Why Jesus Won’t Come Back in 2012 (or Any Year Soon)
An Ipsos poll in 2006 found that 25% of adults believed it was at least "somewhat likely" that "Jesus Christ will return to Earth" in the coming year. Among white evangelical Christian adults, a whopping 46% believed this. Yet years later Jesus has still not returned. Want to know why Jesus did not come in 2007 or any year since then and still won’t come in 2012?
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When I first heard the results of this poll years ago, I was surprised at how large a percentage of Christians thought that Jesus was "somewhat likely" to "return to earth" in the next year. I know a lot of Christians believe in a pretrib rapture that comes at any moment. But that's not what "Christ...return to earth" is talking about. With the rapture he returns only to the sky (Mt 24:29-31). What the poll question described instead was his return to reign on the earth (Rev 5:10; Jer 23:5) during the Millennium (Rev 20:4, 6).
2007... 2008... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012?
You see, I thought it was commonly understood by Christians that the Great Tribulation has to come before Jesus can rule. Before I ever studied prophecy seriously, I learned this simply by reading what Jesus said in Matthew 24. It made it clear to me that his return to rule was after the world went through the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:29).
I've learned a lot more since then thanks to a habit of study driven by a desire to answer hard questions that no one seemed to have satisfying answers. This brought to light many important details about the end time roadmap that the people surveyed unfortunately had little chance of knowing as they are not common knowledge. My diligent studies convinced me that too much prophecy was left unfulfilled before Jesus' return. Therefore Jesus could not possibly come in 2007.
Obviously, my conclusions were right about 2007. And not just 2007, but every year since then the same reasoning has yielded the same correct conclusion despite the same wrong expectations among most Christians each year. Countless Christian prophecy researchers go on record that Christ will return that year (although typically for a pretrib rapture, not the return to earth). We're all still waiting...
So now, I want to go on record, too, for the
fifth sixth year and say that 2012 is going to be no different in both respects. Many Christians will predict Jesus' coming for 2012—and yet nothing will happen again.
How can I be so sure? For the same reason I knew in 2007: the ones expecting and predicting these things are overlooking something key in the Bible.
The Bible Reveals a Full Roadmap of Future Events
What they lack is an adequate understanding of the roadmap of Bible prophecy. To see the roadmap itself is much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle to see its picture. The pieces to this puzzle are not all conveniently in one place and in order, but are scattered throughout several books of both the Old and New Testament.
After you do the hard work to assemble it properly, you will discover that there is much more on it than just the Great Tribulation, Rapture and Second Coming ahead as most Christians think. There are many events that Christians have not even heard of.
Importantly, most of these unknown prophetic events precede the Second Advent. In other words, they are prerequisites to the Second Coming. To put it simply, if Christ's return is Event Z, then it cannot come until Event Y has already happened. Likewise, Event Y cannot be expected to happen unless Event A has already been fulfilled.
Now, if Event A has not happened then the end time roadmap has not even begun. In that case we are left with no idea of how long it will be until the end will come (just as Jesus said - Mt 24:36). This is exactly where we have been ever since the New Testament was written, in a holding pattern waiting for the first end time event. Because few believers have understood these missing prerequisites, each generation has naturally been apt to think they were already in the end times, judging from progressively worsening conditions in recent memory. They simply did not know what they were to watch for. For example, they might see a figure that seems to fit the Antichrist (like Emperor Nero) or a development that seems to fulfill the mark of the beast (like bar codes or biochips) and conclude it as a sign that the time must be near or in their lifetime. But such speculation or doomsday dates have always failed, for thousands of years now without exception.
Thus, given all this and the fact that none of the prerequisite events have transpired, it is safe to say that it is impossible for Jesus to come in 2012—or even in the few years soon after 2012.
List Of Legal Prerequisites To Jesus' Return
So, what are these prerequisites? I can give you many examples. (Examples are in reverse chronological order.)
- Great Tribulation — According to Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15, Jesus must return after a Great Tribulation. During this Great Tribulation the Antichrist will rule over the world for 42 months (Rev 13). He will force everyone to take a mark in their right hand or forehead during that time. Plainly, we are not in the Great Tribulation and no mark of the beast has been issued yet.
- Abomination of Desolation — This Great Tribulation starts 30 days (the 1290 - the 1260 days) after the Abomination of Desolation is stood up on the Temple Mount (Mk 13:14). The abomination refers to the Image of the Beast statue being erected for worship (Rev 13:11). Another unfulfilled prophecy.
- Temple Mount Sacrifices — Similarly, on the day of the Abomination, daily oblation morning and evening animal sacrifices are to be stopped on the Temple Mount (Dan 12:11). These sacrifices have not even started yet, so obviously that's a major problem for Jesus to come back soon.
- Third Temple — Several passages describe a Third Temple on the Temple Mount during the Great Tribulation (Rev 11:1-2; Mt 24:15; 2The 2:3-4). The Antichrist is even described as sitting in this end time temple as part of his declaration of himself as God (2Th 2:4). Obviously, there is as yet no temple or even a construction project under way for one. Speaking of the construction, some say that everything is already being prepared for this temple and it can go up fast, in less than a year. Even if that's true, under current political they still could not break ground on the Temple Mount without the Arabs approval or a strong belligerent response of opposition. The Arab control and power needs to be broken first, and that is not going to happen without a war (probably the future Psalm 83 war; see below).
- The Sixth Seal — If you read Revelation 6:12-17 carefully you will see that it depicts the entire population panicking and running for cover in response to signs in the heavens and a tremendous global earthquake on earth moving every mountain and island out of place. It is obvious that nothing like this has happened since the First Century when it was written and when knowledge of the Lamb of God (named by those panicking: Rev 6:16) has arrived.
- Psalm 83/Isaiah 17 War - Damascus Destroyed — Before all the above events, a swift war is predicted in the Middle East between Israel and many of her neighbors. You do not need a Bible to tell you this as many secular sources expect one, due to the tensions between the sons of Ishmael (the Arabs) and the sons of Isaac (Israel) that make headlines every year. The concern over Iran's nuclear program has only added to this. The outcome of this war will be the destruction of Damascus and several other major Arab cities and regions, along with much devastation in Israel. (For the full story, see this article on What's Next in Prophecy.) Obviously, the attack has still not happened because Damascus remains a city to this day.
Although this is not the full list, it does include Event A from the illustration earlier: the Psalm 83 War. Until we see that event, the end time roadmap has not begun. This means we could still have years or even a decade or two before the end times events start and come to an end. For sure, as long as it is unfulfilled, we have a good minimum of seven years before Jesus can come back, which is the length of the 70th Week of Daniel time frame in which all but one of the events above must take place.
Common Objections To Saying The End Is Not Nigh
To suggest that nothing prophetic might happen for a decade or more may sound crazy to many. The multiplying and worsening problems in the world seem to be evidence that "the end is nigh"...(for sure this time!). However, worsening social or economic problems are not one of the events on the end time roadmap. At best it is just appealing or reasonable-sounding speculation.
Some might construe naming years when Jesus cannot come back as contradicting "no man knows the day or the hour" (Mt 24:36). This seems valid at first until you think it through. You see, a prohibition on knowing when something will happen does not mean you can't know of the many other points in time when it cannot possibly happen. For example, I can't know today when the first woman will be elected president of the USA. However, I can know when she will not be elected: not in any of the years in between the presidential election years that come every four years (2012, 2016, 2020, etc.).
Another common objection is that it's wrong to tell people that Jesus is not coming in 2012 as it's tantamount to telling them they don't have to be alert, pray and stay close to God (Lk 21:36). However, this does not change anything about needing to always be ready and not slide into sin. The reason is that we all are mortal and can lose our life tomorrow through "time and chance" that the Bible says happens to us all (Ecc 9:11-12). Because we can "meet our maker" at any moment we always need to be ready. Finally, Jesus himself is the origin of this message that "the end is not yet" or "the end is not by and by" (Mk 13:7; Lk 21:9) until you see certain milestone events. He did not teach "imminency" or to expect his coming every day. He taught instead to always be ready (upright).
There is a huge benefit to this view compared to the popular "the end is nigh" view that has people always on the edge of their seat. Some people are overly fearful because of the constant predictions about the end coming around every corner, every year. That anxiety can lead people to live under costly short-term thinking and make very poor decisions for themselves and their family. I've seen too many sad cases of this to count (ahem, including my own period when I was still getting a handle on the prophecy puzzle). It truly is better to know the truth and act off of that—prayerfully and righteously rather than having constant false alarms or paranoia influencing you to make bad choices or life in dread.
The belief that the Second Advent can happen imminently or without warning breaks Scripture (John 10:35). Scripture teaches there are prerequisites or events that must come first. If we are going to put aside speculation and consult the Bible's prophetic roadmap, we can find assurance that Jesus won't be returning in
2011 2012 or several years after that for sure...nor can the dreadful the Great Tribulation come that soon either. There is simply not enough time in a year for all the events to happen. They would have had to have started about seven years ago for Jesus to come in 2012. (So you should be ok with sending out your Christmas cards this year.)
There are many prophetic events coming which are largely overlooked by popular Christian prophecy teaching. These events are what we were commanded to "pray and watch" for by Jesus so that we can "escape all these things" (Lk 21:36) If you are interested in getting a comprehensive understanding of end times Bible prophecy without it taking years of personal study, check out the book Know the Future offered on this site. It will answer all your questions on prophecy and qualm your fears in the process. (And in doing so you will be supporting more free teaching articles like this one.)
Feedback / Questions (e.g., "Tim, what does the Bible say about...").
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An Ipsos poll found that 25% of adults believed it was at least "somewhat likely" that "Jesus Christ will return to Earth" in the coming year. Among white evangelical Christian adults surveyed, a whopping 46% believed this. Now six years after that poll in 2006 Jesus still has not returned. Why not? Want to know why Jesus did not come in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012 as so many expected—and still won’t come in 2013? The reason has to do with several overlooked prerequisites to the rapture, until which the “end is not yet” according to Jesus. Read Featured Article
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