One Torah For All

One Torah shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Exodus 12:49

I have told you in advance."

Chapter 12:
The Imminence of the Second Advent

The Reaper

“How imminent is the return of Yeshua?” This question was something that even the disciples of Yeshua’s day were concerned. Yeshua deals with this question, teaching them with parables about His second coming.

This chapter will look into this area of concern that the disciples brought to Him, and His answer to disciples of all ages.

Personal Imminence

Regardless of the immediacy of Messiah’s return at the end of the age to all mankind, He may return for an individual at any moment. He taught this principle to His disciples. He wanted them to live in such a way, that if He were to come for them individually, they would be ready.

Luke 12:16-20
And He spoke a parable unto them, saying, “The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?’ And he said, ‘This will I do; I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But YHWH said unto him, ‘You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you; then whose shall those things be, which you have provided?’”

Being a member of the human race, one must be realistic that the length of one’s life is very uncertain. There are many things that can enter into the life of a person that would shorten, or even bring to an end, one’s life. Facing the reality of death in an affluent society is contradictory to the materialistic world in which one lives. The disciple should learn to live his life, not in fear, but in expectation, that Yeshua may take him home at any moment.

Universal Imminence

An honest approach to the following Scriptures will help a person in understanding the full impact of what the Scripture teaches. One must look at what these say, without reasoning them away to fit what one already believes and/or has been taught, but instead, allow the Scriptures to say what they say. It is important when examining these Scriptures, to keep in mind the context in which each one is found.

Matthew 13:24-30
Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Why then does it have tares?’ He said unto them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said unto him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘Nay; lest while you gather up the tares, you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

In this parable, Yeshua teaches about the kingdom of heaven. In it, there are several truths that need to be understood. The first is that the sower of good seed is Yeshua. This is learned in His explanation of this parable (vs.37). One needs to understand the principles of sowing and reaping as well. Time is needed after the sowing takes place before harvest comes. Reaping comes later, after the seed has grown, matured, and produced its fruit. It does not, nor cannot, follow immediately after sowing. This is a physical impossibility in YHWH’s creation.

The following passages of Scripture come from Matthew 24.

Matthew 24

Verse 15
“When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,” (whoso reads, let him understand:)

Verse 21
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

Verse 29
“Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”

Verse 30
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”

Verse 31
“And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a shofar, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Yeshua teaches, that before He will return, there are several things that will happen. Notice that Yeshua places His return in verse 30. Before this is the coming of the Anti-Messiah (abomination of desolation). The great tribulation will have begun (vs.21) and will be witnessed by His disciples (the “you” in verse 15), and run its course to its conclusion (vs.29). The tribulation has been concluded, for He says that it will be “immediately after” the tribulation that He returns. There shall be signs and wonders in the sky. It will be after these things take place that He returns. At His return, all the tribes of the earth will witness this coming (see also vs.26, 27). Notice where Yeshua places the gathering of His elect (vs. 31); it is after all these things.

Yeshua tells His followers the illustration of the two servants (Matthew 24:45-51). One servant is good. The other servant is wicked. Time is the determining element. Time allows the nature of the servants to be displayed. In time, every servant will display his true nature. Again, Yeshua teaches His disciples that they should expect His return after a period of time.

Matthew 25:5
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.”

The KJV uses the word “tarried.” Whatever the word used, the idea that Yeshua is portraying is a length of time. It must be recognized that Yeshua was telling them in advance, that when He went away, He would not immediately come back again.

Yeshua gives another kingdom parable in this same chapter.

Matthew 25:14
“For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.”

Matthew 25:19
“After a long time the master of those servants comes, and reckons with them.”

In this parable, Yeshua teaches once again, that there will be a long period of time between His departure and His return. He says that the kingdom of heaven is like a man going to a far country. In today’s society, one may fail to grasp the full significance of this statement with all the different means of rapid transportation available. A person today can travel anywhere in the world in a short period of time. While this is true today, it was not so then. The common means of travel was walking, or perhaps in a caravan. Both methods were very slow. To go into a “far country” would have taken a very long time to go, conduct one’s business, and then to return.

Yeshua says later in the parable that it was “after a long time” that the master returned. They were not to expect His return soon. Time was needed for traveling to the far country, and time was needed to return from the far country. Time was also needed for the servants to display their true spirits, as in the previous illustration that Yeshua gave.

After Yeshua had been crucified, and after His resurrection, but before He ascended to the Father, when He gave them their commission, they were to teach “all nations.” This, of course, would take a long time to accomplish.

Matthew 28:19a
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,”

Acts 1:8b
“And you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Even after the disciples had received the Holy Spirit, it would take them a long time to evangelize the world. They had no means of mass communication. They had to spread the Gospel by word of mouth from one person to another. The disciples are still working on carrying out the task Yeshua gave to His disciples almost 2000 years ago.

Luke 19:11, 12
And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of YHWH should immediately appear. He said therefore, “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.”

It is recorded here the disciples’ concern and their question to Yeshua, about the appearance of the kingdom of YHWH, for they thought it to be immediate (imminent). In response, Yeshua wanted them to understand clearly, that the kingdom of YHWH was not going to appear immediately. They believed this to include the crowning of Yeshua to the throne of David. However, Yeshua explains to them that this was not to be the case.

The parable that He gives again teaches that there will be a length of time before He returns, as was the case with this nobleman who went into a “far country.” The disciples are to conduct the business of the kingdom of YHWH until He returns. Also, time is needed for the true nature of the servants to be displayed.

Luke 21:24
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

One of the things that must be included in the “times of the Gentiles” being fulfilled, is that those who answer the call, must come out of the nations; those who were not a people, shall become a people once again; i.e., the nation of Ephraim. (One reference of importance is Hosea 14; also see Ezekiel 37.)

Luke 21:27
And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Yeshua gives another clue here to the immediacy of His return. Jerusalem was under the control of Gentiles when Yeshua spoke this prophecy. It has remained under their control until 1967. That was the first time since before the time of Messiah that Jerusalem was under the control of the Hebrew people. Until the Jewish people regained control of this city, it would not have been possible for Messiah to return.

Yeshua also tells Peter by what kind of death he would glorify YHWH. Peter was to grow old. He would be arrested (bound), and taken where he did not want to go. He would die before Yeshua returned.

John 21:18, 19a
“Amein, Amein, I say unto you, When you were young, you girded yourself, and walked wherever you would; but when you shall be old, you shall stretch forth your hands, and another shall gird you, and carry you where you would not go.” This spoke he, signifying by what death he should glorify YHWH.

As stated earlier, Yeshua entered heaven and is at the right hand of YHWH. Scripture also teaches that He is to remain there until the restoration of all things.

Acts 3:20, 21
And he shall send Yeshua Messiah, which before was preached unto you; whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which YHWH has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

Yeshua is not to leave heaven until all things are restored. One cannot rectify His coming at the beginning of the tribulation (millennium), with this restoration of all things, because the restoration does not take place until all His enemies are put into subjection under His feet. Certainly, He will have enemies during the tribulation period (and during the Millennium). In addition, all things will not be restored until after the tribulation. Israel needs to be restored. He cannot return until Israel (all twelve tribes) is present and active in the Land as one nation. Paul gives two other clues that are supported by what Yeshua taught His followers. These deal with the coming Anti-Messiah and the apostasy.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Master Yeshua Messiah, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Messiah is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

First, it must be pointed out, that this letter is written to disciples. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul gives some pertinent truth about the coming of Yeshua and the gathering together of disciples to Him. He very clearly states, that this will not happen until two things take place first. The apostasy comes, which implies that over a period of time, the body has been built, and then for some reason, many of those within the body fall away. Those who fall away are in the description “having a form of righteousness, but deny the power thereof.” Moreover, what is the “power” of the Gospel? It is to save a person from his sins.

In addition, the man of lawlessness must be revealed, the Anti-Messiah. The picture of the person given here is correlated to the one that is found in Daniel (7:25). Then in verse 8, the Holy Spirit teaches that Yeshua will slay the Anti-Messiah at His return. It is not possible to rectify Yeshua coming before the tribulation, which is before the rise of the Anti-Messiah, with Yeshua slaying him at His return. How could Yeshua slay the Anti-Messiah before the tribulation even begins? No, rather, Yeshua returns at the end of the age just as the Scripture so clearly teaches. It is after all these things take place that the disciples are gathered together to Yeshua.

Finally, in looking at whether or not the return and general revelation of Yeshua is imminent, Paul expected death, not rapture. He did not believe that Yeshua might come, and that he would be spared the persecution and suffering that he was enduring.

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

To sum up this chapter, it has been shown, that there will be a length of time between when Yeshua was received into heaven, and when He will return to earth. Several things must take place before the return of Messiah can take place. To list them, they would be: 1) Peter will die; 2) Paul will die; 3) the seed of the Gospel that Yeshua planted will grow and mature; 4) servants will display their true spirits; 5) Anti-Messiah will come; 6) there will be a great tribulation; 7) there will be signs and wonders in the sky; 8) Jerusalem will no longer be controlled by the Gentiles; 9) Ephraim will become a nation again; and 10) the apostasy will come.

Yeshua said that He would journey to a far country, and after a long time, return. If a person is to accept the Scripture as true, then he must listen to these teachings found in Scripture, and realize that the imminent return of Messiah is not possible until all these other things take place (and there are actually many more that are too numerous to mention).

Yeshua can return for the individual at any time, as was discussed earlier in this chapter. However, there could not be a universal return, until His word has been fulfilled in all points. Many of those prophecies could not be fulfilled after He returns. This does not mean that the body of Messiah can take her ease. To the contrary, it shows how much more diligent one must be in following his Master. It shows how much more work there is to do before He returns. We must hasten the day! (see 2 Peter 3:12)