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Bible verses about Christ's Return
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 20:7

The first person who is named a prophet is Abraham. This occurrs when Abimelech is being instructed by God regarding Sarah, that he is to return her to Abraham.

However, Abraham is chronologically not the first person the Bible shows prophesying. That would be Enoch. It does not report on this until the book of Jude: "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his saints'" (Jude 1:14). Here Enoch, before the Flood, prophesies of the return of Jesus Christ with the saints.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Prophets and Prophecy (Part 1)


 

Psalm 110:1-7

Even the Psalms describe the awesome might of Christ's return, showing that it is one of war and vengeance with great wrath. He is coming with power to set things straight.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Shock and Awe - and Speed


 

Ecclesiastes 5:8-12

Matthew 19:21-24 adds an important truth to help us understand these verses:

“If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

First, the rich young man was so preoccupied by his material wealth that he really did not hear that Christ was offering him eternal life. Second, anything of this earth that we truly treasure can potentially influence us to so increase our fear of losing it as to cause us to choose not to hear Christ. The treasure does not have to be money. Third, no matter how great the distractive power of what we consider valuable, God stands ready to save us from it. Jesus did not say it was impossible.

No doubt, Solomon wants to help us with this spiritual struggle. He uses money as his main illustration because everybody easily relates to it. However, he does not introduce the subject of money until Ecclesiastes 5:10. Instead, he writes of social injustice within the worldly system we live and function in. Why? Because the system itself is a constant source of distraction through its constant barrage of news reports in which we hear of social injustice. Most often, the poor are its targets.

He cautions us not to be astonished by the vanity of all this injustice, but at the same time, he wants us to be aware of it. He does this in verse 8 by mentioning “a high official watches over a high official, and higher officials are over them.” He seems to be saying that from bottom to top, the entire system is corrupt; every stratum of the culture struggles to make its way by taking advantage of others. Nevertheless, none of this injustice is an excuse for us to involve ourselves in the “everybody's doing it” routine and sin too.

A key to understanding what Solomon is driving at is the word translated “watches.” In Hebrew, the term can be used either positively or negatively. Positively, a person watches to protect or help, and negatively, he may have circumstances under surveillance to gain personal advantage from them. The present context is definitely negative. Solomon is still describing the self-centered attitudes of those “working” the system. Like their political leaders, ordinary citizens also greedily watch to gain the best and most for themselves. Their approach is not to serve and share. Verse 9 confirms that this self-centered attitude goes all the way to the top—to the king. He, too, is served by the corrupt system.

God has deemed it our responsibility to prepare for His Kingdom by overcoming, growing, and being loyal to Him and His way within such a circumstance as Solomon describes in these last few verses. Our hope is promised in Isaiah 9:6-7:

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The solution to this present evil world is on the horizon, but it will not come until Jesus Christ is here with us on earth. Thus, God has willed that we must deal with the corrupt and unjust system that now is, looking forward in hope to the relief of Christ's return.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Ecclesiastes and Christian Living (Part Six): Listening


 

Daniel 7:1-7

This is a further explanation of the world-ruling empires, showing national characteristics, but this time designed into animals of the same four kingdoms that appear in Daniel 2. Instead of being metals—gold, silver, brass, iron—now we have animals, indicating national characteristics of those four kingdoms, symbolized by the lion, the bear, the leopard, and the beast that was diverse from all the others.

The important thing to note here is that this illustration in Daniel 7 is a parallel of the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2. This illustration in Daniel 7 confirms that the legs of iron of the Daniel 2 image and the fourth beast of Daniel 7 both exist at Christ's return, fight against Him, and are defeated. So even as the feet and toes of the Daniel 2 image will be at the time of the end, so will this diverse beast. They are one and the same.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 1)


 

Matthew 8:32

There is great power in the Word of God (Proverbs 30:5). It can transform a person dramatically (Luke 4:4), working mightily in those who have faith in Christ (I Thessalonians 2:13). No one could have as big a problem as these men possessed by a legion of demons. Nevertheless, it took only a few words from Jesus to deliver them. In Luke 4:35-36 is another example of Jesus using the power of God's Word to exorcise demons:

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."

The world tried many ways to restrain and control the two demon-possessed men in Gadara, but the only effective solution was God's power through Christ. Man's idea was to start on the outside with chains and other bonds, but Jesus began on the inside with the Word of God, which is not chained (II Timothy 2:9). Using their various "programs" to deal with evil, people only treat the symptoms. The best they can do is whitewash the outside. Christ corrects the problem at the source. So Christ is the solution, the remedy for the sin. He cleans out the inside, which is the best way to correct the problem on the outside.

When we study and accept the Word of God, we draw closer to the One who can give us access to the knowledge and power to conquer our spiritual enemy. Hebrews 4:12-13 reads:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

The day of accountability is coming—at Christ's return with power and authority—when all people, as well as Satan and all his demons, will be forced to submit to the Word of God (Revelation 19:11-16).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two-Demon Possessed Men Healed (Part Two)


 

Matthew 13:24-30

"End of the age" (verse 39) refers to the time of Christ's second coming and the resurrection of the dead when God will reap the firstfruits of His harvest! The fifty days between the wavesheaf offering and Pentecost symbolize the time from the founding of the church to the end of the age when the small harvest of the firstfruits occurs.

Earl L. Henn (1934-1997)
Holy Days: Pentecost


 

Matthew 24:36

In plain words, the specific date of His return is simply not going to be known to us. And that means any day, including the Feast of Trumpets, which most people use as their end-point of their calculations as to when Christ will return. So any date that anybody chooses is simply going to be a speculation.

Many, many people have attempted to determine when Christ will return anyway. At the very least, this shows a strong measure of skepticism, and perhaps, for some, it might even be outright disbelief by those who are doing the searching. It is almost as if Jesus is not taken seriously, but the truth is He was serious about what He said.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Matthew 24:36-39

No matter who or what a man is—he is never actually going to know when the return of Jesus Christ will occur. Nobody will know until it happens. So why waste time trying to figure it out? Is it not flying in the face of what Jesus says here? He is warning us, "Don't fix your mind on this."

He is not saying, "Don't be aware of events that are happening." He is saying, "Don't get distracted into an exhaustive study that will get you nowhere." It is an illustration of the kind of thoughts our Lord and Master thinks. "Keep your mind focused on the most important things." The timing of His return is secondary. No one will ever figure it out, so why waste time trying to do something that will ultimately prove futile? We can watch the world news and see the events and trends that are occurring. We know we are on track. But we should make sure it does not get out of hand.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Unity (Part 1): God and HWA


 

Matthew 24:36

Just a few verses later, He tells His disciples, "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect" (verse 44, emphasis ours throughout). This is a massive hint that our understanding of biblical prophecy—as much as it has expanded over the last few decades—will still not be enough to remove the element of surprise from Christ's return!

Paul also warns us in I Corinthians 13:9, 12, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part. . . . For now we see in a mirror, dimly." This principle suggests that we will not know for certain how things will work out as the end approaches. We understand in part, meaning we have a vague-to-rough idea of the course of events because of our insight into God's plan, but we cannot honestly be dogmatic about any speculative scenarios we devise. Every interpretation of end-time biblical prophecy should be accompanied with a proviso such as, "This is how things seem to be headed from what we understand right now."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Prophecy's Place


 

Luke 21:34-36

This chapter gives us an overview of the hair-raising, terrifying events leading to Christ's return. Despite all the evidence that will be available for us to witness and thus motivate us, He feels it is necessary to warn us to be alert.

It seems almost redundant. Why should we of all people need to be warned? Well, the general answer is because the Laodicean has trouble keeping his attention, his mind, focused. His mind is all over the place. At least in terms of spiritual things, the Laodicean, has a short attention span. He can go at it for spurts—maybe on the Sabbath for a couple of hours—but what happens during the week? Has his love of beauty—the beauty that this world is fully capable of producing to distract the senses—kept him occupied? Is he drawn to those things? If he is, what relationship will be abused? The answer to that is very clear: his relationship with God.

When we consider Revelation 3:14-18 carefully, we see that this is the problem. The Laodicean has compromised with his life in the use of his time. It is not that he is sinning all the time, but that he is not paying attention to the Bridegroom!

Ladies, how would you feel if the man you are to marry pays attention to everything but you? What would happen to the relationship? That is the problem with the Laodicean: His mind is drifting to take in all kinds of things except the One that he is going to marry—until the Sabbath comes along. He will appear in church, and everything looks fairly good, but all during the week he has been paying attention to everything except Christ.

Prayer becomes ineffective. He does not allow God to communicate with him through Bible study in the way that he should. There is very little meditation. He is not doing a great deal of thinking about the One to whom he is betrothed. We can begin to see that his love of beauty is taking him in the wrong direction, and the abuse falls on the relationship that he most needs to build and to protect.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Laodiceanism


 

John 14:2

God has ways of causing us to yield so that He can mold and shape us into what He desires. Because of this, we will be ready for our "place" when the Kingdom comes. God not only has power, but He also always has alternatives to ensure that His will is done without taking our free moral agency from us. He has another option we may not want to consider: If we will not cooperate by using our free moral agency for right purposes, He can always replace us with somebody better. We are, after all, the weak of the world. We have every reason to be encouraged, however. He will use every means at His disposal to prepare and save those called into His purpose on schedule with the return of Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Four


 

Acts 1:6-7

The apostles were curious and excited about this kind of thing, just as we are today, and their question was not even specifically about a certain day, because they were hopeful that the time had already arrived. Christ was every bit as general in His answer as they were with their question. Again, though, they are very clearly told they were not going to know. This statement coordinates with what Jesus said in the Olivet Prophecy (Matthew 24:36), but He expands the thought from day and hour to time and season, which are even more general. He told the apostles they were not even going to know the time or the season.

The word time here means "the duration of a period of time." An hour would be a very short duration. A day would be a bit longer, but the implication from the word "time" is of a period much more expansive than that.

The word "season" means a length of time characterized by certain events, like the Christmas Season. Even in our culture, the Christmas Season seems to extend now from Thanksgiving, (and even before Thanksgiving in some cases), all the way into January a week or so. So even the common usage here in the United States, a season would be somewhere between two and three months.

Jesus' response to them was more general than the day nor the hour. He also says something very pointed here: "It's not for you to know." What He was doing was counseling them to avoid probing into these things. He was in a sense saying, "It's a waste of time. You have more important things to do than to be thinking about this." In short, the disciples were not even to know the general period of time of the establishment of God's Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Acts 1:6-8

The return of Jesus Christ was on their minds too. And like us, they would have liked to have seen the Kingdom established right away. They did not understand that they needed to be prepared for the Kingdom of God. They were not ready yet—they did not even have the Holy Spirit yet! Nor had they entirely put together all the elements of God's truth.

It is interesting that Jesus tells them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons," but it has been given to us in far greater measure. We know many things that they did not know. We know that we are very close to the end. We do not know the day, but we know that we are in the time and season, and if there was ever a people on the face of the earth in all the history of Christianity who needed to get prepared for something, it is we. We are not yet ready, and in God's mercy, He has given us time to prepare.

It was a good while before the disciples came to grips with the fact that the return of Jesus Christ would not occur in their lifetimes, a fact evident from what is written within the New Testament. The first thing they had to come to grips with was that they had a job to do before that time would come.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

1 Corinthians 1:7-8

In verse 7, apocalypsis is translated "coming" in the King James and "revelation" in the New King James. Paul clearly refers to the return or the second coming of Jesus Christ; he uses the word in relation to Christ appearing visibly at a specific time: His day.

This "day" of course does not refer to a specific day of the week, but rather to the period in which the misjudgment of man ends and the righteous judgment of God begins. Mankind, under the influence of Satan, has been trying in vain to rule himself for 6,000 years, or six "days," using the principle in II Peter 3:8 of one day equaling one thousand years. The seventh "day" is when God intervenes and establishes His government, so that mankind can finally understand how to live. That day begins with the visible appearance of Jesus Christ, coming in the clouds in all of His glory (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26).

II Thessalonians 1:7-10 speaks of that same day, or that same time:

. . . and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed [apocalypsis] from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

Here again, apocalypsis refers to the person of Jesus Christ, and it plainly describes His visible revelation—His unveiling—when He returns from heaven with His angels to take vengeance on those who do not know God and disobey the gospel. When He is revealed in that day, not only will He appear in glory, but He will "be glorified in His saints." At that time, His saints, people He has separated to Himself, will be resurrected and exchange their earthly glory for heavenly glory (cf. I Corinthians 15:40-49).

David C. Grabbe
What Is the Book of Revelation?


 

1 Corinthians 15:23

Only the just, the righteous, will rise at Christ's second coming. God will raise the martyred saints to eternal life, but the unjust dead will not be resurrected until the end of this period. If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us when we die, we will be resurrected through the power of that same Spirit at that time (Romans 8:9, 11, 14). In addition to the dead in Christ, those who are true Christians at His coming will rise in the first resurrection. The Feast of Trumpets celebrates the second coming of Jesus Christ to intervene in world affairs, resurrect the firstfruits, and establish God's Kingdom on earth (Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 11:15).

Martin G. Collins
Basic Doctrines: The First Resurrection


 

1 Thessalonians 5:2

"The day of the Lord" can be a lot longer period of time than the specific day or hour (Matthew 24:36) or even season (Acts 1:6-7) of Christ's return.

Does anybody know when a thief is going to come? A thief comes at a time when the householder does not expect. We might just be able to throw this out except for one thing: This is written to Christians. The day of the Lord is going to come as a thief in the night.

All this adds up to something that might be a bit disconcerting: He is saying that we are only going to know general conditions regarding the time of His return. The specifics are going to be touch-and-go.

Over the years, some have been making a determined effort to know each prophecy's precise fulfillment. It seems as though our curiosity demands that we know all of the whos, whats, whens, whys and wheres, but the whole thrust of the instruction is to be ready regardless of when His return is. Doing "the work" in one's life is far more important than knowing the specifics of His return.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

1 Thessalonians 5:2

A thief does not come up to a house and knock on the door. Robbery is something that happens suddenly and at a time people do not expect it to occur. What about us in terms of Christ's return? Should we not be ready? Do we not know the times and the seasons? Yes, we do. We have every reason to be able to be prepared should the "thief" arrive, that is, should Christ return.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Don't Be a Prudent Agnostic


 

1 Thessalonians 5:2-3

The Thessalonians' interpretation of Paul's teaching on the Day of the Lord was that it was immediate; they leapt to the conclusion that, because Paul was writing about these things, Jesus Christ would come immediately. The result was that some of the more unstable and excitable members of the congregation quit their jobs (II Thessalonians 3:6-12) .

John W. Ritenbaugh
A Place of Safety? (Part 4)


 

1 Thessalonians 5:8

Paul employs a military metaphor of a sentry on duty. He writes of "the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation," soldiering gear. The alert and self-controlled sentry, vigilant for signs of the enemy, is entrusted with the safety of those within his camp. Normally, he is neither lackadaisical nor wildly excitable. His armor and weapons grant him a measure of control and ability when the need arises.

Similarly, a Christian should become neither lackadaisical nor wildly excited about the time of the end without the controlling factors of faith, hope, and love. There is nothing wrong with speculating about the time of Christ's return. Speculating is a natural result of watching and evaluating the times. However, since even Christ did not know the time of His return, we would be very arrogant to think that we might have had it revealed to us. In reality, if someone claims to know when Christ is coming, it is nothing short of blasphemy! That person is calling God a liar! Jesus Christ says nobody knows, not even the Son (Mark 13:32), and the implication is that the Father will not tell the Son until it is just about time for Him to return.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The World, the Church, and Laodiceanism


 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

Paul likely included this so that the Thessalonians would understand that these are evidences that Christ's return is near, but it had not yet happened. There had not been a falling away, and the man of sin had not been revealed. Paul was gently giving them evidence by which they could evaluate that the return of Christ was not immediately around the corner. As they began to analyze it, this might have been quite discouraging to them. Nevertheless, in AD 51, the return of Christ was very much on the minds of church members.

In addition to this, II Thessalonians 3 deals with the issue that some in Thessalonica had quit their jobs because of misinterpreting Paul's sermons, and they became busybodies while waiting things out. This is not good.

On the one hand, we are to live our lives always anticipating Christ's imminent return, partly because we do not know when we will die and our judgment ends. On the other hand, we are also to live and work as though this world will never end. Since nobody knows when Christ will return, we are to do our jobs with all of our might, as Solomon says (Ecclesiastes 9:10), and because we serve the Lord Christ, as Paul writes (Colossians 3:24). We are to do every job as well as we can, not carelessly cutting corners, assuming that it will all blow away in just a year or so. Such an approach is not a godly attitude.

The people described in Thessalonians 3 were just waiting things out because they had it in their minds that Christ would return almost immediately. That is sheer presumptuousness, carelessness, that God certainly does not appreciate in His children, because that is how He does things. We are to imitate Him. We are to work as He does, and His handiwork is all around us. He does pretty good work! The things that He builds last. They are high-quality work.

In practical fact, there is a tension between the two extremes that must be balanced. Jesus says, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working" (John 5:17). We are to imitate them materially and spiritually. Those simply waiting things out then were castigated, and time is not waiting for us either.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

2 Timothy 2:15-18

Today, people are saying, not that the resurrection has occurred, but that Christ is not going to come soon, indeed not for a few hundred years. How bad will this world be in a few hundred years? Can humanity possibly survive that long at the rate things are going? Can the world survive, considering how angry the nations are and how competitive they are with one another?

Can things possibly go on for that long, when the nations have weapons that can wipe mankind out completely? Man's history proves that, eventually, every weapon is used! When some madman sees particular advantage to himself or his country, he will use those weapons. Men will take those chances because human nature gambles, and the human nature in some people gambles recklessly with other people's lives.

It is irresponsible to be telling church members we will have to wait a few hundred years for the return of Christ, but that idea is out there, floating among the churches.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Trumpets Is a Day of Hope


 

Revelation 1:10-11

On the isle of Patmos sometime around AD 95, John is projected forward in time to the Day of the Lord, that is, the day of God's wrath against mankind upon this earth.

He is projected forward in vision into our day, and he is given something akin to a three-dimensional movie. However, this kind of vision is unique even to those of us who are familiar with cinema because John can participate in it. The characters he sees before him are not mere figments of his imagination—they are actually able to communicate with him and he with them! Perhaps, we can say it is more like a stage play with a backdrop of three-dimensional figures. However we look at it, it is extremely realistic, and John actually feels as though he is on the scene.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church


 

Revelation 1:10-11

Verse 10 teaches us that the book of Revelation is designed for the Lord's Day. The Lord by wisdom designed the earth. It was no feat, therefore, for Him to design the book of Revelation to be applicable primarily to the Lord's Day, that is, the Day of the Lord—the time that is shortly to be upon us. Undoubtedly, we are in the opening phases of it, the preparation for it. We are not yet into the Tribulation, which we understand will precede the Day of the Lord. Both the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are encompassed within the theme of Revelation. If there is any group of people for whom the book of Revelation ever applied more directly, it is those of us living now, although in type it also applied to the seven churches that existed at the time in Asia Minor (today's western Turkey).

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 2-3 and Works


 

Revelation 3:1-3

After calling them essentially the "church of the mostly dead," He instructs them to "be watchful." He complements this with, "strengthen the things which remain," which qualifies the meaning of "watch." There is still a glimmer of life within this church, but the letter gives the impression that they have relaxed in their spiritual responsibilities so much that they are nearly comatose. They have not been vigilant in their core responsibilities or on guard against deception, apathy, or neglect. They have not had sleepless nights over their standing with God.

Interestingly, in the Bible's first mention of the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12), it says that it "shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low." The primary target is the proud—the self-assured. The ironic thing is that this state of spiritual near-death could easily come about even while they are avidly watching world events. They could be quite adept at following the news reports and may know better than anyone what is really going on in the world and how it fits with prophecy.

But that does not fulfill Christ's and the apostle's commands to watch! It is not that it is wrong to keep tabs on world news, but watching world news is chiefly about observing. True watching emphasizes diligence; it is being alert to spiritual dangers more than physical ones. It is about faithfully carrying out our God-given responsibilities, like a servant in the Master's house. None of that results from simply being a news- or prophecy-addict.

In verse 3, He tells them to call to mind the previous lessons and instructions they have heard. He tells them to repent and to guard and maintain their position so they backslide no further. As before, His description gives little indication of spiritual vibrancy or zeal. There probably is a great deal of activity, since He says that they have a name—or reputation—for being alive. Yet, in the areas that truly matter—like growth, faith, seeking God, and overcoming—not much is happening.

He also warns them that, if they will not watch themselves and their covenant responsibilities to their Master, He will come upon them like a thief. He implies that they will not be counted worthy to escape. They may not be appointed to wrath as the world is, but they certainly are not immune to it. In fact, they stand a good chance of experiencing some of it, having not been vigilant and alert in watching over the things that God has given them.

Plainly, Christ will return when we do not expect Him. We may be able to observe some general indicators when key prophecies are fulfilled, but the overall timing will be a mystery. His coming will be like a thief in the night, purposefully hidden from all. Rather than trying to discern the timing, we are instructed to "watch"—not world events, but to watch over all that God has given to us, so that when that Day arrives, we are ready. He knows that if we are faithful in little—in the mundane, the monotonous, the unexciting—we will also be faithful in the truly great things that lie ahead.

David C. Grabbe
'As a Thief in the Night'


 

Revelation 3:11

When was this prophecy uttered? The best guess is somewhere about AD 95 to 97. Christ said, "I come quickly!" Now what if we heard Him say that in AD 95? We would have thought, "Boy, oh boy! His feet are going to be on the earth any day now!" However, the book of Revelation applies to the end time, and within the context of the book of Revelation, the end time is that period immediately before the return of Jesus Christ. Then those words are a lot truer than they would be in AD 95. They are imminent.

But it has been 1900 years since Jesus said that. Was Jesus lying? No, because the intention for the book is for that period of time right before the end; maybe in those few decades before the end. In that case, we are within the parameters of a "season" in which certain events are taking place. Conditions are beginning to look like it is indeed the end time. Likewise, the prophecies of Paul or Peter are very general, especially in regard to when things would occur.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)


 

Revelation 3:20

This verse can be taken in two different ways. It could apply to the door of one's heart, his mind. Christ is calling, "Let Me into your life!" On the other hand, it can also mean that He is saying, "I am just about ready to return! And we can fellowship together if you would just repent!"

John W. Ritenbaugh
Revelation 10 and the Laodicean Church


 

Revelation 6:10

Theirs is not a bloodthirsty cry for vengeance, as some have seen it, since this does not accord with Christian character (Romans 12:19-21), but a call for justice or judgment—a major theme of the seals—as well as a question about the proximity of Christ's return. It is well known that at His second coming, He will both reward His saints and judge His enemies (see Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 11:15-18; Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 14:1-5).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Fifth Seal (Part Two)


 

Revelation 11:2

Revelation mentions three different periods that are all the same—1,260 days, 3½ years, or forty-two months. If we do the math, they all come out within a day or so of one another. If we use 30-day months (as many prophecies do), they come out exactly 3½ years to the day. The forty-two months figure is found here and in one other place, Revelation 13:1-5, where the Beast rising out of the sea is the subject:

He was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5)

These time periods appear in various places in Revelation—but particularly in chapters 11-13. In Revelation 11:2, the Two Witnesses prophesy for 1,260 days. In Revelation 12:6, the woman goes into her place in the wilderness, and she is fed there 1,260 days. Then, at the end of the chapter, the woman is given two wings of a great eagle, and she flies into the wilderness where she is nourished for "a time and times and half a time" (Revelation 12:14), which is 3½ years. A "time" is a year, and "times" is thus two years. "Half a time," then, is half a year. So, added together, they are 3½ years. The woman is protected from the presence of the serpent for 3½ years.

The book of Daniel also mentions various time periods of similar lengths. It can be quite difficult to sort out, which is how many who study prophecy become confused about the timing of events.

The prophecy of Revelation 13:5 seems to be dual. As we understand it, the Beast power down through history was given forty-two months—or, using the day-for-a-year principle, 1,260 years—of sway over primarily the lands of Europe. This sway was seen in the power of the Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire during that time. But the time period will likely be dual, that is, iy will apply to a time in the past, the type, and to a time in the future, the antitype. We see in Revelation 11:2-3 that this same period of time is when the Gentiles—the nations—will have rule over the city of Jerusalem. So, at the end, there will be a period of a literal 1,260 days (3½ years, not 1,260 years) in which the Beast will have sway.

This is also mirrored in Revelation 12, which shows a period of 1,260 days, which can be interpreted as the 1,260 years in which the church fled into the wilderness, that is, God hid its existence from the visible church by keeping it alive in remote areas. Then, at the end of the chapter, there is a period of "a time and times and half a time" (or, literally 3½ years) in which the end-time church is protected from the depradations of Satan. So we have mirrored occurrences of a literal time of 3½ years (1,260 days or forty-two months) and a typical time of 1,260 years.

Here in Revelation 11:2, the context calls for a literal 3½ years. Recall that it is an inset chapter, that is, one that interrupts the flow of the rest of Revelation to concentrate on an important matter that needs to be explained. That flow of story has now reached the point of the 3½ years of the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, culminating with the return of Jesus Christ to bring about the end of this present, satanic world.

There is no need to become confused about these forty-two months or 1,260 days in verses 2 and 3 because they are indicating the same period. As far as we know from the church's long study of prophecy, they are essentially the same as the 3½ years of the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord, ending with Christ's return.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Two Witnesses (Part 3)


 

Revelation 19:11-21

Not only is Christ's coming shock and awe, it is destruction as we have never imagined it. The angel calls the birds to devour the flesh of all people, small and great. Jesus Christ comes back to wage a righteous war, one that has been brewing for 6,000 years due to mankind's hostility and rebellion to God. By the time this prophecy is fulfilled, God has had enough of sin. Christ comes back and treads the winepress of His wrath, where the blood spilled comes up to the horse's bridles. It is hard to imagine blood three or four feet deep and flowing like a river.

Talk about shock! Some people faint dead away when they see just a drop of blood, but imagine a river of blood flowing through the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Revelation 14:20; Joel 3:9-13)! Not a pretty picture.

As is happening in Iraq today, the enemy regime and all of its supporters must be removed before a new and better government can be installed. In like manner, God has to wipe the slate clean and start over.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Shock and Awe - and Speed


 

 




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