Christian history is littered with people who thought they knew exactly when and exactly how Christ would return. All of them have been wrong. Furthermore, those who continue to prognosticate about these things will always be wrong. After all, Jesus himself said: Concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only (Matt 24:36). Idle speculation about the time of Christ’s return is foolish, and we should avoid it.
But my concern here is not only for those who are drawn toward idle speculation about the timing of Christ’s return. My concern is for all of us, and for the deeper, universal impulse such idle speculation reflects.
We are creatures, created by a Creator. Only the Creator possesses all knowledge perfectly. Only the Creator knows all things. Yet as fallen creatures living in a fallen creation we all have an innate desire to know what we have no right to know.
Consider Genesis 3 and the fall of Adam in the garden of Eden: what tree was it that Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from? It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve grasped for its fruit, grasping (ultimately) for the ability to know what God did not intend for them to know. It has been characteristic of the fallen human condition to want and desire information that is not ours to possess ever since.
As fallen creatures living in a fallen creation we all have an innate desire to know what we have no right to know.
This is why the allure of technology is so powerful. We’re addicted to our smartphones because they represent the possibility of limitless knowledge. If I don’t know something, I can ask Siri at any moment and “she” will tell me.
This is why we are so eager to hear gossip about someone else. We feel like knowledge about what is happening – especially knowledge that only a few people have – is powerful, and we always want more.
This is why many are addicted to news – be it the news produced by CNN, ESPN, or Us Weekly. We cringe at the thought of being out of the loop, and revel at the thought of being the first to know something big.
However there are and should be limits to what we know. Not all knowledge helps us, and the striving for some knowledge is sinful. If knowing something will help us treasure Christ, if it will move us to worship Jesus, or if it will stir our affection for him, then we should pursue that knowledge.
But knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn’t necessarily something we should strive to possess. We should beware of our own hearts if they are yearning for knowledge – like knowledge of the Second Coming – that we need not have.
This is an excerpt from the message The Ten Virgins, preached at Capitol City Christian Church on 3/24/2019. To hear the entire message, click here.