When Will Jesus
From the Message of
Bread Upon The Waters Ministry
Revised December 28, 2008 - Update 8/8/09
This writer does not believe that it is possible for us to know the exact date of the Second Coming of Christ. Nothing else is said in this Web site about the date of the Second Coming other than that, in view of the "BABEL RISING!" situation, it appears that the Second Coming must take place within about the next 50 years, and this writer admits he could be wrong about even that. It could occur a few decades later and still be within the parameters of the "BABEL RISING!" concept, depending on what happens, and it could be anytime within the period. The Tribulation could begin the day you read this. Or you may die of old age before it happens. Or Christians who hold the view that there will be no literal Second Coming may even turn out to be right, though this writer seriously doubts it.
Many people have tried to set the date of the Second Coming and have been proven wrong by history. This includes people who swore, in sincerity, that the Holy Spirit had told them when the Second Coming, or Rapture, as the case may have been, would take place. As stated in the "Where is the Promise?" page, this may represent a satanic ploy to discredit the real warnings about the Second Coming. According to ideas put forward by Christians leaders less than thirty years ago - even in the last ten - the Second Coming should have happened already. The disappointment and discouragement that this has engendered has been one of the causes of the decline in real belief in the Second Coming.
It is also suggested in the "Where is the Promise?" page that Christians have been expecting the Second Coming too soon. People started talking about it being 2000 years since the First Coming of Christ as far back as the late 1940's. Jesus was probably born circa 7-4 BC. We have only recently crossed the 2000 year threshold. Nothing has happened. Either the 2000 year idea is wrong, or we have to look for a later date to base it on.
There have been three previous periods in history during which there were major waves of "Second Coming Fever"; that is, when there was widespread belief among Christians that the Second Coming was almost upon them. The biggest, and most recent, was circa 1000 AD. Virtually the entire Christian world believed it then. These incidents were provoked by the calculation of dates, just as is often done today, and there is no reason to say that the scholars who made these calculations were any less rational, and theologically and academically sound in their reasoning than those who set dates today (except that they certainly were not as well informed about world events). Within more recent times, people have been setting dates and have been being proven wrong by history for the most of the past two centuries.
These incidents prove that it is possible for Christians to be deceived about this; which conclusion is supported by the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:4, "Take heed that no one deceives you." So listen to what Jesus said, and don't make a date a matter of faith. See also "Date Setting Vs Being Ready".
There is an idea that has been put forward about our being able to know when the Second Coming will take place that is based on the tense of the Greek verb for "knows" as it is used in Matthew 24:36. The idea is that, such is the tense of the verb, it only necessarily applied to the disciples at that time, and doesn't necessarily apply now. (Note that this is not the author's idea.) Relating that to the idea derived from Daniel 12:4 and 9 & 10, that the Prophecies of the Second Coming won't be able to be understood until they are about to be fulfilled, some Christian writers, teachers, etc. have concluded that we might be able to figure out the date now, if we are generally right in believing that the Second Coming is close. Maybe
More than that, it must be recognized that there are a number of passages in the Bible that taken together say that Christians who expect the Second Coming and are watching for it will not be taken by surprise. For example, in all three of the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) there is a passage called the Parable of the Fig Tree. The three passages are basically identical. What Jesus said is this (as in Matthew 24:32-33, KJV): "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." The clear meaning is that those who watch the "signs of the times", to use His own words (see Matthew 16:1-3), will know when the Second Coming is close. But there may be another way of knowing. Read on.
Please Understand: What Follows is Speculation,
Although the author still feels it necessary to consider what follows
to be speculation, because of additional insights he has received since
this page was first posted, he has become convinced that
the concept is correct.
Since this writer, of course, is seriously interested in the subject of Second Coming Prophecy, he has done some speculating on this subject of exactly when Jesus will come. What follows is speculation, not doctrine, but it solidly Bible-based speculation. It is included because the author believes what is said here and takes it seriously, as he does everything else in this Web site.
This Writer's Rules
It might be possible to figure out the date, and again it might not. The question is, if it is possible, on what do you base your thinking, and how do you go about calculating the date? Many scholars have gone through very complex calculations based on numbers in the Bible, and they have always turned out to be wrong. A recent well-known example was Harold Camping's fiasco book, "1994". Considering this, in regard to some other principles of Bible exegesis, this writer has come up with three ground rules for any attempt to set the date:
It must be done in a simple, straightforward way, without any really complex calculations.
There must be some kind of Biblical precedent for the basis and/or approach used.
The only numbers used as the basis for calculation must be numbers that appear in the Scriptures.*
This reasoning gives only a possible year, and that may be an approximation (i.e. give or take a year or two). That is as close as it appears to be Biblically possible to go to the exact date. Anybody who tries to take it closer is engaging in a theological fantasy, and if he puts his faith in it, he is deceived - and you can take this statement as doctrine.
*The "prophetic year" of 360 days, often used in such calculations, does not actually appear in the Scriptures, but has rather been read into certain passages.
The Basis and Precedent
First, as many Christian know, there were several incidents in the Old Testament when God prophesied specific periods of time in which specific things would happen, and the prophecies were fulfilled. Perhaps the best known of these is the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity, prophesied in Jeremiah 29:10. Another one was when God, speaking to Abraham, prophesied the enslavement in Egypt in Genesis 15:13. God also told Moses how long the Israelites would wander in the wilderness, in Numbers 14:34. We might also remember the seven years of abundance followed by seven years of famine, prophesied by Joseph son of Jacob in Genesis 40. So there are scriptural precedents for a specific period of time being prophesied and fulfilled.
In Daniel 9:24-27 we find the famous Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. This Prophecy has been shown, long since, to lead right to the First Coming of Christ, as the text suggests, and that by several possible routes of calculation, if you regard the "Weeks" as periods of seven years. This is done by considering the weeks as groups of seven days, and viewing the days as representing years. The idea of days representing years is found in the Bible, in Ezekiel 4:5-6, and is not a human invention, so it can be trusted. (In fact, the same principle is found in reverse in Numbers 14:34.) But these calculations only lead to an approximate year, not the exact date of anything.
Both that and a prophecy about the Second Coming Prophecies not being able to be understood until they are about to be fulfilled are in Daniel. In Daniel 12:4, he was told to "seal up the words of the Book until the Time of the End". Then, in verse 8, not understanding the prophecies he had been given, Daniel asked what they meant. He was told again that the prophecies were sealed up until the Time of the End. Then he was told that "none of the wicked will understand, but the wise will understand". Understand what? The prophecies, obviously, but only in the Time of the End. If we are in the Time of the End, as the author believes, we should be able to understand the prophecies now. Therefore, it seems reasonable to think that if there are numbers in the Bible that can tell us the approximate year of the Second Coming, they are also found in Daniel and we can understand them now. This writer believes that he has found them there, long since, and he believes he understands them.
In Daniel 12:11 & 12, Daniel was given some cryptic numbers: "And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. who waits and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days." Now understand this: By belief in the plenary inspiration of the Scripture, those numbers wouldn't be there unless they were meant to tell us something that we will someday need to know, and be able to understand. It occurred to this writer years ago that the seems to refer to Jesus in His Second Coming. If this is true, than these numbers can potentially tell us when the Second Coming will occur. It has also occurred to this writer that the place where the numbers are found, right at the end of Daniel 12, a chapter that obviously is about the Second Coming, also suggests that the numbers point to the year of Jesus' return. The numbers were the final bit of general Prophecy given to Daniel, except for some assurance for himself in verse 13.
It is also significant who gave Daniel these numbers. It was not the Angel Gabriel, as the author only recently realized. Gabriel appears to have been present, but it was not Gabriel speaking. The speaker is not named in the passage, but in the passage as a whole, He is described. Daniel 12 is the final part of a vision that begins in Daniel 10. The speaker is described in Daniel 10:5-6. The only place in the Bible where the same speaker is described is in the Book of Revelation, chapter 1, verses 12-15. Comparing the two passages, the speaker is obviously the Lord Jesus Christ. Because it was given by Jesus, this prophecy can be understood as a prelude to the Book of Revelation, which was also given by Jesus (See Revelation 1:1) and the passage must be considered one of the most important prophecies in the Old Testament. This increases the likelihood that the Prophecy is about the Second Coming of Christ.
It is equally significant that Daniel 12:1 contains a reference to the Great Tribulation. Daniel 12:2-3 contains the clearest prophecy of the Resurrection of the Saints in the Old Testament. The last statement in Daniel 12:4 is a prophecy that is in a state of ongoing fulfillment before our eyes: "Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased" (KJV). The "time of the end' is mentioned in verses 4 and 9. It is obvious that Daniel 12 is entirely about the Second Coming of Christ.
Furthermore, it is significant that the numbers in Daniel 12:11-12 start with the abomination of desolation being set up. The Prophecy of the Seventy Weeks ends with the abomination of desolation being set up. This shows that the numbers in Daniel 12 refer to a period of time that follows the Seventy Weeks.
More than that, the 70 years of the Babylonian Captivity, the 70 weeks, the time until the First Coming of Christ, and the numbers at the end of Daniel 12 can be considered a three part sequence. This too strengthens the possibility, nay, probability that these numbers prophesy the time until the Second Coming.
It seems obvious from the wording that in the verse above, the 1335 day period is a 45 day extension of the 1290 day period. That is, it seems obvious that the 'blessed one' waits 45 more days after the end of the 1290 before he comes. Now if we apply the principle in Ezekiel 4:5-6 and Numbers 14:34 to this, and conclude that, like the days of the weeks in Daniel 9, the days actually represent years, then what we have is a 1290 year period that we must find in history. It must have "marker events" at the beginning and end, to make it clear that it is the period we are looking for. ('Marker event' are events that identify the beginning and end of a prophesied time period.) The idea of "marker events" parallels Daniel 9:25. As shown in the "Seven Churches" page of the "What Happens To Christians" section, of this site, there are also "marker events" for the beginnings and endings of the Ages of the Seven Churches. All of the "marker events" in both cases are well known historical events. The 1290 year period must begin with a well known historical event that can be identified as "the abomination of desolation" being "set up". What the ending "marker event" will be is an open question, but it follows logically that it must have something to do with Israel, and very likely Jerusalem. If we can find a 1290 period with the "marker events" in history, than we can expect the actual Second Coming of Christ approximately 45 years after the second "marker event".
Note that the Great Tribulation happens before the actual Second Coming, and this date does not tell us when the Tribulation starts. Many Christians believe that the Tribulation is supposed to be officially scheduled for seven years, but Jesus promised us that, "for the elect's sake those days will be shortened". Actually, the seven year Tribulation is inferred from the seventieth week of Daniel 9:24-27. However, it has been well argued that that week has already been fulfilled. Contrary to what many Christians erroneously believe, is not about the Great Tribulation.
Therefore, we don't really know how long the Tribulation will last, so we still don't know when it will begin. It will still be a big surprise. However, this writer's best estimate, based on the Book of Revelation, is that the Tribulation will last about 5 1/2 years, give or take a year, so we should expect the Great Tribulation to begin 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 years before the year in which we expect the Second Coming. And even if it is officially scheduled for seven years, again, Jesus said it would be shortened in Matthew 24:22.
Incidentally, this proposed duration for the Tribulation relates well to a frequently occurring number in the Bible: The number 40. There are a number of time periods in the Bible that involve the number 40: the length of the Flood in days, the years in the Wilderness, the Temptation of Christ in days, etc. The question, in regards to the 45 years, is why 45 and not 40? The most likely reason is that the last five years, more or less, is the Great Tribulation.
The Big Question
The big question we must now ask is this: If the 1290 year period has indeed at least started, if not ended, and the Second Coming is near, then the Abomination of Desolation has long since been set up. What is it? Some years ago this writer heard an idea from another student of prophecy that made sense in this respect, and he has found a 1290 year period linked to that idea which also has a "marker event" at the end. He also has found historical support for the idea from Church History. He has found further support for the following conclusion from other sources.
If this theory (and remember, all this is a theory, not a doctrine) is correct, then the Abomination of Desolation is the Dome of the Rock, AKA the Mosque of Omar, which has been desecrating the Temple Mount since 691 AD. It is relevant that there is a passage from the Koran, in Arabic, inscribed on the Dome of the Rock that flatly denies that Jesus is the Son of God. See I John 2:22. It is also relevant that in Matthew 24:15, Jesus speaks of the Abomination of Desolation "standing in the holy place." The Temple Mount is the holy place. Also, Daniel 12:11 (KJV) says that the "Abomination of Desolation" will be "set up". The Hebrew word translated "set up" can be translated "built".
Note that in Daniel 9:27 and 12:11, the Abomination of Desolation is set up after the continual sacrifice is taken away. The two events do not necessarily have to happen in quick succession, as might be assumed. By comparison, such was the way Jesus spoke about His Second Coming that the disciples thought at first that it would take place only a few years after the Ascension. It does not matter how long it was after the sacrifice was taken away that the Abomination of Desolation was set up, but the time after it was done does matter.
The "marker event" at the end of the 1290 years was the passing of a law by the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) in 1980 that made Jerusalem eternally the capital of Israel. This writer has learned, long since, from study of the Scriptures, that large numbers in the Bible are almost always approximations. Therefore, the one year discrepancy is theologically insignificant. Besides, due to differences between the Jewish, Muslim and Christian calendars, if the exact date for the completion of the Dome of the Rock was known, it might turn out to be exactly 1290 years. However, this writer has not been able to find that information. Historical records from Jerusalem around that time are scarce.
It should also be noted that the years 1979-81 also marked the beginning of the present Arab Intifadah against Israel, and the beginning of the present wave of Muslim terrorism worldwide. This is further support for the validity of this view.
Unfortunately, another set of "marker events" for the 1290 year period may exist, but with the same basic identity for the Abomination of Desolation. There was another mosque on the site of the Dome before it was built. It is not known exactly when the earlier mosque was built. If it was, as one writer has suggested, 677 AD, then we have a 1290 year period with the ending "marker event" being, of course, the Six Day War of June, 1967, in which Israel recaptured Jerusalem from the Jordanians.
Because this writer is aware of this ambiguity, he will not take a doctrinal stand on either possibility being right. But he leans heavily toward the later, that is, the 691 AD date for the Abomination of Desolation.
The conclusion we come to then is that the actual Second Coming of Christ should happen either circa 2012 or 2026 AD, depending on which set of "marker events" - if either - is right. As stated, there is more concrete support for the later dates. There is support from the Bible and also some support for this from other sources.
It should be noted that if the earlier date is right, we should be in the Great Tribulation now, or it should start very soon. The author gives a + or - two years to the expected years. Therefore, if the earlier date is 2012, the Tribulation could start in 2009 and we would still be within the parameters of this theory. However, time for the earlier date to be correct is running out.
Update: 8/8/09. The recent hysteria, based on the date 12/21/2012 on which an ancient Mayan calendar ends has given the author new reason to reject 2012 as the probable date of the Second Coming. See the recent update to the Online Newsletter page.
Support for the Later Date
There are several things that support belief in the later date. They all hinge on the idea, referred to above, that the Second Coming will happen about 2000 years after the First Coming of Christ. There is a widely held idea that all history will be divided into 1000 year days (See Psalm 90:4 and II Peter 3:8.). It is further believed that there will be three 2000 year periods in history: 2000 years of chaos; 2000 years of the Law; and 2000 years of the Messiah; plus a 1000 year Millennium. Both Christians and Jews believe this. Again, this may or may not be true. But assuming it is true, we should expect the Second Coming sometime around the 2000 year mark since the First Coming. As stated, Christians have been talking about it being 2000 years since the First Coming of Christ since the 1940's, which, again, was far too soon.
There is a consensus of agreement among students of Bible History that Jesus was actually born in 7 or 4 BC, the more likely year being 4 BC. If that is true, as also stated, we have already crossed the 2000 years threshold since His birth, and nothing has happened. Therefore, thinking on this premise, we must look for a later date.
Actually, the first thirty years of Jesus' life are historically meaningless to Christianity. But if Jesus was, as many Christians believe, crucified in 30 AD, and His ministry lasted 3 1/2 years, then it began in 26 AD. Exactly 2000 years before the later possible year for the Second Coming identified above.
The Prophecy of St. Malachy
Another source of possible support for the later date is the Prophecy of St. Malachy. If you are not familiar with it, it is a list of the Popes from the time it was allegedly given (12th Century) until the End. According to the Prophecy, we have two Popes to go, including the present one. The Popes are listed in the form of descriptive titles. Students of the Prophecy are of the general opinion that it has been right so far; that is to say, the titles do accurately describe the respective Popes.
According to an article published on April 28, 2005 on Yahoo News, students of the Prophecy are of the general opinion that the new Pope, Benedict XVI, does in fact fit the predicted description. (Unfortunately, the author has been unable to capture a direct link to the relevant page. Search Yahoo News with the name 'Saint Malachy' and you will probably find it.) There is a general consensus that, because he is 78 years old, he will reign as Pope for only a few more years. That means the last Pope is not far in the future. It is the opinion of the author that the last Pope may be the false prophet, the second beast of Revelation 13. (For more on this, see the page "The Two Beasts and Mystery, Babylon".)
Serious students of the Prophecy are now watching the Papal succession with interest, because, on the basis of the Prophecy they think they know who the next Pope will be. If this proves true, the Prophecy is probably a genuine divine revelation, and the next one will be definitely be the last. Considering this, combined with the average duration of the Popes, (presently, about 15 years) puts us in the third decade of the 21st Century when the End comes.
One More Thing:
Remember: The Great Tribulation will happen before the actual Second Coming. That means that the Tribulation should start around 2021 AD, give or take two years. That's what we really have to be ready for.
As stated, this is speculation, not doctrine. However, current events in the Middle East have given the author the serious impression that the general timeframe given above is probably correct. Just within the past couple of years, certain other real world events have set approximately the same deadline. See the Online Newsletter (link below). However, as shown, there are two possibilities even if the basic concept is right. And it could be the earlier date, even though the support seems to go with the later. Or it could be neither. So don't make either date a matter of faith. Above all, don't use either of them as an excuse to be careless about being ready. Remember that, as shown in the "Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins" page of the "Mandates of Matthew 25" section, you can't what until the last minute to get ready. If you try that, you may never get the chance! This writer leans toward believing in the later date, but he won't use that as an excuse to "sit on his blessed assurance". Don't you do it, either!
Contact Author, William D. Brehm