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Some people argue that it is wrong to speculate on when Christ will return. This argument is based on Mark 13:32, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 and Acts 1:7.  But such passages must be taken in conjunction with verses like Matthew 16:3 ("You can discern the face of the sky, so why can't you discern the signs of the times?"), and 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6 ("You are not in the dark, so that his coming should surprise you like a thief. You are children of the light, so seriously watch for him.")

It is true that in 30 A.D. no one knew the day nor the hour when Christ would come (nor did they need to know).  But when he finally does arrive, everyone will know (Revelation 1:7)  Obviously, as we get closer, there will be more need to know.  Christ commands us to watch for indications that his return is near, so that we won't be caught unaware. (Luke 21:28-34)

The Temple

Nothing in the Bible gives specific dates for when Christ will return, until after the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem.  From that point on, a detailed countdown is given.

The significance of the Temple is that a treaty will be made between the coming world ruler (the Antichrist) and the Jews, so that they can resume offering animal sacrifices as they did in the days of Christ.  In order for this to happen, they must rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem.  The Temple is the only proper place for Jewish sacrifices to be made.

The Revelation deals with a period of seven years immediately prior to Christ's return, and in particular, it mentions repeatedly a period of three and a half years, 42 months, or 1260 days.  The use of days, months, and years is helpful because our modern solar calendar (365 1/4 days) differs from the Bible (360 day) calendar, in which each month has 30 days.

The last seven years was first referred to in an amazing prophecy from Daniel.  God said to Daniel, "70 seven-year periods (490 years) are determined upon your people. From the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince (Christ the Lord) shall be 7 seven-year periods (49 years), and 62 seven-year periods (434 years)." (Daniel 9:24-25)

In 435 BC (447 BC using a solar calendar) Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of the Medes & Persians, commanded Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:5-9)

Fourty nine years later, the re-building was finished; and 434 years later (30 AD) Christ was crucified, as predicted!
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The prophecy goes on: "The people (Roman armies?) of the prince that shall come (the Beast?) shall destroy the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (Temple)." (Daniel 9:26)

In 70 A.D. Roman armies destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple.

Referring to the last 7-year period of the 490 years "determined upon your (Daniel's) people", the prophecy says: "He (the Beast?) shall renew the covenant with many for one 7-year period.  In the middle of the 7-year period, he shall cause the sacrifices to cease; and for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate." (Daniel 9:27 & Matthew 24:15)

This covenant appears to be an agreement between the Beast and the Jews to rebuild the Temple which was destroyed in 70 A.D.  But the Jews are no longer God's (or Daniel's) people, because they rejected God's Son.  When Christ died, God tore apart the veil of their temple. (Luke 23:45) This action on God's part marked a new era, in which people are the temples. (John 2:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:16)

Daniel 9:26-27 is written so the "prince that shall come" may either be the "prince of this world" (the Beast), or "Messiah the Prince" (the Lamb).  The people of the Beast destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.  But God's people (who accepted his Messiah) destroyed the real authority of Judaism.  When Jesus said, "It is finished," on the cross, the destruction of Jerusalem took place spiritually. (cf. Revelation 11:8)

The flood of people joining Christ's army at Pentecost (Acts 2:41) marked the birth of the church and the spiritual death of organised religion.  So at the same time that the Beast makes an agreement with organised religion to build a new Temple in Jerusalem, Christ will be making a similarly significant agreement with his people, which will result in a supernatural, worldwide, visible manifestation of the kingdom of God at last. (Romans 8:19)
However, it will still be less than the perfect organisation we will have when Christ himself returns. (Daniel 11:32-35)

When the agreement is made to rebuild the Temple, there are only 7 years left before Christ returns.  From the time the Jews resume offering animal sacrifices, there are 2,300 days until Christ returns. (Daniel 8:13) From the day the sacrifices cease, there are 1290 days left.

The Revelation dwells primarily on the last 1260 days or "The Great Tribulation". (Revelation 13:5)  During this time the kingdom of heaven (the "holy city") will be trampled down by the Beast (Revelation 11:2); two witnesses will display miraculous powers to the world (Revelation 11:3); and true Christians will survive in the "wilderness" without dependence upon the system (Revelation 12:6, 14).

A brief outline of these events appears below.
Letters in circles refer to comments next to the same letters in the text below it.
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A. Fall of America and communist control of the United Nations.
B. UN-Israeli agreement to build the Temple. (Daniel 9:27)
C. The Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem (in 220 days?).
D. Animal sacrifices resume; 2300 days left. (Daniel 8:13)
E. Peace, prosperity, and religious freedom. (Daniel 8:24-25)
F. The Beast 'resurrected' by a false prophet. (Revelation 13:3)
G. Sacrifices cease suddenly; 1290 days left. (Daniel 12:11)
H. Global computer credit system. (Revelation 13:15-18)
I. Two prophets preach to the whole world. (Revelation 11:3)
J. Christians are forced to live by faith. (Revelation 12)
K. Earth hit by meteor/satellite; a billion die. (Revelation 8:7-12)
L. Beast kills millions. (Rev. 13:17; Dan. 7:21; Matt. 24:21-22)
M. Christ returns! (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52)
N. Celebrations in heaven while God's wrath is poured out on a disobedient world.  (Revelation 19:9, Revelation 17:15-18, Revelation 18:4-24)
O. Start of Christ's 1000-year reign on earth. (Revelation 21)

What is Your Organisation?

When Jesus said "It is finished!" he signalled the end of organisational religion and the start of a spiritual organisation called the kingdom of heaven.  The keynote of Christ's gospel was this kingdom, a personal (invisible) relationship to God alone as King. (Luke 17:20-21)

You only enter the kingdom of heaven as an individual - not in conjunction with any organisation or group. You must be stripped of all other loyalties, possessions, and positions, to become like a little child (John 3:1-3) in total dependence upon your Heavenly Father for your daily bread.

There are no right or wrong organisations now, only sincere or insincere individuals. To the extent that you live in harmony with God's Spirit, you are living in the kingdom of heaven. If you slip away from honesty, humility, or obedience to the highest revelation of what is right that God has given to you, then you slip away from the kingdom of heaven.
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All it takes to be in God's organisation is sincere faith in him.

Religious experts hate sincerity; for it destroys their monopoly on God.  They forget that, although the Good Samaritan was wrong in his religion, he was right in his heart, where it really counts.

A cult member, Hindu, or atheist may be in the kingdom of heaven if walking in all the light that he or she has. (Romans 2:14; 1 John 4:7; Matthew 25:34-40)

Although this kingdom is invisible at the moment, it appears that Christ will visibly unite it during the last seven years of history (which coincide with the final seven years of Daniel's prophecy).  And it is quite likely that he will use persecution to do it.

As the forces of evil become more visible, people from many different backgrounds will find themselves thrown together in opposition to the evil world leader. 

Initially, this organisation will have 12 tribes, with 12,000 members in each. (Revelation 7) God names the 12 groups after the original 12 tribes of Israel, which have disappeared from history. (Modern day "Jews" are descendants of only one tribe--the tribe of Judah.)

During the Great Tribulation, these 144,000 leaders must assist millions of others, who now have a confused faith at best - half in God, and half in their denominations.  When their systems collapse, and the "secret rapture" fails to occur, most churchgoers will be totally unprepared to live as individuals in an alien world.

Life will not be easy, as we learn to live without the mark, and to survive in a world that regards us as traitors to the new world order.  Basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter will be appreciated in a way that we do not appreciate them now.  Even fresh air and water may be difficult to find if we are forced to hide underground for long. This is why God has told us the exact number of days that we will have to endure such persecution. (Matthew 24:22)

If you have any faith at all in God, you must ask yourself some very hard questions right now.  How much of your faith is in your organisation, and how much is in God?  How much is it in your job and the income that it provides, and how much is it in the Creator of the Universe to provide for your material needs?

God is no fool.  He wants to know who is really trusting him.  That is why he commands us, through Christ, to make a choice between him and the gods of this world. 
Jesus turned to the multitudes and said, "If anyone wants to come after me, they must forsake their family, their own life, and everything that they own.
Anyone who wants to build a house should count the cost before starting, lest they become a laughing-stock when they are forced to quit halfway through.  Anyone who does not forsake everything that they have cannot be my follower. Salt is useful; but if it loses its sting, it's no better than dirt. You may as well throw it out. If you understand what I am saying, then act on it." (Luke 14:25-35)

We are a tiny band of people who have chosen to make Jesus Christ lord of our lives.  We don't know of any congregation or denomination that is teaching this kind of faith today.  But that should not be surprising.  The Bible predicted that there would be a great falling away within the organised church prior to the return of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Jesus said that there would be many people claiming to have God's anointing (the word 'christ' simply means 'anointed one'). (Matthew 24:11) The churches today are full of people with seminary degrees who are teaching everything except obedience to Jesus Christ.  But they all claim to have God's authority.

Jesus said that real love would turn lukewarm prior to his return; and that it would happen within the so-called church. (Matthew 24:12, Revelation 3:15-19) If you're hanging out for the 'revival' that the church has been promising for decades, you are clinging to a false hope.  These are dark days, and they are going to get darker.  If you are not firmly prepared for them, they will drag you down with despair.BB3 20

You are going to be forced to choose between traditional Christianity and the teachings of Christ.  The real, historical Jesus of the Bible is the only one who can save you.  The traditional Jesuses cannot; for they are false Christs.

It may mean taking a stand against your family and friends.  But we don't make the rules; God does.  And we can't bend them to sneak our relatives or friends into heaven.

It is far safer to take Jesus too seriously (if that is what we are doing) than to take him too lightly.  Of course there are a host of spiritual dangers for anyone who would dare to step outside the supposed safety of the institutional church.  But there are even greater spiritual dangers for anyone who does not dare to step outside.

We on the outside could start thinking that we are the only ones who are right and that people must work with us to be saved.  But is that any worse than thinking the same way about mainline Christianity (i.e. that anyone outside the borders of religious orthodoxy is lost)?

God rarely cautions against being too zealous, but often condemns lukewarmness.  
Paul said that the only way to run the race is like you are the only one in it. (1 Corinthians 9:24)

When we stand before God we will not be able to put the blame on anyone else for BB3 21our failure to respond to the teachings of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. We are going to have to answer for our own actions. And God is not going to be convinced by elaborate theological explanations for our disobedience.

Please, for the sake of your eternal soul, put your faith entirely in Jesus Christ and all that he taught today. We would like to hear from you and encourage you if you do.

He's coming soon! Are you ready?

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