We are not "setting" a date for our Lord's Second Coming; we are "watching" for the date. There are many beliefs on this subject, and Scripture is clear that no man will ever know the exact day or hour until it occurs. Nevertheless, the Bible makes it clear that we can know the generation or lifetime during which it will occur. The Bible relates the return of Christ to an agreement, covenant, or league that will occur 7 years before His return, and an "abomination of desolation" occurring at the 3 1/2 year midpoint in the third temple built as a result of the agreement. These two events pinpoint the second coming of Christ within the "lifetime" that Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:34. Before we start on the Scripture related to this momentous event, let's discuss the recent Sharm Agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinians.
In showing that the Bible expressly declares that God has given all of Jerusalem, including the temple mount, to the Jews forever, we are not siding with either party in their other differences. Both sides have contributed to their problems and the result is so complex and difficult that only God can-and will-solve it.
The Sharm Memorandum signed on September 5, 1999 at Sharm E-Sheikh by Israel and the PLO may be a prophetically significant document. Unlike the Oslo and Wye agreements, it sets a specific date for the parties to agree on the specific details for the Permanent Final Status of Jerusalem, which would seem to include the final status of the temple mount where the third Jewish Temple must be located and where the Muslim Dome of the Rock now sits. The Holy of Holies in God's Temple must be located at the exact spot on the 45-acre temple mount where it was located in the previous two temples. Jewish authorities have determined that there are three locations, in addition to the Dome of the Rock, where the Holy of Holies may have been located in the previous temples and where the Jewish Temple could be built adjacent to the Dome of the Rock on the temple mount. This subject is an explosive problem between the two parties to the Sharm agreement and seems insoluble, except that God has said that the Jewish Temple will be built just years before Messiah Jesus returns. Both parties have publicly agreed in the Sharm memo that they will sign a completely detailed Permanent Final Status agreement by September 15, 2000. 2000AD millennium pressures for peace by the U.S. and the U.N. will undoubtedly exert great pressure on both parties to adhere to this schedule and bring "peace" to a Nuclear Middle East. Nevertheless the intransigence of both sides may well delay the Final Agreement, or agreement on the final disposition of the temple mount could be deferred. This, of course, would delay the seven year period ending in the return of Christ. The Bible makes it clear that most nations will not honor God's express desire about His city of Jerusalem and His Temple, but it also makes clear that the Temple will be rebuilt. Zechariah Chapters 12-14 describe this time in detail. Pray that the U.S. foreign policy will recognize that God gave Jerusalem to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants forever. As Zechariah has foretold, the many nations that fight God on this will suffer catastrophic judgment and losses. As Jesus pointed out in Matthew 24, permanent peace will not come until the Prince of Peace comes again with God's Kingdom. The Sharm Memo provides Christians with a reason to start watching for the building of the Third Temple and theSecond Coming by noting the discussions and agreements required by both parties. However, the Sharm agreement may have nothing to do with rebuilding the Temple. The acquisition of the proper site may come about as a result of war, terrorism, an earthquake, or other means. God says the Temple will be built and the stage is almost set for its rebuilding.
THE ROADMAP OF BIBLICAL PROPHECY AND CURRENT EVENTS OVER JERUSALEM
Please note that we are either quoting or explaining the Bible and love Christians, Jews, Arabs, and all gentiles. Individuals from all of these groups, and especially those in power, will be in opposition to God and His Word in regard to these events. Individuals from all of these groups will also be operating in accordance with His will in this great spiritual battle on this earth. Also, please note that the city of Jerusalem, not just the land of Israel, is the subject of many key prophecies, especially in the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, Luke, and Revelation. The seeds of the battle between Jews and Arabs over the promised land were sown early in the Book of Genesis: 11 And the Angel of the LORD said to her:(Hagar) "Behold, you are with child, And you shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has heard your affliction. 12 He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man's hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." (Genesis 16:11-12 NKJV).... (later:)17 Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, "Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?" 18 And Abraham said to God, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!" 19 Then God said: "No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him. (Genesis 17:17-19 NKJV)
Ishmael was the father of the Arab nations. Esau, the elder twin son of Isaac and brother of Jacob, had Canaanite wives and a wife, Basemath, the daughter of Ishmael. Esau's descendents were Arabs dwelling to the southeast of Israel in Edom, and were the ancestors of the present-day Palestinians: 1 ¶ Now this is the genealogy of Esau, who is Edom. 2 Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite; Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3 and Basemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth. (Genesis 36:1-3 NKJV)
God holds us responsible for our words as Esau found out after he despised his birthright, which included the promised land and Jerusalem: 27 So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 ¶ Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, "Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary." Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright as of this day." 32 And Esau said, "Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?" 33 Then Jacob said, "Swear to me as of this day." So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:27-34 NKJV)
After the boys' mother commanded Jacob to deceive their father so that he would give Jacob the birthright and the land, rather than Esau the elder son, Esau hated Jacob and swore to slay him: 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If all is well, why am I like this?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said to her: "Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older(Esau) shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:22-23 NKJV).... 6 ¶ So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, "Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, 7 `Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.' 8 "Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. 9 "Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. 10 "Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death." 11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. 12 "Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing." 13 But his mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me." (Genesis 27:6-13 NKJV).... 26 Then his father Isaac said to him,(Jacob) "Come near now and kiss me, my son." 27 And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said: "Surely, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field Which the LORD has blessed. 28 Therefore may God give you Of the dew of heaven, Of the fatness of the earth, And plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, And let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, And blessed be those who bless you!" (Genesis 27:26-29 NKJV).... 34 When Esau (afterward) heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me--me also, O my father!" 35 But he said, "Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing." 36 And Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!" And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?" 37 Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?" 38 And Esau said to his father, "Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me--me also, O my father!" And Esau lifted up his voice and wept. 39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: "Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, (oil?) And of the dew of heaven from above. 40 By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck." 41 ¶ So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob." 42 And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, "Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. 43 "Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 "And stay with him a few days, until your brother's fury turns away, (Genesis 27:34-44 NKJV)
From then to this day, the secular history of the Jews and the Arabs, and the Middle East, shows the truth of the Bible. Only the Second Coming of Jesus Christ will resolve this conflict which will result in nuclear war immediately before the return of Christ. I am going to skip over the amazing prophesied worldwide dispersion of the Jews and their recent regathering into Israel and Jerusalem since it is covered elsewhere at provegodprovebible.htm But note the amazing prophecy of Jesus Christ:.... "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 NKJV) The "edge of the sword" was the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus in 70AD, just 40 years later. Hadrian's decree in 135AD required the Jews to leave Jerusalem, under penalty of death, and live in the gentile nations. The "times of the Gentiles" began ending in 1967 when the Jews again controlled most of Jerusalem after 1900 years.
The return of Christ will occur soon during this generation. In Matthew 24, the disciples asked Jesus "What will be the sign of His Coming , and of the end of the age?".... 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" 4 ¶ And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 "For many will come in My name, saying, `I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. 6 "And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 "All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 "Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. 10 "And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 "And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 "But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3-14 NKJV) Then Jesus gave the one unmistakeable sign of His coming by referring to the prophet Daniel. No one can understand this sign without understanding Daniel. This sign, involving the rebuilt temple, occurs 3 1/2 years before the return of Jesus Christ:... 15 "Therefore when you see the `abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place"(The Holy of Holies of the soon to be rebuilt third temple on the temple mount) (whoever reads, let him understand), 16 "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 "Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything out of his house. 18 "And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 19 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 "And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 "And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. 23 "Then if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or `There!' do not believe it. 24 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand. 26 "Therefore if they say to you, `Look, He is in the desert!' do not go out; or `Look, He is in the inner rooms!' do not believe it. 27 "For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:15-27 NKJV).... 29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30 "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 "And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32 ¶ "Now learn this parable from the fig tree:(Israel-see Matt.21:1-19) When its branch (Jerusalem) has already become tender and puts forth leaves,(Jews still looking for their Messiah) you know that summer(the Kingdom) is near. 33 "So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near----at the doors! 34 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:29-35 NKJV) His Words have not only NOT passed away, but they have been translated into more languages, critically studied, and printed more than the words of any person!
Although they won't admit it, most Christians really don't get into the Old Testament in a total, meaningful way. This is indeed sad, as it is impossibe to understand much of the New Testament without it. Most churches avoid or ignore prophecy as being too divisive to their church. Sad also.... Satan is indeed in the churches as prophesied. Before we look at the book of Daniel, which Jesus obviously endorsed, let us look at some other prophecies dealing with the end of this age, and the Second Coming of Christ:... 1 ¶ "For behold, in those days and at that time, When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, 2 I will also gather all nations, And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; And I will enter into judgment with them there On account of My people, My heritage Israel, Whom they have scattered among the nations; They have also divided up My land. (Joel 3:1-2 NKJV).... 12 "Let the nations be wakened, and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; For there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations. 13 Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, go down; For the winepress is full, The vats overflow--For their wickedness is great." 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and moon will grow dark, And the stars will diminish their brightness. 16 The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem; The heavens and earth will shake; But the LORD will be a shelter for His people, And the strength of the children of Israel. 17 "So you shall know that I am the LORD your God, Dwelling in Zion My holy mountain. Then Jerusalem shall be holy, And no aliens shall ever pass through her again." (Joel 3:12-17 NKJV) This passage unequivocally states that in the very days that He brings back the Jews to Jerusalem and Judah from their captivity throughout the nations, that He will also bring about the great battle in the Valley of Jehoshaphat and the end of the age and the coming of Messiah. He brought back the Jews to Jerusalem in 1967 by causing them to win a war that the world thought they would lose. The Second Coming is not far off!
The Last Seven Years of This Age and the Return Of Christ
The Book of Daniel is the widest ranging prophetic Book in the Bible. It foretells the four major empires of the world-the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek, and Roman. It covers a time span from the the time of Daniel, the sixth century BC, to the very end of this age. Christ authenticated the Book of Daniel in Matt. 24:19. The last seven years of this age, immediately preceeding the Return of Messiah Jesus Christ, is discussed elsewhere in Scripture, but is most definitively described in the ninth chapter of Daniel, and especially the following four verses:
"Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. "Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times. "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined. Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate." (Daniel 9:24-27 NKJV)
When asked about the sign of His return, Christ gave the following reply:
"Therefore when you see the `abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (Matthew 24:15-16 NKJV)
The signs at the beginning and mid-point of this seven year period are the signs that will tell the Biblical Christians when our Lord will return. These signs require a Jewish presence on the temple mount to offer the "sacrifice and offering" mentioned above. The Sharm Agreement recently signed by Israel and the PLO requires a permanent and final agreement on Jerusalem by Sept. 15, 2000, presumably including the temple mount. Once these sacrifices have started, you may be sure that we are in this last seven year period. Now, let's look at these key verses of Daniel:
The "seventy weeks" are seventy heptads, or seventy sevens of years totaling 490 years. The jews of that day used the word "week" to denote a quantity of 7 just as we currently use the word "dozen" for a quantity of 12. Within these "weeks" the national chastisement must be ended and the nation re-established in everlasting righteousness (Da 9:24).
The seventy weeks are divided into seven = 49 years; sixty-two = 434 years; one = 7 years (vs. 25-27). In the seven weeks =49 years, Jerusalem was to be rebuilt in "troublesome times." This was fulfilled, as Ezra and Nehemiah record. Sixty-two weeks = 434 years, thereafter Messiah was to come (Da 9:25). This was fulfilled in the prophesied manifestation of Christ as Messiah. (Zech. 9:9 & Matt. 21:4-5)
Da 9:26 is obviously an indeterminate period. The date of the crucifixion is not fixed. It is only said to be "after" the threescore and two weeks. It is the first event in Da 9:26. The second event is the destruction of the city, fulfilled in A.D. 70. Then, "unto the end," a period not fixed, but which has already lasted nearly 2000 years. To Daniel, it was revealed only that wars and desolations should continue (cf. Mt 24:6-14.) The New Testament reveals that which was hidden from the O.T. prophets (Mt 13:11-17 & Eph 3:1-10) that during this period should be accomplished the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven (Mt 13:1-50) and the out-calling of the Church (Mt 16:18 & Ro 11:25). When the Church-age will end, and the seventieth week begins, is nowhere revealed.
The last seven years will begin with an internationally recognized agreement that gives Israel all or part of the temple mount thereby permitting construction of the temple or altar that will allow the sacrifice and oblation mentioned in Dan. 9:27. This agreement could be a result of the Sharm Memorandum negotiations between Israel and the PLO. The duration of the seventieth week can only be seven years. To make it more violates the principle of interpretation already confirmed by fulfillment. Da 9:27 deals with the last week and the abomination of desolation by the anti-christ at the midpoint of this seven year period. At the middle of the week he will break the covenant and fulfill Da 12:11 & 2Th 2:3,4. Between the sixty-ninth week, after which Messiah was cut off, and the seventieth week, within which the "little horn" of Dan. 7 will run his awful course, intervenes this entire Church-age. Da 9:27 deals with the last three and a half years of the seven, which are identical with the "great tribulation."-Mt 24:15-28, "time of trouble"-Da 12:1, & "hour of temptation"-Re 3:10.
At the end of this seven year period, the following Scripture will be fulfilled: "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:27-28 NKJV)