We’ve seen it before and we will surely see it again. The news starts screaming about a total solar eclipse, three hurricanes, forest fires, floods, earthquakes, etc. Then Facebook posts like this start popping up all over the place.
These professed believers, who most likely have good intentions, start touting that the end of the world is upon us and our Savior’s return is imminent. Just as the Facebook post states above, the Bible passage often referred to is the Olivet Discourse (Luke 21, Matthew 24, Mark 13).
My fellow Christian brothers and sisters….please STOP IT!
This is an issue that could be resolved by simply examining the biblical context. In that passage Christ is answering his disciples question concerning the destruction of the temple.
“Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down. As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?””
– Matthew 24:1-3
Simply put, the Olivet discourse is mostly about the visitation of the Son of Man in judgment in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Interestingly, when Christ does shift his focus from 70 A.D. to his future, bodily return, the inspired writer of the gospel of Matthew gives us textual and syntactical indicators. In the Olivet discourse Christ says these words, words that are often used by skeptics and militant atheists to prove that the Bible is not trustworthy.
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.
Matthew, in documenting the speech of Christ, uses what is called a near demonstrative to specify the audience being spoken to. THIS (αὕτη) generation, the generation right in front of him, they are the ones who will not pass away before the prophecies Christ had mentioned come to pass. Prophecies that include those vague and non specific words that end-times loving Christians love to jump on whenever lots of bad stuff starts happening.
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Of course if my dear fellow believers would simply keep reading they would find the verse that should completely stop all this world ending speculation. Christ does transition in the Olivet discourse from speaking about his imminent return in judgment in the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. to his future return and the consummation of his kingdom. We can tell that this transition has taken place because Matthew switches from a near demonstrative in the Greek (this, αὕτη) to a far demonstrative (that, ἐκείνης). But do you know what Christ says about THAT future day? He says this…
“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”
Simply put, if Christ says he doesn’t know (according to his human nature), if Christ says that even the angels don’t know, if Christ says that only the Father knows, than we should stop guessing!!!!!!!!!! Stop guessing and start living for the kingdom. Stop guessing and start building a legacy. Stop guessing and start practicing the peace of knowing that whenever Christ does come back, if you have faith in him, you will be on the side of victory and will experience the ushering in of the New Heavens and the New Earth where you will worship the Father and the Lamb who was slain in all their glory for all eternity.
But if you keep guessing, you end up looking like this guy.
Don’t be like this guy. Instead may you bear much fruit to the glory of God.
P.S. David Meade retracted his doomsday prediction.