What’s The Surprise Factor At The Second Coming?

Q. I’m struggling with the two sets of 1260 days given for the 70th week. From what I understand, the first half or the first 1260 days will begin when a contract is signed with the Antichrist (Dan 9:27). From there, the 70th week will be basically 1260 days x2. If this is true, then once the treaty is signed (Dan 9:27) then the return of Christ appears to be predictable. However, Christ said it will come as a surprise because no one will know the day or hour in advance. I know there is the 75 day period after the Great Tribulation is finished. If Christ doesn’t return on the 2520th day, then His return would be narrowed down to at most a 75 day window and the “surprise” factor is reduced greatly. Can you help me on this one?

A. First, It’s important to remember that both Jesus and Daniel gave their descriptions of this period of time from Israel’s perspective. The Church will be gone by then.

That said, most scholars believe that Daniel’s 70th Week consists of 7 years of 30 day months for a total of 2520 days. The last half of this seven years is called the Great Tribulation that’s variously described as being 3 1/2 years, 42 months, or 1260 days in length. Therefore the end of the Great Tribulation is predictable if one starts counting off 1260 days from the time of the Abomination of Desolation as Jesus indicated in Matt. 24:15-21.

But Daniel 12:11 says from the time of the abomination of desolation to some unnamed point there will be 1290 days, and goes on to say those who reach the 1335th day from the abomination will be blessed. The Bible doesn’t sat what will happen on the 1290th day, but it’s generally assumed that the 1335th day will mark the beginning of Israel’s 1,000 year Kingdom Age on Earth, which we know as the Millennium.

It’s also important to remember that believers will be a distinct minority on Earth at the time. Therefore, most people won’t be aware of any of this. And I don’t think the Lord intends to take believers by surprise. So although the “surprise factor”, as you call it, will be narrowed to a maximum of 75 days and most likely a lot less, the vast majority of people won’t have any idea what’s going on or what’s coming next.

This is confirmed by their reaction to the sign of the Son of Man appearing in the sky (Matt. 24:30). They’ll mourn as they see visible proof of His return, indicating that for the first time they’ll believe all the things they’ve previously denied and it will be too late to change their destiny. Life is not going to return to normal after all. In fact, for them it’s about to end forever.

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