So, again, what I hear you saying is that you do not know for certain that we have gotten to “Thanksgiving” so we have no clue as to how close we are to “Christmas”. In fact, you have no way of knowing whether you are looking at Christmas decorations or a 4th of July parade.
BTW, I’m not agreeing that your “Thanksgiving” analogy is valid wrt the Second Coming. I believe it is bogus.
The Thanksgiving/Christmas illustration was to point out how it works that you have “stage setting” for Christmas, before Thanksgiving takes place.
The illustration was meant to show how the Rapture can have no signs, yet the Tribulation, itself can have all sorts of signs and prophecies — along with — the “stage setting” (or precursor events), which are *not* prophecies, in and of themselves. And it was an illustration to show that “stage setting” can occur prior to the Rapture, the “stage setting” that has to do with items that will be fulfilled only “inside” the Tribulation.
As I said, when a prophecy is given, it doesn’t just “happen” without precursor events leading up to the *actual prophetic event* itself. So, we see the “precursor events” for what will “actually take place” inside the Tribulation.
Therefore, you’ve got the “stage setting” (of the precursor events) of the Tribulation times — which then tells you that the Rapture is close to happening, because the Rapture will be the *first thing* on the agenda, before the Tribulation happens.
An example of this is, very simply, the stopping of the sacrifice and the Antichrist in the Holy Place, in the Temple. That would be the “prophetic event”. Now, what are the “precursor events” — to that? Well, one would be, you have to have Israel there, in order to have Israel build a Temple. And we *do see* that “precursor event* (of Israel existing) did happen. Now, it could have happened inside the Tribulation. The Bible didn’t say. But, as God “chose it in history” — it happened before the Tribulation. And that’s fine. The existence of Israel is a “precursor event” that God has allowed us to see that what is told in “prophecy” that will happen inside the Tribulation — is being “set up” now.
But, even *before* that — if you are looking at a sequence of precursor events that happen in an order of some sort — if you “stop sacrifices”, you then have to have them going. If you have them going, you have to have a Temple. If you have a Temple, then you have to have Israel in control of the land, to be able to build a Temple. If you build a Temple, you will have indications of “building one” — by things that “happen before” you actually start building — like “plans”, like “research” like some kind of “organization” of some sort that will “put it into action”.
And that’s what we see right now, an organization that has taken on the responsibility of doing all that is necessary — right now (as of *today*) in order to build the Temple when they are able to do so. [Of course, when they will be able to do so, is when they come to the final status peace agreement with the Muslims...].
So — in the “long run” — one precursor event is the establishment of the nation of Israel (which sets up a whole series of subsequent precursor events just from that one). In this case, by what we saw in history, it happened (the establishment of Israel) not inside the Tribulation (which it could have) but it happened prior to the Tribulation. Okay, now they are “in the land”. Next, you have to have a Temple, but even before that — you have to have plans for the Temple before you have it starting to be built. The plans have already been in the works for many years now. The Temple instruments and implements have already been created. The attire has been created. The “actual location” of where it’s going to be has been researched and there are three locations that have been specified. It remains to be seen which one of the three will be the one.
[*** as a side note here, of the three locations, two of them can leave the Dome of the Rock in place, while the third one would have to replace the Dome of the Rock. From what I can see, from the Bible (some “indications” there), it seems that the Temple Mount will be split and part of it will be under the control of the Gentiles, while another part will be under the control of the Jews [the Muslims would qualify in the “picture” of part of the Temple Mount being under the control of the Gentiles...]. Now, of those three, the only one that “fits the picture” for the location of the Temple — is the “northern” location. That is directly across from the Golden Gate, or the Eastern Gate, and it leaves the Dome of the Rock intact and undisturbed. But, the Bible doesn’t mention the Dome of the Rock (as to whether it is there or not there), but the Bible does indicate that part of the standard Temple area (the Court of the Gentiles) will be under Gentile control and not under Israel’s control, which seems to indicate a splitting of the Temple Mount between Jews and Muslims. ***]
Back to my comments from up above...
So, that’s how you have “precursor events” (or “stage setting”) prior to the prophecies that *actually take place* — inside the Tribulation time.
And since we *do see* these precursor events taking place, which relate *directly* to the prophetic events inside the Tribulation — then that tells us that the Rapture is close (because these other things are happening *right now*) — and the Rapture takes place *before* those prophetic events, of which we see the *specific precursor events happening right now.
Therefore, you see — these are *not* prophetic events related to the Rapture. They are not even the “actual prophetic events” themselves. But, they *are* the things that *have to happen first* — before the prophetic events take place — that are *inside* the Tribulation. But, as far as what prophetic events take place *prior* to the Tribulation — there are *none* — and hence the “doctrine of imminence” that Jesus can come *at any time*.
Mind you, even the “precursor events” (that you know must happen in any “human endeavor” — like “building the Temple”) — do *not* have to happen prior to the Rapture. That’s not what is being said. BUT, once we *do see* some precursor events (of those actual prophetic events that will happen *inside* the Tribulation) — then we know that the Rapture is all the closer, as we see the direct precursor events that will lead *directly* to the *actual prophetic events*.
And somewhat related to the above, what you have in the past, let’s say this last 1/2 a century, with prophecy teachers — is that a lot of them have been talking about the “precursor events” — and also — about the prophetic events. It may *not have been clear* to some people reading these guys that they distinguish between the “prophetic events” that the Bible talks about — being *inside* the Tribulation, while they talk about the “precursor events” (which are *not* prophecy, but simply things on a human scale that “lead up to prophetic events) as happening *right now*. These “precursor events” have been going on continuously all through the last 1/2 century and progressing and building and coming closer to what will happen — per the *prophetic event* — inside the Tribulation.
I think too many people have been *confused* about the talk which has to do with *stage setting* — and thinking that this has to do with the actual prophecies in the Bible that happen during the Tribulation time. The Tribulation time is not here yet. The Christians are still here and have not been Raptured. The Antichrist has not been revealed (and I mean *REVEALED* and not a “guessing game*... LOL...). Hence the Tribulation has not started.
So, it would pay for Christians to make a very good and clear distinction between the “stage setting” of the “precursor events” which will happen prior to the Tribulation (and have been, i.e., the “establishment of the nation of Israel”) — and — the *actual prophetic events* of the Tribulation time, itself.