Arthur Pink, 1938
Not only hysterical sensationalists—but some of the most
sober minded and spiritual servants of God have attempted to draw
conclusions and forecast the future from the "signs of the times" which
appeared in their sky. The state of the world in their day, the
corruption and apostasy of Christendom, and the calamitous judgments sent by
God on an evil and adulterous generation, convinced them that such things
were most certainly the immediate prelude to the appearing of Christ in
Person. Others averred that Divine Prophecy intimated the very year in which
the Papacy would be overthrown or the Day of Judgment would occur.
And what is the moral to be drawn from all of this? What
is the practical lesson—for it is a practical end we have had in
view, and not the amusing of the curious or the entertaining of those who
have an idle hour to pass away. Surely it is this, "For vain man would be
wise, though man be born like a wild donkey's colt" (Job 11:12)—yes, wise in
his own conceits, wise above that which God has revealed, wise in the esteem
of his fellows.
He would pose before others as possessing a spiritual
light and discernment which lifts him above the rank and file; he pretends
unto light received from the Word which is denied those who walk not so
closely with God as he does. The Spirit has shown him "things
to come," only for the passing of time to demonstrate it was some other
spirit than the Spirit of God.
When the disciples asked Christ, "Will You at this time
restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6), He did not say whether He would
or would not, neither did He tell them that they entertained an erroneous
conception of "the kingdom." No, He struck more deeply, and made answer
which applies to all His followers until the end of time, "It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His
own power" (v. 7). That is definite and it is final. Shun, then, my reader,
those who controvert the Son of God by seeking to persuade that you may,
"know the times and the seasons," that if you will accept their
interpretations (?) of Prophecy you will be granted a spiritual insight into
those things of which the world is ignorant. "The coming of the Lord draws
near" (James 3:8)—it is ever drawing nearer—but for any man to affirm that
the coming of the Lord is now at the very doors, is to affirm what
Scripture nowhere warrants, and is a piece of bombastic impertinence.
Our pressing duty is to set bounds to an unholy
curiosity, and rest content with the blessed fact that the future is
entirely in the hands of the Most High. It is the present which limits the
boundaries of our responsibility. God is working all things after the
counsel of His own will, so that there is no cause for alarm or fear. Not
only cannot the forces of evil go one inch farther than what has been
Divinely ordained—but, even now, God is making them to subserve His own wise
and holy purpose. Nothing we do, or fail to do, will either hasten or retard
by a single hour the consummation of God's counsels.
"All things work together for good to those who love God,
to them who are the called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28) provides
a sure resting-place for the renewed heart.
Speculations about future history are not only futile—but
impious. An itching mind that craves information about coming events is a
hindrance and not a help to present godliness.
Leave the future with God, and seek grace to discharge
your present duty. Part of our present duty, as well as our precious
privilege, is to be "looking for that blessed hope and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13). But
that is a vastly different thing from occupying our minds with the evil
that is at work in the world. To be "looking for that blessed Hope" is
entirely an attitude of the heart—the soul being engaged with the
person of Christ Himself, anticipating that glad moment when He will
perfectly conform us to His image. But as to when He will appear, the
angels in Heaven know not, much less can we on earth ascertain it. To be
prepared for His coming is the great thing, and not to be curiously
prying into the how and when of it!