Dear Aunt Sevvy,
A few weeks ago you referred in an answer to “You People Are Terrible” that Walter Veith had set a time for Jesus to return. If you will just carefully read Walter Veith’s comments, he specifically said more than once that he was not setting a date for Jesus to return. An author of another AT article made the same mistake. Why don’t people believe Dr. Veith when he says he’s not setting a date?
Signed, Jesus is Coming Soon
If I had a reputation as a great money-maker, and I spent two hours developing the argument that if you buy stock in a particular company you’ll get rich, that would be an endorsement on my part—even if I added, “But I’m not giving any financial advice.” You’d correctly say, “That’s not true. You have given very specific financial advice.” My denial might get me off the hook legally, but it wouldn’t excuse me morally: someone would buy stock in that company thinking they would get rich—based on my talking about it for two hours—and might be very disappointed.
Our actions and words have consequences, and a simple denial doesn’t change that. And the greater the following you have, like Dr. Veith, the more responsibility you have not to speculate about things you cannot know.
Through the years we Adventists have had repeated outbreaks of time setting. Even though Jesus said not to do it, these evangelists get quite devious in how they justify it: that we’re allowed to set the year, just not the day or hour. Or, like Walter Veith and his friend, to talk extensively about precisely when you believe Jesus will come, and then add, “But we’re not setting a time!” Saying you haven’t done what you’ve just done doesn’t mean you haven’t done it.
This goes all the way to the top of the church. At one General Conference Session Aunt Sevvy attended in recent years, leaders stood up and said that it was unlikely we’d be around for the next GC session. Elder Wilson has announced publicly that “probation is about to close.” That’s time-setting, and it’s unbiblical. And calling the person who points that out a scoffer doesn’t change anything.
We Adventists want Jesus to return. But wanting it to happen doesn’t mean you should believe anyone who goes against the Bible and says he or she knows when Jesus is returning. It is time to bring this speculation to an end once and for all. Jesus said we don’t know the time of his return, so we should be always ready. Even the word “soon” is deceptive, as shown by the fact that we’ve been saying it for nearly 200 years, and it hasn’t happened.
Aunty has had to remind her spiritual nieces and nephews of the following many times:
Many people will be in heaven who know nothing about eschatology. No one will be in heaven who hasn’t lived for Jesus. Be like Jesus right now and leave the future to God.
You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without identities. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and neither her opinions nor those of her correspondents are necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.