The following comment was made on Facebook by a young Christian.
“I need to be very careful how I state this: There are a few very well meaning pastors who like to set dates for specific things they believe will happen as it relates to prophecy. This the Bible states clearly that He is coming back and there will be certain signs before He does. However……one should not specifically set dates to make the Bible fit their narrative.”
Although it is true that many well-meaning howbeit misguided souls have endeavor to set forth various dates in which they believed certain prophetic events were/ are to take place, the problem was twofold, 1) they were as you say attempting to force events (the times and the seasons) into their own particular plan not realizing that God already has a plan of his own and that it is unfolding according to the counsel of his own will, and 2) they were attempting to predict the time for the fulfillment of prophecy (future events) forgetting that no prophecy, that is the exact time or date of that prophecy can be ascertain until (after) its fulfillment.
Now at the other end of the spectrum, the pendulum swinging to far the other way are those naive souls who believe that it is impossible to arrive at a set date for a fulfilled prophecy.
And yet the dates for those prophecies which have already been fulfilled can be readily determined by the facts (the signs and/or evidences) given, take for example the time of our Lord’s first advent, the time (or date) of his crucifixion, the time when the nominal fleshly house (the Jewish nation) was cast off, left desolate, the time when favor would return to them etc., etc.
The problem today is that most of the Lord’s professed people have become indifferent, lethargic, disinterested in prophecy and so have little if any awareness to the times and seasons.
The spirit of prophecy is the spirit of the Lord.
We read in the scriptures of how the angels in heaven greatly desired to know prophetic matters, their own interest in these matters puts to shame any professed Christian who does not share the same desires especially seeing as most of the prophecies recorded in the scriptures relate to mankind, the church especially.
We are admonished, “Do not despise prophecies.” (1 Thess 5:20).
As for the neglect of prophecy and the study of the coming (or presence) of our Lord, the fault lies not so much in the individual professing Christian as in the erroneous misconception which has been fostered by the blind guides of Christendom, specifically that no one knows nor ever will know of the time of the Lord’s Second Advent. In fact it is asserted that not even the Lord himself knows the exact time of his own arrival, this of course being preposterous as obviously the Lord would know of the day when he comes as it is he who is to come.
“But of that day and hour knows no man; no not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but my Father only.” (Matt. 24:36, Sinaitic MS, Compare with Mark 13:32, 33.)
“Take ye heed, watch and pray, for ye know not when the time is.”
To many these words seem to imply much more than they express: they think of them as though they put a lock upon and made useless all the prophecies of the Bible—as though our Lord had said, “No man shall ever know,” whereas he merely said, “No man [now] knows,” referring only to the persons who heard him–to whom the exact times and seasons were not due to be revealed. Who can doubt that the “angels of heaven” and “the Son” now know, fully and clearly, matters which have progressed so nearly to fulfilment? And if they are not now hindered from knowing by the statement of this verse, neither now are God’s saints hindered or restrained by this verse from seeking an understanding of all truth “written aforetime for our learning.” Indeed, it was in great measure because it was not the Father’s will that his people then, nor down to the time the “seals” were broken should know the date, that our Lord delineated the course of events, and assured them that if they would watch and pray and thus continue faithful, they, at the proper time, would not be left in darkness, but would see and know.
God, through his Prophet Daniel, pointed out that at this time “the wise shall understand” the vision and prophecy, and merely that “none of the wicked shall understand.” (Dan. 12:9, 10) To this the Apostle Paul adds his testimony, “Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should come upon you as a thief,” although it shall come thus upon the entire world. “Watch ye, therefore [that in due time YE MAY KNOW], and pray always that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass.”
If no man is to know of the day of the Lord’s presence, then why are we admonished to be vigilant, to keep awake, and to watch?
“Watch therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming” (Matt 24:42) “If therefore, thou shalt not watch, thou shalt not know what hour it will come upon thee.”
What then are we watching “for”? Strange indeed to be told to look for something which no man can know.
The key here is that none would be aware of the day of the Lord’s Second Advent PRIOR to its having taken place, not AFTER it takes place.
“The Apostle Paul declares, “Of the times and seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you; for yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. [Quietly, stealthily it will come, and after it has come, many will not for some time know that they are in it] for when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them as travail upon a woman. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thess. 5:1-4
The “brethren” all have the lamp, the more sure word of prophecy mentioned by Peter (2 Pet 1:19), as a light in a dark place; and while they keep the proper attitude of brethren, as faithful, meek and humble students of the Word, they will at no time be in darkness as to that day: they will always have the truth supplied as meat in due season. At no time have those then living in full harmony with God been left in ignorance of necessary truth, to grope their way in the dark with the world.
Abraham and Lot knew of the destruction of Sodom beforehand, God saying, “Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?” (Gen. 18:17) Noah knew of the flood in time to build the ark, and was informed of the very day that he should go into it. At the first advent, too, Simeon and Anna, and the wise men of the East, knew to expect Messiah. In fact, the expectation was general then. (Luke 2:25-38; Matt. 2:2; Luke 3:15) And if God so dealt with the house of servants, shall he do less for the house of Sons? Our Lord and Head has said,
“Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” (That is all things necessary for you to know.)
Our Lord certainly shall know of the times and seasons when due (including his second advent), especially since he is the one appointed to arrive and to accomplish the plan, and unless he has changed, he will continue to make known those plans to those close to him and associated in his work–his friends, his saints.
Reason, then, teaches us that so surely as it is written, “The Lord will do nothing, but he reveals his secret unto his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7), and that most of what he revealed unto them was not for themselves, but for us, the Gospel Church (1 Pet. 1:12), so surely will the faithful not be left in darkness, unable to discern it, when the day of the Lord has come. It will not come upon them as a thief and a snare–unawares; for they will be watching (looking to “the more sure word of prophecy”, NOT to the sky as others do), and will have the promised light then due upon the subject.”
There are many prophecies which have already been fulfilled which specific dates (within the year) can be ascertained by the signs, facts and evidences given the majority of these unbeknownst to most Christians due to their lack of study upon the subject and more importantly their lack of “oil” (the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit) in their vessels.
These gems are given only to those who are diligently seeking to know and to understand them so that they might know precisely where they are on the stream of time and in the out folding of God’s plan. They are given neither to the scoffer or skeptic nor the lukewarm listless Christian, all such shall the Lord assures us shall remain in darkness as to the times and seasons.
Time to wake up my friends, to truly wake up, many make the claim to be awake, but their knowledge of prophecy, of the times and seasons states otherwise.