It is a matter of biblical certainty, absolute truth and personal conviction. Please, let me affirm my personal, unwavering belief: JESUS IS COMING AGAIN. I would never want to be numbered among the scoffers that Peter writes about in II Peter 3 that are denying the reality of Jesus’ return. Beyond a shadow of a doubt we know that Jesus is coming, we just do not know when he is coming.
I shared with our ministry staff an article by J. Lee Grady about the danger of date setting. Rather than publish the entire article, I will summarize briefly what he says.
1 – End times date setting is off limits to us. In Acts 1:7, prior to his ascension, Jesus said to his followers, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Jesus ascends, and two angels tell his followers that he “will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Matthew 24:36 reminds us, “But about that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
2 – Incorrect end times date setting has brought discredit. For instance, the Seventh Day Adventists believed that Jesus would return in 1844. The Jehovah’s Witnesses taught that Jesus would begin a millennial reign in 1914. A few years later they revised the date to 1975. They later circulated a prediction that it would happen in 1975. Edgar Whisenant wrote book, “88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.” More recently, Harold Camping predicted that the world would end on May 21, 2011.
3 – End times date setting is not our mission. Our mission is to proclaim the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Dates and deadlines don’t have the power to save souls – only the gospel can do that. Grady says: “When we share Christ with others, we don’t need to provide a date for his second coming. Instead, we should tell them about the miracle of Calvary and remind them, “Today is the day of salvation.” Our job is to preach the good news. The answer is Jesus, who gives us supernatural peace so we can live securely in a chaotic world.
Where does that leave us? We need to do just what Peter says in II Peter 3:11-12, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.”