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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 41 : Await My Return | Day 283

Reject Precise Predictions!

It was a startling title, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988! The author predicted not only the year but also the month and the day of Jesus' return. I thought to myself, "One thing we can be sure about: Jesus will not be returning on that day!" Mark 13:32 says, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

If we knew the precise day of Christ's return, we would not live in the state of continual watchfulness and readiness that God desires.

After Jesus explained that no one but His heavenly Father knows the exact time of His return, He stated, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is” (Mark 13:33). In spite of God's clear statements regarding the return of Christ, many people have a persistent curiosity to know the exact day of Christ's Second Coming.

On October 20, 1991, a full-page ad appeared in the *USA Today* newspaper stating: "Rapture! October 28, 1992. Jesus is coming in the air!" It was one of many warnings distributed by groups associated with the Hyoo-go ("rapture") movement. In Seoul, South Korea, where this movement originated, thousands of followers quit their jobs, sold their homes, abandoned their families, and incurred large debts in preparation for the end of the world.

Fifteen hundred riot police were dispatched by the government to the largest "rapture movement" church, which was pastored by Reverend Chang Man-Ho. Yet, when the long-awaited day came, nothing happened. Fifteen minutes after the Rapture was expected to occur, Reverend Chang Man-Ho stood in his pulpit and simply announced, "Nothing has happened. Sorry. Let's go home." Disillusioned followers became angry, many wept uncontrollably, and some became physically violent.

When the disciples inquired about Jesus' Second Coming and the end of the world, Jesus warned, “...Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:4-5). In spite of Jesus' admonitions, the disciples' focus on end times persisted even after His resurrection, when they asked, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" Once again Jesus tried to quell their curiosity: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (see Acts 1:6-7).

We should avoid the extreme of seeking precise predictions as well as the extreme of not caring about Christ's return.

This command does not instruct us to know when Christ will return but rather to be ready for His return and to expect Him at any moment. All of the debate and division among believers over the timing of Christ's Second Coming detracts attention from the great truths that we can learn from this coming event. Let's avoid getting caught up in predictions and instead live in anticipation of His imminent return!

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 24:42-44).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard