When Will Jesus Return?

Jesus is coming again, and soon. Books and articles are being written every day about this. Can we know when it will happen? No, we cannot know exactly when, but we can know that His Second Coming is imminent. It is closer than most people think. We need to know what the Bible does say about when Jesus will come again and be ready for it.

A Misunderstood Passage

Many teachers have misunderstood what Jesus said in Luke 21:32 (NKJV): “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.” They have taught that this meant that even the disciples believed that Jesus would return within their own lifetimes. This may have been true for some who were living at that time, but it was not what God intended it to mean.

Those who taught this made the same mistake that many others have done. They took the verse out of context. We must always read Biblical passages in their context.

In the first part of Luke 21, Jesus was talking about His Second Coming. He was talking about all the various signs that would occur before He comes again. Matthew 24 actually gives us much more information about these signs. (This is why we must read all four Gospels to get the complete story about what Jesus taught.)

Then, in Luke 21:29-32 (NKJV) we read: “Then He [Jesus] spoke to them a parable: ‘Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.”

Jesus was telling us to learn something from this parable of the fig tree. In other words, He was saying that you know that summer is very near when you see the leaves start coming out on the fig tree. In the same way, when you see all these various signs occurring, you will know that My return is imminent. He made it specific when He said: “know that it [My return] is near – at the door.”

Immediately following this statement is when Jesus said that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” What generation was Jesus talking about? It was the generation that was observing all these signs that Jesus was talking about in the previous verses.

Look at what is happening in the world today. All these signs are now happening rapidly, much more so than ever before. Jesus was talking about our generation. This becomes much clearer when we study all of these signs that Jesus was talking about.

What About Jerusalem?

Jesus tells us something very important about Jerusalem. In Luke 21:20-23 He tells us what is going to happen to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is going to be destroyed. Then He describes how terrible it will be for those who live there.

Jesus said in Luke 21:24 (NKJV): “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations.” This happened in AD 70. The Romans destroyed the city and spread the inhabitants all over their empire.

But look at the second half of Luke 21:24 (NKJV): “And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” In other words, during the time of the Gentiles, Jerusalem will not be in the hands of the Israelites, but rather in the hands of the Gentiles.

If you study history, you will find that the Jews did not have any control over Jerusalem from AD 70 until 1967. It was in 1967, during the “6 day war” that the Jews once again controlled Jerusalem. This is the most important sign concerning the Second Coming of Jesus.

There have always been earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, etc. But when they start intensifying (as they have been) after the Jews take control of Jerusalem, we know that the signs that Jesus was talking about are the ones that are happening right now.

The Rebuilding Of The Temple

In fact, the only sign that has not yet been fulfilled is the rebuilding of the Temple. How do we know that the Temple will be rebuilt? It is because Jesus speaks of it being in existence before He returns. For instance, in Matt. 24, Jesus gives a warning that something so terrible is going to happen that everyone should flee Judea (modern Israel) when they see it happening.

What is this terrible thing? Matthew 24:15 (NKJV): “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” What is this “abomination of desolation?” Daniel writes about it in Daniel 11:31 and Daniel 12:11 but he does not describe exactly with it is. But Daniel does give us some clues.

Daniel says that two things will happen. First all daily sacrifices will be stopped. Secondly, what will take the place instead of the daily sacrifices will be the “abomination of desolation.” Daniel 12:11 says that the time between these two events will be 1290 days. This will be about 3 ½ years.

When Will The Temple Be Rebuilt?

First of all, the Jews are now ready to rebuild the Temple. All of the furnishing have already been remade. Others claim that the stones have already been cut. To read more about this, see my article on “The Rebuilding of the Temple.”

The Bible does not say when the Temple will be rebuilt. However, Daniel does give us some clues in his passage that is commonly called “The 70 Weeks of Daniel.” This is God’s timetable for the world. The last verse in this passage is Daniel 9:27 where it says: Daniel 9:27 (NKJV):
“Then he [the anti-Christ] shall confirm a covenant with many [the Israelites] for one week;
But in the middle of the week
He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation, which is determined,
Is poured out on the desolate.”

This verse tells us that the anti-Christ will make a covenant with the “many” [Israel] for one week (7 years). We know that in order for the Temple to be rebuilt on the Temple Mount that some kind of an agreement must be made between the Muslims and the Jews. I believe that this may be the covenant that verse 27 is talking about.

If this is true, then the Tribulation Period will begin when a covenant is made between the Muslims and Jews which enables them to rebuild their Temple on the Temple Mount.

The Sacrifices Are Stopped

Verse 27 then says that in the middle of that week (3 ½ years) he (the anti-Christ) will stop the sacrifices and offerings being performed in the Temple. Does this mean that the sacrifices will be stopped exactly 3 ½ years (42 months or 1260 days) after the covenant is made to enable the Temple to be rebuilt?

No, I do not believe so. Note several important points. Daniel does give us a specific time period for the Tribulation Period. It is to be exactly 7 years. In Daniel 12, he gives us some specific number of days that certain things will happen. Daniel 9:27 only says “in the middle of the week.”

Thus, it does not refer to a specific number of months or days. It only means that sometime in the middle of the 7 year period that the sacrifices and offerings will be stopped. And because the specific time period between when the Sacrifices are stopped and the Abomination of Desolation is 1290 days, I believe that the sacrifices may be stopped one month before the exact 3 ½ year.

The Abomination of Desolation

Yes, we are told exactly when this will happen. Daniel 12:11 (NKJV) says: “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.”

This means that there will be a 43 month period where there will be no sacrifices or offering that will be offered in the newly rebuilt Temple.

Do we know what this Abomination of Desolation is? No, we do not. However, I think we can establish that it will be some kind of an offering (or sacrifice) to a false god.

The Return of Jesus

If this is so, then Daniel is telling us exactly when Jesus will return. Does this contradict what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 (NKJV): “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” No, it does not. Daniel tells us that we will not be able to understand or know what will happen until the end is here. Daniel 12:9 (NKJV): “And he said, ‘Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.’” The Hebrew word translated “closed up” is “catham” which means “to keep secret.”

I believe that God is telling us, through Daniel, that when the end times are here, we will know exactly what is going to happen. Does this mean that we can know this now? No! That time is not yet here. When will that time be here? It will be when the anti-Christ stops the daily sacrifices in the Temple.

The Rapture

Does this mean that all born-again Christians will know exactly when the Rapture will take place? No! Even when Jesus talks about it, He only tells us that it will happen suddenly, without warning. Read Luke 17:26-37.

The word “rapture” is not in the Bible, but the concept certainly is. Read I Thess. 4:17 (NKJV) where it says: “Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

The important point to remember is that we cannot know exactly when this will happen. Both I Thess. 5:2 and II Peter 3:10 tell us that when Jesus comes again, it will be like “a thief in the night.” In other words, we cannot know exactly when it will happen.

However, the Rapture must take place before the events of Daniel 12:11-12. This means that the Church will be taken out of the world before the events of Daniel 12:11-12. Then who will this information be revealed to? It will be revealed to those who are saved after the Rapture. And I believe that this number will be in the millions.

The Second Coming Of Jesus

Keep in mind that “the Second Coming of Jesus” probably does not refer to one specific event at one specific time. Many prophecies in the Bible refer to a specific event, but that event is spread over a period of time. If this is true with this prophecy, then the Second Coming of Jesus refers to two separate earthly events. First, Jesus comes for His Church (the Rapture) and then, after the anti-Christ is defeated, He returns to the earth to beginning reigning for 1000 years from Jerusalem.

Why do I say this? If the Church is still on the earth when the Abomination of Desolation occurs in the Temple, we will know exactly when the Rapture will take place. And the Bible specifically says that we will not know when this will happen.

So, when will Jesus come again to rule over the world for 1000 years? Will it be at the same time that the Church is raptured? No, it really cannot be. Remember Daniel gives us a time table, in a specific number of days, of what will happen after the daily sacrifices are stopped in the Temple.

Remember that Daniel 12:11 said that the abomination of desolation will be set up in the rebuilt Temple 1290 days after the daily sacrifices are stopped in the Temple.

Then in Daniel 12:12 (NKJV): “Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” This is 45 days after the abomination of desolation is set up in the Temple. For me, this can only refer to one thing. After all the trouble and persecution that has been going on, it tells us that those who endure for 1335 days after the sacrifices are stopped in the Temple will be “blessed.” In other words, it will be a very happy time for them.

What could this possibly be? It could certainly be Jesus coming back to Jerusalem to rule the world for 1000 years.

What Does This Mean For Us?

It means that we are living in a phenomenal time. It is the most exciting time in the history of the human race. I realize that for those who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, it will be a very frightening time. But for those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior and know what the Scripture says, it will be a very exciting time.

We know what is going to happen. We may not know exactly when it will happen. But we know what the final outcome will be. No, we do not know when the Rapture will happen, but we do know that it will happen. We do not know how much of the Tribulation we will have to endure, but we do know that we will not have to endure the worst of the Tribulation.

Yes, tribulation has already started, even here in America. Does this mean that the Tribulation Period spoken of in the Bible has already started? I do not think so. Remember Daniel said that the beginning of the final “week” (7 year period) will begin when a covenant is made between the anti-Christ and Israel. Also, keep in mind that we probably will not know that it is the anti-Christ that who makes this treaty. We will only know that a covenant is made.

Just remember this. Keep your faith, trust and hope in Jesus and it will be the most exciting time you can imagine. The Biblical Prophecies will become more and more clear as the final events unfold.

 




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