If you ever get a chance to do a book review for a new book that claims to know the date of Christ’s return (note that old books on this topic have a hard time remaining in publication after having been wrong), do so. I think it’ll be an easy job. They’re wrong.
We see Christ speak about knowing the future in chapter one in Acts, and it comes up elsewhere, too. There may be general signs and indications that the end is nearing, but no one knows when that will be. It is not just that we’re ignorant, it is a willful ignorance willed by the Father. When people ask Jesus before he ascends in Acts 1, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?”, Jesus makes it clear we’re not supposed to know. He says, “It’s not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” This is not to be our concern, but I do find it comforting that Jesus next statement regards the Holy Spirit. We can be an anxious and curious people, and to help us in our frustrations of knowing what to do and what comes next, Christ promises his Spirit.
We know how the story ends. We know the last chapter. But there is a lot left unknown to us, and it is not our place to speculate. We trust the future God has in store for us, doing so by the power of the Spirit, and we certainly welcome the day, whenever it is, of Christ’s return when he will restore his kingdom and make all things new. And I’m pretty sure that it won’t be December 21, 2012.