I was working on a sermon recently that was exploring the idea of being prepared for the Second Coming, whenever that happens. The language of the New Testament seems to indicate that the First Century disciples believed that the Second Coming was imminent. Some were, apparently, quitting their jobs in order to wait. Others were afraid that it had already happened and they had missed it.
Interest and concern about the Second Coming is not unusual. It persists today as evidenced by the plethora of workshops, books, and seminars purporting to predict the time when Jesus is coming back. Hal Lindsey’s books sold widely because they promised answers. But all they did was create unnecessary angst.
Christian Century (November 13, 2007) recently reported that Ronald Reagan once said that the Chernobyl crisis had been predicted in Revelation 8. In that chapter’s description of the opening of the seventh seal, a great star fell out of the sky which caused people to die from resulting bitter waters. Reagan said “the star was called Wedgewood which translates as Chernobyl in Ukrainian.”
The reporter who wrote the story later looked up the reference and discovered that the star was called “Wormwood” instead. Whoops!
Which is what I want to say about all the predicting that goes on. Whoops! I wish all those folks would listen to what Jesus said and believe him. “…about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father,” Matthew 24:36. “Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour,” Matthew 25:13.
Jesus said to be prepared, not to engage in predicting. Jesus’ way provides confidence and hope. Prediction only produces anxiety, which was not something Jesus was into.