As Christ foretold over 2000 years ago, “This good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited Earth, as a witness to all nations, and then the End will come. Matthew 24:3-31. These passages have been misinterpreted by many scholars who have taught that the “the good news” was preached to the entire inhabited world by apostles and disciples of Christ after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD.
The gospel was assuredly preached to many nations and peoples and yes, the temple was destroyed; however, the apostles asked Jesus three questions:
The first inquired as to the temple’s destruction. The next question asked for signs of His coming, and the final question asked when the end would come. Jesus answered all of the questions from the apostles as scripture confirms, but they were three separate, distinct questions for which he answered accordingly. These were different periods of time.
An important matter to note is that once Christ sacrificed himself as the lamb of God once for all time, no other temple sacrifice would ever be required again or even looked upon by YHWH with acceptance or the forgiveness of sins. Christ is our only mediator and high priest. So, the destruction of the temple does not fulfill all of the prophecy. It was only the beginning. Its destruction actually confirmed that Christ is high priest in heaven.
Since Jesus Christ’s ascension to heaven, each generation has preached and believed the return of Christ would occur during their lifetime. However, we know this was not the case.
The word “imminent” has been consistently used to describe the return of Christ. The inappropriate use of the word has caused many to presumptuously proclaim the second advent with specific dates that have caused great disappointment and loss of faith in believers throughout the ages. Could this disappointment and loss of faith have been avoided? Yes.
The bible repeatedly tells us that Jesus’ return would occur “like a thief in the night.” If a thief is plotting and planning to break into a home or business, he surely does not let the owner know which day or hour he plans to do so. The thief will strike suddenly and without advanced warning, which is exactly how the return of Christ shall be.
Further, Jesus revealed that concerning the hour of His return, that only the Father knows the exact day or hour. But, we are told that His return would be “at hand” or “near”. So, we could expect the second advent of Christ at any time many say.
Jesus Christ, Son of God, spoke of warning signs, prophecies and a great tribulation that must happen before He returns.
Many will say we have experienced many things spoken of such as wars, earthquakes, floods, and famines, false prophets, and messiahs. Yes, indeed we have. Christ prophesied all these signs would come to pass but the end is not yet. These things would only be the beginning of sorrows.
We have even had periods of tribulation throughout history. However, Christ’s words speak of a “great tribulation”, which has never occurred before nor will ever occur again. This type of tribulation is global and so catastrophic that it must be cut short so that the elect of Christ are able to survive.
Obviously, the tribulation is a world-wide event that will be so powerful and destructive that God decides to intervene; thus, the return of Christ then becomes imminent! It is a future, prophetic event that has not yet been fulfilled. We are to be certain of this as the Rock upon which our faith is built has not established His kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
When Jesus spoke of the warning signs and prophesies, He gave us a direct clue as to when to expect Him and that is by using the word, “generation.” If we understand why Christ used this particular word, we can use scripture and a comprehensive study of Jewish history to see that to the Hebrew Israelite, a generation generally refers to a 40-year time period.
Remember, YHWH allowed His disobedient people whom He exiled from Egypt to die off as they wandered in the desert or “wilderness” and only allowed their descendants to reach the promised land, Israel, under the leadership of Joshua. The temple’s destruction also occurred 40 years after the prophecy given by Christ
Therefore, when Jesus Christ said when the “abomination that causes desolation spoken through the prophet Daniel stands in the holy place” is when the Great Tribulation begins, and the generation experiencing such horrific acts never before seen or to be repeated again, can feel confident that our Savior’s return is imminent or occurring during their lifetime.