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Is the Rapture in Matthew 24?


"But of that day and hour no one knows...  for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will."
Matthew 24:36, 44
 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days ... they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."                                              Matthew 24:29-30

Perennial Prophetic Question

...Is the Rapture in

Matthew 24?


When we speak of Matthew chapter 24, we are also speaking of Mark 13 and Luke 21 . All three passages are an account of the same event known as the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse was the longest teaching in the Bible that Jesus gave on a single subject. The subject was Jesus’ prophecy of the End Time events leading to His Second Coming (see also Luke 12:35-48; 17:22-37) .


The perennial question among pre-tribulation (the rapture occurs before the tribulation) teachers is this: Did Jesus make reference to the Rapture in Matthew 24? In the following discussion, I will use the term “Matthew 24” as a catchphrase for the Olivet Discourse (Mat. 24-25), and the parallel passages of Mark 13 and Luke 21. Also, when I refer to the two-phased 2nd Coming of Christ, I will use

1) the term “Rapture” for Jesus’ coming FOR His saints (believers) BEFORE the Tribulation to take them to heaven, and I will use

2) the term “Return” for the coming of Christ WITH His saints to the earth AFTER the tribulation.

You will need to have your Bible OPEN and ready...

 

THE PROBLEM

Did Jesus make reference to the Rapture in Matthew 24? Outstanding scholar-teachers are on both sides of the issue. All are agreed that Matthew 24’s primary focus is the Return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation, and that at the time of Matthew 24 the Rapture was still a “mystery” yet to be fully revealed. However,

1. Some say Matthew 24 makes no mention of the Rapture, focusing only on the Return, because its focus is on the Jews, not the Church. 1

2. Others say Matthew 24 speaks not only to the Return, but also to the Rapture, because both an imminent, sign-less Rapture and a non-imminent, sign-signaled Return are mentioned. 2

 

Here are some examples of this split opinion

Is the Rapture in Matthew 24?

YES— Arnold Fruchtenbaum: “...Mathew 24:36 begins with the word ‘But’...He is now introducing a new subject, and that is the Rapture.”            Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps Of The Messiah, p.649.

YES— Ed Hindson: ”[Mat. 24:35-36] warn[s] against attempts to set an exact date for Christ’s return at the end of the Church age…Here the rapture is in view.” (p.217)

Ed Hindson and James Borland, The Gospel Of Matthew, The King Is Coming, p.216-217.

NO— Dwight Pentecost: ”Consistency of interpretation would seem to eliminate any application of [Matthew 24] to the church or the church age [Rapture], inasmuch as the Lord is dealing with the prophetic program for Israel.”

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.278.

NO— Stanley Toussaint ”Because of its Jewishness, neither the church nor the rapture are in view in Matthew 24.”

Stanley Toussaint, Are the Church and the Rapture in Matthew 24, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.136.

WHAT OTHERS SAY 3

YES— Leon Wood, Mark Hitchcock, William Blackstone, David Reagan, Tim LaHaye, Henry Morris.

NO— Paul Benware, Herman Hoyt, E. Schuler English, Paul Fienberg, Warren Wiersbe, John Walvoord,                     Renald Showers, W.A. Criswell, Maxwell Coder, Mal Couch.

THE PROBLEM OF Matthew 24 & the rapture—contradiction & confusion

It is not unusual to find among the most imminent scholars “slip ups” on the question of Matthew 24 and the Rapture.

1) “[Referring to Mat. 24:36; 40-41] ...there are no prophesied events that have yet to take place before our Lord’s [Rapture] of the church. It is imminent…”

2) Yet in the same section, “...the [Rapture] is not found in Mat. 24-25.”

Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary, Earl Radmacher, Ronald Allen, Wayne House, eds., p.1190-91.

1) William Pettingill says, “The doctrine of the [Rapture] is not unfolded at all in the Synoptic Gospels—that is, Matthew, Mark and Luke…

2) Yet, in the same book co-author R.A. Torrey writes of the [Rapture] in Matthew 24:44, “He may [Rapture] us believers at any moment, and He Himself had bidden us to be always ready because in such an hour as we think not He is coming again [in the Rapture] .”

William Pettingill & R.A. Torrey, 1001 Bible Questions Answered, p.273, 409.

 

1) “[There are clear distinctions between] those passages that refer to [the Rapture] and those referring to His [Return]... Thomas Ice has provided the following list to identify those distinctions [Ice lists Luke 21:25-28 as a Return passage].

2) Yet in the same article Hindson says of Luke 21:28 “His coming in the clouds means the church’s deliverance [Rapture] has come.”

Ed Hindson, The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.100, 105.

 

A PROPOSED SOLUTION

When we carefully consider three prophetic truths the Matthew 24 Rapture/Return conundrum finds a satisfactory resolution. These 3 factors favor the Rapture being a part of Matthew 24.

1. ONE SECOND COMING—TWO PHASES 4

The Second Coming of Christ has two phases—the “Rapture”, in the air, and the “Return”, to the earth.

➤Christ’s second coming is one event that occurs in two parts—Christ coming...to [Rapture] the church and Christ’s [Return] to earth…

Tim LaHaye & Richard Mayhue, Rapture, in The Popular Encyclopedia Of Bible Prophecy, Tim LaHaye & Ed Hinson, ed., p.315, 351.

➤[Chapter Title] “Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming” [Rapture and Return]

Ed Hindson, The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.95.

➤A significant contrast exists in the Bible. It teaches an imminent return of Christ, but it also teaches a return of Christ that is not imminent—a return that cannot take place until after the “great tribulation” (Mat. 24:21, 29-30). This contrast prompts the conclusion that the Bible teaches two future comings of Christ—the imminent [Rapture] and the non-imminent [Return]… Renald Showers, The Imminent Coming Of Christ, in the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, p.1072.

➤Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture...and second, His [Return] …

Mark Hitchcock, The End, p.152.


Thus, Rapture/Return phases of the Second Coming are often compressed in prophecy as an apparent singular event.

 

2. “DOUBLE REFERENCE” PROPHECY 5

Double reference prophecy, well attested in prophetic Scripture already, compresses the Rapture and Return phases of Christ’s Second Coming into a single prophecy without reference to the Rapture and Return having separate fulfillments years apart.


The compression of the two events into a single prophecy makes them appear to be a single event. The Old Testament prophets saw the “coming of Christ” to be a single event because the predictions of Christ’s coming in a manger and coming as a King were compressed “double-reference” prophecies.


The Second Coming prophecy of Matthew 24 fits the same mold, a Rapture and a Return appearing as one prophecy while separated in actual fulfillment.

 

EXAMPLE #1

➤“...events that are widely separated as to the time of their fulfillment may be treated within one prophecy. This is particularly true in the prophecies concerning Christ, where events of the first and second advents are spoken of together as though taking place at the same time."                                                                                     Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.62.

EXAMPLE: Isaiah 9:6—For a child will be born to us [Christ’s first coming (past)] ...And the government will rest on His shoulders [Christ’s second coming (future)].

 

EXAMPLE #2

➤The same prophecies frequently have a double meaning, and refer to different events, the one near, the other remote...The prophets thus having several events in view, their expressions may be partly applicable to one, and partly to another, and it is not always easy to make the transitions.

Thomas Hartwell Horne, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures I, p.390, quoted in Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.46-47.

EXAMPLE: Mat. 24—Coming when you do not think He will [Rapture (future-first phase)] ...Coming “after the Tribulation” [Return, (future-2nd phase)].

➤Because of [Double Reference prophecy] the prophets did not clearly perceive these two phases of Christ’s second coming [the Rapture and the Return]. [double reference] prophecies are given for two audiences separated in time. Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation Of Prophecy, p.95, 178.

 

Jesus prophesied that His Second Coming would occur in 2 Parts.
The 1st Part would occur in an unknown "day or hour", and would be an any-moment, any-time (imminent) event. This is the Rapture of Church-age believers before the Tribulation.

The 2nd Part would also occur in an unknown "day or hour," but not until after the Tribulation. This is Christ's Return to the earth, and is not an imminent event today, or during the Tribulation. But immediately after the Tribulation His Return will become an any day, any hour event.

 The picture below shows this 2-phase Coming of Christ. Both Church-age and Tribulation believers are commanded to "Watch" (Mark 13:37) and be ready at all times for Jesus' Coming-- first watch and be ready for Christ's coming at the Rapture. Then, for those left behind to enter the Tribulation and who subsequently become believers, "Watch" for the Return.
THE APOSTLES' QUESTION: And as He was sitting 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, Matthew 24:3

JESUS' ANSWER, PART 1-- "But of that day and hour no one knows...  for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Matthew 24:36, 44 (Primary reference to the Rapture, secondary, more narrow reference to the Return)

JESUS' ANSWER, PART 2-- "Immediately after the tribulation of those days ... they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29-30 (Direct reference to the Return, with a narrow application of uncertainty as to the specific "day or hour." Like an approaching storm cloud (Tribulation events), with the knowledge that rain is due at any moment, one still cannot predict the exact time the rain will fall out of the cloud (Christ's Return).

3. “WATCH”—A COMMAND TO “ALL”

Jesus’ command to “watch” for His Second Coming was given to “all” (Mark 13:37). The “all” referred to the eleven disciples-apostles in his immediate presence when the command was given, but also to ALL people in ALL places ALL the way through the age to that generation which would actually see His second coming. Since Jesus’ second coming occurs in two parts—Rapture/Return— then those who are expected to “watch” includes people awaiting both events.

➤(Mark 13:34-37) Since Mark wrote to the Gentiles, the admonition to “watch” is applicable “unto all,” throughout this present age.

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, p.1072, note Mark 13:34-37.

➤The content of [Mat. 24:31-46] is so rich that it is often used to illustrate eternal principles…[and] teaches the need to watchfulness—no one knows when the Son of Man will come (Mat. 24:43-44).

S. Maxwell Coder, The Final Chapter, p.76.

➤...the appeals to “watch” and “be ready” for the sudden coming of Christ are applicable to believers today (Mat. 24:42, 44, 46; 25:13).

Jim Combs, The Olivet Discourse, in The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, p.1039

Therefore, the Matthew 24 “watch-any day” passages, while not a full revelation of the Rapture, have application to both the Rapture and the Return. Allusion to the Rapture, as in John 14, is also in Matthew 24.

AN IMPORTANT RELATED QUESTION 6

But how can Tribulation believers (people saved AFTER the Rapture, but BEFORE the Return) “watch” expectantly for an “any day” Return, IF Jesus’ Return is datable? Because His Return will occur exactly 1260 days from the event known as the Abomination of Desolation (Dan. 12:7; Rev. 12:6, the 2nd half of the 7-year Tribulation), Tribulation believers will be able to calculate the exact day of Christ’s Return to the earth—won’t they? If so, then the Matthew 24:36-25:13 “day and hour” passage actually applies only to the Rapture, and has no reference to the Return. But is the Return datable?

 

Some say Christ’s return is DATABLE

➤Once the tribulation starts, then it will be possible to know the time of Christ’s [Return]. Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, p.40.

➤...from the Prophet Daniel, whom Jesus specifically named, [tribulation believers] would know that it will be exactly 1260 days from the Abomination of Desolation until the [Return] ...which will someday be a datable event. It will occur exactly seven years after the signing of the seven-year covenant and 31/2 years (42 months or 1260 days) after the Abomination of Desolation.  

Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps Of The Messiah, p.647, 649.

➤...we can know the date of the [Return], once the Tribulation begins. That’s because the Lord will return 2,250 days after the start of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:3, 13:5)... [Matthew 24:36] had to be a reference to the Rapture since the date of the [Return] can be calculated, once the Tribulation begins. David Reagan, God’s Plan For The Ages, p.239, 242.

 

Others say Christ’s return is UNDATABLE

➤[Mat. 24:36-51 gives] exhortations to watchfulness because of the uncertainty of the time [of Christ’s Return].   Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.281-82; 393.


➤[Mat. 24:36] While the [Rapture] is the next major event on the prophetic calendar, it is undated, as is the [Return] of Christ (Mat. 24:36).

Ed Hindson, The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.99.

➤...since no one knows the precise day or hour of Christ’s [Return] with His angels in judgement (Mat. 24:36), ...Christ will come so suddenly that ...the unsaved will be caught totally unprepared to escape the judgment at that coming.   Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come!, p.179.

IS CHRIST’S RETURN DATABLE?...More Below...

 

WHY NO ONE WILL KNOW THE DAY/HOUR OF THE RETURN

1. The statement "of that day and hour no one knows" is a too powerful in its importance to try and find exceptions when no exceptions are given. Date-setters have been busy for 2000 years. Will believers join this trend during the Tribulation? 7

2.
The corollary caution "what I say to you I say to all, watch!" allows no exceptions in its audience, having universal application to all generations and eras, including people of the Tribulation period leading to Christ's Return. (Mark 13:32, 37

3.
The strong "any-day" imminency of Mat. 24:36-25-13, having clear reference to the imminent nature of the Rapture, also must apply in some respect to the Return. This is because of the clear contextual connection of the "Son of Man coming" statements of 24:37, 39, 42, 44, with the "Son of Man coming" Return-statement of 24:29-30, the primary focus of the passage. Furthermore, terms such as "1260 days" and "1290 days", used in the same subject context, permit an unknown "day and hour" time factor of 30 days (Rev. 12:6; Dan. 12:11). Another "datable-unknown" is that Christ's Return seems to come "immediately AFTER" a Tribulation that has therefore been "cut short" sometime BEFORE the Return (Mat. 24:22, 29).

4.
Some would say that the "I am coming as a thief" (1 Thes.5:4; Rev. 16:15) aspect of the "watch-any day" warnings would, during the Tribulation, apply only to unbelievers since believers will be able to calculate the "day and hour" of the Return to be exactly 1260 days from the Abomination of Desolation ((Dan. 12:7; Rev. 12:6). But the universal nature of #2 above is applicable to "ALL" alike--believers and unbelievers.

5.
The certainty of the 1260-day length of the Great Tribulation is not in question. But the ability to use the 1260 days as a basis to calculate the exact "day and hour" of Christ's Return cannot be assumed. Even the Angel who announced to Daniel the 1260 day ("time, times and half-a-time", Dan. 12:7) length of the Great Tribulation does not know the "day and hour" of Christ's Return ("not even the angels of heaven", Mat. 24:36).

6.
The ability of Tribulation believers to calculate the "day and hour" of the Return to be exactly 1260 days from the Abomination of Desolation assumes that the exact starting date (the Abomination) will be known. But that is not at all certain. The Abomination committed by the Antichrist will be patterned after the Abomination committed by the antichrist-prototype, Antiochus Epiphanes; even that date is at variance with scholars. 8 That Abomination included a series of events. Likewise, the Antichrist Abomination will also include a series of events. Taking into account the additional information of 2 Thes. 2:4 and Rev. 13:11-18, we see a series of time-consuming activities surrounding the Antichrist’s Abomination, such as,


These are Abomination-events which could occur--not necessarily in the exact order shown--over an extended time period of days, weeks, or even months. (The same holds for the Covenant signing that inaugurates the final 7 years leading to Christ’s Return, Dan. 9:27; it is undatable for the same reasons. 9

Only God knows the Abomination's precise starting date. That is why only God will know "the day and hour" of Christ's Return. Believers will know, from both the fulfillment of signs and the 1260 day calculation, a "ball-park" time "that He is near, even at the door" (Mat. 24:33) But still, even then, only God will know the exact “day and hour" of Christ's Return. (Mat. 24:36, 42, 44)


Therefore, the Matthew 24 "day and hour" passages, having a direct application to the Rapture, also have a more narrow application to the Return. The Return, then, is undatable.

 

RAPTURE BY GRACE— NOT BY WORKS

To what period and people does Luke 21:34-36 apply? It’s Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse (Mat. 24), but is it about the Rapture?


"Be on guard, that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day come on you suddenly like a trap; for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)

1) This passage states its own time frame in the words “that day” and “all these things.” This last phrase refers to “the things which are coming upon the world” (v. 26), which is the Great Tribulation. “That day” would include the very next verse which climaxes the Great Tribulation— “ the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Thus Luke 21:34-36 is not a Rapture passage. It is a Tribulation-Return passage. Tribulation-believers are enjoined to stay spiritually alert during those terrible days—to “endure,” so as to be physically “saved” (Mat. 24:13, 22) and, as Tribulation survivors, stand before Christ as “sheep” (Mat. 25:31-40) ready to enter the Millennium. This part of the Olivet ‘double-reference’ prophecy applies only to the Tribulation & Return.


2) Also, there is the “works” nature of Luke 21:34-36. Notice the directive to pray & keep alert & resist life’s worries so that one might achieve through strength or earn by effort a reward. But the Rapture is not a reward. The Rapture is an aspect of Salvation. Like Salvation, the Rapture is received—not achieved. When a person believes in Christ as their Savior, they receive by Grace the Free Gift of Salvation. Salvation includes the Free Gift of the Rapture if they are alive when Christ Comes, or the Free Gift of the Resurrection if they die before Christ Comes. Great Bible scholars agree...

●All aspects of our salvation are because of the grace of God. The translation [Rapture] and resurrection of believers is the future part of our salvation, and we receive that aspect of our salvation by God’s grace and power and not by our good works.

Paul Benware, Understanding End Times Prophecy, p.209.

●The Rapture is a part of our salvation, and salvation is always a matter of grace and not of merit or works...an absolute gift. William Pettingill, 1001 Bible Questions Answered, p.268.

●According to 1 Thessalonians 4:16 the only condition for being part of the Rapture is that a person be “in Christ” ... all you have to do is trust Christ. There is no other requirement.

Mark Hitchcock, The End, p.141.

●Nor could the Lord say to any believer, however unspiritual, “I know you not.” (Mat. 25:12)

C. I. Scofield, The First Scofield Study Bible, p.s1035, note Mat. 25:12.

 

Praise God for His Amazing Grace!

FOOTNOTES to above article:

1.RAPTURE IS NOT IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE

"Consistency of interpretation would seem to eliminate any application of this portion of Scripture [Olivet Discourse] to the church or the church age, inasmuch as the Lord is dealing with the prophetic program for Israel."

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.278.

 

"Because of its Jewishness, neither the church nor the rapture are in view in Matthew 24."

Stanley Toussaint, Are the Church and the Rapture in Matthew 24, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.136.

 

"It is doubtful whether there is any specific reference at all to the Rapture or translation in the entire context of Matthew 24-25."

John Walvoord, The Rapture Question, p.101.

 

"The doctrine of the Rapture is not unfolded at all in the Synoptic Gospels—that is, Matthew, Mark and Luke…"

William Pettingill & R.A. Torrey, 1001 Bible Questions Answered, p.273.

 

"Indeed, the rapture of believers (1 Thes.4:13-18), it would seem, is not discussed in Mat. 21, 25."

W. A. Criswell, The Believer’s Study Bible, p.1381, note, Mat. 24:39-42.

2. RAPTURE IS IN THE OLIVET DISCOURSE

"...Mathew 24:36 begins with the word “But”...He is now introducing a new subject, and that is the Rapture."

Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps Of The Messiah, p.649.

 

"Our Lord told His disciples of the possibility of believers escaping the tribulation in Luke 21:36."

Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, p.112.

 

"[Mat. 24:35-36] warn against attempts to set an exact date for Christ’s return at the end of the Church age…(Here the rapture is in view." p.217)

Ed Hindson and James Borland, The Gospel Of Matthew, The King Is Coming, p.216-217.

 

"Verses 35-38, by implication, warn against attempts to set an exact date for the Rapture".

The Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, p.1039, note, Mat. 24:35-38.

 

"Much of the rest of the Olivet Discourse 24:36-25:13] is an urgent exhortation always to be ready and watching…[which] would be contradictory if we first had to watch for the signs of His coming. The initial phase of His coming, therefore, is always imminent...the sudden rapture of believers is the theme of [verse 40-41]."

Henry Morris, The New Defenders Study Bible, p.1442, note Mat. 24:36.

3. References selected from Bible Prophecy As Written library.

4. ONE SECOND COMING—TWO PHASES (referred to below as “Rapture”, in the air, and “Return”, to the earth)

"Christ’s second coming is one event that occurs in two parts—Christ coming...to rapture the church and Christ coming to earth…"

Tim LaHaye & Richard Mayhue, Rapture, in The Popular Encyclopedia Of Bible Prophecy, Tim LaHaye & Ed Hinson, ed., p.315, 351.

 

[Chapter Title] “Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming”

Ed Hindson, The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.95.

 

"A significant contrast exists in the Bible. It teaches an imminent return of Christ, but it also teaches a return of Christ that is not imminent—a return that cannot take place until after the “great tribulation” (Mat. 24:21, 29-30). This contrast prompts the conclusion that the Bible teaches two future comings of Christ—the imminent [Rapture] and the non-imminent [Return]…"

Renald Showers, The Imminent Coming Of Christ, in the Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible, p.1072.

 

"Scripture suggests that the Second Coming occurs in two stages—first the Rapture...and second, His return to earth…"

Mark Hitchcock, The End, p.152.

5. THE LAW OF DOUBLE REFERENCE

Few laws are more important to observe in the interpretation of prophetic Scriptures than the law of double reference. Two events, widely separated as to the time of their fulfillment, may be brought together into the scope of one prophecy. [Quoting Thomas Hartwell Horne, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures I, p.390, Pentecost continues] The same prophecies frequently have a double meaning, and refer to different events, the one near, the other remote...The prophets thus having several events in view, their expressions may be partly applicable to one, and partly to another, and it is not always easy to make the transitions.

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.46-47.

 

"Events which bear some relationship to one another and are parts of one program...so there is a double reference, may be brought together into one prophecy even though separated widely in fulfillment. Feinberg states: ...Certain events of the future are seen grouped together in one circumscribed area of vision, although they are really at different distances. (Charles Feinberg, Premillennialism or Amillennialism, p.37.) ...events that are widely separated as to the time of their fulfillment may be treated within one prophecy. This is particularly true in the prophecies concerning Christ, where events of the first and second advents are spoken of together as though taking place at the same time….there may be a near view and a far view."

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.62-63.

 

"Because of [Double Reference prophecy] the prophets did not clearly perceive these two phases of Christ’s second coming [the Rapture and the Return]. Description of double reference—...prophecies are given for two audiences separated in time."

Paul Lee Tan, The Interpretation Of Prophecy, p.95, 178.

 

"In the interpretation of prophecy...Certain events of the future...although they are really at different [times]...are grouped together [in a single prophecy] seemingly almost indiscriminately."

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, quoting Charles Feinberg) p.62.

6.  Is Christ's Second Coming to the Earth an event which can be DATED by Tribulation Believers based on the 1260 day time period for the Great Tribulation as revealed in Daniel and Revelation?

Yes, Christ's Return is DATABLE

"Once the tribulation starts, then it will be possible to know the time of Christ’s coming."

Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, Prophecy Watch, p.40.

 

"...from the Prophet Daniel, whom Jesus specifically named, [tribulation believers] would know that it will be exactly 1260 days from the Abomination of Desolation until the Second Coming...which will someday be a datable event. It will occur exactly seven years after the signing of the seven-year covenant and 31/2 years (42 months or 1260 days) after the Abomination of Desolation."

Arnold Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps Of The Messiah, p.647, 649.

 

"...we can know the date of the Second Coming, once the Tribulation begins. That’s because the Lord will return 2,250 days after the start of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:3, 13:5)... [Matthew 24:36] had to be a reference to the Rapture since the date of the Second Coming can be calculated, once the Tribulation begins."

David Reagan, God’s Plan For The Ages, p.239, 242.

No, Christ's Return is UNDATABLE

"[Mat. 24:36-51 gives] exhortations to watchfulness because of the uncertainty of the time [of Christ’s coming to the earth]."

Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p.281-82; 393.

 

"[Mat. 24:36] While the rapture is the next major event on the prophetic calendar, it is undated, as is the glorious appearing of Christ (Mat. 24:36)."

Ed Hindson, The Rapture and the Return: Two Aspects of Christ’s Coming, in The Return, Thomas Ice & Timothy Demy, p.99.

 

"...since no one knows the precise day or hour of Christ’s coming with His angels in judgement (Mat. 24:36), ...Christ will come so suddenly that ...the unsaved will be caught totally unprepared to escape the judgment at that coming."

Renald Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come!, p.179.

7. Thomas Ice gives the following list of activities associated with the Antichrist's Abomination of Desolation in the End Time Temple.

Based on these passages [those listed below], the abomination of desolation included the following elements:

1. It occurs in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:31; 2 Thes. 2:4).

2. It involves a person setting up a statue in place of the regular sacrifice in the holy of holies (Dan. 11:31; 12:11; Rev. 13:14-15).

3. This results in the cessation of the regular sacrifice (Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11).

4. There will be a time of about 3 1/2 years between this event and another event and the end of the time period (Dan. 9:27; 12:11).

5. It involves an individual setting up a statue or image of himself so that he may be worshiped in place of God (Dan. 11:31; 2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-1).

6. The image is made to come to life (Rev. 13:14).

7. A worship system of this false god is thus inaugurated (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15).

8. At the end of this time period the individual who commits the act will himself be cut off (Dan. 9:27).

Thomas Ice, The Olivet Discourse, in The End Times Controversy, Tim LaHaye & Thomas Ice, eds., p.178-79.

(Renald Showers lists 7 events associated with the Greek-Syrian Antiochus, the foremost foreshadow of the Antichrist in Scripture, and who set the pattern for our understanding of the Abomination of desolation. Showers, The Most High God, p.160.)

8. The date for Antiochus's Abomination of Desolation generally sway between 167-168 BC. That is a year difference, but others are not so sure. Renald Showers, in his book on Daniel entitled The Most High God, has the event occurring from anywhere between 171-165 BC (p. 134).

9. Will the 7 year-Tribulation begin with the announcement of "agreement" to the Covenant between the Antichrist and the Jews? Or will it start when the Antichrist officiates it, or will it be the Jewish Parliament confirmation, or perhaps it will await a joint announcement? Will it become official at a signing ceremony? Or will it have to await separate signings, etc., etc.