Prophecies aplenty about the eclipse have been rolling in over the past few days. I’ve seen prophecies based on interpretations of dates, times, geographical locations, and durations. I saw one that said that the world would end based on the fact that only the US would see the eclipse. I’ve seen a couple that based it on dates between now and the next eclipse. I’ve seen a few that based it on loose (at best) interpretations of Greek and Hebrew letter shapes. Let’s be real: The “doomsdayers” are out in full force right now. But as Christians, what should we be believing about the end of the world?
We shouldn’t make prophecies, promises, or predictions
First of all, a disclaimer. I know some stuff. However, in my brain, I don’t know when the world will end. Will it happen on eclipse day? Maybe. I’ll tell you what…if Christ comes back on eclipse day, you can make fun of me. I won’t care. But here’s the thing: Nobody knows when Christ is coming back. Matthew 24:36 tells us that not even Christ himself knows the time. So people can predict all they want, but they’re probably going to be wrong. I don’t exactly think God is in the habit of not telling Christ when he’ll be coming back, but putting some cleverly-worded phrases in the Bible that will let a human predict, based on various factors, when it’s going to happen. It’s extremely arrogant to presume that we have knowledge that Christ himself does not have. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 that He will come “like a thief in the night.” We don’t exactly use loosely-interpreted Scripture to predict when thieves will break in. That’s the point. It’s unexpected. If everyone is expecting it, it’s probably not going to happen.
Again: It might happen. I don’t know. But we shouldn’t be in the habit of making predictions or promises about it, and here’s why. Every time we make a prediction like this, we only have two outcomes: We’re either right or we’re wrong. If we’re right, what’s the point? I’m betting there’s not a heavenly door prize for who guessed the closest. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by being right. There is, however, something very large to be lost if we’re wrong. Reputation. If you’re a pastor or a Christian who has been making predictions and promises about the timing of the return of Christ, you’re risking a loss of reputation. Reputation is how we keep ourselves trusted by people in our circles, and if we are unable to be trusted, why would someone listen to us about the truth of the Gospel? The prediction you should be making about the return of Christ is simply this: Christ is returning one day. Nothing more, nothing less.
We should make preparations
I say all that to get to the real point: How should we be thinking about the return of Christ, no matter when it comes? We should be focusing not on figuring out when, but on being ready. I’m not talking about doomsday prepping. I’m talking about spiritually preparing not only yourselves, but helping others prepare spiritually. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that the time before Christ’s return is long so that more people can come to know Him. So first, don’t be distracted. People that make these predictions often have one thing in mind…to draw attention to themselves. When we turn our attention to these people, we turn our attention off Christ. So focus on Christ. Second, help to focus others on Christ. Keep inviting them to church. Keep modeling Christ for them. In this way, we help to bring others to Him. So let’s move our attention off of the “when,” and back to the “who.” Focus on Christ.