There is a lot of chatter about the year 2012 as the year when the world will end. It has something to do with the Mayan calendar. In fact, the Barnes and Noble near my house had a whole display of books about this supposedly fateful year. Frequently I am asked what I think of the matter.
When people set dates for the end of the world, I point them to the words of our Lord Jesus who said, “No one knows the day or the hour.” (Matt 24) In Acts, before Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples, “It is not for you to know the times and seasons which the Father has set by his own authority.” I think we should take these words seriously. Jesus knew what he was talking about: It is not for us to know.
We know from the teaching of the apostles that sometime in the future Christ will come, the dead will be raised, the Last Judgment will take place, and his kingdom will have no end. This is the church’s blessed hope. But the exact day or year is unknown. We are encouraged by the Lord in Matt 24 to be vigilant and ready. At the same time we are to be working in the Lord’s vineyard, being salt and light in the world.
If the Lord decides to come within the next few years, even so “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22). Nevertheless, I have planted trees in the front yard in hope of having a shady lawn in ten years, and have arranged the finances with consideration of being a senior citizen in the not so distant future.
In the late 1990s, a lot of people thought Christ was coming back in the year 2000. There were even people who moved to Israel to get a front row seat, so to speak. At that time I wrote The Day and the Hour. It goes through church history from the first century to the present, listing the predictions for Christ’s coming that never came to pass. The whole point of it is to illustrate that Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said, “No one knows the day or the hour.” If you don’t already have a copy, it’s still in print and is very reasonably priced. Here’s a quote from it by Cardinal Newman, who wrote in the late 1800s:
“Enthusiasts, sectaries, wild presumptuous men…have pointed out the exact year and day in which He would come. Not so His humble followers.”
Peace in Christ,