Is the Lord Going to Return on Saturday, September 23, 2017?

According to a news article on the front page of Foxnews.com, “Biblical prophecy claims the world will end on September 23.” This claim is being made by Christian numerologists and “prophets.”

“For a certain branch of evangelical Christianity, Revelation 12:1–2, describes the beginning of what is known as the rapture and the second coming of Christ.”

Let’s go back about 2,000 years ago when a local church in the city of Thessalonica was dealing with the question, “Has the Lord already returned?

Paul, in 1 Thessalonians, gives a very clear revelation of the pretribulation rapture of the church. It seems that this passage in 1 Thessalonians is Paul’s exposition of John 14:1-3.

John 14:1-3 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
(vs. 1) “…ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (vs. 13-14) “But I would not have you to be ignorant… For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again…”
(vs. 3) “…I will come again…” (vs. 16) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven…”
(vs. 3) “…receive you unto myself…” (vs.17) “…shall be caught up together…to meet the Lord in the air…”
(vs. 3) “…that where I am, there ye may be also.” (vs. 17) “…so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
(vs. 1) “Let not your heart be troubled…” (vs. 18) “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

At some point after Paul wrote this letter to the church in Thessalonica, false teachers had begun to teach the believers in Thessalonica that the Lord had already returned and that they were now in the Great Tribulation. This church was undergoing persecution and so it was easy for the believers to think that they had somehow missed the Rapture which Paul had spoken of in 1 Thessalonians.  So, Paul, in a second letter sent to the church in Thessalonica, addressed this matter.

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Now, let’s turn our attention to Revelation 12:1-2

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

There have been those who point to an astronomical occurrence, which is to take place this coming Saturday, September 23, 2017, as being the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-2.  (Simply put, there is going to be an alignment of stars and planets that some believe is the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-2) Because of this astronomical occurrence people have said everything from the “The rapture is going to happen” to “The world is going to end.” When you couple that astronomical event with all the natural disasters we have seen, the political turmoil that our country is in, the civil unrest that we have been experiencing you can begin to understand why question marks have begun to pop up in people’s minds.

Now, before I go any further, some people may ask me,

  • “Could the rapture take place on Saturday, September 23?” “Yes.”
  • “Will the rapture take place on Saturday, September 23?” “I don’t know. Ask me on Sunday, September 24!”

Now, regarding Revelation 12:1-2…

  • The timing is all wrong. The events of Revelation 12 takes place after the rapture and at the halfway point of the tribulation.
    • Revelation 4:1 pictures for us the rapture of the church prior to the tribulation.
    • Revelation 12:6 gives us the number, “…a thousand two hundred and threescore days,” referring to the second half of the 7-year tribulation period.
    • The battle of Armageddon, which some say will start or be ushered in next Saturday, September 23, doesn’t take place until the end of the tribulation period. We see that in Revelation chapters 16 and 20.
  • While God expects us to take the book of Revelation literally, there are times when John does speak figuratively and Revelation 12:1-2 is one such occurrence. We know that because of how John writes, “And there appeared a great wonder…” The word “wonder” is the same as “sign” in the Greek, John thus informing us that the immediate vision is symbolic rather than literal.
  • Another reason we know this to be symbolic, instead of literal, is seen in later verses. In vs. 3, John sees another “wonder.” This time a dragon. Was this a literal dragon? No. How do we know that? In vs. 9 we are told who, or what, this dragon is. It is none other than Satan.

While Revelation 12:1-2 and September 23, 2017 have nothing to do with the Lord’s return, whether in the rapture or His second coming, we must still remember that Christ is coming again!

“Behold, He cometh…” Revelation 1:7

The only way to be prepared is to know Jesus Christ as your Savior. If you do not know for sure that your sins have been forgiven and that you have the gift of eternal life, We want to encourage you to watch”God’s Plan of Salvation.” If you have questions, please contact us at info@southcharlottebaptist.org or call us at (704) 542-5536. We would love to speak with you!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming, One day the skies with His glory will shine; Wonderful day, my beloved ones bringing; Glorious Savior, this Jesus is mine! Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away; Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He’s coming—O glorious day!