As of Spring, 2015, Many teachers on television are saying that we may be entering into the Birth-pains in the next few months, but they are totally out of the loop as far as Bible prophecy is concerned. We are still some time away from the blowing of the shofar and the Natzal (Rapture), and here are some reasons why. First of all, oil must be discovered in the land of Israel. We know from Gen 14.10 that oil was all over the area covered by the Dead Sea, which was called Lake Asphaltus by the Romans. The Nabateans were in the oil business when they populated Petra by going into the Dead Sea and scooping oil right off the top and selling it for lamps and lubricants. In Isa 2.7 it says the land of Israel has treasures without end and in Isa 45.3 it says that God is going to give Israel the “treasures of darkness” which literally means the “domes and caves” under the earth. Many interpret this to mean oil deposits. Deut 32.13 says that Israel will have oil from the flinty rock, which may refer to olive oil or literal oil seeping out of the rocks, like Jed Clampett found in the Beverly Hillbillies! Secondly, the Temple Mount must be in the hands of Israel when the Natzal happens. There is a prophecy in Ezra 3.1-6 that states that offerings on the Altar began on Tishri 1, or Rosh Ha Shannah, after the Jews returned to the land after the first exile in Babylon. This will happen again. Third, Israel will be divided into two states, one religious and one secular, much like it was when Assyria (Russia) attacked Israel (see Isa chapters 3, 7, 8, 9, 10). Fourth, a red heifer must be sacrificed in the purification ceremony described in Num 19. This heifer will be burned and the ashes used to ritually purify the priesthood, the Temple Mount and anything used in the services (see the article on the Red Heifer this site). This purification ceremony will happen before or by Elul 24, seven days prior to the sacrifices beginning on the Temple Mount and the Natzal on Tishri 1. Just like before, these sacrifices began without a Temple, but the Altar was ready. Fifth, there will be changes in Russian governmental policy that will be more aggressive against Israel and aligning themselves with the nations mentioned in Ezek 38.1-6 and Psa 83. The government will attempt to stabilize Russia by controlling middle eastern oil. All of these events are happening right now or preparing to happen. When we reach Rosh Ha Shannah, year 6001 from creation, the resurrection of the dead believers and the Natzal of the righteous living will happen, along with the coronation and wedding of the Messiah in Heaven (Isa 13.2; Isa 21.5; 1 Thes 1.10; 1 Thes 4.13-18; 1 Cor 15.51-55; Psa 45; 2 Thes 2.3; Zeph 2.1-3; Isa 18.3; Job 14.10-15 and 19.25-26; Isa 26.19 and 57.1-2; Rev 4-5). At the same time, the Temple services begin in Jerusalem (Ezra 3.1-6). On that same day (Tishri 1) the 144,000 realize that Yeshua is the Messiah and start for Israel. Just like Paul saw Yeshua and believed, it will be that same for them. Other examples of how this could happen is that Yeshua’s brothers did not believe in him until after the resurrection (John 7.5). Elisha received a double portion of the anointing that was on Elijah because he saw Elijah taken (2 Kings 2.9-10). From Tishri 1-7 the Jewish population will leave the United States following the 144,000. A mixed multitude of non-Jews will also leave the country with them and head to Israel and other countries. On Tishri 8 Russia destroys the United States in a surprise attack, leaving Europe in a panic (Jer 50 and 51; Isa 13, 14, 18, 21, 24, 47 and 48; Psa 137). On Tishri 9, European nations gather to discuss what to do. The United States is gone, and they believe they may be next. The false messiah is present in this meeting and these nations give him their power to act for all of them in one hour (Dan 7.15-28; Rev 17.13). The religion that will support him will be an apostate form of Christianity. On Tishri 10, the false messiah will sign some sort of military treaty to protect Israel (Ezek 38.14; Dan 9.27; Job 41.4). This day begins the Birth-pains and the first half of the Tribulation period of 1260 days. The two witnesses begin their ministry in Israel along with the 144,000 (Isa 18.3-7; Micah 4.9-10; Zech 2.1-7; Isa 66.7-9; Jer 50.4-8,16,28; Jer 51.6, 9, 10, 45, 50; Isa 48.20; Zech 4.1-5, 11-14; Rev 11.1-13; Zeph 3.10). At the same time, Russia will attack Europe with conventional weapons, beginning a three year war with the false messiah and the nations aligned with him (Isa 20.1-6, 16.14, 37.30). Israel will be warned not to flee to Europe (Egypt in the prophecies-Isa chapters 30, 31, 46, Isa 14.28-32, Isa 10.1-4). This is the first significant Rosh Ha Shannah to Yom Kippur during the Birth-pains. There will be two more significant ones coming during this seven year period. We are just into the first day of the Birth-pains, which is Yom Kippur. We know that the Birth-pains are 2520 days long, and Yeshua returns to Jerusalem on a Yom Kippur, ending this time period (Matt 24.30-31 where it says that he returns at the sound of the Great Trumpet, which is the “Shofar ha Gadol” that is only blown on Yom Kippur). Going back 2520 days brings us to the first Yom Kippur, beginning the seven year period called the Birth-pains or Tribulation period. In Part 3, we will pick up here and begin to discuss the events that occur during the seven year time period called the Birth-pains of the Messiah.