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Sunday, August 7, 2022

COVID-19 and the Second Coming of Christ

Time and time again over the years, there have been Christians who have attempted to predict when the end of the world is going to take place. This is happening even right now, with the Coronavirus Pandemic. There are Christians who are claiming these are the “End Times”. I heard one fellow boldly state that the return of Christ will be in 2021 (he still has about seven months for that to come to pass…) But just Google the phrases like, “COVID-19 and the second coming” and “Coronavirus and return of Christ” and you will see what I mean.

Let me state right at the start: I do firmly believe Jesus’ promise to return, as He said He would: “At that time…they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory” Matthew 24:30. And, I also believe what Jesus stated about the date of that return: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” Matthew 24:36.

Yet, in spite of that very clear injunction of Jesus’, Christians have persisted in setting dates and times for His return and the end of the world.

For example, back in the 19th century, a man by the name of William Miller who after “studying” the Scriptures concluded the world would end in 1843 began broadcasting those predictions.  When 1843 came and went, he changed the date to 1844. In 1844, convinced of the soon return of Christ, Miller’s followers sold all their possessions, dressed in white and ascended to the roofs of their houses to await the return of Christ. When that didn’t happen, many believers were greatly disillusioned. That led to what then became known as “The Great Disappointment of 1844”. Many of these believers then had to repair their shattered faith but sadly, others simply walked away from the faith entirely as result.

A few years ago, a pastor by the name Harold Camping predicted the world would end on May 21, 2011. His followers began an aggressive advertizing campaign proclaiming that date as the return of Christ. When May 21st came and went, Camping said he was out by five months and began proclaiming October 21 as the new date. Well, as we all know, October 21, 2011 also came and went… The day after, one Christian group responded with an ad saying, “That was awkward.” and with it, the verse “No one knows the day or the hour…” Matthew 24:36 on it.

Unfortunately, Camping’s mistake also led many non-Christians to mock: one man put a sign up, “The end was nigh” and another wrote, “I don’t want to brag or anything, but this is like the fifth end of the world I’ve survived.”

There’s a lot at stake when we venture into predicting the future or even interpreting present day events as being fulfillment of prophecy. That’s because of what happens if we make those claims about the current events being the end of the world and then they turn out to be wrong? So now, non-Christians who have heard us make these predictions see us as having led them on a prophetic wild goose chase. What if, after all is said and done, it is indisputably proven that this Coronavirus Pandemic was not a conspiracy at all? What if what we have been seeing has simply been people responding to a crisis who just wanted to get us through it? What then? Will they still believe us when we tell them Jesus is the only One who can save us from our sins and give us eternal life?

I am reminded of what Nathan told David after his affair with Bathsheba, “However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14.)

Let’s keep our eyes open for the Second Coming of Christ, but lets not tie any current day events to it. If He returns, great! If not, we’ll still be able, without apology, to preach His imminent return.

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