midnight and annihilation.
God has a prophetic clock as well. His clock is counting down to several critical events on humanity’s doorstep: the rapture of the church, a seven-year period of great tribulation, and Armageddon—when Christ will physically return to establish His earthly kingdom.
And He has provided us with a plethora of prophetic signs and warnings—divine indicators that are telling us we are mere seconds from midnight on God’s prophetic clock as well!
As preppers, it’s important to always understand what you are prepping for (the threat) and its potential time horizon (the timing).
In this article, we are going to examine two prophecies related to midnight on God’s clock and discern what they may be telling all of us today…
God’s Prophetic Clock: Why Does It Matter?
If you were living in the days of Noah, wouldn’t you have wanted to know that the rains were coming… before it was too late? Of course! By studying God’s Word, we can do just that today—begin to identify not only what is to come but when it is likely to occur.
But Doug, you may be saying to yourself, “God says we can’t know the day and hour that it will occur!”
First, this belief is predicated on a misunderstanding of Jesus’ words to his disciples in the Book of Matthew (but that’s an article for another day).
Second, Jesus Himself provides us with additional information in Revelation, where he reveals to the Apostle John (and us):
“If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee” (Revelations 3:3).
In other words, if we do watch, He will not come as a thief—and we can know the time at which He will come for us.
Now, in this section of Revelation (chapters 1-3), Jesus is specifically talking to His church—not Israel—and He is referring to the rapture—not His Second Coming. This is further confirmed by John when he writes:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Revelation 3:10).
Furthermore, not only is it possible for us to know, the Apostle Paul tells us we should actively and lovingly look for His soon return to rapture His bride (the church):
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).
Don’t let others steal your crown from you! Don’t let anyone convince (deceive) you that we should resist looking towards His return for us. Don’t let them rob you of the blessed hope.
Understanding Daniel’s 70th week and the Fig Tree Generation spoken of by Jesus is one way we can discern the time or season for His return (the rapture). These are critical pieces to a broader prophetic framework—a timeline revealed by God and one that we can gain insight into through study and prayer.
Before we delve into these prophecies, I want to be explicitly clear—I am not setting dates. Rather, I am merely seeking to share with you what Scripture has to say regarding the times in an effort to identify possible timeframes—periods where we should be on heightened alert for the return of our Lord and Savior!
Daniel’s 70th Week—The Coming Apocalypse
The first prophecy we are going to examine is that of Daniel—a prophecy in which God declares the exact amount of time He will deal with the nation of Israel and His people the Jews.
Daniel begins his prophecy by declaring:
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24).
Daniel declares that God has allotted 70 “weeks” for His dealings with Israel. Now, each prophetic “week” equals seven years. Thus, God reveals that he will deal with the nation of Israel for a specific period of 490 (70 x 7) years.
The next question is: When does this period begin?
Well, Daniel reveals this, as he continues:
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times” (Daniel 9:25).
Daniel declares that the start of God’s prophetic clock (counting down 490 years) will begin with the command to rebuild Jerusalem following the Babylonian captivity.
History declares that King Artaxerxes issued this decree in 444BC.
The First 69 Weeks of Daniel
However, Daniel also breaks this period down further, declaring that 483 years will pass (7 weeks + 62 weeks = 69 weeks x 7 = 483 years). At the conclusion of this portion of the 70 weeks (69 “weeks”), at the very moment they are competed, Daniel declares that the Messiah will be “cut off” (crucified):
“And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself” (Daniel 9:26).
This will signal the completion of 69 weeks or 483 years of God dealing with the nation of Israel. At that moment, His presence will depart the Temple and He will turn His attention to the gentiles—through the gospel of grace and the formation of the church (the body of Christ).
This occurred in 33AD—precisely fulfilling this portion of Daniel’s prophecy of weeks!
Furthermore, Daniel declares that the city of Jerusalem and Temple will be destroyed by Rome:
“And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary” (Daniel 9:26).
Again, this was perfectly fulfilled in 70AD.
Thus, this prophetic Scripture has been precisely fulfilled (through the 69th week).
Again, we find that Artaxerxes issued this decree in 444BC. If we jump ahead 483 years, we arrive in 39AD. However, if we adjust for the fact that the ancient Jewish/Babylonian calendars followed years of 360 days (lunar) rather than 365 days (solar), we arrive at… wait for it… 33AD—the crucifixion of Jesus!
Jesus was “cutoff” (crucified) exactly when God declared it would happen—in 33AD.
It is important to understand, this prophecy was a sign to the Jews—one that was rejected corporately by the nation of Israel.
However, there is still one week remaining in Daniel’s prophecy—one more week that God has declared He will deal with His people… the nation of Israel.
The Final 70th Week of Daniel
Daniel tells us that the last remaining week (7 years) will occur during the Tribulation period, when:
“Then he [the Antichrist] 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)
The church (bride of Christ) will be raptured prior to this week (7 years), while God’s focus will return to His people—the nation of Israel.
Now, if God perfectly fulfilled the first 69 weeks, should we not believe that He will do the same for the final week… and complete the full 70 weeks of Daniel?
Is Daniel’s Prophecy a Dual Prophecy?
However, as with so many prophetic Scripture, this may have been a dual prophecy—meaning, one that is fulfilled twice. Once in the immediate future, and then once again at a later time.
It is interesting to note that King Suleiman the Magnificent (Ottoman Empire) issued a similar decree to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem in 1537:
“The construction of this wall was ordered by our lord the sultan, Suleiman Ben Sultan Salim Khan, in the year 949” (Z. Vilnay 1969, 1980, 3281-3282).
If we add 69 weeks (483 years) to this date, we would arrive at 2020. Could God also be revealing the time of Christ’s return for His bride (the rapture) and the start of Daniel’s 70th week?
In the first fulfillment of the 69 weeks, it was a sign for the Jews pointing to the Messiah’s death on the Cross—one that was rejected in a corporate sense.
Christ was then resurrected on the third day and ascended into the heavens on the clouds to prepare a place for His bride—the church.
Is it possible that this is a secondary timetable—one for the gentile world? One to be fulfilled at the rapture—with Christ descending from heaven in the clouds to collect His bride?
The first fulfillment was corporately rejected by Israel (Jews). The second fulfillment will have been corporately rejected by the world (gentiles).
It is certainly noteworthy that 483 years brings us to this very year—2020. A time when so many other signs—so many it is hard to keep track of them at this point—are all converging and pointing to the very soon rapture of the church.
Furthermore, when you relate this to probably one of the most pivotal signs of all—the Fig Tree Generation (see below), everything points to a very real possibility that the rapture of the church between now and May 2021. As such, it is a period of time that those of us looking for the return of our Lord and Savior that should have us on high alert—like the priest watching the Temple fire overnight… keeping “watch” over it!
Does that mean the rapture has to occur at this time?
Absolutely not. We are merely trying to look forward and speculate as to the fulfillment of Scripture—by utilizing God’s Word and the illuminating work of the Spirit. This is very different from looking backwards at prophecy that has already been fulfilled—one allows for certainty, while the other restrains us from being dogmatic. However, we certainly appear to be in a high-alert period!
The Fig Tree Generation
In Matthew 24, Jesus tells His disciples what the signs of His second coming will be, when He returns to establish His earthly kingdom. He goes on to describe these signs of the Tribulation period (Daniel’s 70th week) and His Second Coming to them. After doing so, he addresses their biggest question of when.
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:32-34)
The fig tree always refers in Scripture to the nation of Israel. Jesus is saying that the generation that begins with the rebirth of Israel will witness all these signs fulfilled—including His return!
When was the nation of Israel reborn?
The Fig Tree put forth its leaves on May 14, 1948, when it formalized its government and became a sovereign nation once again… nearly 2,000 years after its utter destruction at the hands of Rome.
Again, Jesus states that the generation that saw that happen… will see His return to establish His kingdom.
This obviously begs the questions: How long is a biblical generation?
The best biblical definition of a biblical generation is found in Psalms:
“The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years” (Psalms 90:10).
So, it is biblical to reason that the Lord’s return would happen within 70 to 80 years from the rebirth of the nation (the fig tree).
If we add 80 years (the maximum) to 1948, we arrive at May 14, 2028.
However, this includes Daniel’s 70th week (the Tribulation). If we subtract seven years from that, we arrive at May 14, 2021, as being the most likely date for the latest the rapture of the church can occur.
While there are other clues in Scripture that would allow a date as late as 2026 (e.g., Hosea 6:1-2 and 2 Peter 3:8), the “Fig Tree Generation” variable from Jesus Himself serves as a higher-order constraint—capping it at May 14, 2021, as we understand it at this time.
Timing of the Rapture—Is Our Time Running Out?
We can be fairly confident—based on our current and imperfect understanding—that we know the season… but can we narrow it down further?
There are a lot of reasons that support the idea that it will most likely happen in the fall—between now and mid-November. We’ll discuss one of these below (and save the others for a future article).
For now, it is suffice to say that the rapture—Christ’s return to snatch away (rescue) His bride from the coming wrath and judgment of God—is (1) as imminent as it has ever been and (2) is highly-likely to occur before May 14th of next year (the clock is now under one year).
As alluded to above, one item pointing to a fall rapture is that of the Jewish Feasts. Four have been fulfilled by Christ (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and Pentecost)—all the Spring Feasts.
Only the Fall Feasts remain to be fulfilled by Christ: Trumpets, Atonement and Tabernacles.
It is interesting to note that Rosh Hashanah (the Feast of Trumpets and the Jewish New Year) begins this year (2020) on the evening of September 18th and ends the evening of September 20th.
It is also interesting to note that it is the only feast for which the exact timing of it (the very hour) is unknown until just as it is occurring—it can subtly change based on the moon.
If Christ’s return for the church is tied to a feast (and we do not know that for sure), The Feast of Trumpets would be a prime target for five reasons:
- It has not been fulfilled by Christ yet
- It is one of Israel’s two “High Holy Days”
- It marks a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement)—the second “High Holy Day”
- It is the feast of Trumpets, which would tie to Paul’s description of the Rapture coming at the sound of the last trump (1 Thessalonians 5:16) and John’s vision of the rapture (Revelation 4:1).
- From a Jewish perspective, it speaks to both a regathering of many Jews to the land (fulfilled and ongoing) and the resumption of the sacrificial system (to be fulfilled in Daniel’s 70th week).
As such, with Christ’s rapture of the church and God returning His focus to Israel, what better time would there be to kick things off other than a period of deep reflection and repentance within the land of Israel—from which 144,000 on-fire Jewish believers will be raised up to preach the gospel during Daniel’s 70th week and during which the sacrificial system will be restored!
If we are still here heading into the Rosh Hashanah, I would be on high lookout for the Lord’s appearance in the clouds!
Is that the Time of the Rapture?
Again, let’s be explicitly clear. Am I saying the rapture will be on those dates?
Absolutely not! God can send His Son to gather His Bride whenever He wants to—there is nothing left that has to be fulfilled at this point for Him to do so.
However, God makes it clear that we (1) can know when it will occur (and, I believe, with increasing clarity as it approaches) and (2) we are exhorted to look for and seek that blessed hope.
Lacking perfect knowledge at this time, we are dealing with a probabilistic system rather than a specific date and hour. To understand that system (God’s prophetic timeline) we must identify and rightly divide (discern) all the biblical clues and information that God has provided us with through His Word—through the guidance and illumination of the Holy Spirit.
As such, I am merely saying this timeframe would represent a HIGH-probability time period—one which we should be on high-alert and “watching” diligently!
Christ’s return is IMMINENT—and that means you can hear His hand on the doorknob to the heavenly door that John saw opened in Revelation 4:1 (aka the rapture!). As brother Scarbrough loves to say, we are sitting on “G” and just waiting for “O”–and I believe it is about to come!
If you’re a Christian, don’t let anyone take your crown—continue to love and long for the soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
We have discovered that the Bible provides a very detailed and very accurate picture of God’s prophetic timetable. Both Daniel’s prophetic 70 weeks and the Fig Tree generation spoken of by Christ point to the very soon (IMMINENT) rapture of the church and the start of the Tribulation period—the final week (7 years) of God’s dealings with Israel and the pouring out of His wrath and judgment on a wicked world.
These pivotal prophetic components appear to indicate that we can be looking for the rapture between now and May 14, 2021.
Furthermore, addition pieces appear to potentially narrow this window down to between now and the end of Fall—potentially around the Feast of Trumpets in September.
As such, we should be on high alert!
The point of all this is that Jesus is coming at any moment to rescue His church (true believers) from the coming wrath and judgment of God during the 70th week of Daniel—the Tribulation period.
He could come in September, He could come next Spring, or… He could come tonight.
Time—for all intents and purposes—has run out on the church age (the age of grace). The Ark (Jesus Christ) is coming back to rescue His bride and the doors to the Ark are going to be SHUT.
At that point, your options are bleak:
- Take the mark, likely die anyway, and go to hell with Satan for eternity, or
- Place your faith in Christ, refuse the mark, more than likely die for it, but obtain eternal life with God
Don’t wait for the rains to start falling before you try to make your way to the Ark… it will be too late.
If you’re not believer in Christ… what are you waiting for?
I encourage you to read our article Mystery Babylon—God’s Judgment on America Forthcoming? for just a taste of what things will look like when those doors to the Ark are shut!
Make the decision right now! For the love of God my friend, get on the Ark (Jesus) before the doors are closed and He raptures His church! Seriously, you do NOT want to be left behind to face the wrath and judgment of God during the Tribulation!
How do you get saved?
Thankfully, it’s not rocket science! God has made it so simple a child could (and can) understand it.
There is only one way to be saved: by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9)
That’s it. Simply accept in your heart that you are a sinner. Turn to Christ and believe that His shed blood on the Cross covered the penalty for your sins (past, present, and future)—God’s acceptance evidenced by Christ’s resurrection on the third day.
Simply accept that free gift of God’s love—provided to you solely by His grace and not of anything you have, are, or ever will do (works). Just ask Him… He will hear you and you will be saved and sealed by the Holy Spirit in the very instant—and become redeemed and eternally saved!
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6)