It’s interesting I would be working on this chapter around the same time I found out about a new religious leader who is claiming the end of the world will be May 21, 2011. You can Google it for yourself, but the math is quite creative in how at a certain day from the starting point of the second Jubilee following the modern re-establishment of Israel equals May 21, 2011. Not kidding. This guy believes it, is promoting it on billboards and websites, and is causing quite a stir among those into that sort of thing.
But Jesus made clear in Matthew 24 that date setting is not to be figured out from reading the Bible and tapping out a creative equation on a calculator. Jesus claimed only the Father knew the hour. The implication is that Jesus could come back any moment, meaning we can’t procrastinate until the night before like a term paper in college.
There’s a reason for this. We all hate teachers who give pop quzzes, but this method forces us to study for each day of class. Likewise, we may not like the idea of not knowing when Jesus will return, but the goal is to keep us alert until he does return.
I know a lot of people don’t believe Jesus is coming back at all, but from the perspective of the Bible, it’s as foundational as the virgin birth of Jesus and his resurrection. The story isn’t complete until he returns.
The application I took from this section was that being able to figure the date of Christ’s return would be much easier than living for Christ every moment of every day. In my car, at the job, with my family, on the phone–I have to live like Jesus is just about to show up. I don’t want to be yelling at someone who cut me off on the interstate when Jesus returns. I want to be living one hundred percent for Jesus. When he comes, all that will matter is to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Dillon Burroughs has written, co-written, or edited over 60 books, including the upcoming devotional work Thirst No More (October 2011). He served as an associate editor for The Apologetics Study Bible for Students and is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. Find out more at DillonBurroughs.org.