Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has revealed that while he isn't sure of when Jesus Christ will return to earth, he is confident that Christians should strive to live each day as if it is their last.
In an interview published Tuesday in Christianity Today, the retired neurosurgeon shared his thoughts on how Christians should prepare for the Second Coming of Christ.
"I would describe myself first of all as a Christian - Evangelical in the sense that I believe we have a responsibility to proclaim the gospel and show other people why we live the way that we do and hopefully that will affect their lives," he told Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research.
"I obviously do look forward to the return of Christ, you know, as described in 1 Thessalonians 4. I believe that you should lead your life in such a way that every day could be your last day," Carson said. "So you shouldn't be like planning oh, a year from now, five years, I'll do this or ten years I'll do this. You need to lead the right kind of life as if you were going to die today."
However, the GOP hopeful encouraged believers to be mindful of what is important on a daily basis: "... [Christ's] Imminent return could mean three thousand years or 30 thousand years - or it could be tomorrow," he said. "For us to pre-define what that means in our minds and then live according to that predefinition I think would be foolish."
While the Bible warns against making precise predictions about the exact time of Jesus' return, Carson, who is currently in fourth place among GOP candidates, said that certain current world events do, in fact, align with the Bible and its prophecies.
"I do recognize what is happening in the world, you know, with the radical Islamic Jihadists. I do recognize that it will not be possible to keep nuclear weapons out of their hands forever. And I do realize that they have a mindset that would not preclude them from using them. So, you know, all of that obviously is something of concern."
Another influential Christian leader, the Rev. Billy Graham, also recently weighed in on the end times, contending that "we may well be living in the last days" before Jesus comes again.
The evangelist explained that before his return to heaven, Jesus told his disciples that the Gospel must be preached throughout the world (Mark 13:10) before His Second Coming.
"Never before has this been possible, but now it is, through radio and the Internet and other modern means of communication," Graham wrote.
Jesus gave another sign of his return: Satan's final attempt to halt God's work through a massive onslaught of evil, the 97-year-old evangelist contended.
"Our world is no stranger to evil; Satan has always been working to stop God's plans," he said. "But God's enemies now have access to modern weapons of mass destruction, and no one can predict what the outcome will be. Jesus said, 'You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. ... Nation will rise against nation' (Matthew 24:6-7)."
The ultimate question individuals must ask themselves, however, is, "Am I ready for Christ's return?"
"You can be, by turning to him and putting your faith and trust in him," Graham concluded. "Don't take his warnings lightly, but commit your life without delay to Jesus Christ."