Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 24:36-51.
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only (Matthew 24:36).
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come (Matthew 24:42).
In the Olivet Discourse, Christ told his disciples that the exact time (the day and the hour) of his coming is not known even by the angels of heaven (those glorious creatures who serve as his messengers and ministers), but by his Father alone.
In Acts 1, just before Christ ascended in a cloud, some disciples asked him when he would restore all things. Christ responded, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (v. 7).
Such statements remind us that we should beware of and reject any prognosticators who pretend to predict when Christ will return in glory.
The Millerites (followers of William Miller) predicted Christ would come on October 22, 1844. They later referred to October 23, 1844 as “the great disappointment.”
In 1988 Edgar C. Whisenant, a former NASA engineer published a book titled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. In it he predicted the “rapture” (the taking up of the saints of God before Christ’s coming) would take place sometime between September 11 and September 13, 1988. He reportedly said, “Only if the Bible is in error, am I wrong.” Of course, Mr. Whisenant, and not the Bible, was proven to be wrong.
Harold Camping of Family Radio first predicted the return of Christ would be on September 9, 1994. When that didn’t happen, he revised the prediction to September 29 and then October 2. He later predicted the return of Christ on May 21, 2011, and when that did not happen, he moved the date back to October 21, but again, it did not happen.
Spurgeon offered this comment on Matthew 24:36: "We need not therefore be troubled by idle prophecies of hair-brained fanatics, even if they claim to interpret the Scriptures; for what the angels do not know has not been revealed to them" (Commentary on Matthew, 373).
Our task is not to know when Christ will come but to be discovered as faithful and wise servants when he does come.
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle