But the year ended, and the next year came (and went).

Since Jesus Himself said, “No man knows the hour or day, not even the Son of Man” (referring to Himself), then who are we to speculate? In fact, if anybody claims they have an actual date of Christ’s return, to me that’s a tell-tale sign that they are wrong -- by definition. His return will be a big surprise.

There are sects within Christendom that even began because of a prediction (false, of course) of Christ’s return. One thing all the would-be prophets seem to forget is the element of surprise.

Jesus said that it will happen when people least expect it. Paul said that day of the Lord will come “like a thief in the night.”

So the key is to be ready for His return at all times. Meanwhile, until He comes, we should “occupy” -- i.e., go about doing His will on earth, as it is in heaven. One slogan mocked, “Jesus is coming. Look busy.” That’s not what He has in mind. We should work “heartily as unto Him.”

So is December 21, 2012 the end of the world? Well, let's talk it over -- on December 22.

Jerry Newcombe, D.Min., is co-host of and spokesman for Truth that Transforms with D. James Kennedy (formerly The Coral Ridge Hour). He has also written or co-written 23 books, including The Book That Made America: How the Bible Formed Our Nation and Answers from the Founding Fathers. Jerry co-wrote (with Dr. Peter Lillback) the bestselling George Washington's Sacred Fire.

Publication date: December 20, 2012