Q. I’m having trouble reconciling the “unknown day” of the Lords return with the battle of Armageddon, Matthew 24:29 says “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” which means the Great Tribulation is over, then has the fighting not stopped or does this just mean the Bowl judgments are over? Because at the Lord’s return he destroys the armies that have compassed Jerusalem, can you please clarify the sequence of events.
A. This takes a little digging because the answer is not obvious. We know from several sources that the Great Tribulation will last 1260 days. But four times between Matt. 24:36 and Matt. 25:13 Jesus said people on Earth at the time won’t know the day or hour of His return. How could this be?
Revelation 15:1 tells us that with the bowl judgments the time of God’s wrath will be completed. The Great Tribulation is the 2nd half of the time of God’s wrath. The bowl judgments begin and end in Rev. 16 so the end of Rev.16 must be the end of the Great Tribulation. Rev. 17-18 deal with the judgment of Babylon. I think these two chapters are an expansion of Rev. 16:19 and happen during the 7th bowl judgment. Note also that the preparation for the Battle of Armageddon is mentioned in Rev. 16:16.
Matt. 24:29 tells us the Sun and Moon will both go dark immediately after the end of the Great Tribulation. The whole world will be plunged into darkness.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear and all the nations of the Earth will mourn (Matt. 24:30). We’re not told how much time will pass during which the world will wait in darkness, not knowing what will happen next. But at some point they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory.
Rev. 19:11-21 describes the Battle of Armageddon, which really isn’t a battle at all. The anti-Christ, the False Prophet, the kings of the Earth and all their armies will be gathered for a fight, but the Lord will appear in the sky and single handedly wipe them all out. The anti-Christ and the False Prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire.
Zechariah says the day the Lord appears on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14:4) to fight for Jerusalem will be a unique day. There will be neither daytime nor night time, a day with no light, and no cold or frost. But when evening comes there will be light (Zech. 14:6-7). On that same day He will become King of the whole Earth (Zech. 14:9)
I think Rev. 19:11-21 and Zech 14:4-9 correlate with Matt. 24:30 when everyone will see the Son of man coming on the clouds with power and great glory. This is the day and hour no one can know in advance.
From Daniel 12:11-12 we are told of a 75 day period of time between the end of the Great Tribulation and the establishment of the millennial kingdom. The Lord’s return will take place some time within that 75 day period. Some of it will be occupied by the series of judgments the Lord will conduct after He returns (Matt. 24:42 – Matt, 25:46). There may be other details to attend to as well. But as to the exact day and hour of His return, no one will know until He appears in the dark sky above.