Christians WILL Know the Time of Christ’s Return!

Posted on October 20, 2021


By David Ettinger

Regarding the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, one misinterpreted verse has given Christians the wrong perception of its timing. The verse is well-known: “But about that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36).

Unfortunately, this verse has been misconstrued to mean that believers have absolutely no idea when Christ will return. This has been further misconstrued to mean that Jesus can return at any moment – without prior indication.

Look again. The verse says no one knows “the day and the hour.” In other words, we don’t know the specific day and hour on which Christ will return, but those living at that time will know the general time frame of Christ’s return and will be able to estimate just how near it is.

The Bible does not teach an “any-time” return of Christ. Rather, it teaches that certain events must take place before Christ’s return, and as these events occur, those living in that day will have a greater idea as to the timing of Christ’s return. No, they won’t know the precise day and hour, but they will know that His coming is near – in fact, just around the corner.

What are these events?

The Covenant
The first event which must precede Christ’s return – and that which will signal the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week (the final 7 years of this era of human history) – is the signing of a covenant between Israel and the man the world will discover later is the Antichrist.

And he [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with the many [in Israel] for one week [7 years],
but in the middle of the week [the 3½-year point] he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;
and on the wing of abominations will come the one who makes desolate, until a complete destruction,
one that is decreed, gushes forth on the one who makes desolate (Daniel 9:27).

This signing of the covenant must occur before Christ’s return.

Rise of the Antichrist
On the heels of this covenant-signing will be the revealing and rise of the Antichrist.

He is described in Daniel 9:26 as “the prince who is to come.” In Revelation 6:2, he is the rider on the white horse who holds a bow. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he is “the man of lawlessness … the son of destruction.” And in Revelation 13:1-10, he is “beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads.”

The Bible is clear that this Antichrist will be ruling on Earth before the Rapture of the Church and before the return of Christ.

The Falling Away
We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:3: “No one is to deceive you in any way! For it [the return of Christ] will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (italic added).

The “apostasy” – Greek apostasia – is the rebellion that will take place when those who profess to know God will turn from Him. These “apostates” are widely believed to be confessing (though not believing) Christians.

Therefore, before Christ’s return, there will be a worldwide rejection of Him by those who claim to know Him.

Cosmic Disturbances
We read in Joel 2:31: “The sun will be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes” (italic added).

Jesus references this in His Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24: “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (v. 29).

This will be the most stunning of the indicators preceding Christ’s coming. When those living at the time see great upheavals in the sky, they will know the return of Christ is almost here!

Return and Rapture
And then comes the return of Christ and Rapture of the Church! Read it for yourself in the very next 2 verses (emphasis added):

And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet blast, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other (Matthew 24:30-31).

Notice those two words “And then.” Jesus is referring to everything which preceded it in Matthew 24. This is His way of saying: “A number of things must happen before I return, specifically, all the things I just spoke about.”

Therefore, the notion that Jesus will come to rapture the Church (and judge the Earth, which is tied in with the Rapture) at any time is simply not true. Several events must first occur before His return. No, no one knows the day and hour of His return, but as the time draws nearer, Christians alive at the time will certainly know it is very, very close.

Since we know for certain there is still some time to go before the return of Christ, may we who love Him be found faithful in sharing a saving Gospel with a lost and dying world!