About 25 years ago, I remember reading a book that gave 87 reasons to believe that Christ would return in 1987. Then it was Y2K. Many predicted that the computers of the world would fail, power grids would collapse, and life as we know it would come to an end. I even found government websites acknowledging that major social and economic disruptions could occur because computer makers had failed to anticipate the turn of the Millennial calendar.
Now the buzz is 2012. Books and internet sites are multiplying around the claim that the ancient Mayans had a calendar that anticipated the end of the age on December 2012. Others suggest that the Bible itself contains a secret code indicating that a meteor, comet, or asteroid will collide with the earth causing a major world-changing event in 2012. More than a few followers of Christ are adding their own reasons for believing that the alleged “converging evidence” is connected to the return of Christ.
Could it be possible? Sure. As incredible as it might seem in a scientific age, nothing is more certain than the fact that the One who came the first time in fulfillment of predictions and an ancient calendar could return in 2008, 2012, or any other year in the future.
But another answer that makes more sense to me is that, if there’s any day that a lot of people think Christ might come– it’s probably not going to be that day. Jesus said, “”Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:44). In the same chapter, Matthew also quotes the Teacher as saying, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (24:36). And just before Jesus’ ascension to heaven, Luke says the disciples asked him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? “And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:7).
One of my biggest concerns is for a younger generation that is likely to either become hardened by false alarms, or hopeless because of the uncertainty of the future. Some will assume that the return of Christ won’t happen in their lifetime– and therefore won’t be ready. Others may be so unnerved by the equivalent of 1987, Y2K, or 2012 talk that they won’t prepare for the possibility of a long life. Such young people need to know that it is just as possible that Christ will return in our life time– as it is that he won’t.
Rather than getting caught up in any date-setting, it seems far wiser to live as if Christ could return today, or 500 years from now.
I don’t know about you, but I say let’s be about planting trees, caring for the earth, the people of all nations, and all that God has entrusted to us– while also making it a priority to give everyone a chance to ready to meet Christ– either through his return, or by our own inevitable return to him.
I’d be interested in your take on this. How aware have you been of the 2012 books and rumors? Do you approach the subject differently than I do?