No Wonder People Scoff at the Return of Christ

07/24/2010 20:20

I’m excited about a book I just began reading A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days by Rabbi Jonathan Bernis. I know a lot about the Christian perspective on the last days, but I usually don’t get a whole lot of information on the Jewish perspective on what is about to happen.

The opening chapter of his book, Rabbi Bernis lists the following prediction failures:

  • Bernard of Thuringia calculated that the end would come in 992
  • Pope Innocent III expected the Second Coming to take place in 1284, 666 years after the rise of Islam
  • Mathematician Michael Stifel calculated that the Day of Judgment would begin at 8 a.m. on October 19, 1533
  • John Napier, the mathematician who discovered logarithms, predicted that the world would end in 1688
  • Puritan Cotton Mather chose 1697 as the year of Jesus’ Second Coming
  • William Miller found a huge audience for his prediction that Jesus would return on October 22, 1844. When it didn’t happen, that day became known as The Great Disappointment

Rabbi didn’t mention all the modern day talk speculating who the Antichrist might be naming people from Hitler, Henry Kissinger, and even today I’ve heard people say that President Barak Obama is the Antichrist.

With all these failures, no wonder people scoff about the return of Christ! “Yeah, they’ve been saying that for years and nothing happens. Big deal.”

It’s funny (the strange kind of funny) that even though the Bible clearly says that we won’t know the day for His return, people continue to speculate and name days. It looks like mathematicians are the worse. Look at what the Bible says:

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36

“Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” Matthew 24:42

OK, I’ll admit it, even if no one else will. We do sometimes sit around and kick some ideas around about when Messiah will return, but I’m not silly enough to publish it. It’s more for amusement and theory chasing—nothing serious because we know the Bible clearly states that the day and hour are off limits for us to know. But, the Bible also says:

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6

From all of these scriptures taken together, I say we won’t know the exact day or hour, but we will be aware of the season, and the signs point to that season. Isn’t this exciting?

It is unfortunate that some get so carried away with this prediction stuff that they sacrifice some of their reputation—perhaps they fancied themselves prophets or something. Now people scoff, but scoffing was predicted by Peter:

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” 2 Peter 3:3-4

Are people scoffing about the coming of Jesus? Then we are in the last days. It’s as simple as that.


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