A Response to Mark Biltz — Second Coming, Blood Moon Eclipses, Solar Eclipses, 5775 Sabbatical Year (2014, 2015)
[Update: Biltz replied to this article. I have responded here.]
Many of you are aware of Mark Biltz’s recent discovery; and if you are not, then you will soon hear about it. From what I can tell, Biltz is pretribulational. I do not know if he has considered the Prewrath position. I have already had folks ask me what I think about his discovery. Right at the outset I want to make it clear that this article is not about parsing out the significance of his discovery vis-à-vis Biblical prophecy.
My purpose in this article it to make some comments and observations of how Pretribulational teachers including Biltz are understanding this discovery and to point out their inconsistencies.
It is true that the four spring feasts of the Lord were fulfilled prophetically during the First Coming of Christ. And Prewrath teaches that the three remaining fall feasts will be fulfilled during Christ’s Second Coming (Rosenthal articulates this well in his book The Feasts of the Lord; Van Kampen’s The Sign has a detailed discussion as well). And the Bible clearly teaches that a particular cluster of cosmic disturbances including the sun and moon will be a sign of the Second Coming. That we can be sure of.
Pastor Mark Biltz went on NASA’s U.S. Government website to see if he could discover any solar eclipse or lunar eclipse that might be significant for Biblical prophecy. He was surprised to discover a rare and uncanny cluster of four lunar eclipses and two solar eclipses around the Jewish Sabbatical Year of 2014/2015. Further, he found that they all landed on important Jewish holy days.
I am not going to delineate the specifics here. But you can read it here and here (It should be a foregone conclusion that we do not endorse the content of these pretrib sites that I am linking to.)
Also, Biltz did a popular interview. This is part one of the interview which is where he discusses the main issues; part two is not as significant. Here is the interview: DSL Video 56K Video Audio DLS Mac
First, in the interview, Mark Biltz, Gary Stearman, and J. R. Church indicate that the cosmic disturbances of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 are describing the same event (Prewrathers do the same). And they indicate that the Second Coming happens in conjunction during these cosmic disturbances (again, so far so good).
But then they assumed that this sixth seal cosmic event found in Revelation 6 happens at the close of the 70th week of Daniel. Here is the problem: what do they do with the trumpet and bowl judgments that follow after the seals? The fifth trumpet judgment itself is five months in duration! (Post-tribbers have this problem as well). Further, in their pretrib scheme they cannot place the cosmic disturbances before the 70th week concludes since they would also have to do that with the Second Coming, which would nullify what is definitional of pretribulationism.
(Many pretribbers try to get around this obvious problem by simply asserting that the sixth seal cosmic disturbance is not describing the same event in Matthew 24:29-30. This is untenable since the parallels and context between these two passages are undoubtedly depicting the same event.)
Here is where the Prewrath position solves this difficulty naturally and Biblically. We cannot assume that the Second Coming/Cosmic Disturbances happen at the completion of the 70th week of Daniel since Jesus himself places this dual event sometime after the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel at the time when the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation (not the 70th week of Daniel itself) is “cut short” (Matthew 24:22). And thus, after the Great Tribulation is cut short with the Second Coming, the Day of the Lord’s wrath (trumpet and bowl judgments) will follow and unfold for the remaining part of the 70th week.
In short, the godly will be raptured when the Antichrist’s Great Tribulation is cut short, then God will pour out his subsequent Day of the Lord’s wrath upon the ungodly.
Second observation, notice that the theory places the Second Coming in the year 2015 (which is what the whole theory is predicated on); this then would necessitate, as they indicate from their pretrib view, a subtraction of seven years taking us to this fall of 2008 for the rapture, covenant with Israel, and the subsequent seven year “Tribulation Period” to begin.
In other words, this (pretrib) theory in essence is saying that the rapture will take place in the fall of 2008 — i.e., the church has about four months left on earth.
In the interview, Biltz tries not to be dogmatic (he is trying to avoid being a date-setter), but that is the whole point of the interview and the purpose of the theory. Of course, as in most cases of date-setting, even if they are implied, once the date elapses, the individual will “reinterpret” it in some new significance. To be sure, when pretribbers mishandle Scripture such as in this case, it does not invalidate the relationship of these astronomical facts with the Biblical calendar, if there is any import in that relationship.
As an aside, Hal Lindsey was asked about Biltz’s discovery and he said that he has not heard of Biltz’s theory, and called it “pure speculation.” How does one call a theory “pure speculation” when he has not heard of it? We are not told (Not that I am defending Biltz’s schema). Second, who would want to lend credibility to Lindsey’s opinion on this since he has no credibility left after his failed prediction of Christ’s Second Coming in 1988. For those who are not old enough to remember: Hal Lindsey wrote a popular book in the 70’s titled The Late Great Planet Earth. In it he claimed that the Biblical “fig tree” was Israel and a Biblical generation equaled forty years; then he added forty years from the time when Israel became a state in 1948, which would take it to 1988, the supposed year of Christ’s Second Coming. And in the pretrib scheme he disconnected the rapture from the Second Coming by seven years, accordingly, the rapture in 1981.
In short, Hal Lindsey is an unrepentant false prophet who has been showered with royalties since then (false prophets in the Bible were showered with stones).
Reader, understand this: regardless of any significance of these astronomical events and their supposed correspondence to the Biblical calendar, the fact that Jesus is coming soon should spur us to sober holy living. Christ’s Return will materialize — and we must take heed to be found “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we look at the world around us and observe the moral madness of humanity, the nations, and their unbridled hatred toward God, it is indeed difficult to think that the Lord will tarry much longer.