There is a well done little movie playing in the US right now called 'Mr. Holmes'. Set in 1947, it is about detective Sherlock Holmes at age 93, trying to figure out his last case from 35 years earlier and how he got it so wrong. After he realizes the truth of the case he makes a statement that could also apply to those who were caught up in the expected rapture that didn't happen a couple weeks ago:
"I had gathered all the facts but failed to understand their meaning."
This series is about why it didn't happen 'as scheduled'
Apparently many people were worked nearly to a frenzy as they awaited the rapture, if you paid attention at all to social or Christian media. Others were awaiting a global financial meltdown on that day, or both.
But regular readers will remember my recent 'dream' series and e-newsletters, how I shared the Lord told me not to look for an event, but a larger process at work, though there will be several events within the process. But the rapture isn't yet. This series is about the larger process.
And let me say, there will be economic and political troubles in the US and world for at least the next 2 years, so don't think I am saying that all is well and there will be smooth sailing - I'm not. Times are coming in the US and world that if you don't know Him in whom you believe, and know how to walk with Him now, you could face great difficulty. But the end is not yet.
So why didn't the rapture happen?
After all, in 2001 and 2008 economic and other turmoil hit world markets in massive 'corrections/events' on Elul 29 in the Jewish calendar - yet in 2015 nothing happened in spite of it being a Shemitah year, in spite of blood moons, in spite of millions of books sold and the Internet buzzing with anticipation.
If you want to read a well written and easy to understand book on God's anniversary dates, I'd suggest the late Grant Jeffrey's, "Armageddon; Appointment with Destiny", in which he details several Jewish holy days and historical events that happened through the centuries on those dates.
Why didn't anything happen when it was called for? Do we just chalk it up to God being unpredictable, or is there a larger process at work? (Yes) The answer is much more serious than most realize. That's why this series is related to the fear of God - the end of school girl giddiness about the latest and greatest fad is upon us, to be replaced by a reverence of God for the season we are in.
First: Why would a prophecy NOT come to pass as predicted? There are several answers possible.
Situation #1 - they were in the flesh
This is what most first go to as an explanation - the person who gave the prophecy was speaking out of the flesh and 'missed it'. And that is possible. You can have people who study the Word and arrive at conclusions based solely on the Word without the Holy Spirit's guidance, yet they think they are right, out of a cerebral or scientific approach to faith. An example is what didn't happen this month, and also the famous book prophesying the rapture in 1988, and its sequel, why the rapture is going to happen in 1989.
Situation #2 - people repent
Another situation a prophecy might not happen is when a people repent, such as Jonah prophesying to Nineveh they would be overthrown in 40 days but it didn't happen. Because of their repentance the Lord withheld judgment and the prophecy did not come to pass. Jonah didn't miss it, God changed His mind based on their reaction to the prophecy of their destruction.
2a is related to #2 - People not repenting, but turning away from God even though they have been given powerful prophetic words, which causes a prophecy not to come to pass. An example is Moses when he came from the burning bush to prophesy to Israel that the Lord would bring them out of Egypt and into a land of milk and honey*. Yet that prophecy didn't come to pass for the nation because the people had changed their mind from following the Lord. It came to pass only for Joshua and Caleb, who followed the Lord fully. (*Exodus 3:17, 4:29-31)
Situation #3 - misunderstanding the revelation of the devil's plan
Another situation is seen in Acts 27:10 when Paul perceives in his spirit if they set out on the voyage "...we will lose the ship, the cargo, and our lives". But this was a situation where the Lord showed him the devil's plan of what would happen if God didn't intervene. We are told later in the chapter, after 14 days of fasting, an angel visited Paul and told him God had spared all (276 people) but they would still lose the ship and cargo. That was a case of God revealing the devil's plan so it could be stopped through prayer.
Many well meaning Christians have rebuked the Holy Spirit because they thought a revelation of something bad that is about to happen is the devil, not realizing it is very often the Father revealing the enemy plan so that person can pray to Him that He may legally intervene to stop it from happening.
Situation #4 - 'And God turned' - which is about this series
In scripture there is another reason a prophecy doesn't happen, and it is very seldom talked about or even known about I think. It involves a larger process from heaven's perspective, that isn't easily seen from earth's vantage point.
The question before us is, how like Sherlock Holmes in the movie mentioned above, did they gather all the facts yet fail to understand their meaning?
The short answer is that multiple events happen to a people over years as a sign to them in the hopes they will change their ways, and at some point when those warnings are ignored, the people are allowed to experience what they want.
Therefore sometimes a single event along a string of events that should have happened doesn't, because God is extending mercy yet again. But sometimes it doesn't happen because God has moved, and given them over to experience the ramifications of their actions, which is the most mild form of judgement.
Paul said in Galatians 6:1-8 to restore with meekness someone caught in sin, but if they insist on going their own way just let them walk it out, for God is not mocked, He gives to each of us what we have sown. In other words, you tried, they insisted on going their own way, so even though you know better, they have to be allowed to experience the ramifications of their actions - that is God's way.
That's what Israel did
In Numbers 14:2 the Israelites complain for the 10th time about God's plan for them, saying: "Would to God we had died in Egypt, or that we had died in the wilderness." Going back to Egypt was not an option, but finally, after this 10th time of complaining since leaving Egypt, the Lord said starting in verse 20 to Moses:
"I have pardoned them as you requested...but as they've spoken in my ears so I will do to them...you will all die in the wilderness (as you requested)...everyone from 20 years and upwards who came out of Egypt..."
(If a reader doesn't understand how they could be forgiven yet made to pay the price for their rebellion, I suggest any of my 'Forgiveness' series, which explains a trespass is both vertical (sin) and horizontal (injury/damage). The sin can be forgiven from heaven, but the injury/damage done on earth must be accounted for.)
If you trace those 10 times Israel murmured and complained you'll find the Lord wanted to deal with them at each point, but Moses interceded and the Lord relented. But finally, He reached a point He was willing to go no further, and allowed them to experience exactly what they said they wanted - to die in the wilderness.
As Steven gives his defense in Acts 7, in verse 42 he recounts this point in Israel's history saying it this way: "And God turned, and gave them up to worship the host of heaven..." There is a point with a people who insist they go their own way instead of God's, that He 'turns' and lets them do what they want. This gives us a clue as to why seemingly predictable divine appointments don't happen, so stay tuned.
I've run out of room today...continued next week...until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org