Recent events propelled me back 15 years to around the time when the Euro was first introduced. It was a dramatic first at the time—multiple countries casting their fates together under “ever increasing union.” In many people’s minds the EU was about to eat our lunch, not unlike the way many Americans view China today. I vividly remember being wowed by correlations with the inital drafts of the new Euro coins. They had an image of a provocative woman riding a bull surrounded by twelve stars. If you did it right you could combine two passages in Revelation 12:1 and 17:3 to come up with (except for a couple of details that didn’t work out) nearly an exact match. The end times had arrived, the EU was the beginning of the one-world government, and we were living in the middle of it all. It was really, heady stuff.

Of course that was only the most recent one. Before that, there was the USSR. As a kid I was terrified by the Kruschnev quote that “we’ll weaken your economy until you fall like overripe fruit into our hands.” Gorbachev had a creepy thing on his head, led a country that loved the color red, made a pretty good “king of the North,” and was definitely atheist. I even knew people that didn’t care to plan longer than 5-6 years in the future because they were that sure everything was winding up.

And then Communist Russia fell like a rotten fruit and has been decaying ever since. The EU proved to eat no one’s lunch but their own and became the uncool club you want to get out of. (See below for context.) Which highlights something we should have learned a long time ago and almost certainly still won’t—Christians are really bad judges of when to declare that the “last days have come.”

Start with this. The end times already came. Don’t let someone tell you with wide eyes that “he’s pretty sure we’re living in the last days.” It’s not a judgment call and it’s been true for 2,000 years (Heb. 1:2). The framework of the New Testament is that with Jesus’ death and resurrection, the final judgment is upon us. Pentecost was like a small down payment of coming signs and wonders. The next thing, Peter tells us, is that “the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood” (Acts 2:20). In other words, the process has already begun and there’s no stopping it now. We are in the last days, so repent and bow before the king.

Which points to a second reason not to be “end-time sages” based on the latest scuttlebut. You shouldn’t be waiting for headlines or new coin designs to decide whether Jesus is coming soon. He already told you that. The unwanted implication of tracking current events to predict the rapture is that when things like Brexit happen, the odds seem to be less. If one headline proves that it’s soon, another headline might prove that it’s not. But if anything is clear about Jesus’ return, it’s that we should expect it anytime. Six different times in Revelation alone He told us “I am coming soon” (Rev 1:1; 3:11; 22:6–7, 12, 20). We shouldn’t ever take a look at the Berlin Wall, Brexit, and a good 70 years of world peace, settle back and enjoy a couple of contented sighs. He’s still coming soon.

Why then the delay for two-thousand years? The New Testament predicts not only Christ’s return but also “that scoffers will come in the last days,” asking “Where is the promise of his coming?” But Peter answers the question with a clear reason. God’s timetable doesn’t work like ours. “One day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” He isn’t delaying as though procrastinating on His promises. It’s mercy. Every day, He offers another chance for the living to repent, before He returns and brings all things to an end. “He is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Peter 3:3–9).

Which points to a final reason not to reconfigure your prophecy interpretations to fit the latest headlines. Your urgency should come from something far more basic than Gorbachev, the EU or whatever shows up next. Jesus and His words are a bigger deal. Put your eyes there. Scary dictators with weird head wounds come and go. What Jesus told us is what we really need to know. The New Testament commands are what we really need to do. That doesn’t rise and fall with world politics. It’s always true.

Brexit definitely makes the EU look a lot less impressive. If I was in the business of linking newspapers with prophecy, I’d start looking for a more promising candidate. But I rest my faith in certainties. Jesus is coming. He’s coming soon. Our part is to call anyone who will listen to prepare for His return.

[1] The UK recently voted to leave the EU—the first large country to have done so. The reasons are politically complex but were largely connected to the influx of Syrian refugees into the EU, with each country being required to accept an allotted number. That connected to a second issue—the loss of self-determination and national sovereignty as well as financial costs to the UK. On the other side (wanting to remain) was a concern for the significant security and trade advantages that the EU has brought for member countries. The Leave campaign won by a 2% margin and David Cameron (the prime minister) immediately resigned.