If the world was going to blow up at noon tomorrow, would you want to know? I don’t just mean having an asteroid hit us, spread some dust and dirt around, and create a new ice age. I mean blow up—it’s just gone. One moment we are here, and the next we are scattered throughout the solar system like so much debris. Would you want to know? Why? What would you do about it? Would you visit your family one last time, read your Bible one last time, or maybe pray—hard—trying to get right with god one last time. Or maybe you’d like to get your affairs in order, but why? Surely tonight is one night you don’t even need to brush your teeth. You can forget about all the mess you left on your desk. If fact, if you are in the mood for it, you can start a bonfire with your tax records. You don’t have to worry about it any more. You’re going to die owing the IRS money—which is a good way to go.
Jesus’ disciples wanted to know when Jesus was coming back and what would be the signs of the end of the world. And from that time until this, men have studied the Bible consumed with these questions. They don’t just study the Bible, they look into Nostradamus and all sorts of prophets and seers and psychics, because everybody wants to know what and they want to know when.
But why should God tell us anything about the future, at all? The truth is that merely knowing what is coming is of no value at all unless there is something you can do about it. In that short statement lies what may be the most important truth of all about Biblical prophecy. So when Jesus’ disciples asked him,
Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the world? Jesus gave them knowledge they could use. You may find it of some value yourself. One of the most important things he said was:
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall grow cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
Now, on the principal that there is no value in knowing the future unless there is something to do about it, what are we to make of this passage?