Can We Predict the Time of Christ’s Return?


In your article Be Patient Until the Arrival of the Lord(October, 1990 pg 7) you have misquoted “Be patient for you do not know the day or year.” For Mark 13:32 says, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man,… ” Where do you find day or year used in reference to Christ’s second coming?

In 1 Cor. 12:1, in talking to Christians, Paul says, “now concerning spiritual gifts [of which prophecy is an example] I would not have you ignorant.” (In 1 Cor 14:1 prophecy is called the superior gift.) Christ does not want us to be ignorant about His return, except for the hour or the day.


You correctly cite Mark 13:32 in your submission. However if you will refer again to our statement you will notice that only the words “be patient” are in quotation marks. We were not misquoting but were trying to make the point that even though we do not know the time,(i.e., hour, day, year) James tells us not to be disheartened, but rather absorb ourselves in preparation.

Let us look closer at this issue, as you believe that it is possible to know the month and year, though not the day and hour.

Jesus states plainly we will not know the day or hour, but neither do we believe that anyone knows the month or year. Numerous false predictions have been made over the years. Various groups have forecast that Christ would return in 1900, 1914, 1930, 1978, 1987, 1988, 1989, and many more. All have been made by sincere individuals who believed that they had evidence to support their predictions. Time has proved them sincerely wrong.

Regarding 1 Cor 12:1; Paul lived in an age when God’s people enjoyed special Divine gifts (prophecy, speaking in tongues, teaching, healing see 1 Cor 12:8-11.) However, believers in times to come were not to share in these gifts and accordingly, we do not have them today. In 1 Cor 13 Paul tells us the “faith, hope and charity” will abide forever “but whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part will be done away” (1 Cor. 13:8-10). The “perfect” came, the written Word of God revealed by Divine power, and the gift of prophecy came to a predetermined end.

Our only source of information concerning God and His plan is the Bible and we find nothing in the Bible to tell us the month and year any more than it tells us the day or the hour.

However, he apostle Paul said that we would know the “times and seasons” (1 Thess. 5:1) which is, as an expression of time, vague, but is indicated by the fulfillment of prophecies surrounding the last days. Through these prophecies we can know we are living in the eara of His coming. This is what God wanted us to know, so that we could busy ourselves in preparation, lest “that day come upon [us] unawares” (Luke 21:34).