Q: I’ve read that the Second Coming of Christ will take place on Oct. 22, 2017. There’s a website that gives a lot of biblical and Spirit of Prophecy evidence for this. Do you think it’s true that Christ will return this year? — Vladislav, from Russia
A: Vladislav, as Seventh-day Adventists, awe certainly are looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming, and I fully believe that His coming is very near. Nevertheless, as much as we long for that day, we must not fall prey to those who set dates — no matter how much “evidence” they seem to have.
Over the years, a number of people have set dates for Christ’s coming or for the end of the world. One of the most well-known date setters is an American evangelist, Hal Lindsey, author of the book “The Late, Great Planet Earth.” He predicted that the world would end in 1988 and, then when that year came and went, he revised his prediction to “sometime before 2000.” Of course, neither of these predictions were fulfilled.
Then there was Harold Camping, a Christian radio entrepreneur, who predicted dates for the end of the world several times — in the 1970s, then in 1988, followed by 1994. His last and most publicized predicted dates were May 21, 2011, and Oct. 21, 2011.
Of course, there have been date-setters in the Adventist Church as well, such as the author of the website to which you refer in your question.
One of the problems with date setting is that it de-sensitizes people to the fact that we actually are living in the end times. It sets up their hopes, only to be dashed when the predicted end doesn’t come.
Ellen White makes this pointed statement: “There will always be false and fanatical movements made by persons in the church who claim to be led of God — those who will run before they are sent and will give day and date for the occurrence of unfulfilled prophecy. The enemy is pleased to have them do this, for their successive failures and leading into false lines cause confusion and unbelief” (“Last Day Events,” p. 35).
When asked about when the end would come, Jesus was very clear, telling His disciples: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
In addition, we are told very clearly that after the final and longest time prophecy in the Bible, there will never be a new message based on time: “Our position has been one of waiting and watching, with no time-proclamation to intervene between the close of the prophetic periods in 1844 and the time of our Lord’s coming” (“Last Day Events,” p. 36).
So, let’s stay close to Jesus as we wait for His return, depending on His sure word of prophecy as revealed in the Bible, and sharing His truth with the world.
We do not know exactly when Jesus is coming, but according to the prophetic signs in Matthew 24, the books of Daniel and Revelation, and elsewhere in the Bible, we know He is coming soon.