In His Olivet Discourse, Jesus described in great detail the SIGNS of being in the end-times, in answer to the questions of His disciples (Matthew 24:4, Mark 13:4). His answer gives the general signs of being in the end-times, especially the Sign of the Fig-Tree (Matthew 24:32-35, Mark 13:28-31, Luke 21:29-33). In the teaching of Jesus (as well as in the Old-Testament) the Fig-Tree was used to represent the nation of
Then having told us how we might know that we are in the general time of the end, Jesus went on to say that God was restricting knowledge concerning the specific (exact) time of the Rapture:
Mark 13:32: "But of that day and that hour KNOWS NO man - no, not the angels who are in Heaven, neither the Son, but only the Father."
Matthew 24:36: "But of that day and hour NO one KNOWS, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only."
Notice that God in His Sovereignty has set a time and in His Omniscience He knows the time, however for good reasons He has put a SEAL on this knowledge. So secret was this information that at the time Jesus made this statement, even He did not know! However, He certainly knows now! Jesus was and is fully God, but when He became a man, in order to identify with us, He freely laid aside His Divine Powers (Glory), including His Omniscience, so that He could live and operate as a man dependant on God. So, He was not 'all-knowing' at that point, as this statement proves. Now He could have claimed His Divine Powers at any time, but that would have nullified His mission to save us. In His resurrection His humanity was exalted and glorified and He was clothed again with His Divine Glory, including Omniscience, so He obviously knows the day and hour now. It is impossible to imagine that in the total intimacy between the Father and Son, that He would now hide this information from the Son (especially as He would have no reason to do so). This is all clearly explained in Philippians 2:5-11 and John 17:5.
Why did the Father withhold this information from His Son, while He was on earth? Jesus was in the process of making a genuine offer of the Messianic Kingdom to that generation of
Although, Jesus certainly knows, this knowledge was not given to us in later Scriptures, in agreement with what Jesus said next.
Mark 13:33: "Take heed, watch and pray; for you do NOT KNOW when the (exact) time is."
Matthew 24:42-44: "Watch therefore, for you do NOT KNOW what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the Thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
These are statements of the Doctrine of IMMINENCY, which says that His Coming in the Rapture is Imminent, that is, it could be AT ANY TIME, without warning, so that we must always stay ready. Now from God's viewpoint, the time is already set, but from man's viewpoint it could be at any time, because of our lack of knowledge. Therefore Imminence is essentially about the limitation (Seal) that God has put on our KNOWLEDGE of the timing of the Rapture. It does not apply directly to the 2nd Coming, for those in the Tribulation will be able to know the day of the Lord's Return. Imminence states that God has sealed the knowledge of the End-Times in the Church-Age, in such a way that each generation believed that the Rapture could happen in their lifetime. That is why Paul spoke as if he expected to be alive for the Rapture (1Thessalonians 4:15, 1Corinthians 15:51). He did not KNOW, but in obedience to Imminence, he lived in the expectancy that Jesus could come at any time. God's purpose in this was to keep us on our toes and busy about the Lord's work. Knowing human nature, God knew that if He told us plainly that date of His Return, many of us would be slack until just beforehand, and then try to get our act together. But if He could come and inspect us at any time, then we will have to stay alert, ready and occupied for Him at all times!
Daniel 12:4: "But you, Daniel, SHUT UP the (prophetic) words, and SEAL the (prophetic) book UNTIL the Time of the End; (when) many (students of the Word) shall run to and fro (in the prophetic scriptures), and (prophetic) knowledge shall increase."
Daniel 12:9: "And he said, "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and SEALED UNTIL the Time of the End."
Daniel 8:26: "Therefore SEAL up the Vision, for it refers to many days in the future."
The Scriptures to which Daniel is referring are prophetic Scriptures giving the timing of end-time events. The idea is that they will only be fully understood by the End-Time Generation. They are only SEALED for a time, UNTIL the Time of the End, when they will be UNSEALED. This indicates that Imminence allows for an increasing unsealing of the understanding of the prophetic times and seasons as the Church-Age draws to an end, so that we should be getting a clearer understanding of the Soon Return of Jesus.
It is my belief that this End-Time Unsealing of Prophetic Truth includes the area of Bible Chronology. On the basis of this, we should be gaining better discernment about the timing of the Return of Christ. Using Creation Week as the Blueprint for history along with the typological key: "One Day with the Lord is as a 1000 years (with man)", as many Rabbis and Early Church Leaders did, along with the Apostles Peter (in 2Peter 3:8) and John (Revelation 20:1-7), we can make a prediction about the possible time of the end which agrees with the signs of the times. The first 4 Days (4000 years) from Adam to Christ ends with the Cross in AD 33 (Exodus 12:3,6; John 1:29, 1Corinthians 5:7, 1Peter 1:18-20). The next 2 Days (2000 years) start with the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ in AD 33 and end with the glorious 2nd Coming of Christ (Hosea 5:14-6:3). Then He reigns for one Day (1000 years), the Millennial Day of the Lord, the 7th Sabbath Day of Rest for the earth (Revelation 20:1-7). This indicates the 2nd Coming in 2033, and the Rapture 7 years before in 2026. This fits perfectly with the pattern (typology) of scripture, as well as the pace of end-time events. Moreover, consideration of the fulfilment of the Feasts leads me to the Second Coming being at Tabernacles.
However, it must be pointed out that this 'prediction' does not contradict Imminence, since it is a matter of spiritual discernment from the Types and Shadows of Scripture, rather than a dogmatic statement. We CANNOT KNOW the exact time of the Rapture, because there is NO PLAIN STATEMENT of Scripture that tells us when it will be. We must depend instead on inference from the patterns and symbolism of Scripture. Therefore we must maintain a humility in this area that we could be wrong. However God may have hidden (sealed) it in the Types and Shadows, and therefore it may be discernable, especially by those living in the end-times. (To preserve Imminence, God even 'hid' the general Sign of Israel's Rebirth within the symbolic language of the Fig-Tree, so that although its meaning can be discerned, it is not a plain statement).