“But THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT (capitals mine); in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”
2 Peter 3:10
The bottom line question many people, including myself, who vigorously study Bible prophecy today ask is “Can we ever know when the End will be? Will we know beforehand the day when Jesus will Return at His Second Coming?” This is especially true of those who have heard of the many prophecies in the Bible regarding the Last Days – the converging of increases and intensity in things like earthquakes, famines, pestilence, wars, rumors of wars, sinfulness, etc. – and seeing them all now happening like never before, right before our very eyes!
Of course, the critical question which first must be asked is “Which Second Coming are you talking about?” While some mainstream churches today Satanically teach Christ will NOT Return at the Rapture and even that He will NOT Return to Reign in peace and righteousness during His 1,000 year Millennium Reign on earth, the Bible is VERY clear. He WILL Return at the Rapture of the Christian Believers prior to the start of the Tribulation period (When will the Rapture Occur – Pre, Mid or Post Tribulation) and He WILL Return again at the War of Armageddon to defeat the antichrist and the false prophet (What happens AFTER Armageddon?). He will also throw Satan into the bottomless pit during His earthly Reign for 1,000 years!
I believe when the Bible says His Coming will be as a “thief in the night” it refers to a specific time which will catch many people by surprise. But many others will be ready and waiting!
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made (voice of the archangel?), Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
Those Believers in Jesus Christ know the Bible teaches us about a yet future time when He will Return for His Believers, both those who died believing in Him and those of us still alive who have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. This is called the Rapture! Famously, the most often Scripture referred to regarding this soon to come event is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Yes, I did name my blog after this Scripture but most importantly, no one knows when this specific event will occur! There is today no need for any other event to precede this Promise from Jesus. It could occur at any moment. As He said above “…ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” But like the story above of the ten handmaidens awaiting the marriage ceremony, five of the ten WERE prepared but the other five WERE NOT prepared for when it would happen. They assumed they would have additional time or be able to borrow oil on someone else’s preparedness and when they were told to go get their own oil for their lamps, they were caught in their own unpreparedness and ended up missing the glorious unification with Jesus “…in the clouds”. Here we are clearly told Jesus’s Coming at the Rapture will be as a “thief in the night”, meaning when they least expected it they were not ready for this to happen. They did not expect it to happen when it did. They thought they had more time to prepare themselves.
“Behold, I (Jesus) come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keep his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
Fortunately, because of the prophecies in the Bible, we have been informed of what to expect. IF we believe in Jesus and IF we believe what the Bible has told us and IF we have asked Him to forgive our sins, we don’t need to know when the Rapture will occur. Trust me. He will let us know when it is time! We simply must know and believe it WILL occur exactly as the Bible says.
“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
So, hopefully it is as clear to you as the Bible intended. We WILL NOT know when the Rapture occurs until AFTER it happens! The Believers will know it is coming and afterwards because they will be with the Lord in the clouds. The unbelievers will wonder what in the world just happened. Unfortunately for many, at that time it will be too late to be Raptured unless they had already prepared themselves beforehand. Thankfully, the Bible has warned us all to be ready!
“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
If we cannot know when Jesus will Return at the Rapture, can we know when He later will return at Armageddon? Actually, if for some reason we understood the prophetic nature of the Bible and were alive on earth at the end of the 7 year Tribulation, we would know down to the day when Christ will Return. How, could we know this when the Bible is clear when it says in Matthew 24:36: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” We must remember when Jesus said these words on the Mount of Olives several events had not yet happened. First, Jesus was talking to the Jews at the time, not the Gentiles. Secondly, He had not yet been crucified for the redemption of our sins so He obviously would not have known the things He would be told upon His Resurrection to Heaven. Finally, and most importantly, the “mystery” of the Rapture had not yet even been introduced so His comments were based to the Jews and were referring to His FINAL Second Coming to Reign in peace and righteousness. This is what they were awaiting for from their Messiah.
So yes, it is possible to know when Jesus will Return! We have been told of the events which MUST occur BEFORE Jesus Returns to Reign on this earth for 1,000 years. Simply put, these events below MUST happen before He comes:
- A Peace Covenant must be confirmed between the Palestinians and the Israelis. This will be confirmed by the anti-christ. This Peace Covenant will be for 7 years. Exactly at the end of the 7 years, Jesus will Return! (Daniel 9:27)
- During the first half (3 1/2 years, 42 months, 1,260 days) of the Tribulation, the 3rd Holy Jewish Temple will be rebuilt on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and their worship and animal sacrifices will resume. (Daniel 9:27)
- During the first half of the Tribulation, 2 Prophets/Witnesses anointed by God and 144,000 Jewish/turned Christian evangelists (12,000 from each of the 12 Jewish tribes) will preach the Holy Gospel to the entire world. (Revelation 7)
- During the first half of the Tribulation it is believed one half of all people on the earth will die from wars, famines, pestilence, etc. (Revelation 6:8, Revelation 9:15)
- At the end of the first half of the Tribulation, the two Witnesses will be murdered in Jerusalem, their bodies will lie in the streets for 3 1/2 days during which the entire world will see their bodies and will celebrate with each other their deaths. At the end of the 3 1/2 days they will miraculously be brought back to life, stand up and will ascend to Heaven while the entire world watches. (Revelation 11:7-12)
- The anti-christ will enter the rebuilt Jewish Temple and desecrate it by proclaiming himself to be God and will demand to be worshiped as God. This is known as the Abomination of Desolation and from that day until Jesus’s Second Coming will be exactly 1,260 days, not 1,250 days or 1,270 days but 1,290 days!. (Daniel 12:11)
- When the anti-christ’s reign of terror is finally over (3 1/2 years AFTER the Abomination of Desolation), the armies of the world will meet up at Armageddon to try to annihilate all the remaining Jews and Jesus WILL Return to set up His Millennium Kingdom on earth! (Revelation 16:16)
Obviously, if we track the events foretold to us in he Bible IT IS possible to know the exact day of Jesus’s Second Coming. For those of us who Believe, we won’t be here to witness it as earthly beings. To most of the world however, they will believe in the lies of the anti-christ and the false prophet who have been inspired by Satan and will not know what was told to all in the Bible. They will be like the 5 handmaidens who were not prepared for the bridegroom’s return and did not have enough oil for their lamps.The Jews will finally accept Jesus as their Savior and the Christians who came to know Christ after the Rapture and made it through the Tribulation will survive. All others will be killed at the Battle of Armageddon by Jesus who only will need to use the Word of His mouth, like a sword, to slay all unbelievers.
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
His Promise to all, unbelievers and Believers alike will be fulfilled at His Second Coming. The thief has killed and has stolen but Jesus’s Return will be to give life to all who believe in Him.
“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent, If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
I believe Jesus is clearly telling us here that if you DO NOT watch, you will not know when He will return. If you DO watch, obviously you will know the day when He will Return! Three and one half years after the Abomination of Desolation during which time Satan will be given authority over the earth has been given to him (Satan). Jesus does not want any of us to miss being caught up with Him. It is a free choice, given to each and every one of us. But that doesn’t mean we will choose wisely! He wants us to choose Him over Satan. And with that, He has also Promised us:
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”
1 Peter 4:7
I often say I do not want to scare people, I simply want to make them aware of what the Bible has already told us. The prophecies of the Tribulation, the anti-christ, wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc. has got to be scary to all who don’t believe what the Bible says. But the Bible gives us a clear out! Believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins; accept His gift of salvation; and, repent of your sins and do it now before the Rapture occurs and you will NOT have to go through the trials and Tribulation coming soon upon this earth. This should be assuring, not scary! If you agree, make sure you tell others of His Promise and the resulting joy that comes with giving yourself to Jesus. Tell others so you can do what we are all told to do and that is to “…therefore comfort one another with these words.” Those words are not intended to help people living during the Tribulation to determine how long until Christ finally Returns but rather to let them know beforehand they don’t need to even go through it. Now, that has got to be comforting!
May God Bless you as we await THE day!