As a result of my studies I do not believe Jesus will return to earth in
this century or the next.
This event commonly known as the Second Coming will not occur in my view for
several centuries. If I had said this 1800 years ago many perhaps would have
felt like you maybe are right now? ''Surely not. You can't be right, etc...''?
But, looking back, it is easy to picture someone saying it back then and it
being ok. I am however, saying it now, because there are many things which can
be seen in the Bible as needing to be fulfilled first. I believe the situation
is as true now as it was 1800 years ago!
Well, not quite, because 50 years ago saw the nation of Israel being
established again. And this has not been since A.D. 70. This was therefore, a
significant step fulfilling prophecy prior to the Second Advent. In the last
century men like S. P. Tregelles and Brian Newton taught Bible prophecy and they
recognised the need for Israel to be a nation again out of the dispersed Jews
worldwide before the Lord's return. But, there is much more written about that
needs to occur before Jesus comes back.Now this has occurred, what else needs to
happen as shown in prophetic scripture?
THINGS NEEDING TO OCCUR
As discussed in my document
How Soon is Jesus' Return?
the rebuilding of the temple needs to occur(1). But, before
this happens the political climate needs much transforming before that could be
permitted. The building of such an edifice in Jerusalem next to or, in place of
one of Islam's most holy mosque - the Dome of the Rock - would create such an
uproar in the present climate that Israel's security conscious politicians would
never allow it. There needs to be a further time of settling down as a nation to
establish a greater 'secure' environment for that. But the time will come when
this climate will change even though it must be said that Jerusalem itself will
always remain a contentious issue in the nations(2).
What else needs to happen?
The layout of the nations out of which the Antichrist is mentioned as
arising. This is probably the biggest unfulfilled prophecy which points to
centuries as opposed to decades, but there is another which I briefly touch upon
at the end of this document.
Before it came to pass Daniel was shown that the Medes and Persians would
arise and conquer the domain of the Babylonians. After this, he was informed
that the Greeks would rule and this occurred under Alexander the Great and then,
the empire was to be split between 4 of his generals. Each of these then ruled
as separate dynasties up until the Romans conquered them and set up their own
empire. All this was revealed to Daniel ahead of time and actually occurred in
that way as recorded in history(3).
There is a progressive revelation given to Daniel of the last things to
occur out of these empires. The information given him adds to and clarifies
previous things shared with him. Looking at the Roman domination also known as
'the Roman Earth' there will arise 10 separate nations(4). Now
at its fullest extent the Roman Empire consisted of most of what is Western
Europe up to the River Danube, all of North Africa and most of the Near East
that is west of Iran. This area presently contains about 27 or more(5)
separate politically recognised nations. With the advent of the EEC and monetary
Union and the fact that a monetary system is an emblem of rule - whose
inscription is on the coin? Give to whom it is due (Matthew 22:20-21) - then,
the number will drop to about 19 and will continue to fall as agreements and
mutual economic and political arrangements develop and grow to fruition. I would
not be surprised if the final 10 will comprise of 5 in 'the west' and 5 in 'the
East' (including North African regions). This would be a possible interpretation
of the 5 toes on each foot of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Not
forgetting that there is a mixture of iron and clay making up that part of the
statue and it is only various legal accords and economic alliances which will
keep and bring together these peoples and nations(6).
The need for this to arise out of the Roman Earth puts the date out of sight
of this century and I think the next. It could be some major wars are ahead
which reshape things faster, but unions as mentioned are more likely.
THE ANTICHRIST'S NATION
If we look at the Greek Empire which was divided into 4 we are told that out
of one of these will arise the antichrist(7). Since we are
also told that out of the 10 (of the Roman Earth) also he will arise(8),
then it follows that one of the 10 'kingdoms' to come will be equivalent in size
and location to one of the 4 kingdoms which arose out of the Greek Earth. Now
these are historically the domains of Ptolemy (what is modern Egypt, parts of
Libya and Sudan as well as Israel, Lebanon and Jordan when it was not occupied
by the Seleucids), Cassander (Macedon and Greece), Lysimachus (what is most of
modern Turkey east of the Bosporus except for its far eastern parts) and finally
Seleucus (what is modern Iraq, Syria, Iran, Pakistan and parts of Eastern
Turkey). Further, we are informed that someone out of one ancient nation, the
Assyrians, will one day be destroyed on God's mountains(9).
This is spoken prophetically as part of the final judgment and is linked with
the end of the last days.
Putting these pieces together we are drawn to the conclusion that the
Seleucid empire will be the nearest equivalent size and location of the nation
out of which the Antichrist will arise. At its heart this consists presently of
Iraq and parts of Syria. At its greatest extent it also included present Israel,
Lebanon, Jordan and bits of: Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. So, out of the land
of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates and probably more out of its northern regions
(ancient Assyria) will arise the Antichrist, the Man of Lawlessness.The area of
Babylon of old where Babel and the first recorded mass rebellion occurred.
Now this region is not yet technologically advanced sufficiently to operate
a policy of buying and selling by codes placed in human parts(10).
Though this is not far off if desired in the 'west', it is further away in this
SOME HISTORY OF THIS NATION
Interestingly it is out of the Seleucid empire that came probably the best
'Type' or forerunner - a pre example - of the Antichrist. This was Antiochus IV
also known as Antiochus Epiphanes who lived about 215-164BC. In his thirst for
power he went south to attempt the conquest of Egypt (ruled by the Ptolemaic
dynasty). To do this he went through the land of Israel in the way (when the
Antichrist himself does this, the Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites - modern Jordan
now - will not be 'touched' by The Antichrist - this may therefore be a place to
escape to)(11). Antiochus did not succeed in his campaigns
against Egypt and on his return trip he removed the sacrifices and worship from
the temple in Jerusalem. The place was then left with an emblem of his own rule
and no more sacrifices occurred. 3½ years later both Antiochus died and,
the temple was cleaned and re-dedicated by Judas Maccabees(12).
This is the same time factor given for the patience and endurance of the saints
from the moment the daily sacrifice is removed by Antichrist until his own end.
A time of great Tribulation where the knowledge of this length of time will be
needed for the saints to comfort and encourage one another. This time is also
told us in the Bible in terms of 42 months and 1260 days to confirm the reality
and importance of this truth(13). Jesus said (to his
followers) to look out for the sacrifice being stopped again and the abomination
set up. Both Matthew and Mark encourage the reader to take note(14).
There is a possible understanding arising out of an examination of the
prophetic '70 weeks' mentioned in Daniel 9 which gives me reason to think that
there are several centuries before the Lord's Return. I have put these thoughts
together on a separate document entitled A Possible Understanding for
the Year of the Lord's Return.
SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO
Though I do not believe in the Lord's return for quite a while, what I am
believing for is a mighty harvest as prophesied by Smith Wigglesworth and that
in my lifetime. I quote this prophecy in
the text here.
Related topic of interest is The
Antichrist's Domain a look at other indicators to the limits of his
(1) 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4 '. . .
the man of sin . . who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God
or that is worshipped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing
himself that he is God.' written circa AD54 prior to the destruction of
the temple in AD70. No one has sat in it and declared himself as God since Paul
wrote and it needs rebuilding before someone can - note that the word Paul uses
for temple in the Greek is naos and is the most commonly used
word for the building of the temple in the LXX - the Septuagint - the
Greek version of the Old Testament - used and quoted by Jesus and the apostles;
(2) Zechariah 12:2 '. . . I will make
Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples. . .'; (3)
Daniel 2:31-44, 7:3-7, 7:17-19, 8:3 , 8:20: 'The ram
which you saw, having two horns - they are the kings of Media and
Persia', 8:21: 'And the male goat is
the kingdom of Greece. The large horn that is between its eyes
is the first king.' [Alexander the Great], 8:22 '. . .four kingdoms shall arise out of that nation, but not with its power.'
[see further in the text for details of the 4]; (4) Daniel
7:7-8, 7:19-21, 23-25, Revelation 13:1-10, 17:12; (5) more if
I count the splitting up of Yugoslavia, etc; (6) Daniel
2:40-43; (7) Daniel 8:8-9, 10 4 '. .
.four notable ones came up . . . out of one of them came a little horn . . . it
grew up to the host of heaven . . . and by him the daily sacrifices were
taken away. . .', etc; (8) Daniel 7:23-25, Revelation
13:1; (9) Isaiah 14:25 and context, also see Micah 5:5-6;
(10) Revelation 13:16-17; (11) Daniel 11:41
'these shall escape from his hand. . .';
(12) 1 Maccabees first few chapters: an apocryphal book with
valuable historical information; (13) Daniel 7:25,
9:27,12:7,11 Revelation 11:2, 3, 12:6, 14, 13:5; (14) Matthew
24:15 and Mark 13:14. Remember Antiochus Epiphanes lived before Jesus came and
the Lord therefore forewarned of the desecration of the temple which is yet to
In his 1st letter to the Thessalonians Paul taught about 'the rapture' (1
Thessalonians 4:13-18). In his 2nd letter he tells them '.
. .concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [the 2nd Coming] and our gathering together to him [the rapture
- my emphasis] . . .let no one deceive you. . .
for that Day will not come unless [i.e. not before] . . . the man of sin. . .who. . .sits as God in the temple of
God.' (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4) In other words the Rapture is not
before the antichrist and his removal of the sacrifice.