Monday, January 24, 2011

If the End Were Near: A Variation on a Peter Pollock Post

In a recent post at Peter Pollock. com  he began by asking a particular question: "If you knew for absolutely certain that Christ was coming again this time tomorrow, what would you do?"
There will be no Spoiler Alert. If you want to know what his answer was to the question you will have to click on the link and read it yourself.

The question that came to my mind on reading his post was this: Would you want to know for certain that Christ was coming again this time tomorrow?

For most Christians I would imagine the first knee-jerk reaction is, "Yes!"

I'm not certain that is the best answer. Jesus said no one knew when that moment would be, not even the Angels, and it would come in a blink of the eye. God must have had a reason why this would not be known ahead of it happening. Now the Bible indicates that God is a patience Deity who doesn't want to see anyone perish and he delays until the last possible soul has been redeemed. But the idea the date isn't known to us because God keeps putting it off for that reason doesn't make sense. God already knows who that soul is and when they will be saved. So what difference would it make to know the date?

It doesn't seem it is the need for something to be in place to make the fulfillment of some End Time prophesy possible either. You know, like satellites and the internet and television and all the things that would allow the world to see an event when it happens. Or super computers that would let some central government to control all our affairs. As far as I know everything is in place that would allow the very last days to begin. But even if there was something else, God knows what it is and when it will be invented. Why not tell us the date?

God knows us much better than we know ourselves of course. Maybe it is for our sake we aren't told the exact date. We probably wouldn't react sensibly at all and probably not at all as The Lord has told us to.

And who all would know this exact time with certainty, everybody or just true believers? There was a movie back in the early 1950s called "The Next Voice You hear". It starred James Whitmore and Nancy Davis (later Nancy Reagan). In this film a voice claiming to be God is suddenly heard on everybody's radio each evening for six days. The movie is about the effect this had on the characters' lives. 

If something like that happened, with God suddenly declaring on the radio or TV that in 24 hours The Lord would return I expect the reaction would be similar to some of the fictional movie. Many people would think it a hoax, some would take it seriously and the government would launch an investigation. But I'm not so sure it would change much. People always say why doesn't God just speak up and then we'll believe. You know if God did, people still wouldn't believe in him. After all, he did that once and look what happened.

Perhaps the message would just come to the believers. What if Saturday evening you went to sleep and sometime in the night you had a dream. In the dream an Angel appears and says, "Fear not and rest assured, for I am Gabriel, a messenger from God and I am announcing that Our Lord will return at 9:00 AM Monday morning." 

When you awake in the morning you remember this dream vividly. You come down to breakfast and tell it to your spouse and your spouse says, "I had the exact same dream. Hmm, interesting coincidence." So you go off to church. The service is about to start, but instead of the usual beginning your Pastor steps to the podium looking very serious. He tells you he had this dream, your dream, and that he called the minister of such-and-such church and that man had the same dream and he tells the dream. And then many people about you, not all, but most are nodding their heads that they also had that dream.  (As an aside, given the dress of the family in this picture, the Rapture must have occurred in the early 1950s.)

Now what? Do you all form groups and swarm into the neighborhood to knock on doors and warn those who aren't in any church that they must repent? Why not, a lot of people think we Christians are nuts anyway so this won't hurt? It probably won't do much good either. 

Or do you sort of panic yourself. Am I sure about my own salvation? Am I ready? Have I done enough? Am I really ready to give up all this stuff I have here on earth? It is always easier to say we are ready and we want the Lord to come soon than to know it is actually about to happen.

It is also easy to say we know he could come at any moment that He could come before I type another


I don't doubt we are honest when we say we expect the Lord to return at any moment, I just wonder if we would really grasp the reality if we knew it was upon us slightly ahead of time. You know, like we expect to die someday. We know we could die at any minute. But do we grasp that reality? We could get in our car, head for work and get killed by some aggressive driver on the interstate. How much to we actually consider such a thing? Probably about as much as you really consider that Christ could return in the next moment. As much as we accept the truth we could die at any moment, I don't think many of us expect to die today. As much as we accept the truth of the prophecy, I don't think many of us expect Christ to come today. We say at any moment, but in our mind we always see it somewhere in the future.

I actually think God designed it that way.

If you were given absolute proof that it would happen twenty-four hours from now you would probably be overwhelmed with anxiety, guilt and sorrow. You would think of those you know and those you love that don't believe. People close to you who are not saved. You will probably realize there is little that can be done in one day. You will feel guilty because you will feel you never did enough to save them or others, that you did too much during your life for yourself and not enough for others, even if you did a lot for others. You will feel great sorrow for these people and terrible because you let them down. You'll begin to take a burden on to yourself that isn't yours to bear.

It other words, it is better not to know the exact date and time. I think God has spared us that anxiety.

Of course there are some people who believe they do know the exact date. They put up billboards even announcing it. Some think it was all foreseen in the Long Count Calendar used by the Mayans and some think they have unwoven exact timelines within the Bible. We will see how close they come in the not so distant future. At least we will if the Lord doesn't come tomorrow or next week or at a moment we least expect him. Remember those key words from His own lips, "When you do not expect Him."

My personal opinion is if we claim we know the exact date we are calling The Lord a liar.

I pray I am always alert and watching, but I still prefer I not know exactly.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.

   “Be on guard! Be alert! Therefore keep watch, because you do not know when that time on what day your Lord will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. Matthew 24:36-44 and Mark 13:32-37 (NIV)


  1. Hey larry
    That was a pretty good post. I think you're right on the fact as to when the last day is. you hit the nail on the head there. What is so great is the other command "Occupy until I come." Means live your life enjoy the blessings of our Father, going about doing good for others. Praising the Father for all things. Keep up the good work
    Tammys Husband Joe

  2. great post Lar, i would rather not know either and i agree with hubby thats enjoying Him while we wait :)