Continuing the reasons for watching for the Lord Jesus’ return we consider when that might happen:
Jesus’ major End-time teaching was given soon after leaving the Temple with some of His disciples and having foretold its complete destruction, which was to happen about 40 years later after the infamous Roman siege of Jerusalem.
Jesus on the Mount of Olives:
When He went and sat on the nearby Mount of Olives, two sets of brothers (Peter & Andrew, James & John) asked Him to expand upon that prophecy, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” (seee Mark 13, Luke 21, Matthew 24).
He answered in some depth, and by examination of the details we can conclude that not only does Jesus describe later events in that First Century but also those of a much later time, one yet to come but which is now at the door! So Jesus did, but didn’t, tell them precisely ‘when’!
In talking of that far future time however, He tells them a parable about the appearing of leaves on a fig tree – which many believe refers to the establishment of the Jewish state of Israel.:
“So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it (or ‘He’) is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place..But of that day and hour no-one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is…Watch therefore…I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:28-37 NKJV emphasis mine)
Other passages of the New Testament imply that He, or Holy Spirit, subsequently gave those leading disciples, and Saul of Tarsus who became Apostle Paul, further insights on the approximate timing of those signs, as below:
Peter preaching in the Temple:
After Jesus’ Ascension into heaven Peter, when teaching in the Temple, called people to,
“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets since time began…” (Acts 3:19-21 – my emphasis.)
So there’s a huge contribution followers of Christ have yet to make across all spheres of society towards such restoration – we’ve hardly started; not to mention both human and demonic opposition – but however do we restore ‘all things’? We must conclude that only The Almighty is able to bring about the ‘restoration of ‘all things’ – and doubtless in the manner Zecharia prophesied to governor Zerubbabel:
“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit”, says the Lord of hosts. (Zech 4:6 NKJV)
Although we need to beware of false prophets, Acts 3:21 implies that the Lord will keep His prophets informed of His intentions in bringing this about (Amos 3:7). Hence the important relevance of contemporary prophecy.
Paul writing to the Thessalonians:
We know from Acts and accounts in Paul’s Epistles that this Apostle to the Gentiles was blessed with visions of and revelations from Jesus Himself as, for example, in the main scripture quoted by ‘pre-Tribbers’:
‘For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.
‘For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 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.’ (1Thess 4:15-17 NKJV)
‘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. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.’ (1Thess 5:1-5 NKJV – emphases added)
Maybe it’s as well the Palestinian leaders have been defiantly intransigent over the so-called ‘peace plan’ with Israel and, like Iran and Hezbollah, want to wipe Israel off the face of the map! Even so, let’s keep watching!
NB: the theme of UN’s Year 2017-18 is ‘Together for Peace, Dignity, Safety & Respect For All’, as outlined in Three Prophetic Jigsaw Pieces.
Next, we include Paul’s later explanation as we check what it is we’re watching out for...