Why Jesus Can’t Come Back in 2013 (or Even Soon)
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? What have so many people been overlooking in their expectation? 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.
2000 Years That Jesus Did Not Return
The findings of this Ipsos poll were surprising to me. I was not expecting such a high percentage of people (Christian or otherwise) to express belief that Jesus was "somewhat likely to return to earth in the next year." After 2000 years of disappointed expectations or failed predictions for Jesus' return to earth, I would have thought that almost nobody would hold onto the idea that Jesus was coming so readily or so soon. Admittedly, most people are not students of such history like someone who writes on Bible prophecy is. Also before I began to study this trend, I honestly did not have any idea of how to properly discern whether Jesus was coming soon or not, either.
To be sure, rather than history or prophecy, foremost in most people's minds is simply the hope that Jesus will come back in the near future to improve the world in much needed ways. Or better yet to whisk them away to a better place (heaven). As such, the belief that he is coming next year is more based on emotion than logic. Most people are simply unaware of any logical reason why Jesus' return cannot happen at any moment—without notice. Indeed, Christians have a doctrine of an “imminent, pretrib rapture” that will take them away suddenly right before the Great Tribulation starts. It seems right since, after all, doesn't it say somewhere that Jesus is to come like a “thief in the night” taking everyone by surprise? (Or does it? More on that below.)
Note: "return to earth" is an unfortunately vague term which to those surveyed could have been understood as either the rapture or the Second Advent. However, in the end, it matters not which one we are talking about as both happen after the Great Tribulation a scant nine days apart:
- Tishrei 1 = Rapture — Day of Trumpets / "7th trumpet" (Rev 11:15)
- Tishrei 10 = Second Advent — Yom Kippur / "Day of the Lord" (Rev 19:11)
2007... 2008... 2009... 2010... 2011... 2012... 2013?
Despite this teaching and the hope of many every year, Jesus still has not returned “next year” even six “next years” after the poll was first taken. No doubt, every year a similar contingent of people have expected Jesus to come next year including for 2013.
Conversely, every one of those six years now, I have put out an article stating that Jesus will not and even cannot come back that year. It's admittedly not a popular concept due to the emotional component covered above. For some, it's a downright buzzkill that inspires them to write me angry letters. So how can I make such a bold statement? How can I be so sure? (And why don't I just shut up?)
After a successful track record of six years, perhaps more people will be paying attention to the method to my madness...
The Bible Reveals a Full Roadmap of Future Events
The answer is not complicated. Simply put, contrary to what most Christians believe and are taught, Jesus taught that there are are prerequisites to his return and the start of his reign in the Millennium. Until these required events happen, he said that the “end is not yet/by and by” (Mt 24:6; Lk 21:9) and he will not be be appearing anytime soon yet.
Where do I get all this? Straight from the Bible—but only when read plainly and literally (John 10:35), and after putting any preconceptions (and hopes) aside. This approach unlocks a whole series of future events described in the main prophecies of Revelation, Jesus (Matthew 24) and Daniel. When put together properly these prophecies draw a roadmap revealing what we are to expect to happen as God's servants (Rev 1:1).
Unfortunately, it is not easy to put the roadmap together properly. Many Bible prophecies are labeled difficult "mysteries" (Rev 10:7; 17:5, 7) or call for "understanding" and "wisdom" (Dan 12:10; Mt 24:15; Rev 13:18). As such, it is like putting together a large jigsaw puzzle —a puzzle where you have to scavenge for and identify the pieces first, if you will. 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 somewhat haphazardly.
Similar to working with a real jigsaw puzzle, if you have one piece out of place, it can stop you from completing the puzzle and seeing the picture that it was intended to reveal. The more sure you are about that out-of-place piece being correctly placed, the more blocked you will be (think: rapture in the pretrib position).
If you do the work and succeed in assembling it properly, the picture emerges that there is much more on it than just the Great Tribulation, Rapture and Second Coming ahead that makes up the eschatology of most Christians. There are more events ahead than Christians have imagined. Importantly, most of these unknown prophetic events precede the Second Advent.
In other words, if Jesus' return to earth is "Event C," then it cannot come until "Event B" has already happened. Likewise, "Event B" cannot possibly happen unless "Event A" has already been fulfilled. It's really that simple.
Distinguishing the Positive and Negative Timing of Jesus' Return
Now, if even Event A has not happened then this means the end has not even begun. In that case, the exact timing of when Jesus is coming is still unknowable just as Jesus said in Matthew 24:36 that no man knows the day or hour (read: exact time). Further, you can be sure that the end is “not yet” (Mt 24:6; Mk 13:7) even if you don't know when it positively will be. Anyone who says they know this “positive” timing is mistaken and should not be believed. Nevertheless, there are periods when Jesus cannot come which are indeed knowable. These, if you will, I would call the negative timings of his return. As long as the end times and Revelation roadmap have not begun, it continually rules out the next several years for Jesus to appear. This is because the missing prerequisite events take substantial time to play out; several years. This describes exactly the situation we have been in ever since the New Testament was written, in a holding pattern waiting for the first end time event. Unmistakeably, the end is “not yet.”
If the body of Christ had understood Jesus' words on the circumstances of his coming, they would not be pronouncing or expecting the rapture or imminent return of Jesus every year. Because few believers have understood these overlooked prerequisites, each generation has naturally maintained hope that perhaps they were already in the end times and that Jesus could come back at anytime soon.
Then what typically happens is that we justify this belief through other misread prophecies. For example, some might see a world figure who seems to fit the Antichrist (like Emperor Nero) or a technological development that seems to fulfill the mark of the beast (like bar codes or biochips) and conclude that it is a sign that the time must be near or in their lifetime. That kind of reasoning has been used innumerable times and ways but always resulted in an "epic fail."
It is important to put aside these pseudo-signs and look only to the real milestones listed in the Bible if you want to correctly know when there really is something prophetic coming to worry about. Given the fact that none of the prerequisite end time events have transpired, it is safe to say that it is impossible for Jesus to come in 2013—or even the rest of this decade!
List of Prerequisites to Jesus' Return
So, what are these prerequisites events? Here are many examples (listed in reverse chronological order):
- Great Tribulation — According to Daniel 9:27 = Matthew 24:21, Jesus must return after a period of Great Tribulation. During this Great Tribulation the Antichrist will rule over the world for 42 months (Rev 13). He will force all the unsaved (Rev 13:8) 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 — The 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 13:14). Another unfulfilled prophecy, despite what many think the abomination is.
- 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 still 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 situation 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 Israel and her Arab (and Persian) neighbors. 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. Obviously, the attack has still not happened because Damascus remains a city to this day.
Although this is not the full roadmap (as contained in my book), it does include the "Event A" from my earlier explanation: 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 finish with Jesus' return. 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 Jesus is not coming for sure this year let alone the rest of the decade may sound crazy to many. Often they would point to the multiplying and worsening problems in the world as evidence that "the end is nigh"...(for sure this time!). However, social or economic problems are not one of the events on the end time roadmap. At best they are just reasonable-sounding speculations.
What about the verses implying Jesus will come suddenly and unexpectedly like a "thief in the night" (1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:10)? If you check out the passages in context you will find that this thief-like surprise is only applicable to the world and not to the "sons of light and sons of the day" (1Th 5:4). God's children have revelation about the circumstances of the coming of Jesus just as this article has covered. If they keep them in mind, they will not find Jesus' coming surprises them like the world (1Th 5:4).
Some might argue that Jesus cannot come back over the next few years 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 cannot know many other points in time when it cannot possibly happen.
For example, if a friend tells you he will drop by on one of his days off but he does not tell you which one, you don't know the "day or hour" (which means "time.") Yet his day off is Saturday. So would you sit there on Sunday or Monday hoping or believing he might just come "today" or would you know he can't be coming "today?" It is the same with Jesus' coming. We do not know the absolute or positive timing of his coming, only a few times when he cannot come according to his own words. Jesus' coming has conditions and circumstances to it that mean he cannot come just any time even if we don't know the one and only time.
Another common objection is that it's wrong to tell people that Jesus is not coming in 2013 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 as Jesus taught (Mt 24:44; Lk 12:40). 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 constant vigilance to not allow yourself to backslide (Lk 12:45).
Rather than a disadvantage like that, there is a clear advantage to this thinking compared to the popular "the end is nigh" thinking that has people focused on something that is not going to happen. Some people are 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 (including my own experience for a time when I still had not discovered what this article shared). It truly is better to know the truth and act off of that—prayerfully and righteously—rather than a misunderstanding that opens you up to constant false alarms or paranoia or influences you to make bad choices or live in dread.
The hope and expectation that Jesus is coming in the next year is understandably popular and persistent among Christians despite a "no show" every time so far. Unfortunately, this belief is based more on fantasy than fact. The doctrine that the pretrib rapture is the next event in prophecy is mainly to blame for sustaining this fantasy and obscuring the facts. That the Second Advent can happen imminently or without warning breaks Scripture (John 10:35) and should be rejected.
Scripture teaches that 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
2012 2013 or several years after that for sure...nor can the dreadful Great Tribulation come that soon either. There is simply not enough time in a year for all the events to happen.
It certainly is disappointing news that Jesus is not coming in 2013 or anytime soon after. The good part of this is that by the same principle, many bad things like Wormwood and the Great Tribulation are also certain to not come next year either! It means you can stop worrying about the end coming suddenly and unexpectedly as long as the situation of the past 2000 years of no prerequisite events continues. (If you are interested in learning all the things you do not have to worry about in 2013 without it taking years of personal study, check out the book Know the Future offered on this site.)
Feedback / Questions (e.g., "Tim, what does the Bible say about...").
More articles on End Times Bible Prophecy
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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