Q. Thank you for taking the time to answer so many questions from the Word of God. I am a little curious how you reconcile your position of Jesus’ return between now and 2011 (with His second coming in 2018) with your view that Jesus won’t be coming back by a certain date, but when the number of Christians added to the church is complete?
A. You seem to be speaking of the rapture and the 2nd coming as if they are similar when in fact they are really quite different. In the rapture Jesus will come part way to Earth, call the Church up to meet Him, then turn around and take us to Heaven without appearing on Earth at all (1 Thes. 4:16-18 and John 14:2-3). It’s a signless event that could literally happen any day and will happen as soon as the Church reaches its full number.
For sound theological reasons, the Rapture also has to happen before Daniel’s 70th Week begins, whereas the 2nd Coming can not happen before Daniel’s 70th Week comes to an end, after which Jesus will visibly return to Earth to establish His Kingdom here.
The approximate time of the 2nd coming is easier to pin down than the rapture is because in effect Jesus said the generation of people being born around the time Israel became a nation again would not all die before His return (Matt. 24:34). An average Biblical lifetime being 70 years long (Psalm 90:10 and Isaiah 23:15) means the 2nd Coming will likely happen 70 years from 1948, in 2018.
So God appears to have revealed His deadline for the 2nd Coming, at least in approximate terms. But He was much less specific concerning the rapture. So far all we know to do is to subtract the 7 years of Daniel’s 70th Week from 2018 to discover the latest time it could happen.
When you put it all together it means there’s a strong probability that some day between now and the end of 2011 the church will reach its full number and we’ll be out of here without any prior notice, and it could happen on any one of those days.