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We Can Know the General Time of the Lord’s Sudden Return

(This article is an excerpt of my book, The Coming Kingdom of God.)

Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

Mark 13:28-30

How Long Are the Last Days? When Is Jesus At the Doors?

This is the paradox of the Lord’s coming. No one knows the exact day or hour He will appear. Yet, in Mark (and also in Matthew and Luke) Jesus tells us we can know the general timing of His appearing. And this doesn’t mean the century or half-century. It is a much shorter period. He tells us we should be able to discern when He is “at the doors.”

But what is “at the doors”?

We know that prophetic events are often spoken of in terminology that sounds like the event is just around the corner. Then we find out the corner is two thousand years long!

Free book: Why I Believe Jesus Is Coming Back Soon

I’m thinking of Peter telling us on the day of Pentecost they were “in the last days” (Acts 2:17). With days that long, it’s not totally unreasonable to find skepticism among Christians that the kingdom is coming any time soon. Soon by our standards, not God’s.

Maybe a quick look at prophetic timetables will help to rid some of the skepticism. A prophecy can be given of an upcoming event that is not to happen for hundreds or even thousands of years. Yet there is nothing in the prophecy that provides a hint of when it will occur.

Isaiah prophesied 700—690 B.C. that the Babylonians would conquer Jerusalem.[1] We know in retrospect this occurred about 100—120 years later.

At the time of the prophecy, however, Babylon was in no position to conquer Jerusalem. It was itself a doormat of the Assyrian empire. Actually, it appears that shortly after Isaiah’s prophecy, Babylon was destroyed by the Assyrians.

Now imagine you’re a Jew in Jerusalem, and you read Isaiah’s prophecy that Babylon’s going to conquer your nation. You look over and see Babylon totally conquered by the Assyrians and in smoldering ruins. How serious would you take that prophecy? Would you be on the alert? I don’t think so.

Are the Last Days Getting Shorter?

Fast forward 75 years or so. It’s now around 625—610 B.C. A new prophet is on the scene. His name is Jeremiah. He’s also prophesying that Babylon’s going to destroy Jerusalem. But things have changed on the international stage. Babylon is now a world power and is fully capable of fulfilling this prophecy.

Now imagine you’re a Jew in Jerusalem and you hear Jeremiah prophesy that Babylon’s going to destroy Jerusalem. Do you take his warnings more seriously?

What’s the difference in the prophecies? Time. The dull heart doesn’t see it, but we’re now closer to the calamity. Yet there’s still maybe 40 years before it happens.

Nonetheless, if you’re prophetically in tune with God, you’re watching the rise of Babylon and interpreting its movements through the lens of Isaiah’s and Jeremiah’s prophecies.

Recognize When God’s Judgment Is Near

Shocked black man watching active volcano.

Your neighbors are saying things like, “Prophets have been prophesying our destruction for a hundred years!” Or “You don’t want to get too hooked on prophecies.” Or “I serve a God a love. I’m not into all that doom and gloom preaching!” Or, “Even if it’s true, it could be a thousand years from now.”

Then over the course of the next couple of decades the signs that these prophecies may happen soon increase. Plus, there’s now a new prophet on the scene named Ezekiel with an ominous message from God:

“For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I the Lord shall speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed, for in your days, O rebellious house, I shall speak the word and perform it,” declares the Lord God.

Furthermore, the word of the Lord came to me saying, “Son of man, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’

“Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “None of My words will be delayed any longer. Whatever word I speak will be performed,”‘” declares the Lord God.

Ezekiel 12:24-28

Here is an astounding fact that demonstrates how morally and spiritually insane Israel/Judah was at the time of this warning. Babylon had already successfully invaded the land twice and had deported off a bunch of captives to Babylon.

Ezekiel wrote the warning from Babylon as a captive!

Considering that they’d already been jumped on twice by Babylon, each passing year it should have become extraordinarily difficult to ignore the prophecies. Yet nearly everyone continued to live their lives as though the prophecies would never occur. Or if they did, it would be in someone else’s lifetime, not their own.

Then one day the Babylonians were bursting through the city gates with their battering rams.

Free book: Why I Believe Jesus Is Coming Back Soon

Jesus Is Coming Sooner Than You Think–He Is At The Doors!

Similarly, Jesus prophesied through Paul that while the world and sleeping/false church are saying, “Peace and safety! then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape” (1Thessalonians 5:3). When He first delivered this prophecy, it was in the class of Isaiah’s. It was a long way off and there were no signs this would or could happen.

Two thousand years later, His prophecy is in the class of Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s warnings. Much time has elapsed, and signs have arisen that point to their soon fulfillment.

This is what spiritually dull Christians don’t understand. They are treating the prophecies of the end of the age as though they are in the days of Isaiah.

In fact, we are in the days of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and nothing stands between Babylon and the walls of Jerusalem, so to speak.

Concerning these signs, Jesus said of the generation that sees them, “when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors!”

If we see the signs, we cannot treat the warning as though the end of the age is a long way off. For Jesus said the generation that sees these signs will not pass away until all is fulfilled. So, it’s a matter of whether we recognize the signs.

My advice is to read the Bible and discover what it says about the end-times. Read Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. Read my free book, Why I Believe Jesus Is Coming Back Soon. Then you will be able to properly discern the signs of the times, and of the end of the age.

(This article is an excerpt of my book, The Coming Kingdom of God.)

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[1] Isaiah 39:1-7

Eric M Hill

Eric M Hill is an author, blogger, YouTuber, and Bible teacher. He has written sixteen books. He is a member of the Authors Guild and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA).

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