When Will Christ Return? (Sooner vs. Later)
By Pete Garcia
I walked home from work yesterday, which I am not prone to do often. Not because of the distance, but usually I am much too hurried either coming or going to bother with it. However, the weather was just so good I could not resist taking advantage of it. The last portion of my walk is approximately a half-mile, and I decided instead of taking the road, to take the sidewalk path that leads behind the base housing. As I started down it, I noticed an anthill along the side of the path. A thought immediately popped into my head, if I were an ant, I wonder how long it would take me to travel this same distance?
Well, it takes me about 15-20 minutes to walk it at a normal pace. I reckoned that an ant travelling a half mile (without stopping) would take hours, even possibly a full day to make the same trek. But what if I were twenty-feet taller? Of course being twenty-five feet (and change) tall, my pace would be considerably faster. I bet I could do it in under five minutes. Naturally, I began to ponder the “deeper” prophetic implications of size versus distance as it relates to time. I know I know…I am weird like that.
That got me thinking of an article I read a long time ago from Don Koenig’s The Prophetic Years. He is one of the most pragmatic, astute, and prolific prophecy writers still writing today. Several years back, he did a comparison study of the different times when the Lord could return at the Second Coming. Admittedly, I was somewhat discouraged with the models he showed that extended our time into the 2040’s. Mind you, this was 2007, and looking at the possibility of the Second Coming happening some thirty to forty years into the future was not very appealing to me.
Now the year is 2018, and I have revisited this particular article and have seen how accurate his assessments have been pertaining to what he thought would arise in the years to come since 2007. It is uncanny. I believe his prognostications then were far more accurate than just about anyone else’s I have read anywhere. Where 2034-2047 seemed a lifetime away to a young man who was fired up about prophecy, these dates do not seem very far away to the older, more tempered version of myself.
However, he has since revised that scenario to a much closer window (admitting that he erred on the side of caution with the 2050 setting), showing that he could not see the Second Coming extending any later than 2035. I tend to agree with him. If you back that up by a minimum of seven years, that puts the Rapture “window” around 2027. Barring a gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week, the Rapture could be much sooner.
If anyone else had come out and said it, I suppose I would have just chucked their opinion in the “wait and see” category. However, regarding the timing of the Second Coming, Don has always presented a very cautious and studied view, which is what got me excited. If he is revising his views on this to be sooner (rather than later), I think there is probably a great deal of prudence built into that revision. However, not only Don, or myself see this Second Coming sooner rather than later (which implies a sooner Rapture as well), but many other orthodox and studied prophecy experts, ministers, and watchers everywhere are seeing the same thing. Is that a coincidence, or is it divinely inspired? What we are witnessing is the rapid, intentional dismantling of all the current natural, cultural, religious, political, and economic orders, into one (a new world order) that the Bible says is coming. Especially since the elections of both Obama and Trump.
I imagine that from God’s perspective, the sea of humanity can at times; resemble a freshly stirred and angry Fire Ant mound (this hearkening back to Psalms 2). We rush about attacking anything we can with no discernable pattern of advance. We frenziedly crawl over each other and when we do discern that the threat is gone, we retreat into our darkened tunnels doing pretending that the outside world does not exist.
For most of human history (o/a 6,000 years), man has been limited to the speed of horse, in that the masses were generally limited to archaic technology [not including the antediluvian era]. In other words, for most of human history, we were trudging along at an ant’s pace down the timeline of God’s prophetic path. Fortunately, our humanistic ambitions were tempered by our own lack of technology, which limited the amount of damage we could do to ourselves. Imagine if Alexander the Great had M-1 Abram tanks, or if Hitler atomic bombs at their disposal at the beginning of their European expansionism?
Along that same timeline for mankind, we have had what military historians refer to as a RMA’s, or a Revolution in Military Affairs. These inventions/tactics/etc. significantly changed the nature of battle and warfare. For example;
14th century—the longbow
16th century—architectural fortifications
17th century—European tactical reforms
17th and 18th centuries—naval warfare introduced
18th century—British financial revolution
18th and 19th centuries—industrial revolution
19th century—American Civil War
20th century—World War I
—World War II
—Strategic air war
—People’s war (SOURCE)
I would add that the rate of change has only intensified going into the 21st-century with the development of: Cyber, Nano, space warfare, robotics, information processing, genetic editing, digitized crypto-currencies, quantum technology, electromagnetic pulse weapons, artificial intelligence, and unmanned systems creating whole new markets and arenas with both civilian and military applications. RMAs have significantly changed how nations conducted warfare, which has affected the rest of the course of human affairs.
Nevertheless, what is routinely ignored by the world is the Revolution in Prophetic Affairs (RPAs). Just like the list above, before the 20th century, biblical prophecy progressed (seemingly) at a sluggish rate from the First Century. Once national Israel went into diaspora (circa AD70 courtesy of the Roman Legions), the Church in large part, lost its ability to understand where we were on God’s prophetic calendar.
However, in the 20th-Century, Someone stirred the anthill and things have begun happening at a frenzied pace. The prophetic events along God’s prophetic timeline can succinctly be summed up into three broad events/movements:
- 1760-1940s: The early 20th century was the culminating period for the Industrial revolution, out of which, came the military industrial complex. European nations at the turn of the 20th-century had created (manufactured and financed) massive storages of war materials and only needed an excuse (assassination of Franz Ferdinand) to ignite a world war. Subsequently, these improved manufacturing processes and modernization set the stage for the later transitions into computer and information revolutions, which makes controlling all buying and selling now possible.
- 1897-1967: National Zionism sets the stage for the transition into the rebirth of the nation of Israel and the prophetic fig tree era. This happened in four stages:
- 1897-First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland
- 1917-Balfour Declaration
- 1948-Declaration of Independence
- 1967-Six Day War and the repatriation of Jerusalem
- 1914-1918: World War I sets the stage for the transition period to the end-time geopolitical scenario with the Balfour Declaration, Sykes-Picot Agreement, Versailles Treaty, the League of Nations, and the rise of Fascism, World War II, the United Nations, and the European Common Market (now European Union).
Whereas man could not know where he was on God’s prophetic calendar pre-1897, we can definitively know where we are today, given all that has transpired over the last 120 years. We have gone from wondering where we are, to wondering when it (the Rapture) will happen.
We have been marching along the path of time making marginal progress as it relates to God’s prophetic calendar. The length of the path has not changed, however, our size (size = our technological advancements, plus Israel, plus the geopolitical situation) is what has changed relative to it. It seems as if time is speeding up similar to how a kid and adult view time.
To a four-year old, a year seems like a lifetime away when they are looking forward to another birthday or Christmas. To a forty-three year old however, a year is not very long at all. This is the time-distance relationship. Simply put, a forty-three year old has lived through more years then a four-year old, thus the time (a year) is not as drastic in relation to perception, even though the year is still the same length of time.
The prophet Daniel was told that the end would come as a flood, before the final last seven years, and we can certainly see all these things happening with greater frequency and intensity. The increase of wars, rumors of war, natural disasters, pestilence, violence, wickedness, and apathy are just par for the course these days to the unbelieving world.
In 2007, Don Koenig set 2047 as the outer marker for the Second Coming. He did this only after consulting a variety of factors: Biblical patterns and cycles, Scriptural prophecies and signs, non-canonical historical texts, and many other resources from other learned-eschatologists. His conclusion was that the absolute no later than (NLT) time-frame 2024-2047 while still remaining consistent with Christ’s own admonishment in Matthew’s Fig Tree Parable (Matt. 24:32-35). In 2018 (11 years later), he adjusted that NLT to be 2035 for the Second Coming. If we subtracted seven-years for Daniel’s 70th Week (aka…The Tribulation), then we are potentially at 2028 for the NLT time of the Rapture. Granted, that does not take into account any type of “gap” between the Rapture and the Tribulation.
For me, the gap will probably be around three and a half years…the same length of time for Christ’s ministry while He was on the earth. Many eschatology experts have futilely tried to pin Hosea 6:2 either to the birth of Christ, or to His death. However, both of these exact dates have been in contention for millennia and likely will not get resolved this side of the Rapture.
What we do know definitively, is that of the length of His ministry (which transitioned the Old Testament into the New per Hebrews 9:16-17), was three and a half years. Is it possible that the gap of time between the Rapture and the start of the 70th Week is also three and a half years? Especially considering that this would allow time for the Gog/Magog War cleanup (Ezekiel 39:9-10), the arrival of the Two Witnesses (Elijah and Enoch and/or Moses), the building of a new third Temple, and the confirming of a covenant? (Ezekiel 38-39, Matt. 17:1-3, Hebrews 9:27, Malachi 4:5, Revelation 11:1-14)
If that is the case and 2035 is a solid (best-theorized) date for the Second Coming, we would have to subtract seven-years (70th Week), plus another three and a half (gap), we would be somewhere around 2024…just six years from today.
Since so many have tried to predict when Christ would return, my opinion, as well as Don’s (or anyone else’s for that matter), are just educated shots in the dark. We look at Scripture, we look at the facts on the ground, and we try to piece together where they might point too. However, it is not as dark as it once was (2 Peter 1:19). The closer we draw to That Day, the more things fall into place and the clearer the picture becomes (1 Thess. 5:1-3). One thing we do know is that the time is growing exceedingly short. We may not know the day or hour, but we can definitely see the day approaching (Hebrews 10:25). So stay strong, stay watching, stay in the Word, keep the faith, and remember what Christ said to those of the Philadelphian Church,
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Revelation 3:10-11
Even So, Maranatha!