For as a SNARE shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.” – Jesus, Luke 21:35.
A great many of you will agree that the bodily return of Jesus Christ to earth is now very close at hand. While those of you who do not look for the Lord’s return in the near future, or perhaps not even at all, I charge you in the all beautiful name of Jesus Christ whom you serve, that you give serious consideration to the thoughts here set before you.
To illustrate: I have heard the vapid argument that since Christ said He would ever be with us — even unto the end of the world (Matt. 28:20), manifestly it would be impossible for Him to “return.” But glance at His other glorious promises such as found in Matthew 24:27-31, Mark 8:38 and others, as well as the unequivocal evidence given by His two messengers according to Acts 1:10, 11. You will understand that His promise of ever remaining with us referred to the presence of His Holy Spirit, which He promised to send back after His return to the Father (Jh. 15:26).
The greatest of deluding arguments about His return, is the contortion of His statement, “but of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36).
Look at that first word ‘but.’ What is it? It is a conjunction, binding that statement to the one just previously made. What was that? “Heaven and earth shall pass away”
The words of our Lord were clear. He was talking about that dimly distant future day when our heaven and earth shall pass away: of which day He said, that no person knew the time, not even the angels of heaven, but His Father only. It is not reasonable to postulate that on the Lord’s return, both heaven and earth shall pass away! IF such a puerile concept were to be implemented by our returning King, then to what would He be coming? Whenever the two “pass away,” none can be left on earth. Were we to apply the full radical meaning to “pass away,” then but a void would remain. Reminded am I of Paul’s saying that after he became a man he commenced to think as a man. Should not mature Christians do similarly?
Paul is emphatic that since we are the children of the ‘day,’ we are not to be overtaken by the Lord’s return as “a thief” in the night (1 Thess. 5:4). Nevertheless, there are many passages which do indicate uncertainty as to that ‘day and hour,’ yet we should not go to the unjustified extreme of ‘interpreting’ that to mean that we cannot approximate the time very closely. There are two words in the Greek which have been rendered ‘know.’ One means to be ‘aware of,’ but without detailed and absolute knowledge. The second one is that of absolute and positive knowledge, which is the one used in Scripture to indicate the uncertainty with reference to “the day and hour” of our Lord’s return to earth. Did He not excoriate the scribes and Pharisees of His day for “not discerning the signs of the times”? Let us strive to deserve better….
Now swiftly I shall set before you the proof that our Lord’s return is immediately at hand: yet I cannot say that I “know” (with absolute and positive knowledge). It is but the human mind dealing with the Infinite: wherefore, unless the conceit be too great, we will recognize the possibility of error. Unless the Lord Himself was to appear and speak to a person, stating clearly the year, month, the day and hour that He would return, we are not justified to use the word “know.” But when we have sufficiently studied His word, and weighed the massive evidence which concurs that “these are the days,” then we can certainly say that we know (are aware) that the time “is now.” In fact, we can be far more specific by narrowing down the ‘now’ to the limited era of an odd few years; in fact, the year and day might even be pinpointed!
God spoke of these days through His mouthpiece in Isaiah 11:11: “the Lord will reach out his hand a second time to reclaim the remnant that is left of his people….“
You and I have seen that fulfilled by their return to Palestine. With this in mind, we turn to Matthew 24:32-34 where we see the Lord promised (His word is faithful) that our generation which has witnessed this marvel, shall not pass away until all the things He was discussing should come to pass. That included His bodily return to earth.
I forecast the day that Israel declared nationhood (May 14, 1948) about 6 months in advance, published in a magazine article at that time. Not only an approximate forecast, but precision to the day. Since I have made many of such forecasts, founded in Bible prophecies (which statement I can prove beyond dispute), I do not think it conceit to say that my understanding of prophecy and of the days in which we live, might well be given serious thought….
Tishri is the seventh month of the sacred calendar, which God ordained. On the 15th of that month is the most holy festival of Tabernacles. He named it thus because thousands of years ago, He predetermined that on that day He would commence to ‘tabernacle’ with men – not as a man as in the days of our Lord Jesus, but as very God returned to man.
Turning to the 14th chapter of Zechariah we find that it deals with the Lord’s return to earth, and with conditions then obtaining and those to come. Verse 7 speaks of that last dark day saying, “at evening time, it shall be light.”
That light is the shining glory of His person as He returns to earth. Because it will approximate the time of sunset, we know that it will not be the 15th at Tishri, but rather sunset on the 14th which opens the festival of Tabernacles.
During the last two decades I have published at least a hundred and more prophetic equations, all concurring that in these very years our Christian era shall terminate in a crescendo of nuclear explosions which the Lord in person will bring to an end at the moment of His bodily return to the Mount of Olives lest “no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matt. 24:22). Many of the prophetic equations I have revealed cannot pinpoint the day, and some not even the year, because they are founded in remote events of history, the times of which may remain in dispute.
But that you may better see the reason for several years being indicated rather than one particular year, I wish to point out that the Lord’s “return” will take place in three stages covering a period of 31 years. Because most of our Christian churches have never understood this mystery planned by God, much confusion and dispute has arisen. When once we understand His three-fold return and the detailed events to take place at each stage, then the mooted Scriptures become clear and all knit to form a harmonious whole.
To begin with, the Lord shall pull His master stratagem to bring His church unto its knees. This He will accomplish by that act which He likened unto “a thief in the night” and “the house broken through” (Lk. 12:39) to “take away His jewels” (Mat. 3:17). These will he the 144,000 which our Lord calls out of this world “being a firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:4). Are not “firstfruits” plucked ahead of time from the ripening fruit?
God uses no wrong words, neither false symbols. These 144,000 are usually claimed to be Jews by many teachers, but that is in error. In so much as our Lord prayed – “as in heaven so on earth,” He declared that one would balance the other. Therefore, are there 144,000 scheduled to be taken out of Christendom, while a similar number of the returned Jews shall be earmarked to constitute the elect conclave to oversee and direct (according to the orders from the great King) the earthly and embryonic new Jerusalem (which will be the seat of Christ’s government during the forthcoming millennial and kingdom eras).
The same heavenly “firstfruits” were again symbolized for us by the five prudent virgins who had oil in their lamps, as well as by Martha the elder sister who first went to meet the returning Lord ‘outside the city’ (Jn. 11:20, 29-30). Also, in the Old Testament they were beautifully depicted in Psalm 45 verse 13, and the first part of 14 by the “king’s daughter.”
So soon as the “firstfruits” are plucked – vanishing into thin air – then will the remaining lukewarm Church of Jesus Christ realize that they have been weighed and found wanting. They will then know that, at the best, they had been but “foolish virgins.” As a consequence thereof, panic shall grip them, their repentance and remorse shall be overwhelming. It is this strategy which our Lord has planned to bring His complacent Church to its knees, and to get her into that spirit of ”all out for Christ” or bust!
THE THREE STAGES OF THE LORD’ S RETURN
THE FIRST STAGE
As already elucidated, the first stage of our Lord’s return is to the earth’s upper atmosphere from where He calls unto Himself the firstfruits.
THE SECOND STAGE
Three and a half years later (Rev. 12:6-14) He descends into the earth’s atmosphere above Jerusalem (1 Thess. 4:16-17) when the ‘last trump’ shall sound, calling unto Himself that vast, innumerable company which have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:9). As you will have gathered, they are the “five foolish virgins” whom God has also symbolized by the younger sorrowing sister, Mary, who “sat still in the house” (Jn. 11:20). In Psalm 45:14 they are shown by:
“…the virgins her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee”
– and elsewhere in Scripture referred to as ‘concubines.’ Thus is completed the second stage of His “presence” as in His “return” He draws ever nearer to our earth.
THE THIRD STAGE
The third stage follows two weeks later when with His Bride, and that vast innumerable company, He descends to earth…
“…in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (KJV) 2 Thessalonians 1:8
When His feet touch down on Olivet (Zech. 14:4), the worldwide cataclysm which results, brings an abrupt and complete stop to Armageddon. When His world-house has thus been washed clean, and the remnant of His chosen people purged (Joel 3:21), He arrives.
These three stages of His return are symbolized in reverse through the vision of Ezekiel. The firstfruits who have been baptized in the fire of His Spirit, and live according to the pleasure of His will, are symbolized for us in Exodus 40:34, Isaiah 6:1, and Ezekiel 8:4 and 10:3. As Ezekiel saw the Lord’s glory depart by stages, so does He similarly return; the second stage being described in Ezekiel 10:4. The third stage is shown us in Ezekiel 10:18 and 11:22 and its completion is verse 24.
As we study the account Joshua left us, we see that Israel crossed Jordan, entering the land promised unto their fathers on the tenth day of the first month. Except for their priest and Caleb, most of them had been born in the wilderness (outside of a percentage of those who were children when their fathers left Egypt).
That wilderness symbolizes this world under the Christian dispensation: we are those ‘children born by the wayside.’ Joshua portrayed Jesus (or the Holy Spirit working for Jesus); in fact, their names were identical. The water-brimmed Jordan symbolizes death, but Joshua took the them across on dry ground. All of which was but ‘a shadow of better things to come’! Those of us whom the Lord finds with oil in our lamps, watching and praying, shall be taken out – not tasting of death; then shall we flow into the land promised unto our Christian fathers.
When? There is only one day in whatever the year, and that will be the tenth of Nisan, 4 days before the Passover. They must be with the Lord long enough to be shorn clean from all earthly stains on the day of Passover, far up in the heavenlies (Josh. 5:9).
You must clearly understand the three-fold stages of His return (as herein explained), in order that when the day of great spiritual panic intrudes – or, even before – that you, should you find yourself yet on earth, may know precisely what to do. For more than five days following the rapture, the heavens above shall be spiritually black, while on earth mounting and maddening panic – not only among remaining Christians except for those who understand, but through out all the land.
On the sixth day following the rapture (Nisan 16), our Lord will send back to earth the 144,000 to warn and instruct the remaining household, even as our Lord in the days of His flesh sent Martha back to tell Mary that He was calling her (Jn. 11:28). Then Mary swiftly arose and went to meet the Lord outside the city in the same place where Martha had met Him. The remaining church must then seek “oil for the lamps” with all the spirit they possess. Demon hordes will be cascaded to earth to obsess the unregenerate, and churn them into foaming frenzy. But Church doors must be thrown wide open for unceasing prayer, night and day.
From Nisan the 16th, seven full weeks of relentless prayer must ascend to God: then shall the answer come. On the fiftieth day shall the second Pentecost come to earth on a worldwide scale, and light upon all who are “in the upper room.” Once more shall cloven tongues of fire appear. Once more shall we see the very power of God on earth as was manifested by our Lord of old, even to the extent of doing greater and mightier and more wonderful works than He did (Jn. 14:12). What glorious days await the sons and daughters of Jesus Christ!
Yet, on the other hand, the greatest terror and bloodcurdling horrors shall fill our land. Forget not that the Lord permitted a legion of devils to enter the herd of swine: the swine were crazed, and stampeded to their own destruction. We are told there were “about 2000” which prophesied of that many years until that ‘shadow prophecy’ was to fulfill (in accordance with what I have just stated). That is why you have no time to lose: you must be fully instructed and prepared for the days which lie ahead. Even though our Lord might still “postpone,” remember – OUR TIME IS SHORT!
By Mikkel Dahl
Further regarding the three stage return of Jesus – TO His saints, FOR His saints, and WITH His saints. Read Leland Earls AWESOME BOOKLET, The Three Comings of Jesus here.