While Christians are aware of the biblical injunction that no one knows “the day or hour” that Jesus Christ is going to return, the Bible does tell us that his return will climax the current latter days period that we now live in. Furthermore, Christ himself told his followers in Matthew 25:13 to “watch” for the signs of his imminent return. Many Christians are aware of a number of prophetic timetables involving latter days events that give us at least some guideposts to determine possible timeline scenarios for his return. Based on a calculation involving solar and lunar eclipses, one possible date now being given serious attention is during the Fall Holy Days of 2015. This approximate date is credible if the beast power begins its allotted 42 month reign (Rev. 13:5) sometime in the Spring of 2012, a year many expect climactic events and earth changes to occur. I make no predictions, but will, like you, be watching world events carefully to see if this scenario plays out.
Let’s ask the question: Could Jesus Christ come much earlier than anyone’s timeline charts and expectations? The biblical answer is “yes.” Jesus Christ made one statement that is often overlooked. It gives him the right to intervene immediately if a particular set of circumstances occur. If those circumstances do occur, He has the right to “throw out all the biblical timeline charts” and return instantly. In Matthew 24:22, Jesus said: “…except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days will be shortened (emphasis added).” Think about the impact of his statement. In this statement, Jesus tells us that periods of “days” allotted for various timetables in the latter days will be shortened and those allotted timetables will not be fulfilled, and that his return will come sooner than the allotted timelines would indicate. I find this to be one of the most encouraging prophecies in the Bible!
We know there are 42 months allotted for the beast to reign, 1260 days for the Two Witnesses to perform their ministry (Rev. 11:3) and there are two obscure latter day timelines of 1290 and 1335 days in Daniel 12:11-12. Given Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 24:22, we are left to wonder how many “days” of these allotted periods of prophetic time will be cut short in the latter days? Ten days? 100 days? A thousand days? We simply don’t know. Any of these are possible because Christ’s prophecy leaves the number of latter day timetables to be cut short vague.
Matthew 24-25 have repeated warnings from Christ that his return will come sooner than his latter-day followers expect. He warns his followers of this reality in Matthew 25’s parable of the ten virgins. In this parable, he warns his latter-day followers that all of them will be surprised that his return occurs earlier than any of them expect, and it is noteworthy that even the followers who had plenty of “oil” (the Holy Spirit) in their lamps (lives) were just as surprised by Jesus’ early return as were the believers who had only small amounts of oil in their lamps. In Matthew 24: 44 and 50, Jesus also warned that his return will occur when his followers do not expect him.
So what could trigger Christ to cancel biblical latter-day timetables and return earlier than expected? The condition is told to us in Matthew 24:22. If something happens on the earth that threatens the imminent extinction of all life on earth, “all bets are off” and Christ returns immediately to prevent that from happening. What could cause such a calamity? Wars or plagues are possible, but I think a more likely threat would come from an experiment in a secret laboratory somewhere involving quantum or antimatter weaponry that goes terribly wrong or perhaps a usage of a HAARP weapon that so damages the earth’s electromagnetic fields and/or its atmosphere that all life would be exposed to such high levels of radiation from the sun that all flesh would perish unless Jesus were to return and supernaturally take control of the earth’s nations and conditions. Such a danger is strongly hinted at in Revelation 16:8. Other calamities from hidden or forbidden scientific experiments could also be possible as we don’t know what bizarre things are being pursued in the world’s secret scientific and weapons labs. If you want to read more in-depth information on these topics and possibilities, I urge you to read my articles, Are We Living in the Biblical Latter Days? and Christ’s Five Warnings to Latter-Day Believers.
There is one more item which is overlooked in Jesus Christ’s Matthew 24:22’s prophecy. It says that Divine intervention occurs for the sake of the elect. In other words, Christ intervenes to save them as well. Does this not mean that the elect are still on the earth when Christ intervenes? Those who teach various dates or timings for the rapture or “taking up” of the saints need to consider this fact in their expectations and calculations.
So could Christ return much earlier than any of us expect? The surprising biblical answer is “yes.” As far as I’m concerned, the sooner the better!!
[PERSONAL UPDATE: I recently posted a prayer request for readers of this blog to pray for healing of a wide variety of my chronic pains and my aggravatingly-loud case of tinnitus. I can happily (and thankfully) report that soon after that post was read, I experienced a 15 hour remission of the tinnitus. It was much appreciated and it was wonderful to be able to hear silence again! Then the tinnitus returned, and it has been here ever since. I mention this to encourage and request readers to continue to pray that God will grant a permanent healing of this condition and my other chronic pains as well. While I am seeing one more specialist on Friday, it is becoming increasingly-apparent that the increasing pain and stiffness in my muscles and hands are due to countless thousands of hours sitting at my computer in fixed positions. A Sabbatical from computer work may be necessary to allow my body to heal. I will give readers an update on this as soon as I can.]