You’d think these verses would be enough to discourage anyone from being foolish enough to predict the date of Christ’s return:
“No one knows about that day or hour, 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.
Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 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
“Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
But alas… yet another group has set a date. Eighty-nine year old Harold Camping of familyradio.com and his small group of followers have managed to capture a well-deserved mocking media frenzy. You can read his claims here until it’s removed out of of embarrassment or updated with some new “corrected” date.
The Bible is clear that Christ will return. How events will actually unfold is highly debatable. Some envision all those who belong to Christ being removed (or raptured) from the earth just prior to a period the Bible calls The Tribulation. Others expect Christians to remain present through that time. The only thing that is absolutely certain is that at some point Christ will come and his followers will be reunited with him. In any case, these debates are non-essential to salvation. For now, the descriptions in scripture are just food for thought. Well-informed, intelligent people may draw different conclusions from the text. There’s just too much that isn’t said that we’d like to speculate on.
In my opinion, there is no benefit to obsessing over how and when Christ will return. The information the Bible provides is useful to give us a glimpse at what is to come, and that is enough. It’s there for completeness. At some point, as predicted events happen, the scriptures that explain them will be seen in a much brighter light. In context they will bring clarity to those who need it then that we do not have now. In the meantime, it’s best to simply view prophecies with wonder, awe, and reverence. Too much speculation just creates myth and useless arguments.
Love and truth dispel fear and ignorance. We should aim to live in the present with an awareness that time is short. That truth stands no matter when Christ returns.