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When Will the Lord Return?

Henceforth is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me on that day: and not to me only, but unto all who love his appearing (2 Timothy 4.8).

Introduction

All who love the Lord Jesus Christ long for His return. The Apostle Paul described the Lord’s return for His Church as our “blessed hope” (Titus 2.11-14) and declared that those who love his appearing will receive a crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4.8). For Israel, His return will mean the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises to the nation and the establishment of His kingdom upon earth (Matthew 6.10; Zechariah 14.9), in which the Twelve Apostles will rule Israel’s twelve tribes (Matthew 19.28).

Jesus taught that no one knew the day or hour of His return (Matthew 24.36-41; Mark 13.32). Yet He indicated to the Twelve how to recognize the time of His return ((Matthew 24.32-35; Mark 13.24-31). Furthermore, He stated that His return was conditioned upon an action that only the nation of Israel could trigger (Matthew 23.37-39).

To the Apostle Paul, the Lord revealed information about His return which was unknown to the prophets and to the nation of Israel. This return would come in stages for members of the Church, the body of Christ. At this return, members of the body of Christ, dead and alive, will receive resurrection bodies.

This study will examine the return of the Lord and when it will occur.

Historical Considerations

What did the Jews of the Old Testament know of the coming of the Messiah? According to prophecy, they knew He would come to earth to do two things. First, He would establish His kingdom on earth. Hundreds of verses in the Old Testament proclaimed this earthly kingdom. The essential characteristics of this kingdom would be peace and righteousness. Isaiah the prophet succinctly described this kingdom in the following passage:

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8 The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 9 They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, Who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious.

Even a dullard can recognize this has not occurred. Wolves are not resting with lambs or lions grazing like oxen. Christ is not ruling the earth from Jerusalem and nations do not look to Him for leadership. On the contrary, we live in a world in rebellion to Christ and opposition to Him is increasing. In the Apostle Paul’s words, we live in a world run by Satan (2 Corinthians 4.3-4).

Two thousand years ago, believing Jews of Jesus day longed for the Messiah to establish His kingdom. An air of expectancy of His coming surrounded these believers. They longed to be released from the domination of pagan Gentile nations and looked for God to fulfill His promises to the nation. It was in that context that the promise of His coming began to be fulfilled. Notice the words of the angel to Mary, when he announced she would have a Son. According to Luke:

30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1.30-33).

This was kingdom language. The throne of David was the foundation for God’s earthly rule over Israel (2 Samuel 7). Notice the words Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, spoke under the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1.67) concerning the anticipated birth of the Messiah:

68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant— 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— 71 Salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; 72 To show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, 74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days (Luke 1.68-75).

These few verses reveal the Jews anticipated the Messiah to establish an earthly kingdom and fulfill His covenantal promises to the nation. The angel and the Holy Spirit confirmed these Old Testament kingdom promises. Indeed, the Lord Himself reiterated the promise of the kingdom with His words:

Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6.9-10).

Beyond the Kingdom

The second thing the Jews recognized from the Scriptures was that the Messiah would suffer. Rachel, as she was dying in childbirth, wished to call her son Ben-oni (son of my sorrow). But Jacob called him Benjamin (son of the right hand), that is, “son of strength” (Genesis 35.18). The rabbis understood this verse to be messianic. They saw greater meaning in the verse than a record of two names for the child. But they could not grasp its full significance. They recognized Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 were messianic passages in which the Messiah would suffer, just as they recognized the hundreds of kingdom passages in which the Messiah would reign. Some rabbis thought two Messiahs would come. But no one was able to discern that the Messiah would come in two advents separated by time.

God kept how and when He would come hidden. Within this enigma, He veiled how He would solve the problem of man’s sin. The Jews sacrificed untold millions of animals as coverings (כָּפַר) for sin in the priests’ daily administration of the Tabernacle and the Temple. They performed these animal sacrifices because God commanded it. They had no idea that animals they sacrificed were shadows of a greater reality, that they were pictures or types of the death of the Messiah who would be sacrificed as mankind’s sin-bearer. Indeed, while hundreds of verses spoke of the kingdom, only one passage in the Old Testament spoke of the Messiah’s suffering to take away sin. That was Isaiah 53.4-6, 10-12.

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.

10 But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; if He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand. 11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; by His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors.

Two Comings Revealed

The Bible is a progressive revelation. God chose not to tell everything at once. He revealed His plan over a span of about 1,500 hundred years. The main effort of God’s plan was to defeat Satan, redeem fallen mankind, and establish His kingdom on the earth.

When the Lord came unto His own people (the Jews), His own rejected Him (John 1.11). After He had been crucified and raised from the dead, the foremost matter upon the apostles’ minds was the kingdom. This is quite understandable because of the hundreds of verses in the Old Testament which proclaimed this kingdom. But the apostles had a personal stake in the kingdom. The Lord had promised them rulership over Israel’s twelve tribes (Matthew 19.28). When they asked Him if it was time for Him to establish His kingdom, He replied, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority” (Acts 1.7). He did not tell them no earthly kingdom was coming. Such an answer would have abrogated hundreds of verses about the kingdom in the Old Testament, all of Israel’s covenants, the angelic testimony to Mary, the testimony of the Holy Spirit through Zachariah, and the Lord’s own words in the Lord’s prayer (Matthew 6.9-10). On the contrary, He told them the Father controlled the timing of the kingdom.

Angels in attendance at the Lord’s ascension reminded the disciples of Zechariah’s prophecy about the Lord’s return. We read the following in Acts 1.9-11:

9 And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

The angels declared the Lord would return to earth as He had left. Jesus left the earth head first. He will return feet first and His return was described by Zechariah:

1 Behold, a day is coming for the Lord when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3 Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south. 5 You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him (Zechariah 14.1-5)!

The Lord’s second advent will occur during the time the prophets described as the Day of the Lord (cf. Zephaniah 1). Jesus referred to this time as the Tribulation (Matthew 24.21). This “day” is the subject of the book of Revelation. At the beginning of his record, the Apostle John declared he was in the Spirit on the Day of the Lord (Revelation 1.10). The events John wrote about in Revelation remain future. They concern the unfulfilled prophecies of Daniel and the events Jesus described in Matthew 24. Everything in the book of Revelation concerns Israel and the nations. Nothing in Revelation concerns the Church, the body of Christ for it will not be on the earth during the events described in the book. This is why one finds no Church language in Revelation. It is gone. At the end of the Tribulation, the Lord will return to deliver Israel and the remaining members of the human race who have survived the horrific rule of the Beast and God’s judgments (Revelation 19.11-19; Matthew 24.21-22).

The Lord’s Return According to Hosea 6

The prophet Hosea prophesied against Israel and revealed God’s case against the nation (cf. Hosea 4.1-2, 6, 13, 15-19). Most of Hosea’s message was about God’s judgment that would soon fall upon the nation. But he also wrote prophetically of how God would deal with the nation in the future. In Hosea 5.15-6.3, we have a prophetic outline of Israel’s future. Hosea proclaimed,

I will go away and return to My place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face; in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me (Hosea 5.15).

This verse established the start point and timeframe for the first two verses of chapter 6. It foresaw Israel’s rejection of their Messiah. After the nation rejected Him and He arose from the dead, He ascended into heaven. There He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110.1) where He will remain until the nation acknowledges its sin and repents (Zechariah 12.10; Matthew 23.37-39; Romans 11.25-27).

Continuing in Hosea chapter 6, the prophet provided information about the timing of the Lord’s return. This is one of the most explicit places in the Bible which revealed a large gap of time would occur between His first advent and His return. He proclaimed,

1 “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. 2 “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him (Hosea 6.1-2).

Hosea’s prophecy concerns God’s faithfulness to Israel. His words, “He has torn us,” “He has wounded us,” refer to God’s judgment upon Israel by Gentile nations as a result of Israel’s rebellion. The final fulfillment of the prophecy is the Tribulation, the Day of the Lord. That is when the nation will be most severely torn and wounded. After this, Hosea wrote, “He will heal us,” “He will bandage us,” and “He will revive us after two days.” This refers to the Lord’s return and the setting up of His kingdom. Hosea prophesied God would revive Israel “after two days.” We know a day in God’s timetable consists of 1,000 years according to Peter (2 Peter 3.8). Thus, two days are 2,000 years. The two days refers to the time in which the nation rejected their Messiah until His return.

The final part of the prophecy, “He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him” refers to that time of blessing for national Israel: the Messianic kingdom. Israel will “live” before God. The nation will become the holy nation of priests God intended (Exodus 19.4-6). At that time, God will fulfill the covenants (the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Sabbatic, Davidic, and New) He promised to the nation. The prophecies spoken to Mary by the angel announcing the Messiah’s birth will be fulfilled as will the prophecy by Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. This Messianic kingdom will last for 1,000 years as described by Revelation 20.1-10, i.e., Hosea’s “third day.” Paul revealed the secret (μυστήριον) that the two days (2,000 years) of Hosea 6 will be the time in which the nation has been “blinded” (πώρωσις). It will continue until “the fullness of the Gentiles” (Romans 11.25) is completed. During this time God has been forming the secret entity known as the Church, the body of Christ. After the Church has reached completion, i.e., the “fullness of the Gentiles,” “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11.26). Hosea’s “third day” can then begin.

Hosea 6: The Three Days of God Towards Israel
Torn, WoundedTwo Days1,000 YearsBlinding of Israel (Romans 11.25) and creation of the body of Christ
1,000 Years
Healed, Bandaged, Revived, RaisedThird Day1,000 Years (Kingdom)All Israel Saved (Romans 11.26)

The Lord’s Return and the Apostle Paul

God revealed to Paul many secrets He had kept hidden from the prophets as well as the Twelve. One of these “secrets” (μυστήριον) Paul wrote about in 1 Corinthians 15.51:

ἰδοὺ μυστήριον ὑμῖν λέγω: πάντες οὐ κοιμηθησόμεθα, πάντες δὲ ἀλλαγησόμεθα
Behold, I tell you a secret; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

Paul wrote, “Look! I am telling you a secret.” What was the secret? “We will not all sleep (die) but we will all be changed.” Let the reader understand that this verse revealed a NEW doctrine. No one had heard of it before. That is what a secret is–something no one knew. The prophets knew nothing of it. The Twelve knew nothing of it. The ascended Lord revealed it to Paul. The secret was that one generation of believers will not experience physical death (sleep). Instead, in a moment (ἄτομος), in the twinkling of an eye (ῥιπῇ ὀφθαλμοῦ), some believers mortal bodies will be transformed into heavenly (resurrection) bodies.

When will this metamorphosis occur? Paul taught the Thessalonians about this event:

13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 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 not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thessalonians 4.13-18).

Paul comforted the Thessalonians with the hope of resurrection for those believers who had died. He went on to describe the order of resurrection. His language in verse 15, “for this we say to you by the word of the Lord” meant that his communication was knowledge he had received directly from the risen Lord. It was a secret. But Paul could now reveal it. Paul declared the following order of events:

1.The Lord will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel and with the trumpet of God (v. 16).
2.The dead in Christ will rise first (v. 16).
3.Believers alive upon the earth will follow next by being “caught up” (ἁρπάζω) i.e., snatched away (vv. 15, 17).
4.Both groups will meet the Lord in the air (v. 17).

This great truth has a practical result in our daily walk with Christ. We are to proclaim it to one another as a source of hope and comfort (v. 18). The hope of comfort of this great doctrine is threefold:

  1. Members of the Church, the body of Christ, look forward to a resurrection body.
  2. One generation of believers will not experience physical death.
  3. The Church, the body of Christ, will not experience the horrors of the Tribulation.

With regard to the last point, we KNOW no member of the body of Christ will experience the trials of the Tribulation because Paul explicitly stated this truth to the Thessalonians:

For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1.8-10).

But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing (1 Thessalonians 5.8-11).

These two passages unreservedly declare members of the Church will not experience God’s wrath which He will pour out upon the earth in those seven terrible years. The wrath Paul wrote about was not hell for the believer is safe from that judgment the moment he believes the gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). The wrath Paul wrote of was the Tribulation, the Day of the Lord.

This fact is confirmed by Paul’s follow-up letter to the Thessalonians. Paul declared:

Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things (2 Thessalonians 2.1-5)?

Apparently, some first-century mid- or post-tribulationalist had sent the Thessalonians a forged Pauline letter stating the Tribulation, the Day of the Lord, had come. Paul corrected this error and reminded the Thessalonians that he had already taught them the Rapture would occur before the Day of the Lord.1 This one passage should settle all mid- or post-tribulational teaching in the Church today. But if that is not enough, Paul made this point not only to the Thessalonians but to the Romans, the Ephesians, and to the Colossians (Romans 5.9; Ephesians 5.6; Colossians 3.6). No place exists for such a view for those who believe the Bible. It was deception in Paul’s day as it is today. It contradicts Paul’s explicit teaching.

Tragically, the vast majority in Christendom refuse to acknowledge the great truth of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. They have chosen not to believe God and to disobey Paul’s command to comfort one another with this truth. Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote a parody of the hymn Is it the Crowning Day? to drive home this point to those who reject God’s Word about this great truth. The traditional words to the hymn are:

Jesus may come today, Glad day! Glad day!
And I would see my friend; Dangers and troubles would end
If Jesus should come today.
Glad day! Glad day! Is it the crowning day?
I’ll live for today, nor anxious be,
Jesus, my Lord, I soon shall see;
Glad day! Glad day! Is it the crowning day?

Barnhouse’s version of the hymn for those who reject the Rapture was:

Jesus can’t come today, Sad day! Sad day!
And I won’t see my friend; Dangers and troubles won’t end,
Because Jesus can’t come today.
Sad day! Sad day! Today is not the crowning day?
I won’t live for today, and anxious I’ll be,
The Beast and the False Prophet I soon shall see,
Sad day! Sad day! Today is not the crowning day?

We may smile at Barnhouse’s taunt but make no mistake; God is not pleased with unbelief. Unbelief is the GREAT sin (Hebrews 11.6).

The Advents of Christ Summarized

A
D
V
E
N
T
S
First Advent (Rejection and Suffering)
Second Advent (Mercy and Judgment)
Phase 1: Revealed only by PaulPhase 2: Revealed in Old Testament
The Lord returns for His Body, the Church to save it from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 4.13-18, 5.9; 1 Corinthians 15.51-52).God pours out wrath on a Christ rejecting world and returns as King to save a repentant Israel (Matthew 24.21-22, 29-31; Revelation 19; Psalm 2.4-5, 12).

In His first advent, Jesus preached the gospel of repentance and offered the prophesied kingdom to Israel (Matthew 4.17). Peter continued this offer after the Lord’s resurrection (Acts 2-3). Instead of pouring out His wrath at that time due to the nation’s rejection of the Messiah (the next event according to prophetic revelation, cf. Psalm 2; Zephaniah 1), God in His mercy, gave Paul the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 24.20; Romans 2.16) and commissioned him as the apostle of the Gentiles.

When Will Christ Return?

We have examined several passages which describe the Lord’s advents. The Old Testament believers knew of only one advent. After the Lord rose from the dead the Twelve recognized that the Lord would come again: two advents. But the ascended, glorified Lord revealed to Paul that He would come again, not to the earth as Zechariah had prophesied, but in the air, before His return to earth. In that return, members of the Church, the body of Christ,2 would meet Him in the air. Thus, the Lord’s Second Advent will be composed of two parts: Christ will come first for His Church, the body of Christ, and second, Christ will come to deliver Israel and Gentiles who have survived the Tribulation.

As to when this will occur, the Lord can return for His body at any time. While that is so, it makes sense that His return will correspond roughly with His other return. Israel is God’s timepiece and once the Church is gone, God’s prophetic promises related to the nation will again begin to be fulfilled. Below is an overall chart of God’s plan for the ages.

Timeline of God’s Plan From Adam to Eternity
Adam to AbrahamAbraham to ChristPaul to FullnessMessiah ReignsEternity
MankindIsraelChurchKingdomNew Heavens and Earth
4,000-2,0002,000-00-2,0002,000-3,000
Day 1-2Day 3-4Day 5-6Day 7Day 8
Six Days of Work .  .  .Sabbath  RestNew Beginnings

Any statement about the timing of the Lord’s return is speculative. However, as we have examined above, Hosea’s prophecy provides a guideline for the Lord’s return. The Lord Himself supplied signs in Matthew 24 to serve as indicators for the time of His return. Another matter by which we know the Lord’s return is near is the fact that Israel has been reestablished as a nation in the land of promise. When the Jews recapture Jerusalem in 1967, they regained control of their city that they had lost 2,000 years ago to Titus’ legions in 70 A.D. We know from Ezekiel’s prophecy (Ezekiel 37) and many other prophecies (e.g., Deuteronomy 30.1-4) that God promised to restore the Jews to the land. In 1948, with the reestablishment of Israel as a nation, we see God’s setting the stage for that reality. These factors lead to the conclusion the Lord’s return is near.

The time that has passed since the Lord’s crucifixion has been about 2,000 years. From the chart above we note that God generally works in 1,000-2,000 year increments. God dealt with all of mankind for 2,000 years before He chose Abraham. He then dealt with the nation of Israel for 2,000 years. After that, He called Paul to be the Apostle of the Gentiles to found the Church. For the past 2,000 years, God has been calling out Jews and Gentiles into the Church, the body of Christ. It is logical that the time of the fullness of the Gentiles (Romans 11.25) is drawing close, especially in light of Hosea’s prophecy of the two days. When the Church, the body of Christ, is complete, God will remove it by the Rapture. God will resume His program with Israel to complete the last week of Daniel’s 70 week prophecy. Paul taught these truths in his illustration of the Olive Tree in Romans 11.

The timetable of Hosea is confirmed further by John’s Gospel. John 11 is the account of Lazarus’ death. Lazarus represented the Jewish nation beginning with Abraham. John wrote that Lazarus was in the tomb four days (John 11.17, 39). Peter declared a day with the Lord is a 1,000 years (2 Peter 3.8). The Jewish people have been sick or dead spiritually for 4,000 years (from 4,000 B.C. to now). John wrote that upon hearing of Lazarus’ sickness Jesus delayed going to him for two days (John 11.6). This delay symbolically constituted 2,000 years (from Abraham to Jesus’ First Advent). Jesus then told His disciples, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep” (John 11.11). After Jesus arrived He called Lazarus from the grave (John 11.43). Lazarus’ resurrection was a picture of the birth of the Jewish people to life when the Messiah returns (Ezekiel 37.1-14; Romans 11.26). The first two days represented Israel’s sickness. After two days Jesus came to revive Lazarus. These two days of delay represented the time from Abraham to Christ and constituted the hope of Israel’s repentance. Lazarus’ being in the grave for four days were prophetic of the time from Abraham to Israel’s repentance. When the Lord returns He will revive the nation from death and fulfill Ezekiel’s prophecy. Israel is sick and dead apart from her Messiah. It has been 4,000 years since Abraham. It has been 2,000 years since Jesus came to Israel. Given Peter’s accounting, the Lord’s delay is almost over. His return is near.

Lazarus’ Sickness and Death a Picture of Israel Until They Repent
“Sick” from Abraham to Christ’s Advent2,000 yearsLazarus “sick”2 days
“Dead” from Christ’s rejection to His return2,000 yearsLazarus “dead”4 days

Speculative Dating for the Lord’s Returns

The initial assumption is events of the 2nd advent will roughly parallel events of the 1st advent. The Lord grew up and began His ministry when He was about 30 and ministered for 3 years. He was crucified about 30 A.D. After He arose from the dead, God gave the nation another opportunity to repent and accept Him as King and establish His kingdom. This was the subject of Peter’s two sermons in Acts 2-3.3 The crisis point for the nation after Christ’s resurrection occurred at the Sanhedrin’s stoning of Stephen in Acts 7. In Acts 9, Luke recorded the salvation of Saul of Tarsus, whom God commissioned the Apostle of the Gentiles. Paul’s ministry was primarily to Gentiles but three times in Acts Luke recorded his going to the Jews. Each of these ventures ended with Jewish rejection of Jesus as the Messiah (Acts 13, 18, 28). In 70 A.D., the Romans destroyed the Temple, Jerusalem, and dispersed the nation. That event occurred 40 years after the crucifixion. Forty is frequently a period of time in which God exercises testing. The Jews had 40 years to change their mind about Jesus the Messiah. They failed. Thus, we can conclude the terminal date for God’s dealings with national Israel was 70 A.D.

If we start at 70 A.D. and move forward 2,000 years (2 days in Hosea’s prophecy) we arrive at 2070 A.D. According to Hosea’s timetable, we can reasonably speculate the Lord will return by then. But before this return, the Rapture, the Antichrist, and the 7 year Tribulation must take place.

If we postulate another 40 year time of testing for Israel and count back from 2070, we arrive at 2030. This would seem to be a reasonable date for the Rapture. The 40 years of testing would allow 30-33 years for Satan to prepare his man. Satan always counterfeits  God and it is a reasonable assumption he will imitate the Lord Jesus’ earthly life with his counterfeit Christ. Jesus repeatedly warned about deception in Matthew 24. If a whole generation lives with no Christians on earth (removed by the Rapture) almost all true spiritual witness will have vanished. Under such conditions, Satanic deception will encounter little resistance (cf. 2 Corinthians 4.4) and this will allow the Antichrist to emerge for the final 7 years. The chart below outlines a possible timetable.

The Rapture (Return of Christ for His Body)2030 A.D.
Deception and Emergence of Antichrist2030-2063 A.D.
7 Year Tribulation (Judgment of God)2063-2070 A.D.
Return of Christ for Israel and the Nations2070 A.D.

Paul divided the human race into Jew, Gentile, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10.32). In the first phase of Jesus’ return (the Rapture) He comes for the Church, the body of Christ. In the second phase, He comes for the Jewish and Gentile world. The dating above is speculative. Whatever its merit, the body of Christ is nearing completion and our blessed hope draws nigh (Titus 2.13). The clock reads 11:59. For this reason, with this hope, we should live lives honoring to the Lord, redeeming the time (Romans 13.12).

1 The English word “rapture” does not occur in our English Bibles. The word comes from the Vulgate by way of St. Jerome (c. 347-420). In revising the Latin New Testament from the Greek New Testament, he translated the Greek word ἁρπάζω (“snatch away,” 1 Thessalonians 4.17) into the Latin “rapiemur.” The Latin verb form “rapio” means to be “caught up” or “taken away.” From these Latin words derive our English word “rapture.”
2 Contrary to tradition and popular belief, Paul wrote the Church, the body of Christ, began with him (Acts 9.1-22; 1 Corinthians 3.10-11; 1 Timothy 1.12-17). See the article, Paul: Chief of Sinners? The Church did not begin in Jesus’ earthly ministry, with the Twelve, or on the Day of Pentecost (the traditional “birthday of the Church”). God commissioned Paul as Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11.13) about 37 A.D. From Paul alone do we learn about the Church, the body of Christ, in which Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ (Ephesians 2.11-22; 3.3-9; Colossians 1.24-27; 1 Corinthians 12.12-13; Galatians 3.26-28, and Romans 16.25-27). The Twelve knew nothing of this great doctrine until they learned it from Paul. This is why we find on mention of the body of Christ in the writings of Peter, James, John, and Jude or about equality of Jew and Gentile in Christ. On the contrary, the Twelve ministered to Israel (Galatians 2.7-9) and wrote to Jewish believers (1 Peter 1.1; James 1.1; Revelation 2-3). Paul declared the Church was a “secret” (μυστήριον). If it was secret before Paul, the Twelve obviously could not have known about it.
3 The primary purpose of Luke’s writing Acts was to explain the fall of Israel, not to record the birth of the Church. See my article, The Purpose of the Book of Acts.

©2013 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.


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67 thoughts on “When Will the Lord Return?

  1. John Calkins

    Should Christ return on the Feast of the Trumpets in some year? Paul told us the feast days where shadows of things to come. Everything, from Jesus’s going to Jerusalem to the day of Pentecost, was timed so it would fulfill some of the feast days, in order. Nothing could happen to Jesus until the proper time came. Trumpets is next.

    Matt 24:36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven..” is in reference to verse 35 when Heaven and earth will pass away. We cannot know when Heaven and earth will pass away because we don’t know exactly how long the season is that Satan is set free. In addition sometimes the words ‘know or knows’ is “eido”. It can sometimes means to just guess or have gut feeling about, no effort to study or learn.

    Matt 24:32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation [the generation that sees these things] will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Is ‘our generation’, the generation that sees all these things? Is the start of “all these things” the re-birth of a nation for Judah and the children of Israel her companions in 1948? Psalm 90:10 suggest a generation is 70 to 80 years. Eighty years put us around 2028.

    Very nice Web site. Salvation is through Faith and trust in God, not whether we are right or wrong on subjects such as this. We are just trying to learn more about God and his ways.
    God is in control

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      John,
      Thank you. I’m most interested in when the Lord will return for us in the air. That comes first. We can watch the rest unfold from heaven.

  2. Greg Wilson

    Don: I share a passion for this subject. 1 Corinthians 15 is instructive. Israel had 3 harvest feasts: unleavened bread, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Paul teaches Christ as the First Fruits (the wave sheaf offering), the true church (the two wave loaves offering Pentecost) and the end gathering (Tabernacles). Paul describes the three “orders” of resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:23-24. He infers that the next order of resurrection are “Christ’s at His coming” the rapture subject later in verse 51. The wave sheaf offering was a sample of the harvest at Pentecost. The wave loaves offering suggests the rapture of two groups, the dead in Christ and the living in Christ. This suggests a future Pentecost rapture event. I realize that you believe that the church was not born on Pentecost. I remain unconvinced of this position. Just because Peter did not understand God’s Plan does not mean that God did not intend to cause a dispensational shift on this feast. I understand that the Age of Law began and ended on Passover. With this pattern it seems likely that the Church Age began and will end on Pentecost. Paul has been very deliberate in his “orders of resurrection” correlating them with Israel’s harvest feasts. I find no prohibition that the true church could not be raptured on a Jewish Feast. Romans 2:29, Galatians 3:29 both suggest we are “true Jews” and “Abraham’s seed”.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Greg,
      The age of Law continued far beyond Passover. For example, see Acts 21.17-26. No sound case can be made for the Church coming into existence on Pentecost. Pentecost was a Jewish feast. Peter addressed Jews only. The Church is based upon the gospel of the grace of God, that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. Peter did not know this at Pentecost and did not preach it. In the Church, Jew and Gentile are equal in Christ. None of this language is present at Pentecost. The advent of the Holy Spirit was an Old Testament/New covenant promise and had nothing to do with the Church for the Church was unrevealed in the OT. The idea the Church began at Pentecost is a tradition without a shred of Scripture to support it.

  3. Kim N.

    Hi Don, you wrote:
    “Lazarus’ resurrection was a picture of the birth of the Jewish people to life when the Messiah returns (Ezekiel 37.1-14; Romans 11.26). The first two days represented Israel’s sickness. The next two days, following the nation’s rejection of their Messiah, represented the nation’s death. After two days Jesus came to revive Lazarus.”

    This is an insight I did not know until now, thank you for sharing it…

    I can see the logic of your speculative dating of the rapture. 2030, no problem. I would hope it’s sooner rather than later. However, I sometimes think the world has yet to fill up the “measure of iniquity” (Gen 15:16) but it looks like it’s pretty full by now.
    I do appreciate your fine article; it gives me comfort in this troubled world. God bless.

  4. George

    hi brother, what did Paul, after the Jerusalem council, preach to the Jews those 3 times, was it the gospel of grace(Romans to Philemon) , or the epistle to the Hebrews ( believe in Jesus as messiah and do faith and works, or perhaps believe in Jesus as messiah and be saved by grace, I am confused. Thanks for your time and help.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      George,
      Peter stated in Acts 15.11 that Jews had to be saved like Paul’s Gentiles. Paul stated in Galatians 1.7-9 there was only one gospel–his gospel. Paul most likely taught about the kingdom of God in speaking with Jews, for that was their focus, salvation was based upon Paul’s gospel of grace (1 Corinthians 15.1-4).

      1. George

        So bro Don, Peter agreed with Paul, at that time, would you say that Peter then having believed Paul’s gospel was then baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ as we are today?

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          George,
          The Lord called Peter to be an apostle of Israel. He commissioned Paul to be the apostle of the Church. These two are different and do not mix. Peter was saved in Jesus’ earthly ministry. What he recognized at the Council was that from that time forward, Jews would have to be saved according to Paul’s gospel. He was not baptized into the body of Christ. Peter has nothing to do with the Church. His destiny is with redeemed Israel (Matthew 19.28).

          1. George

            Ok bro Don, I understand your point, thanks! Concerning Israel’s terminal date for her kingdom of heaven/God, I thought this ended after the Jerusalem council seeing that the gospel of grace was NOW officially the only gospel to be preached both to Gentiles and Jews. I can only conclude that acts 28 was not a period of testing for Israel to accept her messiah and subsequent kingdom, but rather to believe in her messiah and get saved by grace through faith only like us. did you mean this?
            Also, A good start to the beginning of the 2 days would be the beginning of the church which began with the setting aside of Israel’s program and the putting of the first person into the body of Christ which was Paul, what do you think bro Don? I appreciate all your help, always.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              George,
              With the stoning of Stephen the die was pretty much cast that Israel would not accept her Messiah. The Lord told Paul they would not listen to him. With the Council of Jerusalem Paul’s gospel became the only gospel for salvation–the gospel of the kingdom ended. But all these things took time to develop. They were not like the turning on of an electric light but like a sunrise. From the time of Pentecost to Rome’s legions destroyed Jerusalem was 40 years–the usual time of testing.

  5. Bruce W

    Don,

    Thank you, another excellent article…

    I’ve always been under the belief that apostasy in (2 Thes 2 “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the {apostasy} comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,”) —>The departure (Gr. apostasia) of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will precede the revelation of the Man of Sin (the Antichrist). The rendering of “apostasia” as “rebellion”, “apostasy” or “falling away” in most English Bibles is unfortunate since these are secondary or derived meanings of the word. Its primary meaning is “departure” which, in this verse, refers to the rapture of the church. Prof. J.S. Malan<— So the Church will Not see who the man of sin is because it will have been raptured out prior to his revelation.

    Also, isn't it likely untold millions of those with mental assent of Christ after realizing the rapture has occurred will Repent & believe the Kingdom message? And this likelihood would mean a presence of resistance against sin, Satan and the AntiChrist. After all, revelation talks about a multitude beheaded for Not taking the mark of the beast. And Christ does use the angels to separate the goats from the sheep at the end of the Tribulation.

    And dating is very speculative but are not the current blood moons and eclipses a sign of Christ's return and or the Rapture? Or is it all over dramatized?

    And I doubt God is working on a Julian based calendar of 365 days but Instead a Jewish calendar of 360 days. Wouldn't that mean we're actually closer to the Rapture and Christ's second advent than most think?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bruce,
      Please see my article (commentary), 1 and 2 .Thessalonians, for more on ἀποστασία. We do not know what effect the Rapture will have. We do not know how soon the Antichrist will appear after it. We know the 144,000 will have a worldwide evangelistic ministry but how soon that begins is unknown. What we can be assured of is that God loves man and never leaves the world without a witness and the opportunity for every person to be saved. I have not studied blood moons so cannot make any comment. We are getting close to the end of the age of grace.

  6. AndrewA

    Interesting read date setting or more acrutly in this case date speculation is always a bit uncomfortable for me when I see it.

    Seeing to much how the Lord works in ways we could never understand.

    Few examples
    I read a lot of places where theologians from the late 1800’s to around the 1930’s thought Israel could not be formed until after the rapture.

    (Then most before that being Replacement theologists where thinking Israel forming as a nation was not going to happen until Jesus returned at the Millennium at least if the had a pre millennial view.)

    Yet here we are with Israel formed now and being made ready for its role in coming events of God’s plan.

    Just like how Jews failed to realize the Messiah would come in two separate occasions.

    First to present himself and die for the sin of the world and 2nd time to assume control of the world having been Proven worthy.

    Unless God directly says this is what He is going to do, how He is going to do it, and when exactly it will happen. Best left to leave it in trust of God. He just moves in a way that is unknowable otherwise and He seems to be very silent on a starting date for rapture and tribulation.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Andrew,
      I set no dates. I only engaged in speculation–which men and women have done since Genesis 3.15 (Eve thought Cain was the fulfillment). God has given us the Scriptures to provide information about His return. God has given us clues to encourage us and strengthen our faith. God does not reveal specifics about timing. That is His greatest secret. But he expects us to study the information He has provided.

  7. Dawn

    This is 2015. You speculate the rapture in or around 2030. In light of all that is happening in our world today do you still hold to 2030? Seems, I guess to me, we are in pretty bad shape right now.
    If so, then there is a whole lot of deception going on with blood moons, jewish roots, genetic manipulation, Giants coming back and not the least…..artificial intelligence. If 15 years indeed goes by, mankind would be almost unrecognizable. Or is that the point? As in the days of Noah? The true church will definitely be hanging on by a thread of hope by then. I had hoped/felt that we were closer to the “blessed hope”
    Thanks again
    Dawn

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Dawn,
      It is speculation on my part. But I think it reasonable speculation, based upon Biblical evidence. I hope I am wrong and the Lord will return sooner. But I have learned things take a longer to develop than we think–even when we think things can’t get much worse. The earth is being prepared for world government and world religion. For the latter, this is evident in the adulation of this new Pope and the resurgence of Islam. The Pope’s messages are not about the gospel, the forgiveness of sins by Christ’s death, or the power of His resurrection. His speeches are man-centered, focused upon what man can or must do. God is largely absent. This is global, powerless religion (2 Timothy 3.5), a global-governance agency couched in religious rhetoric. Grace and peace.

      1. james

        Don,
        I sure hope the Rapture is not as far as 2030. I know things take a long time to develop, but 2030? That is just so depressing to think we still have a long way to go.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          James,
          I hope not either but 2030 is really not that far away. God’s wheels grind slowly. In the article, I have tried to provide Scriptural, reasonable speculation as to when He will return.

    2. Vanessa

      Dear Dawn, I want to encourage you by saying that the rapture could be at any time. My husband and I have been keen studiers of eschatology and we recognise all the wolves. We have listened to Mark Blitz, Tom Horn, Sid Roth, Johnathan Con, (Cahn) Chuck Missler (Sadly) and the list goes on and on. I tend to name names as I leant this from reading and studying Paul, and hopefully others who are listening to them can discern when people warn them.We regards ourselves as babes in Christ and have gone back on milk as once we were deceived and have had to unlearn 30 years of false teachings. I agree with Don that the 2nd coming of Jesus is somewhere in 2030. I also think that there is a gap of 14 years between the rapture and the second coming. The Bible is silent on this. As it was in the times of Jacob times where we read about the 7 years good and the 7 years lean. The 7 years good is when Israel has no walls and is living in peace and safety. The last 7 years is called the time of Jacobs troubles, then sudden destruction. In addition it will give time for Babylon (In Iraq and not America) to be completed and the 10 kings must be ruling before the A/C can make his appearance. They (NWO) are busy doing that now with ISIS etc. I find it most amasing that the proponents of the Blood Moons, Schmitah etc are all “Born again Jews.” Satan is cunning and now millions of so called Christians want to be like Jesus of Nazareth by dressing up like him not understanding that we are to be like him inwardly. I know with all my heart that I am saved and belong to the body of Christ and quiet frankly I am not sure how much of this deception I can tolerate. To site you and example where we live in South Africa we had a public holiday just 2 days ago. We live detached from the world in every sense so when the holiday arrived we had no idea till a client reminded us that we were not able to work at his site due to the public holiday. Daily we give thanks to God for saving us and then again for calling us out of the deception. We must never become puffed up with pride. Our prayer in the past and still is that God reveals the truth to us no matter how painful it is and it has been very painful especially for my husband. Have you noticed how much more the churches have become deceived in just over a year? This is now progressing in leaps and bounds and its going to get worse. I really believe we wont have much longer to wait to go home and the world will forget us very quickly as they did with the plane that went missing 2 years ago and life will go back to normal for the left behind people. Many say that with the rapture the economy will collapse but I dont agree as sadly not too many will be raptured. These are my own thoughts on end times. The enemy has already given us his date and that is 2030 so we can more or less gauge the timing, though Christ does not live by their timing as we know. We have been watching the goings on with the Pope with a heavy heart. Jesus is missing from his messages and I hear myself whisper “I am so sorry lord.” I have apologised to the Lord on behalf of the world so many times this week. The message of Christ which I long to hear in this world is what he did for us on the cross. I find it interesting they use the name of God easily but which God are they referring. Take care Dawn.

      1. Dawn

        Thank you Vanessa for taking the time to address me. This last year I have listened to my audio bible at night, every night. It’s a comfort and helps me eventually fall asleep. Because of this I started questioning so many things that “traditional Christianity” teach.
        It started with the church being the “bride of Christ” I just knew that wasn’t correct. I have a long list of other teachings I came to realize were not correct either.
        The Jewish roots movement and the Jewish wedding analogy for the church. The rapture having to happen on the Feast of Trumpets………all foolishness to me now. The blood moons might mean something but not to the church. Rabbi Cahn, may be well meaning, but his predictions haven’t come true……all the doom and gloom.. You know, buy gold, buy food, have a bug out bag…..all manipulating and , frankly, scaring the believer to think that the rapture is right around the corner. It had me thinking it was!
        Because I had the church placed in the book of Revelation. With that belief all doctrine goes haywire.
        I don’t think most believers understand just how separate (but related) Israel and the Church are. It’s mind blowing to realize how many pastors and end times speakers just spew out false hoods. It’s become a huge money making industry. And I know they are deceived too but if I can figure some of these things out, they can too!! I wonder if they wouldn’t dare change their teaching and “rock the boat”
        I have a wonderful circle of Christian friends. I have started to share my thoughts and they don’t want to hear it. They cling to the thought that “this is it”……we are ready to go (raptured) I sure did. I just turned 65 and always, I mean always, thought I would be in the rapture. Maybe I will but I certainly don’t count on it any more.
        I had a hard time wrapping my mind around what Don wrote back to me. Kind of a smacked down my little world I was living in.
        I knew about Bullinger but never read anything he wrote. I have read and re-read his work on Revelation. And of course this website, doctrine.org is very enlightening. I can now say “I get it”. I see it. You know the old saying….”you have to see it, before you see it? It is indeed liberating to just know you have finally come across the truth. I won’t give up on my friends. I’m happy to say my husband is right there with me in gaining this knowledge of what the Bible really teaches.
        Don, thank you for you time in answering all our questions on such a timely basis. We need to pray for those mis-guided teachers out there. Just think of how many people will now be discouraged if the rapture doesn’t happen soon?
        I pray the Holy Spirit continues to guide me in this new journey.
        God Bless,
        Dawn

  8. Joe

    Doctrine, I too struggle with the Pope’s messages and the people who have gone gaga over his visit. One congressman rushing up to a partially filled glass of water left on a table by the Pope. The congressman’s goal was to drink some of the Pope’s left over water and share the rest with family and friends all the while struggling to keep others from contaminating the outside surface of the glass from their fingerprints. What is this but idolatry? The Vatican has the strictest immigration laws in the world. Wealth beyond imagination. The man himself is at least 50 pounds overweight. Pure hypocrisy. He’s meeting with the felons rather than the victims. No prayer when he met with Congress. The Holy See? I don’t think so. Vanessa and Dawn God bless you for your study and correction. Let us now pray for the followers of Rome who put all their confidence in a man whom they believe can speak for God and who believe there is something special about the remains in the Pope’s water glass.

  9. Grace Receiver

    You say in your article that the number 40 seems to be associated with a probation period of sorts. I see no reason to disagree. So with this in mind, do you think that the Lord Jesus’ 40 days on earth prior to His ascension was also some type of probation? I realize that the Scriptures don’t say this, but the number of days has me curious.

  10. Joe

    During the 40 days there were the 153 fish. what’s the meaning to that?

    The extra days to the Tribulation referred to in Daniel? What are those days for? But aren’t those days shortened? Maybe it’s those days that are cut to shorten the trib back to 3 1/2 years.

    If a day is like 1000 years then the 5th (Hosea 6:2)begins on or about Christ’s death (29AD–assuming Jesus was born in 4BC) and the 7th year begins 2000 years later….. Fall of 2029. Just thinking out loud.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      Had to say. The net did not break which speaks of God’s sovereignty in preserving a remnant in the Tribulation and His overall salvation of Israel. The “extra” days may involve God’s restoration of the planet following the Tribulation. At the end, Jews will be resurrected (Daniel 12.12-13). We’re getting clos(er)!

    2. Vanessa

      Hi Joe, I like your thinking out aloud with I often do. The one thing I use to say to those believers we use to fellowship with (All gone now since we have moved into wrightly dividing the Word) was this. We cannot know all. e.g. 153 fish which I have ofen wondered about but we must keep our eyes on what is going on in Israel to get a better grip of where we are in end times. The Rapture is signless but I often as a second study delve into end times. Babylon as you may know is being rebuilt. She seems to be kept a secret as not very much is said about her in the press. Millions of so called Christians (forgive me) say the rapture is 2015. I dont date set as we cannot. But I do say that the second coming of the Lord is still in the distant future as a lot still needs to go on. I did a study on the 19 Metonic cycle years and discovered that on each 8th year of the 19 cycles something significant happened. 1948 Israel became a Nation and 1967 Jerusalem was recaptured. Perhaps, thinking out aloud the 8th which will be in 2024 we may see the temple. The new Metonic cycle begins in 2017. Anyway that was me thinking out aloud. Take care.

  11. Joe

    I think this is a good, simple, short question to those who believe the Church is Israel or Israel is the Church:

    Why hasn’t Christ already returned? The Church believes Jesus Christ is the Blessed Son of God right? The Church believes Jesus Christ is coming again right? What do those of Israel believe?

    The last verse in Matthew 23—-

    39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

  12. Joe

    Figurative, allegorical or literal?

    As Christ walked with the two on the road to Emmaus explaining how the old testament spoke of his death and resurrection how can anyone argue it was anything but in the literal sense when we actually have those OT scriptures in our hands today?

    I’ve noticed over the years that Preterists live in the figurative/allegorical world except when it comes to the word ‘soon’.

  13. Joe

    Questions generated from other sites:

    Rapture and Second coming are same event:
    If gentiles and Jews can be members of the Church and if the rapture and the second coming are the same event, as many (if not most) teach, then who are the saved on earth when Christ’s feet touch down on the Mount of Olives? ( for the Sheep and goats judgement)

    Antichrist a Muslim:
    I’ve been hearing that the Antichrist will be a Muslim. Would a devout, practicing Muslim sit in the Temple and claim to be God? Isn’t that blasphemy in Islam?

    Satan does not know scripture:
    If Satan does not know scripture how does he know his time is short when he is kicked out of Heaven?

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      The idea the Rapture and the 2nd coming is the same event is a teaching that resonates with those ignorant of the Scriptures. Paul declared the Rapture was a secret (1 Corinthians 15.51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4.13-16). The 2nd coming was not. Something cannot be a secret and known. Based upon Daniel 9.26, 11.37, it seems the Beast will be a Jew who arises from the revived Roman empire. I suspect certain Scriptures become revealed or clear to Satan as prophecy is fulfilled. His being cast from heaven will be a great blow and will energize his fury against God and man. His goal is rule heaven and earth (Isaiah 14.12-21).

        1. Dawn

          I have always thought that the A/C was a Jew based on this verse:

          Daniel 11:37
          37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

  14. john bannon

    Doctrine;
    Date setting has been the bane of the Christian Church from earliest times. It is unwise to speculate concerning a Gregorian Calendar date relative to the Appearing of Yeshua. That is a matter of the Father’s secret unrevealed to mankind. Thus, even speculation is inimical to the Word of the LORD. The LORD having addressed the matter it is contradiction to assume one can correctly assign the date of the Arrival of Messiah. Not so and not a date for the ‘catching away.’ It is impossible.

    Yeshua shall appear the second time w/o sin [bearing] for all those who look for Him. Heb. 9:28.
    Shalom.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      John,
      Peter and Paul thought the Lord would return in their lifetimes. God has given signs as well as Scripture as to His return. To reject them is to reject the word of God. Jesus said no one knew the day or hour of His return, not the general timetable.

  15. Joe

    In Daniel the Antichrist is opposed to the “desire of women”. Does this mean he does not care what women want? I’ve read it’s about that evil one being a homosexual. It’s probably explained in the original language.

    Thank you for your time and effort

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      The Hebrew offers little help. At the least is seems he does not consider what women want important. Or it could mean he has no interest or desire for women.

  16. Hopeful

    It is now June 2016 and many more prophecies have been fulfilled since the writing of this article. The Muslims are taking over with this Muslim president we have and so many other events are happening with the weather, etc. I believe the Lord is going to return a whole lot sooner than 2030. In fact, and I know I can’t set dates, but one of these very soon Feast of Trumpets days, this year being October 3/4, I believe the Lord will return. I could be wrong, just like anybody else on here including doctrine, but I hope and pray I’m right because I’m ready to get out of this messy world and be with the Lord in His Kingdom!

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Hopeful,
      No, prophecies are not being fulfilled right now. Prophecy belongs to Israel. The prophetic clock is stopped while God is building His Church. When He completes it, the clock will restart and prophecies will again began to be fulfilled. The Church has nothing to do with Israel’s feasts. Israel has been blinded and set aside nationally while God is dealing with Gentiles and the Church. Paul explained this in Romans 11. See my article, The Olive Tree. What we are witnessing today is stage setting. The world is being prepared for the great deceit, the deception of the Antichrist and the worldwide worship of Satan. I hope I am wrong and the Lord returns before 2030 also, but know God’s timing is a lot slower than ours. But it’s coming! We’re in the last minute of the Church; we just don’t know where the second hand is. Grace and peace.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Becky,
      The NASB is the default text for the links. In doing the articles, I look at the KJV, Greek or Hebrew text.

  17. Becky

    Thanks Don,

    I wanted to study the passages you cited in the Greek text but was having trouble finding the numbers using KJV. BTW – I like what I’ve read in this article thus far . . .

    Blessings

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Becky,
      Thank you. I restored an answer given by Pete which I mistakenly deleted. Basically, his answer was the cross was the kingdom. For Pete, there is no earthly kingdom, even though we have hundreds of promises of it in the OT. On the “this is that” matter, Joel’s prophecy was that the Holy Spirit would be given to all flesh. Was it? No. So this prophecy was not fulfilled. Joel’s prophecy was there would be signs in the heavens. Were there? No. This prophecy was not fulfilled. What was going on was a foretaste of future blessings. If we are to interpret the Scriptures literally, which Pete claims he does, we must admit Joel’s prophecy was not fulfilled because the Holy Spirit poured out upon all flesh and there were no signs in the heavens. The fulfillment of these promises remain future and will not occur until Israel repents and the Lord returns. Before He does all these signs will take place and then He will pour out His spirit upon all flesh because only believers go into the earthly kingdom. If you read the Joel passage he starts by saying there has never been a time like he prophesied nor will there ever be again. This is exactly what Jesus said about the Tribulation. Joel’s prophecy agrees with the many prophecies about the Day of the Lord and these are seen in Revelation. Joel’s prophecy says the Holy Spirit will come after these terrible events and signs. Amillennialists have no answers to these things. They simply dismiss them as figurative language as if that solves anything. Then they claim they interpret the Bible literally. Bullinger had an interesting comment in his Companion Bible in this: http://doctrine.org/companion-bible-appendix-183/. Grace and peace.

      1. Pete

        Don, thank you for restoring my comment. Becky, to address some things Don says here since he is speaking for me….just to clarify…

        //For Pete, there is no earthly kingdom//

        This is not true even in the least. I don’t believe in a 1000 year semi-golden age in the future. Not a single verse in scripture says the reign of Christ on earth is 1000 years long. Every scripture literally states His kingdom is FOREVER. To Don and others like him, suddenly “forever” actually means “1000 years.” You tell me: who is reading the Bible “literally”?

        I happen to believe Jesus’ earthly kingdom is NOW and it’s our job to build it up. I believe Jesus is in the process of putting down His enemies. I believe God uses process to get things done, He doesn’t do things in 1 second. He made the world in 6 days. Why? He used a flood to destroy evil flesh and those flood waters took months to recede. Why? Why not just strike everyone dead in a split second? God works in us throughout our lives to make us into the people He wants. Why? Why not just snap His fingers and we are “perfect”? The answer is: because. God does things His way. And apparently, it’s a process. This Way is all over nature.

        We don’t understand God. All we can do is believe the Word and trust Him. And the Word is clear: Jesus is over every power and dominion and authority, on heaven AND earth, right now. That makes Him the King. I believe that. Don does not. He doesn’t address the issues with Phil 2 and Eph 1. Don would rather call me names like “amillennial” and hope I just shut up. Again, I am a POST millennialist, if anything.

        The single biggest point I can make about the Acts 2 error I believe Don and others are committing, is the logical fallacy of begging the question. I believe Peter knew exactly what he was seeing in Acts 2, because Peter was speaking prophetically as the Lord led him, indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The moment Peter saw what was happening, he prophetically spoke Joel’s words.

        Just because we don’t understand what “signs in the heaven” means for sure, (we weren’t there after all) doesn’t give us license to change obvious language like “this is that.”

        Don, perhaps Peter is speaking to YOU. He is correcting YOUR thinking about what Joel meant. Isn’t that a possibility?

        //Joel’s prophecy was that the Holy Spirit would be given to all flesh. Was it?//

        Yes, because Peter said so.

        //Joel’s prophecy was there would be signs in the heavens. Were there?//

        Yes, because Peter said so. And also, there was a rushing wind and tongues of fire. Where did those come from, earth? Do you even know for sure 100% what “signs in the heavens” are, Don? Were you there that day in 33AD? How on earth could you possibly really understand? No offence. You are just taking extreme liberties here with the word of God. I would rather just believe Peter and accept that those signs occurred. Just because the Holy Spirit didn’t describe them for us in the manner we wish, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. And by the way: NEVER does Peter say “Actually, this was only partially fulfilled. But stay tuned. It will be totally fulfilled later.” And NEVER does any verse written after Acts 2 clarify what Peter really meant.

        //They simply dismiss them as figurative language as if that solves anything.//

        I could make the same argument: you dismiss Peter’s “this is that” language as figurative as if that solves anything. Now what, Don?

        By the way, as usual, premills like to argue against symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, allegory. As if these things are evil. But the Bible is full of them and we believe in many of these things for our very salvation. It’s only when figurative language gets in the way of the premillennial fantasy that you guys have issues with it. As if the moon is going to literally turn to blood! Becky, read Psalm 18 and Judges 4-5. Note the heavy use of figurative language in both of those passages. Yet in both cases they speak of literal occurrences.

        Don, like most of his fellow premills/pretibbers, seems to think only THEY understand symbolism. Only THEY get to decide when to apply it.

        1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

          Pete,
          /This is not true even in the least. I don’t believe in a 1000 year semi-golden age in the future. Not a single verse in scripture says the reign of Christ on earth is 1000 years long. Every scripture literally states His kingdom is FOREVER. To Don and others like him, suddenly “forever” actually means “1000 years.” You tell me: who is reading the Bible “literally”?/

          *You’re right. Not a single verse but 6 verses. Read Revelation 20.2-7. You find nothing I have written that supports the idea Christ’s reign will not be forever. Post-millenianism is just another form of amilleninnialism except it teaches man will bring about righteousness on earth so Christ can return. It was almost extinct after WW1 but has been taken up by Preterists, Reconstructionists, and Dominionists. These theological systems are without Scriptural support and are heretical.

          ///Joel’s prophecy was that the Holy Spirit would be given to all flesh. Was it?//
          Yes, because Peter said so.
          //Joel’s prophecy was there would be signs in the heavens. Were there?//
          Yes, because Peter said so.

          *No where does Peter say the Holy Spirit is indwelling every person much less that signs occurred in the heavens.

          /By the way, as usual, premills like to argue against symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, allegory. As if these things are evil. But the Bible is full of them and we believe in many of these things for our very salvation. It’s only when figurative language gets in the way of the premillennial fantasy that you guys have issues with it. As if the moon is going to literally turn to blood! Becky, read Psalm 18 and Judges 4-5. Note the heavy use of figurative language in both of those passages. Yet in both cases they speak of literal occurrences./

          *This old, tiresome objection has be answered by premillinarians and dispensationalists countless times. When given the answer, Amillennialists, Postmillennialists, Preterists, etc. become like the Sanhedrin before Stephen: they shout and stop up their ears. Anyone who understands language understands figures of speech. The standard text on the subject remains Bullinger’s work. He was a dispensationalist. Everyone who’s not a moron knows the Bible is not saying the moon is literally going to turn to blood but is a figure of speech that reveals the literal truth that it will appear to turn to blood due to great earthly and heavenly disasters. Everyone who’s not a moron knows this has not happened. Everyone knows Christ is not a rock but that rock speaks of the literal truth that He is strong and stable. Amils, Postmils, etc. deny this. 1,000 years is not really 1,000 years. It’s a figure for eternity. The two witnesses of Revelation are not two witnesses but the Church. Israel will not literally occupy a land. The kingdom of God will not come on earth, it was the cross, even though millions of Christians recite the Lord’s prayer in church every Sunday (Matthew 6.10). We could go on and on but the reality is that whatever is prophetic is denied by normal interpretation. I cover this in my article, Hermeneutics.

          1. Pete

            // Not a single verse but 6 verses. Read Revelation 20.2-7.//

            Anyone who actually cares about what the Bible literally says would admit that these verses do not say the reign of Christ is 1000 years long. Or on earth. All the verses says is that the martyrs reign WITH Christ 1000 years and the devil is bound 1000 years. That’s not the same thing as saying Jesus will reign on earth 1000 years, thus fulfilling the promised Kingdom to Israel of the Old Testament. The words “Israel” and “kingdom” don’t even appear there!

            Don, I worked for Google 5 years. Did I just say Google is a 5 year old company? Or did I tell you the length of my time at Google which is 17 years old?

            Think about it.

            // You find nothing I have written that supports the idea Christ’s reign will not be forever.//

            Yes you do. You say the OT kingdom promised to Israel has not been fulfilled, that the millennium fulfills it. The entire Old Testament explicitly teaches that the kingdom promised to Israel, Messiah’s kingdom, Jesus’ kingdom, is forever. Not 1000 years.

            1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

              Pete,
              No verse in Scripture reads, “Jesus is God.” Does that mean He is not? Why not? We know He is God by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Reading Revlation 20 reveals the 1,000 years happens after the Tribuation. After 1,000 years Satan is loosed for a period. That period is undefined but the next thing we read is God creates a new heavens and new earth. It doesn’t take a lot of insight to understand the kingdom following the Tribulation lasts 1,000 years. The new heavens and earth will be created after after Satan is sent to the Lake of Fire and the unsaved are judged. It will be wholly different from the Millennial kingdom. Almost nothing is revealed about its nature compared to the Millennial kingdom but it will have the New Jerusalem which is 1,500 miles in each dimension. We can’t have a city 1,500 miles cube (or possibly pyramid) on today’s earth. Physics forbids it. But the new earth will accommodate it. Whole new ballgame. In the Millennial kingdom God will fulfill His covenant promises to Israel: Abrahamic, Palestinian, Sabbatic, Davidic, and New. The animal kingdom will be at peace and there is no warfare. Jesus’ kingdom is forever but comes in phases. Hundreds of passages confirm these things and the the diligent student understands them by studying and comparing the Scriptures.

  18. Becky

    Thanks Don,

    I look forward to reading the suggested comment from Bullinger. However, I wasn’t able to find Pete’s answer . . . to which article was it posted?

    BTW, I sent you an email via ‘contact’ . . . did you see it? Did you reply to it? If so, I can’t find it in my email. I don’t even remember what the question was – help?

    Blessings

  19. Bobbi

    doctrine,
    Firstly, what do you think the fig tree represents in Matthew 24 and Mark 13? I’ve read several commentaries on this but none from the rightly divided view.
    Secondly, it is interesting that you said the prophecies regarding Israel have been postponed. So when we watch Israel, we won’t expect any of the prophecies right now? It does make sense since we are still in the Church, Body of Christ age, but things are really beginning to heat up over there. It seems like times are so close…

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      The fig tree is Israel, particularly representing the time in which the Lord will return. God’s timepiece has stopped with respect to prophecy since prophecy relates to Israel, not the Church. The only prophecy related to the Church is the Rapture. What we see now is stage-setting, getting the world ready for the advent of the Antichrist, God’s wrath, and His return. The globalists do not understand they are fulfilling Satan’s plan and even less, God’s victory.

  20. Joe

    Revelation is written to Israel. The Rapture is for the Church. Is the Rapture referenced in Revelation? Does the following verse in Chapter 3 of Revelation refer to the Rapture? I do understand that Jews can be part of the Body of Christ. I Cor 15: 1-4

    “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.”

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Joe,
      The Rapture is only referenced by Paul. It was a secret. The passage in Revelation 3, the “hour of temptation” refers to the worship of the Beast and taking his mark. This is the warning of the letters to the 7 assemblies–overcoming temptation during the Tribulation. Anyone who takes the mark of the Beast is doomed (Revelation 14.9-12).

  21. Bobbi

    doctrine,
    Do you have an opinion on Isaiah 38:7-8? I wonder what the implications of this are or if there is some?
    Thank you as always!
    Bobbi

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Bobbi,
      Have not thought about this much. Somehow, God gave Hezekiah more time. He extended the day, just as he extended the King’s life.

  22. GraceParadise

    I have to chuckle at 2030 sounding so far off. We are now in 2017, so 2030 is only a wee 13 years away which is NOTHING. > >

    Time goes very slow when you’re younger. Remember as a kid when a 9-month school year felt like eternity? Or when you were in your 20’s or 30’s & a decade felt like forever?

    I got news: once a person is “over the hill,” time FLIES! Count on it! :)

    As for Don’s speculative timeframe, interesting because in my own speculation, I was thinking like so:

    God spent 2,000 years with the patriarchs; then he spent 1,500 years with Israel alone (with few Gentiles mixed in). And since Israel was small but the Gentiles are a much larger group, so what if He wants to spend another 2,000 years on them (us) alone?(with a few Jews/believers mixed in.)

    Also, Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, was saved circa year 37. So I figured, at the least, 37 + 2,000 = 2,037 before Christ comes for His mostly-Gentile body. From where we stand now, that would be a mere 20 years.

    (I shared that thought once a few years ago somewhere online, & got chewed out for it > How dare I say the Lord’s return was “so far off”! :) Like you I was only “thinking out loud.” No exact date-setting.)

  23. GraceParadise

    Re: Daniel 11:37: “Neither shall he regard the GOD OF HIS FATHERS, nor the desire of women, NOR REGARD ANY GOD; for he shall magnify himself above all.” (caps added)

    Since the “desire of women” is sandwiched between TWO mentions of God/god, I read somewhere over the years that what is likely meant is the GODS OF THE WOMEN, or “the gods the women desire”… > the Queen of Heaven whom the apostate Israelite women worshipped in Jeremiah 44.

    I thought that explanation made good sense, contextually.

    There are websites of modern women who are obsessed with the goddess Sophia & other goddess pagan names over the millenia, so it’s still going on. I forget all their goddess names from Egypt/Babylon through Rome. Isis is the only one I ever remember besides Sophia, & originally Ashtoreth (sp?)

    In August 2015, the head of the Hindu goddess of death, Kali, was projected onto the southside of the Empire State Building, supposedly for a wildlife event re the extinction of animals.

    And then of course there’s the RCC’s “Queen of Heaven” (Mary to them). They do actually call her that. You’d think they’d shiver in their shoes if they’ve ever read Jeremiah 44.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      GraceParadise,
      No one knows what this means. A number of interpretations have been offered such as he has no interest in women, that he is homosexual, that the “desire of women” is the Messiah, etc. It will become clear when it happens. What is clear now is he will be interested in himself, power, and the one he serves, Satan.

  24. Pete

    Hi Don: you state in your 9 Oct 2016 comment above that prophecy is at a standstill in abeyance because of the church age. Yet, Israel has become a nation as prophecied, Israel has also regained Jerusalem. One could even make the arguement that the Psalm 83 war happened during 1948/49 war of independence. These are all prophetic signs which have come to pass during the church age. Granted they deal with Israel but they are still prophetic markers to the church.

    You never studied the blood moons / eclipse in 2014/15 and their falling on Jewish feast days. I never considered them signs for the “church” as signs are for the Jews. However, Joel does say before the great and terrible … the length of “before” is not defined. So it is possible for this to be a prophetic sign to the Jews. However the Time division between two blood moons the eclipse to the remaining two blood moons is uncanny. Perfect in numerical sequence. I have no idea what it means. Just a thought I’d offer.

    Now we know of the 23 Sep 2017 sign. The exact event told in Revelation 12. Those who have studied this event have searched computer apps of the night skies. It has never happened in the past going back 6000 years nor again into the future for 1000 years. Those who studied this say, even though it is found in the middle of Revelation. The language of the text indicates it is not a mid Tribulation sign but a pretribulation sign.
    Some, Scottie Clark of Eternal Rythem Flows and Steve over at Heavenly Sign 2017. Feel that this is a warning / sign of the Rapture. As the baby is symbolic of the body of Christ. Not saying I agree as ‘signs’ are given to the Jews. However, the Rapture would definitely be a ‘sign’ to the Jews.

    Right now we are in the year 5777 according to the Jewish Calendar. The biblical understanding of 5 biblically is “Grace”. While 7 is understood to mean “Devine perfection”. As there are 3, 7’s the 3 means “Completion” taken together it could be understood as the age of Grace, Divine perfection in Christ, is complete. The year 5777 ends according to the Hebrew reconning of years within days of the Revelation 12 sign I mentioned above.

    Now Steve at heavenlysign 2017, is also a gifted mathematician. From his study on the Jewish calander, the feast days, he shows that not all Jewish years map directly to the dates given in Daniels prophecy on length of days, such as 1260 and so on. What is interesting is that the the cycle from 2017 to 2024 maps perfectly to the time line given in Daniel.

    Jesus also mentioned when you see the fig tree blossom this generation shall not pass… granted He was talking to Jews. But it applies to everyone alive. Using 1947 as the start date 70 years, a valid number biblically for a generation, is 2017.

    I don’t believe in coincidence. If a sparrow can’t die without God knowing. Events don’t happen on select dates at appointed times just by a fluke. Especially when they fall on Gods appointed feast days.

    Granted, all these things are not directly for the church, signs are for the Jews. But the church is well aware Israel is Gods time piece. For the church not to be cognizant of these events and attempt to understand their implications and ramifications is in my opinion foolish. Paul told the church they would be aware of when the Rapture should occur because they are not in the dark. Therefore, we would not be surprised or unexpected to it’s coming. Just how would we know, he doesn’t explain, why because he knew the church understood the signs and prophecies given to the Jews. When the church saw the end time signs given to the Jews coming to pass, the church would be well aware that the Rapture would occur before the tribulation.

    Look I’m not saying that the Rapture will happen this year. But, by the same token it very well could. The significance of the 23 Sep 2017 sign out of Revelation 12. Having never before in history happening. Is not something to ignore. To claim prophecy is on hold is wrong. When it is clear the prophetic timeclock started ticking in 1947, sped up 14 May 48, and Again in June of 1967. All signs directed to Israel, agreed, but also prophetic marks to the church to be aware of.

    Just as God allowed the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Gospel of Grace to exist for an overlapping period of time. These days are similar, all these things I have mentioned relate directly as prophesy to the Jews, but they are a very clear wake up to the church that the age of Grace is quickly coming to a close. This is why I feel Paul understood we would know and not be taken unawares by the Rapture. Because we would see prophecy completed and signs given to the Jews come to pass making us ever aware the Rapture is soon coming.

    But, that’s just my opinion and I can admit I could be wrong. But what I am saying is just as Daniel said… we live in an age where we now have the knowledge to explore the occurrence of celestial signs, on specific date like no other time in history. We have the benefit of history to see Israel reborn, we can accurately map the occurance or Gods appointed times (feast days) to the prophecies of days given in Daniel and Revelation. Taking all of what I have written here as examples how can we logically treat it as just coincidence. Not to examine the implications to the church, but to Israel, from this gain understanding of the closeness of the coming Rapture.

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Pete,
      Prophecy centers around Israel. The Church has no prophecy associated with it except the Rapture, the Church’s removal and resurrection. What we see is stage setting. God is beginning to prepare the world for the final days. None of the prophecies God made to Israel can be fulfilled until the Church is off the scene for none of them concern the Church. Prophecy only concerns Israel and the nations.

  25. Josh

    Dear Doctrine,
    Please correct me. In Exodus 20:5-6, “generations” is implied, but are there only thousands that love God? It’s repeated in Deuteronomy 5:9-10. If He really means thousands of generations, where are we now? Genesis 5 shows 10 generations from Adam to Noah. Genesis 11 shows 10 generations from Noah to Abram (Abraham). Matthew 1:17 shows 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the carrying away into Babylon and 14 from the carrying away into Babylon to Christ. While we’re speculating, let’s use 20 years as a “generation” in this age of grace. So from Christ to now is 101 generations. Add another 50 for the Millennial Kingdom… Point is we are nowhere near a thousand generations. Thoughts? Thank you for your work.
    Josh

    1. doctrinedoctrine Post author

      Josh,
      The text only says, “thousands” as in thousands of people, not generations. The record the Bible presents is that few love God. In Noah’s day, it was 8 people. In Elijah’s day, 7,000 out of a population of about 7 million. Jesus stated “few” find life (Matthew 7.14). How many believed in Christ during His earthly ministry? Precious few. But God’s point in Exodus 20 was he punishes those who hate Him but is merciful to those who love and obey Him.

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