GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURESThe Date Of Jesus Christís Return
By Keith L. Estes
In 1843 there was a man by the name of William Miller living in New England who was an ardent believer in the second coming of Christ. Unfortunately, he began basing his speculations upon mathematical calculations. He collected all the data, analyzed it, and was absolutely sure he had made no mistakes in his computations. He announced to his followers that on March 21, 1843, Jesus Christ would return to the earth. According to reports, a timely comet fostered his delusion, so his ardent followers prepared their ascension robes, went into the mountains, and even climbed trees at midnight on the appointed day. They expected the Lord to take them home, so they climbed as high as possible so they would have less distance to travel through the air! Needless to say, the day came and went without the Lord's return, and the Millerites went home to a late breakfast on March 22nd followed by the jeers of their neighbors.
It was a sad and bitter disappointment in the hearts of Miller's followers. He immediately went back to the Scriptures and found a mistake in his calculations. To20his surprise, he discovered that he had miscounted by one year. So 365 days later the Millerites were again climbing trees and awaiting the Lord's return-and were again disappointed. Once again William Miller claimed to have miscalculated by a year, and the next year his followers ardently expected the Lord to meet them in the air. But of course the Lord didn't return according to Miller's schedule, and his followers turned their hearts away from both their teacher and their Lord.
How can we know Jesus will come again? One passage in the Bible answers that question. In Matthew 24 and 25 Jesus gave a sermon to his disciples in answer to a question-the longest answer our Lord ever offered to a question put to him. Those chapters contain important truths, but they remain little researched and seldom preached. Wilbur Smith, one of the great scholars of our generation, called that great passage delivered on the Mount of Olives on Tuesday of Holy Week the most neglected discourse of Jesus Christ.
No man knows the time of Christ's return. We can't set a date for Christ's return. We don't know it, the angels don't know it, and not even the Son Himself knew it while He was on earth. Only God the Father knows when it will occur. All we can do is prepare ourselves for that day, for it [will come.] What would hap pen if someone could figure out the date of Jesus' Second Coming? Some people would live in sin right up to the appointed week and then clean up their lives and prepare themselves. Some would stop everything they were doing just to wait for His return. Some of William Miller's followers sold or gave away everything they owned, figuring they would have no more need for their possessions. If we knew when Christ was coming, we wouldn't be able to make future plans. Long-term relationships would be affected. The Lord did not choose to reveal to us the time of His return-in His infinite wisdom, He kept us from knowing the date and time.
Reference: Signs of the Second Coming by David Jeremiah, P.O.Box 3838 San Diego, Ca. 92163. Matt. Chapter 24 and 25, Mk. 13:32 The Holy Bible.