By RS: Many people quote the famous Bible passage from Matthew 24 where Jesus says plainly that no one knows the day or the hour that He will return except the Father:
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. …Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
I’ve quoted this many times as well. But I think it’s interesting that Jesus compared his return to the days of Noah, because while Noah did not know the day or the hour that God was going to flood the entire earth, he did know roughly when it was going to happen because God made it known that it would be in 120 years in Genesis 6:
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose.
And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
Also, allow me to remind of you what 1 Thessalonians 5 says:
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
People always seem to miss that last line as they quote ‘it will come like a thief in the night’. Indeed I missed it too until someone pointed it out to me.
But it’s true, the Day of Christ’s return should not come as a surprise to you. In fact, the very day itself should not come as a surprise to you. If it does, it means you haven’t read the book of Daniel…and maybe a few others. Let me explain.
Most of you are familiar with the seven year covenant that Israel makes with ‘many’, a covenant that the Bible says the Antichrist will confirm in Daniel 9 (note one week = seven years):
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many 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.”
Notice it says the ‘consummation’ is determined. Other translations refer to this similarly, as the ‘decreed destruction’ or ‘decreed end’. This means that day on which Christ returns to end the Antichrist is determined or decreed, which means it is a set day.
Also notice when the abomination of desolations (the Antichrist) comes on the scene, which Jesus also refers to in Matthew 24. He comes on the scene in the middle of that seven year covenant (in the middle of the week). This is important.
So we know the Antichrist’s invasion of Jerusalem happens in the middle of the seven year covenant. So how long does it last? Daniel 7 tells us:
He shall speak pompous words against the Most High,
Shall persecute the saints of the Most High,
And shall intend to change times and law.
Then the saints shall be given into his hand
For a time and times and half a time.
The saints (Christians) will be given into the Antichrist’s hand for a time, times, and half a time. Most Bibles with a footnote will tell you that means three years and a half. Basically, ‘time’ is one year, ‘times’ is two years, and ‘half a time’ is half a year or six months. So that means this invasion of Jerusalem will go on for three years and a half.
I don’t know about you, but that feels like a very long time for Jerusalem to be under the boot of the Antichrist. It’s no wonder Jesus said to run like you’ve never run before when you see the Antichrist standing in the temple:
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Sounds horrible. Zechariah 14 sheds a little light on what will be happening over those 3.5 years:
Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,
And your spoil will be divided in your midst.
For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,
The houses rifled,
And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,
But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
So back to the premise. If you haven’t already figured it out, the Bible tells us exactly when Jesus is coming back and it’s three and a half years from the invasion of Jerusalem. But it even gets more specific, to the very day of Christ’s return and we’ll find it in Daniel 12:
“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. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
So from the time the abomination of desolations (Antichrist) is ‘set up’ in the temple, meaning to be bestowed or to be worshipped, and the daily sacrifice is stopped, there will be 1290 days. In other words, when we see the Antichrist standing in the temple as Jesus warned in Matthew 24, it’s going to be 1290 days until Christ’s return. And if you haven’t done the math yet, 1290 days equals 3.5 years.
So yes, when Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour except the Father, he was absolutely correct. And we still don’t know at this point when that day will be. But once we see the Antichrist (Gog) standing in the temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be god and the daily sacrifices in the temple cease, then we know exactly what day He is returning. And I feel pretty certain it’s going to be within our lifetimes, and probably much sooner than most expect. Much sooner.