When we look at scripture, we readily affirm that idioms and cultural sayings are frequently used and can even have prophetical significance. For instance, the fig tree starting to bloom is an idiom for Israel and the Jews returning to the land. In that day looks prophetically forward to when Messiah comes. Idioms and their prophetical nature become very important when we try to determine what scripture has to say to us about the Imminent Return of Yeshua.
Deuteronomy 19:15 – “A fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
2 Corinthians 13:1 – “Every fact must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”
No doubt you have heard it said by many Pastors, Teachers, and Biblical Scholars that, “Yeshua can come at any time” often in conjunction with “even while we are speaking, listening, etc.” and that “Imminent means immediately and instantly”. This paradigm is not at all accurate. I am going to upset a lot of people by declaring “Yeshua can not come at any ol’ time”, and “Imminent does not mean at any time, immediately, or instantly.” To establish this declaration as a fact we will be looking at both scripture and the usage of idioms.
Imminent Is / Is Not
Romans 8:23 – “We groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
Imminency, as it relates to Bible prophecy, simply means that the return of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach for his bride is anticipated and approaching. Imminent does not mean it will happen at any time, immediately, or instantly. The word imminent isn’t even used in the entire Bible, except as a synonym for near or coming soon. I say the modern imminent paradigm is nothing more than a concept forced upon scripture by those whose instant gratification expectations have run amok!
The Day and Hour – An Idiom
Let’s examine the scriptures and see what they say about Yeshua’s Imminent Return and if it is an event that occurs at a set Day and Hour.
When the disciples asked Yeshua “What will be the sign that you are coming, and the end of the age?, he replied “Neither I nor the angels will make known or declare that day, only my father in Heaven will reveal or declare it . . . therefore stay alert, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36, 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:33; Luke 12:40).
Day and Hour was a well known phrase, or idiom in that time. Several possibilities would have immediately come to mind:
1. Is Yeshua talking about a specific Day and Hour, such as a specific Rosh Chodesh – a specific new moon? And the answer is yes!
2. Is Yeshua talking about a specific Yom Teruah, known as the Day and Hour that no one knows? And the answer is yes!
3. Is Yeshua talking about a wedding ceremony, in which the Father determines the time when the bridegroom is given permission to go get his bride? Maybe, but not as a definition of imminent . . .
In essence, what Yeshua said to his disciples was: “Y’all will not know which day I will return, but here’s a hint – I will return on a Rosh Chodesh!” Yeshua alludes to a coming at Rosh Chodesh, a new moon whose date he will not reveal, as only the Father has the authority to do so, and Paul tells us which new moon is being referenced – the new moon known as the Last Trump, again without revealing exactly which Yom Teruah it will be! (1 Corinthians 15:52).
The scriptures are very clear, precise, and definitive that this will only take place on some yet future Yom Teruah, which happens on Rosh Chodesh – the new moon. This alone succinctly negates the paradigm that “Yeshua can come at any time”, as well as the paradigm that “Imminent means at any time“, but the Bible has a lot more to say about this.
Set Times and Seasons – An Idiom
Let’s examine the scriptures and see what they say about the Imminent Return – can it indeed happen at any time, or is it is an event that occurs at a Set Time and Season.
Leviticus 23:2 – “These are the appointed times of Yahweh that you shall proclaim as holy convocations; they are my divine appointments.”
Acts 1:7 – “Yeshua said ‘You don’t need to know the times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority’.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1 – “You have no need to have anything written to you, brothers, about the times and seasons when this will happen.”
The word seasons, used by both Yeshua and Paul, is the Greek word kairos [G2540 καιρός] which means a set time or occasion. In Hebrew, that word would be zman [H2166] which also means an appointed occasion. Some translations use the word “dates” in place of the word times, which gives a more accurate sense of the terms being used.
Set times and seasons in scripture, like day and hour, is an idiom! And scripture succinctly tells us that the set, appointed times are the Moedim [H4150]!!! he Imminent Return has everything to do with the Moedim, the set Times and Seasons, and nothing to do with events that happen at any time or instantly.
The set Times and Seasons, the Moedim, are dress rehearsals for the real event – prophecies in the making, just waiting for the curtain to rise and the play to begin. When the time is fully come for the rehearsal to become the play, then the curtain rises on the show and the events that the moedim prophecy take place.
• Pesach always takes place on the 14th of Nissan.
• Chag Ha’Matzoh always takes place the next day, and
• Reishit Katzir always takes place on the following Sabbath.
• Shavuot follows exactly 50 days after Chag Ha’Matzoh.
• Yom Teruah always takes place on the 1st Day of 7th Month, at Rosh Chodesh
• Yom Kippurim always takes place on the 10th Day of 7th Month, and
• Sukkot always starts on the 15th Day of 7th Month.
The seven Moedim have embedded prophecies of coming events. The pattern to the prophecies represented by the Moedim is: the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, the giving of the spirit, the resurrection of the dead in Yeshua and the rapture, the judgment, and the millennial reign. The first four prophecies embedded in the Moedim have already been completed, or as some say, fulfilled.
The next Moed, Yom Teruah, prophesies the day of the resurrection of the righteous dead, the taking up of the living righteous, and the day of hiding and concealment – before the time of tribulation.
Some may imply that Yom Teruah is random, since it can only be declared when two witnesses see the edge of the moon, hence, the expression Yeshua used: “You do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36). But this two day period does not indicate a random any ol’ time event – not in the least.
The Days of Yeshua and The Apostles
Two thousand years ago the people living in the days of Yeshua and the Apostles had just witnessed the completion, or as some would say, fulfillment, of the first four Moedim. The prophecies fulfilled were the death, burial, and resurrection of Yeshua, and the giving of the Ruach Ha’Kodesh (Holy Spirit).
Finally, they reasoned, the fulfillment of the last three moedim must be imminent. We’ve waited thousands of years to see this happen, and now it is beginning. Can’t wait to see it all take place. Finally the promises to Abraham will be fulfilled in their entirety. Finally, we will see the resurrection of the dead and rapture of the bride, the tribulation period, and the one thousand year reign of our Mashiach, Yeshua.
The people living in the days of Yeshua and the Apostles had great expectations tied to the fulfillment of the final three moedim. They knew imminent did not mean at any time or immediately, even while they were talking or reading, unless it happened on the day and hour of the next Yom Teruah moed.
Unfortunately, their imminent expectations were not fulfilled and they are still waiting! So are we. “Yeshua can come at any time” is not at all accurate.
Yeshua himself proclaims that he can only come at the set Time and Season that the Father “has set by his own authority” – in other words, at Yom Teruah. “Yeshua can come at any time” is not accurate.
Yeshua’s return will only happen at a Set Time and Season – at the time of the Yom Teruah Moed. “Imminent means coming at any time” is also not accurate.
Ignoring the Moedim is not a scripturally accurate way to define Yeshua’s Imminent Return. The Imminent Return has everything to do with the Moedim, the set dates and seasons. The Imminent Return we should be looking for is the Resurrection of the Dead in Yeshua and the fulfillment of Yom Teruah.
The Bible only asks for two witnesses to establish a fact!
Fact: Yeshua can not come at any ol’ time is a fact according to the scriptures.
Fact: Imminent does not mean at any time, immediately, or instantly is also a fact according to the scriptures.
Final Thought for 2023
The stage for Yeshua’s return is being set. Prophecy continues to unfold in an escalating pattern as foretold by the Hebrew prophets. The season of the birth pains is here – they are burgeoning and not going away. Time is short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – be sure you have salvation in Yeshua and keep busy reaching the lost.
1 thought on “You Have Heard It Said – Part Two”
Well, it sure looks like we have wars and rumors of wars right now. Plus evil is considered to be good everywhere today. Anything good is attacked instantly.