Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.
–Matthew 24:36

I do not know the exact date that Jesus is coming back again, nor does anyone else. In Matthew 24:36 Jesus said, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Nobody knows the date of Jesus’s return, but that doesn’t mean we are not to be aware of the times in which we live. If anybody tells you that he knows the date that the Lord is going to return, you write him off as a screwball. Don’t listen to him. I am amazed at how many well-taught Christians say, “I know the Bible says we’re not supposed to set dates, but …” Then they do the very thing that the Bible says not to do. People have tried to predict the date of Christ’s return ever since He ascended into heaven. Some people try to arrive at the date through astronomical events. Some people think a natural disaster points to the coming of Christ. Other people have used the number 666–the number of the beast in Revelation 13:18–to try to identify the Antichrist and know when the second coming will be.

History is filled with people who have made false predictions about the return of Christ. Christopher Columbus was certain that the end of the world would happen in 1656. Martin Luther was certain that the world could not last 300 years past his death. The psychic Edgar Casey predicted that Christ would return in 2000. And in more recent days the late radio preacher Harold Camping thought he knew the precise date: May 21, 2011. His followers sold everything they had and bought billboards across America proclaiming that the world was going to end on May 21, 2011. His prediction caused a media frenzy. But May 21 came and went without the end, and Harold Camping’s prediction was thrown on the ash heap of discredited prophecies. Not only was Harold Camping discredited, but the idea of the second coming was also discredited. The reason we are not supposed to predict specific dates for the second coming and the end of the world is because those predictions will become discredited. The danger of trying to pinpoint the date of Christ’s return is that it hardens unbelievers to the truth that Jesus is coming back.

Peter prophesied of that. He said, “In the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’ … But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:3-4, 8). Jesus is coming back. At least 1,800 prophecies in the Old Testament say He is coming back again. And 23 of the 27 books of the New Testament–300 references–all testify to the same thing: Jesus is coming again. Although we can’t know the time, Jesus wants us to understand the times in which we live so that we can be ready for His return.

***

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Who Do We Forgive?” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.