In Matthew 24 Jesus said that we do not know the day that He will return. He also said that just prior to his coming his people should “stay awake.” He warned us to stay awake because we do not know the exact time of his coming. Today at the end of the year 2008 we do see many signs of Christ’s imminent return, signs that we have seen increasing over the last two decades. Many people for years have tried to predict exactly when Jesus would return or when the rapture would occur. In every single case the would-be prophet has been wrong. Many people, of course, begin their prophecies with the words, “I’m not a prophet,” but the fact remains that we indeed have intended to prophesy (predict) the timings of the Lord. Some of us have been and some of us have seen others seemingly shattered by our (their) failed prophecies. All of us, me included, have been wrong every time. I repeat, every prophet I have heard for over thirty years that has given a specific date for a specific event has been wrong every time. (Some prophets have been generally right about certain world trends, but so have been many unbelievers).
So, what did Jesus really expect us to do when we actually see the signs of his coming? Are we really supposed to spend hours manipulating countless numbers to prove who is or is not the antichrist? Are we really supposed to spend day after day searching the Scriptures so that we can accurately predict each aspect of a seven-year tribulation or the day we are going to disappear into heaven or into some spiritual “wilderness?” Jesus asked, “who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?” What is God’s food? Do we really believe that our endless predictions and numerical and word manipulations constitute God’s food? Do we think we will receive a reward for feeding God’s people this stuff?
This is an absolutely critical question for us to answer, and to answer correctly, because Jesus says that it is only the servant who gives others “their food” at the proper time that will be blessed when his master comes. Again, what is their “food?” In the natural food is that which a person must consume in order to nourish his physical body and which will thus keep him alive and healthy. Likewise, spiritual food is that which will nourish the spiritual man and keep a man healthy spiritually. In the natural each person eats in his own way, but every healthy person tries to be sure that he eats primarily things that are good for him. So should it be in the spiritual. Hebrews 5 defines God’s food as “the teaching about righteousness.” Paul calls it “the mystery of godliness.” (1Timothy 3:16) Paul goes on to say that true godliness displays true power. (2 Timothy 3:5) Peter tells us that the knowledge of Christ gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness. (2 Peter 1:3) Hebrews 13:9 tells us that true Christian teaching is God’s food.
So, it is God’s servant who teaches God’s truth that Jesus will set over all his possessions. Would you say that our countless failed prophecies make up God’s truth? Would you justify your failures by saying, “Well, I attempted to predict correctly!” Did your failed prediction help one Christian live a more godly life, or did it push one more smoldering wick over the edge into unbelief and apostasy?