The Bible has many references to the 2nd coming of Jesus Christ for the resurrection of His believers and/or the end times. There are some possible indicators of the timing. However, we must be careful because no one knows the timing except God.
Many scriptures refer to the return of the Jews to Israel. In May 1948 the United Nations established Israel as a state. This fulfills Ezekiel 36:24 and 38:8, 11, &14 that “On that day My people Israel are living securely”. Although Israel has endured wars since 1948, the people are more secure than in over 2600 years due to God’s grace, there perseverance and technology and the support of the United States.
The 3rd Jewish Temple must be built before the mid-point of the 7 year Tribulation period described in Daniel 9:27 & 12:11. Currently, at the heart of Jerusalem on the Temple Mount is the Muslim Noble Sanctuary, Al-Haram al-Sharif, enclosing over 35 acres of fountains, gardens, buildings and domes. At its southernmost end is Al-Aqsa Mosque and at its center the celebrated Dome of the Rock. The entire area is regarded as a mosque and comprises nearly one sixth of the walled city of Jerusalem.
For the 3rd Jewish Temple to be built on the Temple Mount this Muslim Noble Sanctuary probably must be removed. Ezekiel 43:12 says “entire area on top of the mountain all around must be most holy.” While this references the 4th millennium temple area it probably also applies to the 3rd tribulation temple. Two ways the Muslim mosque may be removed is; 1) by Muslim extremists like ISIS destroying the area and blaming it on the Jews which could lead to the Ezekiel 38-39 war against Israel or 2) could be removed by the war itself.
In this war 8 countries “will be summoned” by God, Ezekiel 38:8 and God “will bring you against My land”, Ezekiel 38:16. God by supernatural means will destroy this army so that “For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land.”, Ezekiel 39:12 and for seven years Israel will be disposing of the enemy weapons, Ezekiel 39:12. In his book “Epicenter” Joel Rosenberg identifies the modern nations that make up these 8 ancient named countries. They will be led by Russia and include Iran, Syria and many other countries.
Since 2005 the United States has limited the development and sale of its vast energy resources and refused their sale to our European allies. This and other US policy has allowed 1) Russia to reestablish its economy and become the major force on the world stage and 2) limited US influence throughout the middle east. Russia has also established strong ties with Syria and Iran.
Finally in 2014 the development of shale oil and gas in states like North Dakota without federal control created a surplus of oil in the world. Saudi Arabia elected to keep pumping at the same capacity and let oil prices decline from over $100 to about $30. This created major economic problems for Russia and they responded with aggression, taking Crimea, threatening Ukraine, and recently moving into Syria to support the Assad regime. The U.S. and NATO countries entered into an agreement with Iran that frees Iran to become more active economically and in the export of terrorism. ISIS became a major force in about 20 countries around the middle east and exporters of terrorism to the U.S., Europe and beyond. As of October 2016 the middle east is in turmoil and terrorism is expanding world-wide.
These events set the stage for 1) Russia to provide the leadership for the Ezekiel 38-39 battle and 2) because of the decline of the United States and its policy the US probably would not intercede to protect Israel from the massive enemy approaching Israel. This leaves the way clear for God to defeat the enemy through supernatural means.
Since this war will result in Israel taking 7 years to dispose of the enemy weapons it must precede the 7 year tribulation period. I believe it will occur in the gap between the resurrection of His believers, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period.
This means that God has set the events in place that could lead to the rapture as Jesus comes for the resurrection of His believers at any time. What should believers in Christ be doing? Follow the great commandment of Jesus to “Love God and our neighbors” Mark 12:29-31 and the great commission “go make disciples” Matthew 28:18-20. This includes evangelization and discipling of new believers and remedial discipleship training. We don’t know how much time is left but we must redeem the time. Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
By Henry Luke July 20, 2014 Revised October 15, 2016; November 12, 2016