The end is near
It is becoming more and more popular these days for people to predict the end of the world. Some Christians have recently predicted the worlds end as well. Many Christians believe that we are in the end times. And those Christians are correct. We are in the end times. However, we have been in the end times for approximately 2,000 years. The end times began at the first coming of Jesus. Notice how the author of Hebrews refers to the end times as “these last days” (Hebrews 1:2). The author clearly acknowledged that they were already in the last days at that time.
The Bible declares that Jesus is coming back soon. “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” Revelation 22:12
Our understanding of God’s time is limited, so the meaning of the word soon in this context is not easily grasped. “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8
What does God’s word mean by soon? Does soon mean a day, a week, a month, a year, a century? It doesn’t seem likely that the word soon is referring to a specific length of time in this instance, since it has been almost 2,000 years since the book of Revelation was written. We do know that God’s word describes Jesus’ return as a sudden occurrence. “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:27
Sign of the times
During the Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24), Jesus declared that there would be signs of the end times. He said there would be wars, famines and earthquakes. He said that wickedness would increase and the love of most will grow cold. Why did he give us such generic signs that have occurred throughout history? It is popular among Christians to believe that he gave us those signs so that we could know when he is returning. Although, doesn’t that belief contradict the Bible, “…It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7
There are more specific biblical prophecies that have already occurred or will come true in the future, but even those prophecies do not give us a specific time table for the end. Jesus wasn’t trying to give us a secret code to figure out the time of his return. Jesus was telling us that his coming could happen at any time so that we could be prepared. The truth is that there is no secret code in the Bible that tells us when the end of the world will be. There is no way for us to know for sure when the end of the world will be, so we would be wise to stop speculating.
Harming our testimony
What do Pat Robertson, Hal Lindsey, and Harold Camping all have in common? At some point in their lives they professed Christ and later they failed miserably at predicting the end of the world. Why would anyone want to follow Christ after hearing a professed Christian wrongly predict the end of the world? I certainly wouldn’t if I were in that position and I wouldn’t blame anyone else for not doing so. Falsely predicting a future event is a form of deception and is as much a sin as lying is.
As Christians, our testimony can be devastated by false claims. God’s word clearly states that no one knows when the end will be. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36
We should spend our time loving God and loving our neighbor. We should spend our time doing the good that God has prepared in advance for us. There is no biblical reasoning for predicting the end of the world, but there is a biblical reason to be ready for it. “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:44