Chapter 064 – The Return of the Lord – Part 4: Of that day and hour no one knows but the Father alone.



But of that day and hour no one knows, but the Father alone.

The danger in our days.

Table: Sequence and Duration of events in the Last Days

The Return of the Lord and the Rapture. /    Chapter 06, Part 1

The Rapture. /    Chapter 062, Part 2

The marriage of the Lamb. /    Chapter 063, Part 3



Postscript:

This old interpretation, going back to the year 1995, is still based on the conventional understanding, advocated by almost all biblical commentators up to the present, that the seventieth week of seven years is a temporally unified event and that there is only one Antichrist. These assumptions are fundamentally based on the one hand on the prophecy in Dan 9,27, according to which the one who makes desolate will come in the middle of the seventieth week of seven years, and on the other on the statement of Paul in 1Cor 15,52, according to which the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture will occur at the time of the last trumpet, which is then referred to the last and seventh trumpet of the plagues of the trumpets (Rev 10,7).

More recent studies however have resulted in the realization that there is a parallel course of events between Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7. This necessitates a transposition of the Second Coming and the Rapture to after Rev 6,12–17 (6th seal) and so interrupts the seventieth week of seven years at that point.

(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7”)


In this connection we also come to realize, on the basis of 2The 2,1–4 and Rev 13,1–11, that there cannot be just one Antichrist who will dominate in the Last Days, but two: a human dictator (the rider on the white horse, Rev 6,1–2) in the Great Tribulation (Rev 6,1–8; Mt 24,1–25) and a demonic spiritual being (the beast from the sea, Rev 13) on the Day of the Wrath of God.

(See also Discourse 86: “The first and second Antichrist.”)


In view of the fact, however, that this new point of view in principle only results in transpositions in the temporal sequence of events, while the content – apart from a few exceptions – essentially remains the same, the documents based on the old interpretation (taking these indications into account) remain fully valid and so have been retained here. A summary of the changes may be found in Discourse 48.

(See also Discourse 48: “An alternative view on the sequence of events in the Last Days.”)



But of that day and hour no one knows, but the Father alone.

We have tried here to gain a certain insight into the chronological order within the happenings of the last days, the raising from the dead, and the Rapture. However, this should not blind us to the fact that we cannot find any clue in the Scriptures, when these events will happen. This can be just as well in two, two hundred or two thousand years from now. Therefore we should take to heart the word of the Lord who advises us to be on the alert.

The Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

Mt 24,32 "Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; 24,33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 24,34 "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 24,35 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

24,36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 24,37 "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 24,38 "For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

24,39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. 24,40 "Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,41 "Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. 24,42 "Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

24,43 "But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

24,44 "For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. Mt 24,32–44;


Here, the Lord urges us to be on the alert for he is coming at an hour when we do not think he will. And he says, if the head of the house – that is to say the present ruler and prince of this world, Satan – knew at what time the "thief" is coming, he would take precautions.

The same formulation is also used by Paul in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians in reference to the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

1The 5,1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 5,2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 5,3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 5,4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

5,5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 5,6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 5,7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 5,8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

5,9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5,10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 5,11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing. 1The 5, 1–11;


When Paul says here, "God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation …", he means by that that the faithful living then shall be preserved from the "day of wrath" – that is to say from the Judgment of God upon the earth in the second part of the Day of the Lord and will be caught up to heaven before that. This is one of the passages which are often misinterpreted, namely as referring to the Great Tribulation, and with which then a Rapture of the congregation before the Great Tribulation is substantiated.

So, also Paul is speaking here above of the fact that the Day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. And he warns the brethren that the day would not overtake them like a thief.

And also in the last book of the Bible the Lord Jesus uses in his revelation to John this formulation and promises to those who are not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good the white garments of the righteous acts of the saints.

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments.

Rev 3,1 "To the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 3,2 ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God.

3,3 ‘So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. 3,4 ‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.

3,5 ‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. Rev 3, 1– 5;

The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Rev 19,7 "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready." 19,8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

18,9 Then he said to me, "Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." Rev 19, 7– 9;


And finally also Peter warns us in his Second Epistle of this Day of the Lord, which will come like a thief:

The day of the Lord will come like a thief.

2Ptr 3,10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

3,11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 3,12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!

3,13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 2Pet 3,10–13;


As we have seen in the course of this chapter, there are many signs preceding the coming of the Lord. And nevertheless, in the course of this and also of the previous century already many false prophets have arisen who have worked out dates and have prophesied the impending coming of the Lord. They have seduced many people and partly have even lured them into collective death.

Therefore it is our duty as Christians, not only to make a mental note of these signs of the Return of the Lord ourselves and to compare them with the state of the world in our respective epoch of time, but we also have to remind our brothers and sisters again and again of the fact that the Lord would not have left us without any hint, without any possibility to recognize the time.

In this connection one has to point out very seriously to those brothers and sisters, who think that they have to convince the whole world of the forthcoming arrival of the Lord, that before the Return of the Lord the Fiend will appear and try to capture people with signs and wonders and to lead them astray. As Paul says in 2The 2,1–12, "Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction."

It would be a disservice to the brothers and sisters, if one would direct their expectations now precisely at this coming of the "instead of–Christ" and if thus, one would let them run with open eyes headlong to their ruin. Therefore we cannot repeat it often enough:

The first "Christ" who will come is the Antichrist!


In conclusion some concrete statements of the Bible concerning this subject.

In the last days difficult times will come.

2Tim 3,1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 3,2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3,3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self–control, brutal, haters of good, 3,4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 3,5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 3,6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 3,7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 3,8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith. 2Tim 3, 1– 8;

They will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires

2Tim 4,3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4,4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 2Tim 4, 3– 4;

In later times some will fall away, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.

1Tim 4,1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 4,2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 4,3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4,4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; 4,5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer. 1Tim 4, 1– 5;

In the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts.

2Ptr 3,3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will comewith their mocking, following after their own lusts, 3,4 and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." 2Pet 3, 3– 4;

The danger in our days.

If we now examine our time, we must say that some of these predictions seem to be already existing "at an embryonic stage". However, this was quite similar already at the time of the apostle Peter and Paul and also in the course of the subsequent centuries. Every generation thought that the world would fall into ruin after it, but as we see, the world is still living today.

Nevertheless, we should not lull ourselves into false security! Not because the Lord might come even tomorrow. We just found out in this chapter that the Return of the Lord will be preceded by some well–marked events. And among them at least the antichristian reign and the persecution of all those who do not want to accept the sign of the beast will not remain unnoticed by the faithful Christians, so that they will recognize these signs of the time and will be able to act accordingly.

No – the danger we, the people of today, are in, is described to us by the Lord in Lk 21,8:

See to it that you are not misled and do not go after them.

Lk 21,8 And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not go after them. Lk 21, 8;


It is the false Christs and the false prophets, who – a long time before the great distress – and with that already at and before our time – have tried to mislead those people who did not take the trouble to base their foundation of faith on Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures, but who have taken over the inventions and distortions of these false prophets without examining them.

In this connection it is important to realize that those people who get rid of these enticements, that is to say who contact people, in most cases are seduced persons themselves and therefore believe very firmly in what they are passing down to the others. Nevertheless, they are relatively easy to expose for those Christians who are well versed in the Bible by their special doctrines. In the field of sects the "Seventh Day Adventists" as well as "Jehovah's Witnesses" are to be mentioned as an example. Both religious communities prophesied in their beginnings the visible return of Jesus Christ on this earth by their own "prophets", which, then, of course, did not come true.

In the case of the Seventh Day Adventists this was their actual founder, the Baptist preacher William Miller, who prophesied the visible Return of the Lord for the year 1844. When this prophecy did not come true, Miller did admit his fault, his successors, however – the today's Seventh Day Adventists – construed a complicated argumentation, in order to avoid to have to admit this. They had the ingenious idea that the Return of the Lord in the year 1844 did not "take place" visibly and on earth, but invisibly and in heaven. As nobody could disprove that to them – which is quite understandable – they have insisted on that version up to today.

Another group of the Adventist movement on the other hand, admitted the fault of 1844, however not without prophesying a new date immediately afterward: 1874. When also that year went by without the visible Return of the Lord, a man named Charles Taze Russel appeared – the later founder of Jehovah's Witnesses – who came into contact with the Adventists in 1876 and who took over from them this date – 1874 – and simultaneously with that also the ingenious idea of the "invisible Return of the Lord" from the Seventh Day Adventists. He put forth the assertion that the Return of the Lord took place in that year very well, but not in a visible, but in an invisible way. Moreover, he prophesied that from now on, starting from the year 1874, a "harvest time" lasting for forty years will take place and afterward, in the year 1914, the kingdom of Christ would set in and the kingdoms of the Gentiles would be smashed into pieces like pottery.

In 1914, however, it was not the kingdom of Christ that came, but World War I. Although afterward Russel – similarly as Miller as the head of the Adventists did – had expressly admitted that his "prophecies" were wrong, after his death in 1916 his successor, "judge" J. F. Rutherford, copied the ingenious idea of the Adventists for a third time. He gave the instruction that the calculation for the year 1914 would have been completely correct. What was wrong was only the expectation that the kingdom of Christ on earth would set in on earth and visibly. Of course, it would have set in in heaven and invisibly. The success was the same as with the Adventists: As nobody could disprove this assertion, Jehovah's Witnesses preach it still today.

Those who know the Scriptures also know the hint of the Lord that nobody knows the day and hour – and for that reason not the year either – not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone (Mt 24,36) and also his warning: Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many (Mt 24,11).


A considerably subtler kind of misleading becomes apparent, however, in the Catholic Church, although, in principle, also here we find ourselves up against false prophets. In the year 1870 the infallibility of the Pope is raised to a dogma (dogma = the truth revealed by God in the Holy Scriptures and/or by the Catholic Church in its laws – the tradition – as far as it is preached by the Pope as being revealed. The belief in the dogma is binding for every Catholic – otherwise he incurs excommunication!). Since the high middle ages the infallibility of the Pope has been more and more spread as doctrine in the Catholic Church. At the first Vatican Council it was then – against the arguments of a group of cardinals, who referred to the obvious mistakes of popes such as Vigilius or Honorius I. – raised to a dogma. As God alone is infallible according to the Holy Scriptures, this is a blasphemy.

But even much more dangerous is the attempt of the Catholic Church to separate men from God by replacing the only mediator and Redeemer, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by a "substitute mediator" in the figure of the "Queen of Heaven", "Queen of grace", and "Mother of God" Mary, gradually and almost unnoticed by the people of the Church. And here it must be clearly got straight that this idol does not have anything, in fact absolutely nothing, to do with the mother of the Lord.

We have in the Scriptures the statement of the Lord:

No one comes to the Father but through Me.

Jn 14,6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. Jn 14, 6;


For this reason we know that there is no other way to God but through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross for our sins. And the Lord also tells us,

You shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only.

Mt 4,10 Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘you shall worship the LORD your God, and serve Him only.’" Mt 4,10;


In the Catholic Church, however, Mary has been worshiped as the "Holy Virgin" since the year 431 A.D. In order to successively obscure the differences between Jesus Christ and this Catholic idol for the people of the Church, in 1854 the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary who is free from the original sin was raised to a dogma. This means that Mary was conceived by her mother, Ann, without the original sin, and it is the attempt of an aping of the divine birth of Jesus Christ. This invention of the Catholic Church does not have any basis in the entire Bible. Mary, the mother of the Lord, would have been the last one to assert this claim herself. She says of herself,

My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

Lk 1,46 And Mary said: "My soul exalts the Lord, 1,47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. Lk 1,46–47;

With that she confessed that she herself needed a Savior and Redeemer, namely her Son, our Lord, and that she therefore was born in sin just as all we others, too.

And if the Catholic Church again and again puts forward Rev 12,1–2 as proof for the fact that Mary was conceived by her mother, Ann, immaculate and without the original sin and was caught up into heaven and maintains Mary would be meant by this "woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars", one has to read the subsequent verse, too, where it says, "And she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth". But as Gen 3,16 tells us, "To the woman he said, 'I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children!“ the pains at birth are a consequence of the original sin.

If now this woman in Rev 12,1–2 were Mary, she consequently cannot be without original sin, for otherwise she would not have any pains in childbirth. But if one insists on the assertion that Mary was born without the original sin, the woman from Rev 12,1–2 cannot be Mary on the other hand.

But the height of this aping of God's plan of salvation with his Son was reached by the Catholic Church only in our century. In the year 1950 the doctrine of the "Assumption of the Virgin Mary" was raised to a dogma. And with that the objective becomes evident: After the attributes of Jesus Christ, who had been born free from the original sin, already were imitated with the dogma of 1854, only Resurrection and Ascension were left, in order to be able to present a copy of the happenings around the Lord Jesus – which is hardly perceivable for the people of the Church as such.

It is astonishing and oppressive at the same time to have to find out that we ourselves have become witnesses of the time of this last, incredible step. The Catholic Church has created a Catholic idol of its own under the name of Mary. The aim of this strategy is clear: The people of the Church shall be deceived by the likeness of the idol with the Son of God and shall in future not seek salvation with the Lord, but with the Catholic church and the idol, who, however, cannot help them.

The catechism for priests issued at the Council of Trent contains the following significant passage: “Nonnus articulus omnius frequentissimo populo inculcandus est quam hic: Credo in unam sanctam ecclesiam catholicam“.

"Among all articles of faith no other article is to be fixed in the minds of the people more often and repeatedly than the following one: I believe in a holy Catholic Church".

So, what is important is not the belief in the solely true God and his Son Jesus Christ, but the belief in a human and imperfect Catholic Church that is obsessed with power.

There is no other God besides Me, a righteous God and a Savior.

Isa 45,20 "Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save.

45,21 "Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me.

45,22 "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. Isa 45,20–22;


And here we come to one of the most important discoveries with regard to all non–Christian religions, especially also in our time: The Christian faith is – besides and with the Mosaic – the most intolerant religion one can imagine.

There is no possibility of an adaptation or approach to other religions or doctrines of salvation. The request that is often put forward not to see the concept of God so narrowly or to allow also to other doctrines of faith a salutary effect, fails because of the above statement of our God in Isa 45,22:

"Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;

for I am God, and there is no other."


Up to this point Mosaic and Christian faithful undoubtedly support the same doctrine.

However, while the Mosaic faith is still waiting for its Messiah in order to fulfill the – for the time being – earthly promise of the people of Israel, the Christian faith has already found its Savior and is awaiting its heavenly promise – the martyrs at the First Resurrection before the Millennium, the other faithful at the Universal Resurrection after the Millennium, at the end of the world. But both promises find their fulfillment at the coming of the Lord, the first coming for the Jews and the second coming for the Christians. And no matter if Jew or Christian, it is correct that we do not know when the Messiah comes, but we know with an absolute certainty that he comes.

Erich Sauer made a very well fitting statement concerning this topic in his book "The triumph of the crucified Christ" when he says,

"The reason why Christ does not come yet, is not because the world is not yet Christian enough, but the reason why he does not come yet is because it is not yet unfaithful enough."


But with every day that God lets break, the world is getting closer to this goal.



Table: Sequence and Duration of events in the Last Days

The Return of the Lord and the Rapture. /    Chapter 06, Part 1

The Rapture. /    Chapter 062, Part 2

The marriage of the Lamb. /    Chapter 063, Part 3