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When Will Jesus Return?

- By David Brandt Berg
Introduction from the Webmaster: I don't agree entirely with all the teaching in this article any longer. I believe now that Matthew 24 may be talking only about the events of 70 A.D. and not the Endtime. The main point of the article is to show that pre-tribulation rapture is unscriptural and pure speculation.
Jesus returning on a white horse!

Matthew chapter 24 is quite clear on the subject of Jesus' Second Coming, when He is going to return to gather all those who have received Him as their Savior and take them with Him back to Heaven - an event commonly referred to as "the Rapture." The rest of the Bible is also clear on when this happens. That's why for nearly 1,800 years practically every Christian believed Jesus would come back after the period He refers to as "Great Tribulation" - three and a half years of intense persecution.

It's only in the last couple of hundred years that people like C.I. Scofield (1843-1921) came along with the false doctrine that Jesus would come before the Tribulation. "Don't worry, Jesus is going to come and take you out of this world before the trouble comes, so you won't have to suffer." Naturally that became a very popular doctrine because it was just what everybody had been waiting to hear.

When does Jesus come back for us? - That's also plain as day: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" Jesus returns (Matthew 24:29). Jesus doesn't say that when we see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place He's about to rescue us out of this world, away from the Antichrist and the trouble to come. He warns us to head for the hills (Matthew 24:16). In other words, we will still be here.

And why did the Lord and the prophets go to so much trouble to tell us exactly how long the Great Tribulation would last - the exact time in terms of days, months, and years - if we didn't need to know these things, if we won't be here, counting the days and the weeks? (Daniel 7:25; 12:11; Revelation 13:5). Jesus told us these specifics because He wants us to be able to take heart in knowing that the Tribulation isn't going to last forever, and that every passing day is bringing us closer to the glorious end.

During the Tribulation, things will get so bad that many people will think it's time for Jesus to come, especially Christians who were taught that He was supposed to come before the Tribulation. They're going to expect Him to come any day. But Jesus warns us not to expect Him sooner than has been foretold. He also warns us to not be deceived by either false christs who will try to deceive us into thinking that they are Christ, or by false prophets who will try to tell us that Christ's coming is imminent or that He's already here somewhere (Matthew 24:23-26). He tells us to not believe any of them, because when He comes, we will know it!

Some people who teach a pre-Tribulation Rapture go so far as to say that it's going to be a secret Rapture - that nobody is going to see Him except the saved. Nobody else is even going to know He came. All of a sudden a bunch of us are just going to disappear, and those who are left behind won't know what's happened to us.

From my experience, many Christians who say they believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture just don't want to have to go through the Tribulation and aren't the least bit prepared for it, so they come up with their own interpretation of the Scriptures or latch onto someone else's false teaching. But the Bible specifically says not to do that. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation" (2 Peter 1:20). I don't care what other religious groups or other Christians say; what does the Bible say?

In Matthew 24, Jesus' disciples ask Him what will be the sign of His return, and Jesus answers with not one but a number of signs - wars, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution of Christians, a proliferation of false prophets, lawlessness, a pervading lack of love, and the Gospel being preached in every nation. "Then," He says, "the end will come" (Matthew 24:4-14).

Beginning with the next verse, Jesus tells us what we can expect during the Great Tribulation - the last three and a half years leading up to His return, which is also the last half of the Antichrist's reign. Jesus also tells us what specific sign to watch for, so we'll know exactly when that period is beginning. "When you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place ... 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" (Matthew 24:15,21). We find out in the book of Revelation that this "abomination of desolation" is an image of the Antichrist, or Beast (Revelation 13:14-15). Both Daniel and Revelation tell us that this image will be set up in the holy place at exactly the middle of the Antichrist's seven-year reign (Daniel 9:27; 12:11; Matthew 24:15-21; Revelation 13:5).

If the Rapture is supposed to be a secret, why will the Lord make so much noise and put on such a show when He comes? His Word tells us that He's going to "come in the clouds with great power and glory." The sky will light up from one end to the other, and there will be such signs in the heavens that we couldn't possibly mistake the fact that Jesus is coming. In fact, it says that "every eye shall see Him." Everyone will also see the dead in Christ - all the saved people who have already died - rising to meet Him in the air as He comes. They'll hear Jesus, too, because He'll "descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and a great sound of the trump of God." And why are all of the unsaved going to mourn? - Because they're going to see and know what's happening (Matthew 24:27,30; "Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 1:7). It will be the greatest spectacle the world has ever seen.

That doesn't sound like a secret coming or secret Rapture to me! Does it to you?

And there it is again, plain as day: After the dead rise to meet the Lord, "then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). If we got raptured before, then what are we doing still here?

Art by Jeremy Spencer and Daniel Sky.
© 2006 The Family International.
By David Brandt Berg, from Activated, Vol 3, Issue 1.

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Comments (3)

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Rebecca LaVoy (Tampa, US) says...
I don't believe in a pretrib rapture. But, what about the verse that tells us that one would be taken and the other left and to be prepared because we don't know of that day
Admin:
Hallelujah! I am rejoicing because your question has helped me get a better understanding of that Scripture based on its context with another Scripture in the same chapter!!

Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be TAKEN, and the other left. -- Matthew 24:40

Just look at the verse immediately before it!

And knew not until the flood came, and TOOK them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. --Matthew 24:39

The popular interpretation of "taken" in Matthew 24:40 is based on speculation, not what the Word actually says. It is not talking about the Rapture, but about a person being killed by the Romans who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The "took" of verse 39 is clearly referring to being destroyed in the FLOOD. And it's interesting the word "flood" is also used metaphorically in Daniel's prophecy of the same event.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary (Jerusalem and the Temple); and the end thereof shall be with a FLOOD, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. -- Daniel 9:26

Isn't it amazing that the Lord used the word flood to describe destruction of the wicked in 70 A.D. as also happened during the great flood of Noah? I mean, how clearer can it get than that? The only reason it took me decades to understand these verses correctly is because I was misled by popular eschatological teaching on the subject which said those verses were taking about the Rapture.

so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

I believe this is referring to

Matthew 24:29  Immediately after the tribulation of those days (70 A.D.) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30  And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Jesus appeared in the sky and those who had Him crucified 40 years before that saw Him! How do I know that? Because Jesus told the High Priest he would see Jesus again coming in power!

Mark 14:61  But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
62  And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.



13th April 2018 7:23am
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James Arendt (Japan) says...
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
Jesus is waiting for you to return to Him with open arms!!
16th December 2017 6:59pm
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