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Some said Jesus would return in 1914 and then 1918. Others said 1975, then 2000. All such attempts have obviously failed, yet people continue to speculate. What does the Bible say?
Some attempt to use the signs mentioned in Matthew 24:4-14 to predict the time of Jesus' return. But verses 1-3 show that Jesus was giving signs for the destruction of the temple and of the city of Jerusalem. Verse 34 shows that all the things Jesus spoke about would come to pass during that generation. Sure enough, Jesus' prediction was fulfilled in 70 AD.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 says, regarding the "times and seasons" (of Jesus' coming), that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in night. The point, of course, is that a thief will come unexpectedly. There will be no signs and no warnings. The same is true of Jesus' return. No one can know when it will occur. No signs can be used to predict it.
Since the time is unknown, we should watch and be ready all the time (vv 4-6). If we knew exactly when He would return, most people would wait till just before that to start obeying. But if He can come at any moment, we are motivated to live right all the time.
2 Peter 3:10 repeats that the day of the Lord will come as a thief. When people try to predict when Jesus will return, they claim to know what the Bible expressly says no one can know. They add themselves to a long list of those who have tried and failed.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2003
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.