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The Second Coming


Introduction

The Bible gives us some very specific and very interesting details about the Second Coming of Christ. It gives us some indications of when He will return to the earth (although not a specific date), why He will return, how He will return, where He will return, who will return with Him, what will happen after He returns, and more!


The Popular View of the Second Coming

Two thousand years ago Jesus ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives, and many Christians believe that He will descend back to the Mount of Olives when He returns. This view is based on the following passages:
"After [Jesus] said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city." (Acts 1:9-12)

"On that day [the day of the Second Coming] his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (Zechariah 14:4)
These two passages seem to say that Jesus will descend back to the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming, but is that an accurate understanding of these passages? Let's look carefully at what the above passages say and what they do not say. Acts 1:9-12 (above) tells us that Jesus will return in the same way that He went, but notice that it does not tell us where He will return. Zechariah 14:4 (above) says that Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives on the day of the Second Coming, but notice that it does not say that He will descend directly to that spot.

It turns out that there are no passages of Scripture which say that Jesus will descend from heaven back to the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming. In fact, if we try to be thorough then we'll find that the Bible paints a radically different picture of Jesus' return to the earth!


Background Information

In order to understand the one specific event which will "trigger" the Second Coming, we need to understand some things that happened in the first century.

For one thing, the ancient Jews knew that the Messiah (the Christ) will be in the line of King David, and therefore He was sometimes referred to as "the Son of David":
""What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?" "The son of David," they replied." (Matthew 22:42)
Notice that when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey He was fulfilling a Messianic prophecy (in Zechariah 9:9), and many Jews greeted Him as "the Son of David":
"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away." This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'" [Zechariah 9:9]. The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"" (Matthew 21:1-9)
By calling Jesus "the Son of David" they were acknowledging Him as the long-awaited Messiah. They cut boughs from the trees and joyfully greeted Him with shouts of "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord," based on Messianic passages such as Psalms 118:25-27:
"O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you. The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar." (Psalm 118:25-27)
However, something was wrong. Rather than rejoicing, Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem:
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."" (Luke 19:41-44)
Something was terribly wrong. Although many people were joyfully greeting Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, the nation of Israel as a whole was under the judgment of God.

How did that happen?


Israel's National Rejection of the Messiah

According to the Hebrew Scriptures, when the Messiah arrives He will be able to do things that no other person can do. For example, there were Jews who went around casting out demons (see Matthew 12:27 and Acts 19:13), but their method was to demand the name of the demon and then use that name to cast the demon out (for example, see The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.205). Jesus possibly used this method in Luke 8:30. However, this method did not work on "mute" demons who prevented the demonized person from speaking, but certainly the Messiah would be able to cast out this kind of demon. Therefore, when Jesus cast out a "mute" demon, people were astonished and they began to ask if He might actually be "the Son of David" (the Messiah):
"Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, "Could this be the Son of David?"" (Matthew 12:22-23)
The people understood that only the Messiah will be able to do what Jesus did, so they began asking, "Could this be the Son of David?" The Jewish religious leaders (the Pharisees) were faced with having to decide whether to accept Jesus as the Messiah, or whether to reject Him. But if they rejected Him as the Messiah, then how could they explain what He did?

They made their choice, and they sealed the fate of the nation of Israel:
"But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, "It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons."" (Matthew 12:24)
The leaders of Israel officially rejected Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, and they brought the nation of Israel in that generation under the judgment of God. Watch how Jesus responded:
"Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house. He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come."" (Matthew 12:25-32)
The religious leaders of Israel in that generation had committed the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This was a national rejection of Jesus on the grounds that He was demon-possessed. Although many individual Jews accepted Jesus as the Messiah, the leaders of the nation of Israel officially rejected Him and committed "the unpardonable sin." This brought that generation under the judgment of God, and that is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem:
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."" (Luke 19:41-44)
The nation of Israel as a whole did not recognize the time of God's coming to them, and this brought judgment on them. In 70 A.D., the Roman army swept down upon Jerusalem and destroyed it, just as Jesus had said would happen (Luke 19:41-44, above). The Romans set fire to the temple, which caused the gold to melt and to run down through the cracks between the stones. In order to get to the gold, the Romans tore the temple apart stone by stone, fulfilling Jesus' prophecy:
"Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."" (Matthew 24:1-2)
When the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., they tore the temple apart stone by stone trying to get the gold, just as Jesus had prophesied (The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.434). This attack by the Roman army caused a world-wide dispersion of the Jewish people which continues to this day. Judgment came upon that generation because the leaders of the nation of Israel had committed the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus' pronouncement of judgment against the nation of Israel, the Pharisees demanded that He do a miraculous sign for them. But notice Jesus' response. He repeatedly described the condemnation which will be heaped onto that generation which had rejected Him:
"Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon's wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."" (Matthew 12:38-45)
The leadership of that generation had officially accused Jesus of being demon-possessed. They had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. As the leaders of the nation of Israel, they had committed "the unpardonable sin," bringing the nation under judgment in that "wicked and adulterous generation." That generation of Jews was living under Roman rule, but at least they were a national entity, and they had their own form of government (the Sanhedrin), and they lived in the Holy City (Jerusalem), and they were able to worship in the temple, and so on. But all of this ended in 70 A.D. when the nation of Israel ceased to exist and the Jewish temple was destroyed and the Jews were scattered across the world. Their final condition was worse than the first, just as Jesus had said it would be (Matthew 12:45, above). Only in our time has the nation of Israel been reborn, and the Jews are now being regathered back to their land in fulfillment of end-times prophecy (see my article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy).

In Matthew 12:38-45 (above), Jesus said that only one sign will be given to that wicked and adulterous generation: "The sign of the prophet Jonah," which He described as being the sign of resurrection. In addition to Jesus' resurrection, He also resurrected a man named Lazarus. Notice that when Jesus performed the sign of resurrection on Lazarus, many Jews responded correctly and put their faith in Him, but others were looking to the religious leaders for their decision concerning Jesus:
"When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done." (John 11:43-46)
Some of the Jews went to the Pharisees and reported what Jesus had done. The Pharisees had already brought themselves and the nation of Israel under the judgment of God, and they responded to the resurrection of Lazarus in a consistent manner:
"Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin. "What are we accomplishing?" they asked. "Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, "You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish." He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life. ... But the chief priests and Pharisees had given orders that if anyone found out where Jesus was, he should report it so that they might arrest him." (John 11:47-53, 57)
The leaders knew that Jesus was performing miraculous signs, yet they made their rejection of Him complete by condemning Him to death. Notice that their decisions had national significance. They were acting on behalf of the nation of Israel, and they enlisted the aid of the nation in arresting Jesus so that they could have Him put to death. Their "unpardonable sin" was a national sin. Therefore, many modern Bible scholars believe that the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not an individual sin that people can make today. It was a national sin which only applied to that generation of Jews who rejected Jesus as a nation (still, it wouldn't be very wise for us to accuse any acts of the Holy Spirit as being demonic!).

The point of all of this is that the nation of Israel in that generation officially rejected Jesus as the Messiah. For example, in chapter 23 of Matthew, Jesus denounced the leaders of Israel for a variety of sins. In verse 13 He specifically denounced them for leading the nation in rejection of the Messiah:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to." (Matthew 23:13)
The leadership was held accountable for leading the people of that generation into a national rejection of Jesus. This will turn out to be a key point concerning the event which will "trigger" the Second Coming.

After pronouncing numerous "woes" against the leaders of Israel in Matthew 23:15-28, Jesus concluded His condemnation by saying:
"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation." (Matthew 23:29-36)
So that generation of Jews was held accountable for all of the blood of the prophets. The Pharisees knew all of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, yet they rejected the One who was fulfilling those prophecies and performing the signs for authenticating the Messiah. After pronouncing severe judgment against that generation, Jesus concluded with this very significant statement:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (Matthew 23:37-39)
Earlier we saw that when Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy, many people responded with Messianic greetings based on the Psalms (see Matthew 21:1-9 and Psalms 118:25-27, above). Recall that they were acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah, and recall that one of those Messianic greetings was "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." With that in mind, look again at the highlighted part of the above passage (Matthew 23:37-39). Now we are starting to get an idea of the one specific event which will "trigger" the Second Coming!


The One Specific Event Which Will "Trigger" the Second Coming

At some point after the Antichrist comes to power, the Euphrates river will dry up so that the forces of the Antichrist can gather together at a place in Israel called Har-Mageddon (which in Hebrew means "the mountain of Megiddo," i.e. the mountain that overlooks the Valley of Jezreel). At this point the so-called "Battle of Armageddon" is about to begin, although the Bible does not say that there will be any battles at Har-Mageddon:
"The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon." (Revelation 16:12-16)
After gathering at the mountain of Megiddo (Har-Mageddon), the Antichrist will take his forces and besiege Jerusalem. The Jews will be supernaturally empowered to inflict heavy losses against the Antichrist's armies. However, Jerusalem will fall, there will be massive plundering and raping, and half of the Jewish population of Jerusalem will be taken into slavery. The other half will be allowed to remain in the city:
"This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness," declares the LORD. "I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, 'The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.' On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place. The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem."" (Zechariah 12:1-9)

"A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city." (Zechariah 14:1-2)
During the siege of Jerusalem, the Jews will seek the Lord:
"behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling unto all the peoples round about, and upon Judah also shall it be in the siege against Jerusalem. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all the peoples; all that burden themselves with it shall be sore wounded; and all the nations of the earth shall be gathered together against it. ... And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born." (Zechariah 12:2-3, 10, ASV)
Never in the history of the world have all the nations of the earth gathered together to attack Jerusalem. This is a future invasion which is often misnamed as "the Battle of Armageddon." According to the above passage, when the Antichrist gathers together the armies of the nations against the Jews, the Jews will humble themselves before God and will make some kind of request or prayer or petition (which is what "supplication" means). Specifically, the above passage says that they will look unto Jesus whom they had pierced, they will mourn for Him, and their request will be a plea for Him to return, as we will see in a moment.

Another passage which describes this is in Hosea:
"Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." (Hosea 5:15)
In this Old Testament passage, the Lord said that He will one day go back to His place (heaven). This implies that He will first leave heaven, which we know happened when Jesus was born on the earth:
"No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven--the Son of Man." (John 3:13)

"At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?"" (John 6:41-42)

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven." (John 6:51)
Notice that the Lord said in Hosea 5:15 (above) that He will go back to heaven until the Jews admit their guilt. Jesus was put to death by the Romans, but it was because the Jews as a nation had rejected Him as the Messiah. When the Jews admit their guilt and earnestly seek Him, He will return (Hosea 5:15, above). The Jews will mourn for Jesus and look to Him for deliverance while the Antichrist is trying to destroy them at the end of the seven-year Tribulation period (Zechariah 12:2-3, 10, above).

Notice that Leviticus 26:40-42 says that the Jews must confess the one specific iniquity by which they and their fathers trespassed against the Lord. Then He will remember His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob:
"If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land." (Leviticus 26:40-42, KJV)
The AMP, ASV, KJV, NASB, NKJV, RSV, and Young's Literal Translation all have "iniquity" (singular) in the above passage (not "sins" as the NIV says). As we have seen, there is one specific iniquity or sin that the Jews must humbly confess, which is their national rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus will remain in heaven until they admit their guilt (Hosea 5:15, above).

The prophet Jeremiah described the blessings that Israel will experience after the Messiah comes, but he said that first they must acknowledge their guilt and return to the Lord:
"Go, proclaim this message toward the north: "'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'" declares the LORD. "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance."" (Jeremiah 3:12-18)
This passage describes the blessings which will come to Israel in the Messianic Kingdom (which we tend to refer to as "the Millennium" - see my article called Beyond the Second Coming). The context in the above passage is the future kingdom after the Second Coming, but the passage specifically says that first the Jews must acknowledge the guilt or iniquity by which they rebelled against the Lord.

Because of the way in which the following passage ties in with other passages which we will look at in a moment, it appears that the Jews may spend two days confessing their national sin, and on the third day the Lord will return to save them:
""Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me." "Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth."" (Hosea 5:15-6:3)
We have already examined the first part of this passage, where the Lord says that He will go back to heaven until the Jews admit their guilt and earnestly seek Him. As the Antichrist is trying to destroy the Jews, the final three days of the seven-year Tribulation period will begin (Hosea 5:15-6:3, above).

When the nation of Israel turns to the Lord in repentance during those final three days, a national regeneration will take place when the Lord takes away their sins:
"I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins."" (Romans 11:25-27)
The above passage says that when the Deliverer (Jesus) takes away the sins from Jacob (Israel), then all Israel will be saved. This is because when the seven-year Tribulation is over (at the Second Coming), it will mark the end of the 70 'sevens' in Daniel's prophecy:
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." (Daniel 9:24)
My article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Two shows that the 70 'sevens' in the above passage refers to a period of 490 years, and it shows that 69 of those 'sevens' (483 years) ended when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. The last 'seven' (the 70th 'seven') is the future seven years of the Tribulation, which will end at the Second Coming of Christ (as that article shows). The purpose of the 70 'sevens' was for Israel to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, and to bring in everlasting righteousness (Daniel 9:24, above). The Jews will confess their national guilt and turn to Jesus as the Messiah during the final three days of the seven-year Tribulation, and at that point they will have reached the end of the 70 'sevens' because they will have finished transgression, they will have put an end to sin, they will have atoned for wickedness, and they will be bringing in everlasting righteousness. "And so all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:25-27, above).

This passage describes the Jews turning to the Lord at the end of the seven-year Tribulation:
"This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians : "Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, 'Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.' A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both men and animals will flee away. "In those days, at that time," declares the LORD, "the people of Israel and the people of Judah together will go in tears to seek the LORD their God. They will ask the way to Zion and turn their faces toward it. They will come and bind themselves to the LORD in an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten."" (Jeremiah 50:1-5)
Revelation 18:1-24 says that Babylon will be destroyed shortly before the Second Coming. The above passage says that in the days when Babylon is destroyed, the Jews will seek the Lord in tears and they will bind themselves to the Lord in an everlasting covenant. This describes their national repentance and regeneration, as we have seen.

Zechariah prophesied that in the days when the armies of the nations are gathered together to destroy Jerusalem, the remnant of the Jews will call on the Lord and He will answer:
""Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is close to me!" declares the LORD Almighty. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land," declares the LORD, "two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, 'They are my people,' and they will say, 'The LORD is our God.' A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city."" (Zechariah 13:7-14:2)
When Jesus returns at the Second Coming, two-thirds of the Jewish population of the earth will have been killed during the seven-year Tribulation (Zechariah 13:7-14:2, above). The remaining one-third is the "remnant" which is refined in the fire like silver or gold. They will turn to Jesus and call for His return, and He will come down from heaven and wage war on their behalf against the Antichrist and his armies.

Earlier we saw that when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey in fulfillment of a Messianic prophecy, many people responded with Messianic greetings based on the Psalms (see Matthew 21:1-9 and Psalms 118:25-27, above). One of those Messianic greetings was "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord." Jesus said that He will not return until He is called the Messiah by the nation which had rejected Him:
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" (Matthew 23:37-39)
So now we know the one specific event which will "trigger" the Second Coming! As the armies of the Antichrist are trying to exterminate the Jews at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, God will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication on the nation of Israel. They will admit their national guilt, and they will look unto the One they had pierced, and they will mourn for Him. They will earnestly seek Him and acknowledge that He is the Messiah, and they will be regenerated (saved) as a nation. They will call on His Name, pleading for His return, then heaven will open up and Jesus will return to do battle on their behalf, defeating the Antichrist and his armies!


The Second Coming

My article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Two shows that Israel will sign a seven-year covenant with a man whom we refer to as "the Antichrist." The signing of this treaty is the event which will begin the seven-year Tribulation period. At the end of the Tribulation, Jesus will return to the earth and defeat the Antichrist and his armies.

At the mid-point of the seven-year Tribulation period the Antichrist will break his covenant with Israel, and he will desecrate the Jewish temple by placing an "abomination" in the holy place (as the above article shows). At this point, an intense persecution of Jews will begin, and the Jews in Israel should flee to the mountains:
"So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel--let the reader understand-- then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains." (Matthew 24:16)
The above passage is referring to the end-times when the Antichrist is seeking to exterminate the Jews (see the article above), and it says that the Jews should flee to the mountains. But where specifically should they go? To find out, first we need to understand the identity of the "woman" in Revelation 12:1-6:
"A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon [the devil] with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter. And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. The woman fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." (Revelation 12:1-6)
In the above passage, the "dragon" is the devil (see Revelation 20:2), and we're about to see that the "woman" being persecuted by the dragon in the above passage is the nation of Israel. For example, Israel was sometimes described as a woman in the Old Testament (e.g. Isaiah 54:5-6, Jeremiah 3:6-8, Ezekiel 16:7-14). In addition, the imagery of the sun and moon and twelve stars in Revelation 12:1-6 (above) is described in a dream that Joseph had:
"Then he [Joseph] had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. "Listen," he said, "I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me." When he told his father [Jacob] as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, "What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?"" (Genesis 37:9-10)
To recognize the imagery here, recall that Jacob's name was changed to "Israel" in Genesis 32:28. Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, who became the twelve patriarchs of Israel (Acts 7:8). One of Jacob's sons was Joseph, who had the dream in the above passage (the dream describes Joseph's brothers as "eleven stars," and Joseph himself is the twelfth "star"). There are no other symbolic descriptions of a sun, moon, and twelve stars anywhere else in the Bible, so the "woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head" in Revelation 12:1-6 (above) is usually taken to be a reference to Israel. This is further confirmed by the fact that the "woman" (Israel) gave birth to a male child who will rule all the nations with an iron scepter, and who was snatched up to God and to his throne (Revelation 12:1-6, above). This is a reference to Jesus, who was birthed out of Israel, who was snatched up to God's throne (at His Ascension in Acts 1:6-11), and who will rule the nations with an iron scepter:
"I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery."" (Psalms 2:7-9)
All of this evidence indicates that the "woman" in Revelation 12:1-6 (above) refers to the nation of Israel.

We saw that the Jews will flee to the mountains during the Tribulation period, and here are some more clues where they will go:
"The woman [Israel] fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days." (Revelation 12:6)

"The woman [Israel] was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time, out of the serpent's reach." (Revelation 12:14)
The above passages are referring to the end-times when the Antichrist is seeking to exterminate the Jews (see the article above), and these passages say that the Jews will flee to the desert where they will be taken care of during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation (as explained in the article above). But how will God take care of the Jews after they flee to the desert? Just as He supernaturally provided food and water for the Israelites during their 40 years in the wilderness, He will again supernaturally provide for them in the desert:
"The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the LORD has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it." (Isaiah 41:17-20)
The above passage describes some miraculous things that God will do for the Jews in the desert, showing His love for them so that people will know that the Holy One of Israel has done this. Such a thing has never before happened in the history of the world, but it will happen in the same time period as when the Lord kills all of Israel's enemies (see Isaiah 41:10-14, which is just a few verses before the above passage). This places the above passage in the future, when God will supernaturally provide for the remnant of the Jews shortly before Jesus returns and kills the Antichrist and all of his armies.

If you read all of Isaiah 33, it's referring to the time period of the Second Coming. In this context we see some more information about where the remnant of the Jews will flee:
"He who walks righteously and speaks what is right, who rejects gain from extortion and keeps his hand from accepting bribes, who stops his ears against plots of murder and shuts his eyes against contemplating evil--this is the man who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. His bread will be supplied, and water will not fail him." (Isaiah 33:15-16)
Once again in the time period of the Second Coming we see the provision of food and water for the Jews, and we see that their refuge will be a mountain fortress.

So putting all of this information together, the Jews will flee from the Antichrist to a mountain fortress which is in the midst of a desert. The specific place where they will go is a place called Bozrah:
"I will surely assemble, O Jacob [Israel], all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as the flock in the midst of their fold: they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men." (Micah 2:12, KJV)
A number of Bible commentaries point out that this prophecy will be fulfilled when "all Israel will be saved" (Romans 11:25-27), which will happen at the time of the Second Coming (as we saw earlier). If you recall, two-thirds of the Jews will be killed during the seven-year Tribulation, and the one-third remnant will call on the Lord (Zechariah 13:7-14:2), triggering the Second Coming.

So the remnant of the Jews will flee from the Antichrist to a mountain fortress in the midst of a desert, as sheep gathering in the protection of a sheep-fold at Bozrah. Strong's Dictionary says that Bozrah was a city in ancient Edom (in the area of present-day Jordan), and it says that the word bozrah means "sheep fold." In southern Jordan there is a city called Petra, which is located in a mountain range in the middle of a desert. This is an amazing city carved out of the surrounding mountains, with a narrow entrance opening up into the fortress-like city surrounded all around by cliffs, just like a gigantic sheep-fold (see Petra, Jordan Offsite Link). Many Bible scholars believe that this is the location of the ancient city of Bozrah, although they say that a nearby place called Buseira is another possibility. Notice that the above passage says that the remnant of the Jews will be gathered together "as the sheep of Bozrah." The word "Bozrah" is used 9 times in the Bible (Genesis 36:33, 1 Chronicles 1:44, Isaiah 34:6, 63:1, Jeremiah 48:24, 49:13, 22, Amos 1:12, and Micah 2:12), but the Bible never says that the sheep of Bozrah are different than any other sheep. As we'll see in a moment, the above passage means that the end-times remnant of the Jews will be gathered together "as sheep" at Bozrah in Edom.

Notice that Revelation 12:6 (above) says that the "woman" (meaning Israel, as we saw) will flee "to a place prepared for her by God." So when the Jews flee to the mountains in southern Jordan, they will find that a place has been prepared for them. But how will they all find shelter in the mountains? If Petra in southern Jordan is the site of the ancient city of Bozrah in Edom, then God prepared Bozrah through the Nabataeans who carved huge buildings out of the solid rock of the mountains (you can see some pictures of these amazing buildings at Petra, Jordan Offsite Link). Christians have visited Petra and left Christian tracts, Bibles, etc., for the remnant of the Jews to find. Again, if Petra is the site of the ancient city of Bozrah in Edom then God has prepared Bozrah in such a way that the Jews will be able to read the message of the Gospel and learn about Jesus the Messiah!

If you recall, when the armies of the Antichrist are trying to exterminate the Jews at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, the Jews will acknowledge their national sin of rejecting Jesus, and they will confess that He is the Messiah. They will plead for Him to return (as we saw earlier), and then Jesus will come back to the earth:
"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days 'the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:27-30)
The above passage says that Jesus will return to the earth "on the clouds of the sky," which is similar to the way that He left the earth in the first century (Acts 1:9). The above passage also says that when Jesus returns, vultures will gather on the dead bodies. Why is it talking about dead bodies at the Second Coming? The reason is because when Jesus returns, He is coming to make war:
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11-16)
So as the armies of the nations of the earth are gathered against the Jews under the leadership of the Antichrist, Jesus will ride out of heaven on a white horse and do battle against them. Here are some important points in the above passage:

  • The rider on the white horse is called "Faithful and True." Jesus is "the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation," according to Revelation 3:14.
  • The rider's name is "the Word of God." Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, according to John 1:1-5, 14.
  • On the rider's robe and on His thigh is written the name "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." Jesus (the Lamb of God) is the King of kings and Lord of lords, according to Revelation 17:14.
  • These three pieces of information tell us that Jesus is the rider on the white horse who will come down out of heaven and make war.
  • Following Jesus are "the armies of heaven." My article called The Rapture of the Church - Part Seven shows that "the armies of heaven" are the Church Age Christians who were raptured before the Tribulation began (see also Revelation 17:14). Many Christians believe that we will spend eternity in heaven, but the Bible says that we will return to the earth with Jesus at the Second Coming!
  • According to the above passage, when Jesus comes down out of heaven He will "make war." He will "strike down the nations." He will "tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty." He will wage war against the Antichrist and his armies and rescue the remnant of the Jews. Again, at this point (at the end of the seven-year Tribulation) the Antichrist and his armies will be trying to exterminate the Jews at Bozrah in Edom.
  • Notice that Jesus is "dressed in a robe dipped in blood." We'll come back to this in a moment.
Therefore, Revelation 19:11-16 (above) describes the Second Coming, when Jesus will come down to the earth and make war against the Antichrist and rescue the remnant of Jews who have gathered at Bozrah.

Here is Revelation 19:11-16 again, continuing down to verse 21, which describes some things that will happen immediately after the Second Coming:
"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, "Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great." Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh." (Revelation 19:17-21)
So immediately after the Second Coming, we see that the Antichrist (who is referred to as the "beast" in the book of Revelation) and the false prophet and the armies of the earth will be killed, and birds will gorge themselves on their flesh. Remember, the Antichrist will gather his armies at the place called Armageddon, and he will attack Jerusalem, and then he will turn his armies southward towards Bozrah where the remnant of the Jews had fled. As we have just seen, when Jesus comes down out of heaven He is coming to make war against the Antichrist and his armies. Therefore, it appears that when Jesus returns at the Second Coming He will ride His white horse directly to Bozrah in Edom, not to the Mount of Olives as is commonly taught.

Now watch! When the apostle John described the Second Coming, he said that Jesus will be wearing a robe dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13, above). Many people assume that this represents the blood that He shed for our sins, but this is reading into the verse something which it does not say. The word "dipped" comes from the Greek word bapto, which specifically means "dip" (Strong's Greek Dictionary). Jesus' robe will be dipped in blood. Why? Notice that Revelation 19:15 (above) says that Jesus "treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty." In other words, He will wage war against the Antichrist and his armies, and His robe will be dipped in their blood (from "treading" on them). Remember, the armies of the Antichrist will be at Bozrah at this point, so again, it appears that when Jesus returns at the Second Coming He will go straight to Bozrah in Edom, He will not descend directly to the Mount of Olives.

In Daniel 11:31-39 we see a "king" who will exalt and magnify himself above God, and desecrate the Jewish temple and abolish the temple sacrifices, and set up "the abomination that causes desolation," and so on. As my article called The Rapture of the Church - Part One explains, this "king" is the man that we refer to as "the Antichrist." Continuing down in Daniel 11 we see the Antichrist extending his power over many countries:
"At the time of the end the king of the South will engage him [the Antichrist] in battle, and the king of the North will storm out against him [the Antichrist] with chariots and cavalry and a great fleet of ships. He [the Antichrist] will invade many countries and sweep through them like a flood. He will also invade the Beautiful Land. Many countries will fall, but Edom, Moab and the leaders of Ammon will be delivered from his hand. He will extend his power over many countries; Egypt will not escape. He will gain control of the treasures of gold and silver and all the riches of Egypt, with the Libyans and Nubians in submission." (Daniel 11:40-43)
In the above passage, notice that the Antichrist will not be able to capture Edom, Moab, and Ammon. Ammon is now the northern part of the country of Jordan, and Moab is now central Jordan, and Edom is now southern Jordan (The Old Testament Kingdoms of Jordan Offsite Link). Since the Antichrist will not gain control of the country of Jordan, it makes sense for the remnant of the Jews to flee to Bozrah in Edom (southern Jordan).

After the Second Coming, Edom will be totally destroyed (Isaiah 34:8-15, Jeremiah 49:17-18, Ezekiel 35:10-15, Joel 3:19). But before the Second Coming, the armies of the nations will gather together at the mountain of Megiddo (as we saw earlier) and march towards Bozrah, which is where the remnant of the Jews had fled. Then the Lord will come to Bozrah, and the armies of Edom will quake in fear:
""I swear by myself," declares the LORD, "that Bozrah will become a ruin and an object of horror, of reproach and of cursing; and all its towns will be in ruins forever." I have heard a message from the LORD: An envoy was sent to the nations to say, "Assemble yourselves to attack it! Rise up for battle! Now I will make you small among the nations, despised among men. The terror you inspire and the pride of your heart have deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rocks, who occupy the heights of the hill. Though you build your nest as high as the eagle's, from there I will bring you down," declares the LORD. "Edom will become an object of horror; all who pass by will be appalled and will scoff because of all its wounds. As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns," says the LORD, "so no one will live there; no man will dwell in it. Like a lion coming up from Jordan's thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me? Therefore, hear what the LORD has planned against Edom, what he has purposed against those who live in Teman: The young of the flock will be dragged away; he will completely destroy their pasture because of them. At the sound of their fall the earth will tremble; their cry will resound to the Red Sea. Look! An eagle will soar and swoop down, spreading its wings over Bozrah. In that day the hearts of Edom's warriors will be like the heart of a woman in labor." (Jeremiah 49:13-22)
In the above passage we see a place called Teman, which was a district of Edom (see Teman Offsite Link), and we see that Bozrah in Edom will be destroyed. In the following passage we see that Edom will be destroyed, and we see that God will send fire upon Teman which will consume Bozrah:
"This is what the LORD says: "For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked, I will send fire upon Teman that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah."" (Amos 1:11-12)
Teman and Mount Paran were both in the area of Bozrah (The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.241). With that in mind, notice a prophecy which Habakkuk received:
"God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth. His splendor was like the sunrise; rays flashed from his hand, where his power was hidden. Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps. He stood, and shook the earth; he looked, and made the nations tremble. The ancient mountains crumbled and the age-old hills collapsed. His ways are eternal. ... In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations. You came out to deliver your people, to save your anointed one. You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness, you stripped him from head to foot. Selah With his own spear you pierced his head when his warriors stormed out to scatter us, gloating as though about to devour the wretched who were in hiding." (Habakkuk 3:3-6, 12-14)
Notice the context here. We see the Lord coming out to deliver His people, which is an exact description of the Lord coming out of heaven at the Second Coming to rescue the remnant of the Jews who are gathered in Bozrah. We see the Lord crushing the wicked leader when the wicked armies have stormed out to devour those who are in hiding, which is an exact description of the Lord killing the Antichrist at Bozrah at the Second Coming. We see the Lord striding through the earth and threshing the nations, which is an exact description of the Lord killing all of the armies of the nations at Bozrah in Edom at the Second Coming by "treading" on them, which is why His robe has been dipped in blood. We see the earth shaking and mountains crumbling, which is an exact description of convulsions in the earth which will take place when the Lord stands on the Mount of Olives (as we'll see in a moment). In this context, which exactly describes the Second Coming, we see that "God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran." Habakkuk lived in Israel (see The Prophet Habakkuk Offsite Link), and he saw the Lord coming to Israel from Teman on the day of the Second Coming. Again, at the Second Coming Jesus will come down from heaven to kill the Antichrist and his armies and rescue the remnant of the Jews who are hiding at Bozrah in Edom. The Lord will then head towards Jerusalem, which is why Habakkuk saw Him coming to Israel from Teman (which was a district of Edom near Bozrah) on the day of the Second Coming.

Here's another passage which describes the slaughter of the armies of the world at Bozrah in Edom:
"Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is upon all their armies. He will totally destroy them, he will give them over to slaughter. Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will send up a stench; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. All the stars of the heavens will be dissolved and the sky rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree. My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat-- the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in Edom. And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat." (Isaiah 34:1-7)
According to the above passage, the Lord will personally slaughter all of the armies of the nations (to the Jews, a reference to "the nations" specifically means "the Gentile nations" rather than the single nation of Israel). This has never happened in the history of the world, but it will happen at the Second Coming. This passage says that the sword of the Lord is bathed in blood, and we have already seen that His robe is dipped in blood as well. This passage specifically tells us that the Lord will have a great slaughter at Bozrah in Edom, which is where the armies of the Antichrist will be at the time of the Second Coming. So again, it appears that Jesus will go straight to Bozrah at the Second Coming in order to rescue the remnant of Jews and to slaughter the armies of the Antichrist. Jesus will not descend directly to the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming as is commonly believed.

As we have seen, when the Jews are gathered at Bozrah, Jesus will come down from heaven and break them free from the siege of the Antichrist:
"I will surely assemble, O Jacob [Israel], all of thee; I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together as the sheep of Bozrah, as a flock in the midst of their pasture; they shall make great noise by reason of the multitude of men. The breaker is gone up before them: they have broken forth and passed on to the gate, and are gone out thereat; and their king is passed on before them, and Jehovah at the head of them." (Micah 2:12-13, ASV)
This passage says that after Jesus breaks the Jews free at Bozrah, He will go before them at the head of them. But where are they going? Isaiah tells us that they are heading to Jerusalem. Notice that in Isaiah 62:1-10 God makes some promises to Jerusalem, and then Isaiah 62:11-63:6 describes a conversation with the Savior, who is coming towards Jerusalem from Bozrah in Edom on the day of the Second Coming:
"The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth: "Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.'" They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.
"Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, with his garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in splendor, striding forward in the greatness of his strength?"
"It is I, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save."
"Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress?"
"I have trodden the winepress alone; from the nations no one was with me. I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their blood spattered my garments, and I stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come
. I looked, but there was no one to help, I was appalled that no one gave support; so my own arm worked salvation for me, and my own wrath sustained me. I trampled the nations in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and poured their blood on the ground."" (Isaiah 62:11-63:6)
Notice that in Isaiah's vision (above) he specifically saw Jesus coming towards Jerusalem from Bozrah in Edom! Also notice that Jesus' clothes are stained with blood because He has trodden the winepress of God's wrath, slaughtering the armies of the nations at Bozrah. If you recall, Habakkuk also had a vision in which Jesus came out from heaven to deliver His people, and He killed the Antichrist and his armies, and then He came towards Israel from Teman (which was in the vicinity of Bozrah in Edom, as we saw). Again, it appears that at the Second Coming Jesus will go straight to Bozrah in Edom (southern Jordan) to rescue the remnant of the Jews. He will not descend straight down to the Mount of Olives (just east of Jerusalem).

Earlier we saw that Zechariah 12 is a prophecy of the events which will take place at the time of the Second Coming, and in that context we see this promise from God:
"Jehovah also shall save the tents of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem be not magnified above Judah." (Zechariah 12:7, ASV)
In the above passage, the word for "tents" means "1. tent; a. nomad's tent, and thus symbolic of wilderness life, transience; b. dwelling, home, habitation; c. the sacred tent of Jehovah (the tabernacle)" (The KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon Offsite Link, emphasis added). Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum says that:
"The term tents points to temporary abodes rather than permanent dwellings. The fact that Judah is living in "tents" shows that Judah is not home in Judah but is temporarily elsewhere. That elsewhere is Bozrah. Since the Messiah will save the tents of Judah first, this too shows that the initial place of His return will be Bozrah and not the Mount of Olives." (The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.248)
In chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians, Paul described some things which will take place at the time of the Second Coming, and he referred to the Antichrist as "the man of lawlessness" and "the man doomed to destruction" and "the lawless one." In this context, Paul said:
"And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming;" (2 Thessalonians 2:8, ASV)
So once again we see that Jesus will slay the Antichrist at His coming. Since the Antichrist will be at Bozrah in Edom, we again see Jesus going directly to Bozrah at the Second Coming, not to the Mount of Olives.

As Jesus leads the remnant of the Jews from Bozrah towards Jerusalem, trampling the armies of the nations along the way, there will be so much blood that it will reach as high as a horse's bridle:
"Proclaim this among the nations: Prepare for war! Rouse the warriors! Let all the fighting men draw near and attack. Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weakling say, 'I am strong!' Come quickly, all you nations from every side, and assemble there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD! 'Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat [just outside the city of Jerusalem], for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow-- so great is their wickedness! Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel." (Joel 3:9-16)

"Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, "Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth's vine, because its grapes are ripe." The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city [in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, as in the above passage], and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia." (Revelation 14:18-20)
The NIV footnote for Revelation 14:20 (above) says that 1,600 stadia is about 180 miles, which is the approximate distance from the mountain of Megiddo ("Armageddon") to Bozrah (for example, see The Footsteps of the Messiah, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, p.251). So this 180-mile distance just outside the city of Jerusalem will be filled with blood up to a height of about four feet! Notice that once again we see that the armies of the Antichrist will be "trampled in the winepress," which is why Jesus' robe has been "dipped in blood" (Revelation 19:11-16, above).

As Jesus leads the remnant of the Jews towards Jerusalem from Bozrah in Edom on the day of the Second Coming, trampling the armies of the nations along the way, He will then ascend the Mount of Olives:
"I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him." (Zechariah 14:2-5)
Notice the order here. First, the armies of the nations will destroy Jerusalem. Then the Lord will come down from heaven to make war against the Antichrist and his forces (at Bozrah in Edom). As we have seen, Jesus will then lead the Jews towards Jerusalem from Bozrah in Edom, trampling the armies of the nations along the way. Then, still on the day of the Second Coming, He will ascend the Mount of Olives (just east of Jerusalem). There will be a huge earthquake which will split the Mount of Olives in two, and then the Messiah will once again enter Jerusalem. Hallelujah!

In addition to the above passage, several other passages describe convulsions in the heavens and earth on the day of the Second Coming:
"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. 'Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her." (Joel 3:14-17)

"The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and out of the temple came a loud voice from the throne, saying, "It is done!" Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since man has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found. From the sky huge hailstones of about a hundred pounds each fell upon men. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible." (Revelation 16:17-21)

"For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the distress of those days "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:27-30)
This will bring the seven-year Tribulation to an end, and it will mark the completion of the 70 'sevens' in Daniel's prophecy (Daniel 9:24, above).


Conclusion

Many Christians believe that Jesus will descend directly to the Mount of Olives at the Second Coming, based on the following passages:
"After [Jesus] said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city." (Acts 1:9-12)

"On that day [the day of the Second Coming] his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives" (Zechariah 14:4)
We have seen that Jesus will return in the same manner that He left, just as Acts 1:9-12 says (above). We have also seen that Jesus will stand on the Mount of Olives on the day of the Second Coming, just as Zechariah 14:4 says (above). However, the Bible gives us a great deal of specific information about what will happen after Jesus descends to the earth and before He stands on the Mount of Olives. It appears that at the Second Coming, Jesus will return to the earth at Bozrah in Edom (southern Jordan) rather than descending directly to the Mount of Olives as is commonly believed.


The Bible also gives us an amazing amount of specific information about what will happen after the Second Coming, so I invite you to continue on to my article called Beyond the Second Coming.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 08/10/2008 - Added more information to the section called "The Second Coming."
  • 04/10/2004 - Made some minor wording changes.
  • 03/19/2001 - New article.