“But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but My Father only” (Matt 24:36). The Lord and His word clearly shows that no person living can know the exact time of Christ’s final return. The Bible’s teaching is that we must be prepared for that time when the time does come (John 14:1-3; Rev. 1:7; James 5:7; Phil. 3:20; 1 Pet. 1:13; Acts 17:30-31; Jude 7; John 5:28-29; 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 2 Thess. 1:7-10).
Matthew 24 is a chapter that is abused by so-called “fundamentals” and the A.D. 70 errorists of our day. The pin-pointers of prophecy in this chapter are directed to the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70. In Matthew 24:1-35 Christ gave clear-cut signs that men may know when the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem was at hand. There is only one question that, at that time, the Lord Jesus did not know the answer; i.e., “When will You come back, Lord?” In Matthew 24:36 we have His answer: no man knows, the angels of heaven do not know, the Son of God did not know, and only the Father in heaven knows when the Son will return the final time.
The only thing that Christ clearly taught about His return was that it would be like the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37-39). There will be no warnings, no pin-pointers, no clues. Life and living will be going along as always. He also compared His final return to the coming of a thief in the night (Matt. 24:43). The thief comes at a time you do not expect him. Christ warns: “Watch therefore …therefore be ye also ready…” (Matt. 24:42, 44; cf. 25:13).
In spite of this clear teaching, there have always been false prophets, trying to guess the time of Christ’s return. There are in excess of over 200 false predictions by the time-guessers of history, from A.D. 44 until the present time. There are only a couple of centuries where we do not have recorded data of the “false prophets.” One cult (Jehovah’s Witnesses) predicted the final coming more than 70 times during the 20th century. Every date they predicted proved to be false. In an effort to get the “egg off their face” they came up with a new “twist” that Christ came in 1914 in an invisible coming. The Bible teaches that He will come visibly (Rev. 1:7). He will come audibly (John 5:28). He will come in flaming fire (2 Thess. 1:7-ff). He will come with His holy angels (Matt. 25:31). He will come with a shout (1 Thess. 4:16). Oh, by the way, the earth and all elements will be burned up (2 Pet. 3:10). Somehow all these things escaped the notice of all news reports and recorded historical happenings in the year 1914.
A young Billy Graham taught the imminent return of Christ. Andrea Neal, chief editor of The Indianapolis Star, reported, “In 1950, for example, Graham predicted the world would end in two years” (Graham’s Role In An Awakening, page A-18). Let’s do some simple math. In 1950 Billy Graham taught that the world would be no more by the end of 1952. Today, that makes him a false prophet for well over a half century. How can we know that Graham is a false prophet? Deuteronomy 18:22: “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” There are only two kinds of prophets: (1) true prophets – the things they predict come to pass, and (2) false prophets – the things they predict fail to come to pass. Concerning the second coming of Christ, we have noted that when He comes again, that coming will be visible, audible, in flaming fire, with His holy angels, and that the world and everything in the world will be burned up. Now, which of these things came to pass in 1914 or 1952? Christ taught that no man (Billy Graham) knows the time of His return (Matt. 24:36). He taught that His coming would be the end of planet earth (2 Pet. 3:10). So we know that Jehovah’s Witnesses, like hundreds and hundreds of others, are false prophets.
The only thing that remains is to ask the question of the old hymn: “Are You Ready For that Day to Come?”