1. For behold! the days will soon come when the books will be opened, and all the rewards of the righteous will be collected.
2. For at that time, you, and many with you, will see the long-suffering of the Most High, who has always been long-suffering to those born of sin but are righteous.
3. I answered: But, behold! O Lord, no one knows how much has passed, or what is yet to still come.
4. For I know that which has come upon us, but what will happen to our enemies, I do not know, and when will You complete such works.
"BE WATCHFUL, AND STRENGTHEN THE THINGS WHICH REMAIN... IF THEREFORE THOU SHALT NOT WATCH, I WILL COME ON THEE AS A THIEF, AND THOU SHALT NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I WILL COME UPON THEE."
The Lord does not want to come to us, "as a thief." There is the "IF" in that verse that most ignore. We are not supposed to be surprised by His coming, "if" we are aware and awake. Some things are revealed to us, and we are to know them.
"THE SECRET THINGS BELONG UNTO THE LORD OUR GOD: BUT THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE REVEALED BELONG UNTO US AND TO OUR CHILDREN FOREVER, THAT WE MAY DO ALL THE WORKS OF THIS LAW."
It is the children "of the night", or "of darkness", that are to be taken by surprise by the "day of the Lord." It shall come as a "thief" to them.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 (KJV)
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
We, as Christians, are to be different that the world. We are "not to be in darkness" and surprised by the Lord's coming.
"BEHOLD, I WILL MAKE THEE KNOW WHAT SHALL BE IN THE LAST END OF THE INDIGNATION (the great tribulation), FOR AT THE APPOINTED TIME, THE END SHALL BE."
Long ago, God appointed a time for the second coming and all the events prophesied. These dates are set and will not be changed. The very idea that God did not know what would happen, and would have to change His planned times because of events that He did not foresee -- is foolish. He warns in Revelation against the very idea that we can add to, or take away from, the events just as He outlined them:
Revelation 22:18-21 (KJV)
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Are we not to be concerned by the "when" of these events? Surely, we are. But there is a passage that many try to appeal to, in order that they might justify "unconcern" toward the times.
"BUT OF THAT DAY AND THAT HOUR KNOWETH NO MAN, NO, NOT THE ANGELS WHICH ARE IN HEAVEN, NEITHER THE SON, BUT THE FATHER."
Jesus, at that time, did not know the time of the rapture and second coming. He had emptied Himself of His omniscience until He was glorified again after the resurrection. Yet, in that same passage we are told to:
"TAKE HEED, WATCH, AND PRAY... COMMANDED HIS PORTER TO WATCH... WATCH YE THEREFORE... AND WHAT I SAY UNTO YOU, I SAY UNTO ALL, WATCH."
We may not know the "day or the hour", but we are not to have a lack of interest in the times. Most who quote from Mark 13:32-37, disobey the truth Jesus was trying to tell us. We are being instructed to be alert to the signals of His coming.
II Peter 3:9-10
"THE LORD IS NOT SLACK CONCERNING HIS PROMISE, AS SOME MEN COUNT SLACKNESS; BUT IS LONGSUFFERING TOWARD US, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH BUT THAT ALL SHOULD COME TO REPENTANCE."
Because it seems as though it has been so long, since the promise of His return, and the event itself, some think God has forgotten, or that maybe we are expecting something that will never occur. But God has already appointed a time, and He is not slack, He is just awaiting the salvation of all He can. When His appointed time arrives, He shall come.
We are in the generation.
"THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS AWAY, TILL ALL BE FULFILLED."
Two things pin down the "generation." It will be the generation during which Israel becomes a nation again. this occurred in 1948. It will also be during the generation when Jerusalem will not be controlled by the Gentiles any longer. Since 1967, all of Jerusalem has been under control of the Jews. This is our generation.
Why can't we know the "day" or the "hour?" The word "day" is from the Greek word "hemera". It is the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hour day. The word "hour" is from the Greek word "hora", meaning a short time, a short season. It is a part of a day. What we are not to know is the exact day, and the exact hour of His coming. Can we come within a year? Or can we come within a month, or a week??? And if we thought we knew the "day", say a Monday, it is already Tuesday somewhere on the earth, since it is round. And if we thought we knew the "hour", say midnight, it is already 1 A.M. somewhere, since the earth is round. Knowing this, God told us that we cannot know the "day" or "hour."
The "times" and the "seasons" are supposed to be discerned by the saints. The word "seasons" is from the word "kairos" means "clock time." This means we are to be aware of how much clock time is left. Just as someone who watches the clock at work, if quitting time is 4:00 and it is 3:30, they are well aware that they are in the last half hour. In the schools, one can tell it is one minute till the bell, by the kids on the edge of their seats, books in their arms, and one foot in the aisle ready to jump from their seats. In the same way, we are to know the clock time left, so we may be anxiously waiting when the Lord returns.
The word "chronos" is the word for "times" in the Bible. It refers to a fixed or special period of time. We are to be aware of when we are in that special period of time just before the coming of Jesus. God has indicated events we are to see within that last time period, and we are to be well aware that we are in that period. In the work place, those who work Monday through Friday, and have the weekend off, are well aware that on Friday - the weekend is soon to arrive. They know in which time period they are. We too should know we are in the final time period before the coming of Jesus.
In which time period are we? In the Bible, a day often indicates 1000 years.
II Peter 3:1-13
"...BUT, BELOVED, BE NOT IGNORANT OF THIS ONE THING, THAT ONE DAY IS WITH THE LORD AS 1000 YEARS, AND A 1000 YEARS IS AS ONE DAY."
In the middle of a treatise on prophecy, we find this verse. It means that one truth we cannot afford to be ignorant of is that in the period of time God has given mankind, as one day is part of the week, so one thousand years is a part of the 7000 years that God has given mankind.
Consider what the early church believed about it:
Book of Barnabas 13:3-5
"And God made in six days the works of His hands, and He finished them on the seventh day. Consider, my children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days, the meaning of it is this: that in 6000 years the Lord will bring all things to an end. For with Him, one day is 1000 years, as Himself testifies, saying, "behold, this day shall be as 1000 years," Therefore, children, in 6 days, i.e. 6000 years shall all things be accomplished."
The early church understood this better than the church of recent days. There is to be 7000 years from Adam's creation until the end of the millennium. the millennium, in the Bible, is often called "the day of the Lord." It is like the "sabbath" of the week.
From Adam to Noah 2000 years
From Noah to Christ 2000 years
From Christ to now 2000 years
total 6000 years
So it is almost time for the millennium:
"AFTER TWO DAYS WILL HE REVIVE US: IN THE THIRD DAY HE WILL RAISE US UP, AND WE SHALL DWELL IN HIS SIGHT."
Hosea was speaking of a time when the Jews will reject their Messiah. Then, says Hosea, He will revive us after 2 days. If Hosea meant 2 literal days, then the prophecy was not fulfilled. If Hosea meant 2000 years, then we are about to see the revival of Israel to accept the Messiah, as is to happen in Petra during the Millennium. Then during that third day, the Millennium, they shall dwell in the sight of their Messiah.
Even the Jews of the past believed this. In GEMARA, a commentary on the Talmud, by Rabbi Ketina:
"The world endures 6000 years, and in one thousand it shall be laid waste (i.e. the enemies of God destroyed), whereof it is said, 'The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. As out of 7 years, every 7th is a year of remission, so out of 7000 years of the world, the 7th millennium shall be the millennial (1000 years) years of remission, that God alone may be exalted in that day.'"
The early church emphasized this teaching. Ireneas, an early church apostle, 150 A.D., said:
"This is an account of the things formerly created, also it is a prophecy of what is to come. For the day of the Lord is 1000 years, and in 6 days created things were completed; it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end in 6000 years."
In A.D. 1552, Bishop Latimer wrote:
"The world was ordained to endure, as all learned men affirm, 6000 years. Now of that number 5552 years (as of 1552) so that there is no more left but 448 years." (1552 + 448 = 6000)
Archbishop Ussher in 1650 A.D. had access to ancient church manuscripts, later lost during the fires of the Irish wars. He calculated that Jesus was born in 4 B.C., and so concluded that the last "day" would start in 1997 A.D. We now have corrected one error that he made and adjust the birth of Christ to 1 B.C., so expected the "day" to start in 2000 A.D. However, we do not know for certain that our calculation of years if fully accurate, and therefore we cannot know what year we are actually in.
Therefore, we can make suppositions and "educated guesses" and that is totally acceptable and far from saying that we actually know the "day and the hour". If that bothers some so called "saints", then I would postulate that these "bothered saints" are really trying to hide their unpreparedness, and they are actually disobeying the many Scriptures commanding us to know the times and the seasons, to watch for signs to indicate nearness, etc. Their disobedience and unpreparedness makes them want to attack anyone who obeys the Scriptural commands to be ready, prepared, and watching for the rapture.
The "times and the seasons" that we are to be aware, is the 7000 year theory that we have seen often referred to down through the ages. We are to know therefore that we are in the last days. The times are short.