A lady came into the shop where I worked. I knew that her husband was a pastor. They both frequently visited our shop. Today, however, she had some fearful news.
“Next year there will be a planetary alignment,” she began. “The planets will be lined up and their gravitational pull will tear the Earth apart.” And she gave me the exact date that this would happen.
As politely as I could, I hazarded the opinion that Jesus had told us that we would not know the day nor the hour, when He was to return.
Patiently, she explained that her husband had looked into the Scriptures and realized from prophecies that the date of the planetary alignment was the date of the Lord’s return.
“My son is a missionary in South America”, she continued. “We know from the natives’ calendars that next year is the end of history. And he has received a wonderful prophetic vision which confirms this truth.”
This discussion took place in 1981. The planetary alignment was due in 1982. It occurred, as predicted by astronomers, on March 10th 1982. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were near enough to alignment to facilitate the Voyager spacecraft, which had been launched a few years previously, so that they would reach the outer planets and take advantage of the near “alignment.” But the Earth was not pulled apart by the gravitational field of these giant planets.
On December 21st 2012, there will be an approximate alignment of Jupiter, Saturn, Mercury and Venus; that is only two giant planets and two small planets. The gravitational pull of these planets will be considerably less even than the insignificant attraction caused in 1982. High School standard physics and math is all you need to be able to verify that there can be not even the slightest possibility of interplanetary danger in December 2012. Yet, even so, the Internet is awash with “Christian” websites claiming a knowledge of the return of Jesus.
The Return of Christ
Because we cannot possibly know when Jesus will return, it is always possible that He could return sooner than December 2012, or later, or, if He so chooses, on the actual day itself! However, this is no excuse for any Christians to make claims about things that the Bible clearly states it is impossible for them to know anything about. And it is irresponsible for Christians to make false claims about gravitational fields, which clearly are nowhere near numerically big enough to destroy the Earth.
When will Jesus return? I do not know, and I cannot know. But, if in His infinite wisdom, He chooses to return on December 21st 2012, I can most certainly assure you that He does not need the gravitational fields of far-away planets to do so.