Apocalypse Now?

Matthew 24:36 (NIV)
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

"For He has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the Man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising Him from the dead." (Acts 17:31)

Some speculate about when Jesus' coming will occur and go to great lengths in an effort to know. There seems to be something in human nature that seeks to solve mysteries, to attempt to answer the unanswerable. While some speculation in general can be good and healthy for exercising the mind, too much can lead to a misunderstanding of God's word or to a subversion of it. This was a problem even in the early centuries of the Christian Church. Some Christians made it a practice using the value of letters, numbers, and symbols in an attempt to determine the mysteries of God, often at the expense of the Gospel. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons and noted Christian writer of the 2nd century, wrote this in response to such harmful speculation:

"Men should not seek to prosecute inquiries respecting God by means of numbers, syllables, and letters. For this is an uncertain mode of proceeding, on account of their varied and diverse systems, and because every sort of hypothesis may at the present day be, in like manner, devised by anyone; so that they can derive arguments against the truth from these very theories, inasmuch as they may be turned in many different directions." 

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (120-202 AD), taken from Against Heresies, Chap. 25, Pt. 1

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare." (2 Peter 3:10)

Scripture tells us that no one knows when Christ will return, that only God knows and has fixed the day of Jesus' return, and that it will come as a thief. So while one may see and say that His coming is near, it is futile and contrary to Scripture spending inordinate amounts of time trying to determine exactly when it will take place. So what are Christians to do? The apostle Peter says that while we wait for His appearing we should live lives dedicated to God and His will for us (2 Peter 3:12-14). In other words, we should spend less time speculating about when Jesus will come, and more time living for Him.

May the Lord helps us to prepare for His coming by living for Him and caring for the needs of one another.

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