To understand Biblical prophecy, there are some basics that need to be understood. You can go to the Prophecy/Eschatology category on this site to get more detail, but we are going to take a very brief look at what happens before the Day of the Lord begins at the Natzal, or rapture, and the beginning of the Birth-pains/Tribulation 10 days later. There is what is called the 7000 year plan of God, and the blueprint for it can be seen in Genesis 1 and 2, with the six days of creation and then the Sabbath day. So, we are at the end of the 6000 years according to the Scriptures and the 1000 year Day of the Lord will begin soon. We know that the spring festivals teach the first coming of the Messiah (all fulfilled) and the fall festivals teach the second coming (not fulfilled yet). When Rosh ha Shannah year 6001 comes, the Natzal/Rapture/Gathering will happen. Ten days later it will be Yom Kippur and that is when the Birth-pains/Tribulation will begin. The Birth-pains will go for 2520 days and end on a Yom Kippur (Great Shofar is an idiom for this day-Matt 24.31) with the Second Coming of Yeshua. Going backward from there 1260 days you come to the midpoint of the Birth-pains, Nisan 10, the day that Israel chose the community lamb to be sacrificed four days later on Passover (Nisan 10), and the day Yeshua rode into Jerusalem in the “triumphal” entry and declared himself the Messiah. This day will also be the day the false messiah declares himself God in Jerusalem, the exact mid point of the Birth-pains and counterfeiting what Yeshua did (2 Thes 2.1-12). Also, from this midpoint of the Birth-pains, if you go ahead 1260 days you come to Yom Kippur and the coming of Yeshua. Add 75 days to that and you come to 1335 days and the Feast of Chanukah, when the dedication of Ezekiel’s Temple will take place (Dan 12.12). With this quick overview of the Birth-pains, let’s look at what is soon to take place, leading up to the Birth-pains. Many believe that the Rapture can happen at any time, but that is not true. It will not happen till Rosh ha Shannah, year 6001 from creation and not before. There are certain things that will be taking place before that happens. Remember, eschatology is understood in the Scriptures as relating to the Messiah and the redemption. It is seen from the following six reference points: historical; first coming of Messiah; second coming of Messiah; Birth-pains; Messianic Kingdom and the Olam Haba. There are concepts associated with prophecy like “here now, but not yet” (Num 24.17) and “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So, there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecc 1.9). Prophecy is not limited in time and things that happened before can happen again. So, what should we keep an eye on before the Birth-pains begin. Many think that the sacrifices can only be done with a Temple. But, that is not correct. All they need is the Altar. We know that the false messiah will stop the sacrifices on Nisan 10, after three and a half years of the Birth-pains (Dan 9.27). But, that is not when the sacrifices begin. Remember, prophecies can have numerous fulfillments and the Scriptures can be alluding to prophecy. When Israel came back from Babylon, they began offering sacrifices on Rosh ha Shannah and before the foundation of the Temple had been laid (Ezra 3.1-6). They did have the Altar set up, however. This could happen again. The day the Rapture happens is a Rosh ha Shannah and Israel could begin offering sacrifices with an Altar, but no Temple just yet. It would be scripturally allowed. If they do, that means certain things will happen before the Rapture that we can look for. First, Israel will get control of the Temple Mount. Second, a red heifer will need to be killed on the Mount of Olives in order to cleanse the priesthood and all vessels, plus the Temple Mount and Altar for starters. This will need to be done by Elul 24 at least, seven days before they are ready to be used according to the Scriptures, or Tishri 1 (Rosh Ha Shannah). So, that means it will happen before the Rapture begins and we will see it. Also, the political situation in Russia will get more aggressive toward the United States. In prophecy, Russia is portrayed by Assyria and they will invade Israel and be defeated the same way as Assyria (Ezek 38-39). Anti-Torah (the Scriptures call this “lawlessness) will be on the rise in the United States (the land of Babylon in prophecy). Along with that will come anti-Semitism and this will make any Torah observant person very uncomfortable. In Israel, their politics will be pushing for the establishment of a two-state system, but this will not be easy. These are just a few of the things that we are watching as time gets closer to the beginning of the Birth-pains.