There are things that Christians can know for a fact about the last days of Jesus’s time on earth. We can know that Jesus was crucified for our sins, that three days later He arose, and several days after appearing to various individuals He ascended into heaven promising to one day return. We can know these things because it says so in the Bible. Do you know what else it says about this subject matter? Is says that now no one—not even Jesus or the angels—knows when He will return, that only the father knows (Mark 13:32). Despite this, there have still been those throughout history who have believed they could accurately predict when his arrival would take place.
This trend became a national American Christian craze in the first decades of the 1800s. This was in large part thanks to an individual named William Miller. His earnest study of biblical end time passages convinced him that he could predict the coming of Jesus as sometime between March 21, 1843, and March 21, 1844. He had a sizeable following with his many followers informally known as Adventists. But when the last day of this date range passed without Jesus arriving, his many followers throughout the country fell into a massive despondency known as The Great Disappointment.
This “Disappointment” resulted in much disillusionment. Some of these people eventually got past these low feelings and surprisingly maintained their zeal for specific end time predictions. The result was an eschatological obsession among these people in order to form their own predictions. A group of these individuals were led by James and Ellen to found the Seventh-Day Adventist denomination, which was largely based on the study of end time predictions.
Studying what the Bible says about the end times is a very good thing. We absolutely should study it as much as possible. However, we should realize that there are some things within Scripture we most likely won’t know until the very end of time. And we should not be so proud as to think we can accurately pinpoint exactly when Jesus will return. As mentioned, Jesus Himself says that this is impossible for us. However, he also says in Mark 13 that since we don’t know when He will return, we must constantly wait in anticipation. He also told His disciples that the specific date was really none of their concern, that while we don’t know the date, God has already long ago scheduled it and will handle it (Acts 1:7). Yes, it is not necessary to fully understand a whole lot of things about God. In this case, we just need to know that our risen and ascended Savior is returning and that we need to be ready when He does.