“And further, not to know when the end is, or when the day of the end will occur is actually a good thing. If people knew the time of the end, they might begin to ignore the present time as they waited for the end days. They might well begin to argue that they should only focus on themselves. Therefore, God has also remained silent concerning the time of our death. If people knew the day of their death, they would immediately begin to neglect themselves for the greater part of their lifetime… this is so that, when things remain uncertain and always in prospect, we advance day by day as if summoned, reaching forward to the things before us and forgetting the things behind…”
Growing up, I used to think the end times were going to happen any minute and it absolutely terrified me. In high school, I thought it was going to happen by college. In college, I just knew it would occur by my mid-twenties. Now that I am the ripe old age of 28, I’ve decided to stop playing apocalyptic meteorologist and simply let God figure that out. For me, I’m thankful that only the Father knows when Jesus will come again.
In II Thessalonians, Paul wrote to the church he planted reassuring them that in fact Jesus had not returned and they did not miss the boat. Funny to think, but they were a little nervous about that.
Heck, when I signed off on the eschatology of the Left Behind series (Pretribulation-dispensationalist eschatology, for those of you keeping score at home), this thought absolutely terrified me! But this is not the “rapture” event portrayed in the Left Behind series that some within the American church believe will occur in the near future. This is the return of Christ, when he puts the world to rights and evil is finally rooted out. That for me is a reason to hope!
As Athanasius pointed out above, if we knew the exact date of his return (or our death, even), then we would probably slack off until the week of the event. OK, maybe you wouldn’t, but I certainly would!
Wait for the Lord’s return, but until then, keep pointing people to Christ. Live as an ambassador of the Kingdom that will one day bring his will “on earth as it is in heaven.”
What do you wait for?