Jesus had directed his disciples to return to Jerusalem, where they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, which would empower them to be the light of the world. They were to be his “witnesses.” The charge was to let God’s light seen in Jesus Christ shine in and through the lives of every generation of believers until Jesus shall return. The disciples must have thought that with Christ’s resurrection, there would immediately be the fulfillment of all that they expected from the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. They did not seem to understand that the only coming of the Lord in an immediate way would be as they exposed him to the world through their lives and testimonies. In Acts 1:6-7 they ask, So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’”

Throughout history, there have been those who have professed to know the timing of the coming of the “end of days” or the return of the Lord. These predictions have been based on some personal ideas, some mathematical calculations, or some individual intuition. There are way too many to post in this article, but As early as the first century, Jewish scholars were predicting the end of the world and the Lord’s return. In 365 A.D., Hilary of Poitiers preached that the Lord would return that year. Martine of Tours said it would surely be before 400 A.D. One theologian calculated that the Lord’s return would be around 500 A.D based on the dimensions of Noah’s Ark. Gregory of Tours, a French bishop, estimated the end would occur between 799 and 806. Many said the Lord would return at the end of the first millennium, 1000 A.D. Pope Innocent III predicted that the world would end 666 years after the rise of Islam in 618 A.D. Hans Hut,  a German Anabaptist, got real specific and said the Lord would return on May 27, 1528. Even Christopher Columbus, in his “Book of Prophecies,” said the world would end during the year 1501. Based on some calculations from the book of Revelation, John Napier argued that the world would end in 1688. When that failed to materialize, he recalculated and said it would be in 1700. Let me skip dozens of others and come to Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who predicted 1914 but revised the date several times when nothing materialized. There have many, many others.

It seems Georg Hegel was right when he said that the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. The world is still ignoring Jesus’ words to his disciples. According to Wikipedia, “Polls conducted in 2012 across 20 countries found over 14% of people believe the world will end in their lifetime, with percentages ranging from 6% of people in France to 22% in the US and Turkey. In the UK in 2015, 23% of the general public believed the apocalypse was likely to occur in their lifetime.” Now get this: “Between one and three percent of people from both countries  (The United States and England) said ta zombie or alien invasion would cause the apocalypse”[1] If we trust the Bible, we would never have these kinds of fears or predictions. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” There are some things God doesn’t intend for us to know. Man has arrogantly thought he could figure out God’s ways and timing with his meager mind. We must focus on the calling to shine the light of Christ in our lives and words in whatever period we find ourselves. That’s what he’s called us to do. Don’t worry about the future; that’s not ours to know. It’s not for us to understand the times and seasons.