In Revelation 19:11 John describes Jesus the Warrior returning to Earth: “There before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he makes war—the armies of heaven were following him.” Jesus said, “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels…” (Matt 16:27, 24:37-39). Some thought he would come in their lifetime (1 Peter 4:7; James 5:8; Heb 10:25)
It took 46 years to build the Great Temple (John 2:19-21). Jesus said it would all be thrown down. “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down” (Luke 21:6; Matt 24:2). The disciples were astonished. When settled in the Garden, the disciples asked Jesus a two-part question: “When will these things happen? [Temple thrown down] And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7).
Jesus starts with signs then follows with timing. “Look at the fig tree and all of the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:29-31; Matt 24:32-33). The fig tree is a metaphor for Israel (Matt 21:18-20; Mark 11:12-14; Luke 13:6-9; Habakkuk 3:17-18; Jeremiah 24:4-7).
Who had Jerusalem when Jesus was here?
The Romans—Gentiles, non-Jews. Do you remember the Roman Prefect—Pontius Pilate, washing his hands after the trial of Jesus? At that time some people were hoping that Jesus was a warrior Messiah (Gen 49:10; Isaiah 13:4-5, 24:21-23; Ezek 7:27; Joel 2:11), who would lead mighty armies to drive out the oppressor Romans then appoint them as leaders. Judas Iscariot thought like that, but Jesus had other plans. (The Old Testament mentions both Messiahs: The humble servant and the conquering warrior).
Then in 70 AD, as Jesus predicted, Emperor Titus and General Tiberius, leading four legions of Roman soldiers, destroyed Jerusalem and the Great Temple. Only the retaining walls that supported the Temple above remain, one portion of which is the well-known Wailing Wall. As Jesus said, the Romans tore the temple apart to get the gold that melted down between the stone seams, and the Israelites scattered for their lives to settle in other nations—the Diaspora.
The Prophet Ezekiel predicted the Diaspora over five hundred years before—about 586 BC. He quoted God as saying, “I dispersed them among the nations, and they were scattered through the countries; I judged them according to their conduct and their actions” (Ezek 36:19). Although many Jewish people had been leaving Israel and not coming back for hundreds of years, this event caused most of the remaining Jews to leave. For rejecting their Messiah, God cursed the fig tree [Israel], which withered.
Ezekiel predicted or prophesied the Diaspora, but he also said God would bring the Jewish people back to their own land: “Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind” (Ezek 39:28; and 37:12, 21).
Ezekiel tells us that this will happen, “In future years” (Ezek 38:8: “In latter years” KJV).
Israel becoming a nation after thousands of years is the fig tree sprouting tender shoots and leaves, becoming a beautiful tree again–a specific sign for us.
TIMES OF GENTILES FULFILLED
Jesus gave another important sign, saying that the Gentiles would control Jerusalem for a precise period. “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).
What does that mean, “…the times of the Gentiles fulfilled?”
From the time of Jesus until the end of World War II, Gentiles controlled Jerusalem—the time of the Gentiles. In 1948, the nation of Israel was born and the Jews gained control over half of Jerusalem, but they did not govern the whole city. All of Jerusalem finally came under their jurisdiction after the Six-Day War in 1967.
Although many people throughout the ages thought Jesus might come sooner, incorrectly predicting his return, this part of the prophecy did not happen until now—in our lifetime. With all of Jerusalem under Jewish control for the first time in 2,000 plus years, the time of the Gentiles was fulfilled—complete. Another specific sign for us.
“When will these things happen?”
It is all about the timing: Part One: Israel becomes a nation. Part Two: The Jews control all of Jerusalem.
Is it any wonder that the Jewish people are adamantly opposed to a divided Jerusalem? The Palestinians want Jerusalem as their capitol also, but dividing Jerusalem is simply not negotiable.
When all of Jerusalem came under Jewish control, the final sign presented itself and the clock started ticking down. Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened” (Matt 24:34; Luke 21:32). The generation of people witnessing this momentous event, would also see his Second Coming.
What does that passage mean, and how does it affect us? We need to know how long a generation is.
From biblical times until now, the general lifespan of an individual has been about seventy years. Psalm 90:10, “The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength.”
Despite the advances of science over the centuries, from birth to death the lifespan of a generation is still approximately seventy years. Because of hardship, life expectancy can vary in certain countries today and in times past. Do you see the distinction between lifespan and life expectancy? Likewise, in biblical times, those people with access to plentiful food and good medical care, like kings, could live a long life.
Even 2,700 years ago, this was true: “At that time Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, the span of a king’s life.” (Isaiah 23:15, who lived in the 700’s BC).
In modern countries with ready access to medical care and an abundance of quality, clean food, life expectancy has slowly crept up into the low eighties. However, that does not change the truth spoken of in Psalm 90, of what the average lifespan is supposed to be—seventy years.
So add seventy years—the average length of a generation from birth to death—to the date 1967, and we have Jesus returning to Earth before the year 2037. He said he would return before that generation passed away, who witnessed a specific event–the last sign–all of Jerusalem controlled by the Jews. He said it was a certainty—take it to the bank. This means that most of you reading this will witness his return in the Second Coming!
Now notice, I did not give you a specific date and ask you to sell your possessions, climb a mountain with me and beat drums while chanting Kumbaya. No. What we have is a range. Jesus will return before 2037. We won’t know the exact day or hour, but that 2037 is not far off now, is it?
As Jesus said, we will not know the exact day and hour, which is just as well. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt 24:36). Knowing he will return between now and 2037 should be enough to motivate into action everyone who believes.
Are you beginning to feel a sense of urgency? I certainly do.
ALIBI (a defense or an excuse to avoid blame).
1. Psalm 90:10 said 70 to 80 years, so that could increase the window ten years or to 2047.
2. While we can expect the return of Jesus on or before 2037, God can choose one individual of that generation as the one to watch, however long they live. “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah” (Lk 1:25-26). What if Grandma Johnson, of our generation, lives to 96 years old and God uses her lifespan to launch the Second Coming?—26 years later—2063.
Nevertheless, I hope Jesus returns in my lifetime–I would like to still be alive for the Second Coming—to be transformed in the wink of an eye (1 Cor 15:52). But God has a plan, and the End Time events will unfold in the fullness of time and not a second earlier—or later.
APOPHIS – ancient serpent deity of chaos and darkness.
Who does that remind you of?
“The second angel sounded his trumpet and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea“ (Rev 8:8).
Copy and past this, or type in your browser “Neil deGrasse Tyson, Apophis” and watch one of his very disturbing videos about a coming worldwide calamity, potentially in Southern California or off the coast, although it could hit somewhere in the Midwest also. In the video, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson first says the asteroid–Apophis–will near miss earth in 2029 and come back 13 years later. But at the end, he corrects himself and says it comes back in 7 years–2036. Interestingly, the bible talks about this. And the date–less than twenty years from now–2036 fits too, doesn’t it? Especially if this mountain of an asteroid slams into the earth near the end of the Great Tribulation.
When Dr Neil talks about where Apophis will pass by the earth in 2029, he holds up two fingers and says there is a range between the surface of the earth and the farthest satellites. Those farthest satellites are 22,000 miles out. The “key hole” is a 600-mile area in the center. The asteroid will only hit off the coast of California if it hits the key hole perfectly. If it misses that 600 mile keyhole, it misses Earth. But if it hits the 600-mile keyhole at any point, it will slam into the earth somewhere–further out to sea or somewhere on the North American continent. In either case, Americans will be greatly affected.
According to the bible (Rev 8:8), it will hit somewhere in the ocean. If it hits in the ocean off San DIego, is that better? Nope. Watch the movie, Deep Impact, to see the damage from a water landing–thousand foot or higher tsunami waves will bury the West Coast, leaving destruction up to five hundred miles inland–essentially, all of California will be obliterated from Redding to San Diego. The San Joaquin Valley will be an inland salt water sea again.
Perhaps this is why the United States is not mentioned or involved in the events surrounding the antichrist and Israel: We are in recovery after the greatest natural disaster in our history.
When does the Great Tribulation start?
In Matthew 24:15-22, Jesus says that when people see the Abomination of Desolation, there would follow a period of Great Tribulation, such as the world had never been seen before.
First, someone wrote that we cannot know when the Great Tribulation will start; like a frog in water, we may already be in the mess without really knowing it.
Second, if we know when things start, then we will know when they stop. The argument here is that we are not supposed to know the day and hour when Jesus will return (Matt 24:36), and if we know when the last half of the Great Tribulation starts, then we will know when the Second Coming happens.
The Great Tribulation starts when the antichrist makes a seven-year covenant [of peace] with Israel, but in the middle of the seven years–at 3 1/2 years–he stops sacrifices in the Great Temple and places abominations there (Dan 9:27). Rev 13:5 says that the antichrist will make war on the saints for 42 months–3 1/2 years.
But even if we see these things develop and happen, and even if we get out our calendars and mark a day exactly 42 months later, that does not mean it is the day the Lord is coming, much less the hour. I say this because there is a wrinkle to the calendar, to the dating. At the end of the book of Daniel, he asks Gabriel, “What will the outcome of all this be?” Gabriel answers, “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days [3 1/2 years]. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days” (Dan 12:8,11-12).
I call this a 45-day window, in which anything can happen. Yes, we will not know the exact day and hour, but we are also told that, unlike the non-believers, the believers will not be surprised: “But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief” (1 Thess 5:1-4). Not knowing the exact day or hour does not mean we will be unprepared. Quite the contrary.