No one knows the day and hour of Jesus’ return except the Father. He has set the time of his return and when that will be has not been given for us to know.
There have been many people over the years that have claimed to know the date of the second coming. Some have announced it publicly and then fallen into disrepute as the day they claimed came and went uneventfully. They clearly did not listen to the word of God. They cannot have possibly understood it if they read it for as we see here, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Verse 36)
Now if Jesus himself does not know the day and hour of his own return, what man can claim to have such knowledge? Consider these other scriptures too.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 – “For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
Matthew 25:13 – “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Acts 1:6-7 – “So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.”
All of these scriptures give clear indication that the coming of the Lord will be at a time set by God and no man has been made privy to that date or time. To claim such knowledge is to ignore the words of Jesus and of God. Any man that makes such a claim is acting foolishly and you would have to question that truth of anything else they may preach.
However, it is possible that we shall know when the Lord will return, for it is not his desire that his people be kept in the dark. I am not suggesting that I know when this will occur, but the Lord has shown that when the time approaches we will be able to calculate it quite accurately.
In the prophecies of Daniel he has established a “countdown” period. It will commence from the time that the continual burnt offering is taken away and the desolating sacrilege is set up in the holy place. In Daniel 12:11 the prophet was told that from the time the continual burnt offering is taken away and the abomination referred to as the desolating sacrilege is set up there would be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. I believe these are actual days, as we know them and not prophetic days. Daniel also went on to say, “Blessed is he who waits and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty five days.” (Daniel 12:12) Why would people be blessed for waiting this further forty-five days? This will be a time of unparalleled tribulation and distress, the like of which has never been seen before. The greatest blessing that could come out of such a period of tribulation is the return of Christ. I believe that is the blessing to which the prophet refers.
So we do not know the day or hour now, but when we see these signs taking place we shall be able to identify the timing of the second coming of the Lord. Even then we will not know the hour and we may not exactly know the day. But we may be able to calculate within a few days of the correct time.
I say this purely from speculation, as I don’t know the answer to this matter. The reason for my speculation is that the removal of the continual burnt offering will be a big issue for the Jews. The continual burnt offering is pivotal to the Old Covenant and to Judaism. For the man of sin who will do this thing I expect it will not be publicly announced but will be done in secret. There will not in my opinion be a great song and dance announcing to the world, “Hey look at this one and all. We have taken away the continual burnt offering!” No, instead I would expect this to be done slyly and with cunning and it will be hidden from the world. We may not know exactly when it occurs but just find out one day that it has gone.
As I say, this is all speculation and I may be wrong. We shall have to wait and see. Before any of this can happen there are many other signs to come, the most important of which is the rebuilding of the temple. The continual burnt offering cannot be taken away if it is not first set up. And it cannot be set up until the temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem. This will happen in due course and then we will see all these things spoken by the Lord and his prophets come to pass.