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If Jesus took 500 years to return, how would that knowledge affect your day-to-day life?
I know for many reading this the answer would be “not much”.If Jesus took 500 years to return, how would that knowledge affect your day-to-day life? Click To Tweet
I was thinking about a comment I read by someone on one of my Facebook pages recently that basically justified why they won’t obey Scripture when it says we’re to show honor to our leaders, specifically political ones and especially when we disagree with them. The commenter was convinced this particular politician is an instrument of evil for the end-times.
The inevitable fruit of such a belief is that when we believe someone is way past redemption, we won’t believe or act as though they CAN be redeemed, so why pray for them? And if you’re refusing to pray for them, you’ll certainly not honor them either.
Likewise, it got me thinking further: if we believe a certain way about the world around us and/or its demise, we’ll believe and act accordingly. If we believe everything has to get worse, and better yet — that it will all go down in a blazing dumpster fire before WE ourselves die, then what motive do we have to plan ahead and leave an inheritance for our grandchildren’s grandchildren?
If we believe we’re in the last of the last days, and that Jesus will come in 5 years instead of say 500, we will live and act accordingly. Things get worse by our inaction and watching the sky awaiting Jesus’s return. Even people who believe in a post-tribulation rapture can still live with a mentality that everything has to get worse with the only difference from their pre-tribulation counterparts is that the Church will be here for that worsening.
If it does all get worse, does that mean it’s acceptable to not do anything about the evil in the generation around us?
Unfortunately, it usually does…
If abolitionists had believed they were in the last days’ generation, then why bother doing anything about slavery in their generation? I’m glad they did something!
What IF we’re going to be around a while?
How will that impact your view of stewardship of, say, the earth around us, to use just one example?
I’ve mentioned before that my parents, who are of retirement age, are friends with some Christians who used to tell them back in the late 1980s and early 90s to not worry about investing in mutual funds or plan for their retirement like my parents were because Jesus was coming back soon and they wouldn’t be on the earth long enough to retire, anyway.
I don’t know what happened to all of these individuals over the years but I do personally know a few at the time of this writing who have no savings and are living with some degree of anxiety about it. I know of one in particular who went to community college in her early sixties (better late than never!) to get an education for the first time in their life so as to get a better job and live more comfortably.
I may have a biased view against rapture teaching because I’ve seen first-hand many people my parents’ age who have lived their lives for decades with an “any minute now” mentality toward’s Christ’s return, and when one thinks that way, you don’t plan far ahead.
And these individuals didn’t.
I’m not saying we’re not supposed to be ready in case He does come sooner rather than later, but just not with our heads in the sand. Plan ahead and if He comes back sooner, you’re still ready.
Whenever I participate in discussions or arguments about the end times whether online or in person, I’m always told the timing of Christ’s return (with regards to before or after the period of tribulation a lot of evangelicalism believes has to happen first) doesn’t matter or that “it’s a side issue”.
But frankly how one believes about the last days/end times clearly DOES matter.
We could be trying to bring the Kingdom of Heaven TO the earth and the lives of all those around us, or we could stick our heads in the sand and wait to go to heaven.
I’m generalizing and being overly simplistic, of course, but these two worldviews are as far apart as one can get, and for that reason alone are hardly side issues.
If We’re To Be a People Of Hope, How Come We’re So Hopeless About The End Times?
Years ago I saw a skit on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, a long-running Canadian satire news show that was making fun of a well-known weekly Bible prophecy show by an elderly couple who read the latest world events as though they were a news broadcast and find a way that it all ties into their interpretation of Bible prophecy. I used to follow this couple in my late teens until they plainly got their Y2K predictions wrong and never publicly admitted it (to my knowledge, anyway), but kept on plugging away.
In the skit, the wife would read a piece of news to her husband, just like in the real show they were parodying, and the husband would spout off a Bible passage that he claimed related to it, although in the sketch this was done with more vitriol to mock Christianity. Then the wife would rejoice about all the destruction and death that will be soon coming on the earth.
Oh, praise Jesus for all the destruction that will be coming on the earth to destroy millions of wicked heathen, because that means our Lord’s return is near! Hallelujah!
That quote, as best I remember it is from the sketch, not the show, but it’s very close to how we sound to the world around us when we hold to such escapism theology.
Boy, will it suck to be you if you don’t accept Him into your heart before the rapture! But Jesus loves you!
Do We REALLY Stand With Israel?
I’ll wind up this post with the following observation.
A number of months ago when the new Left Behind movie came out, I posted a link to Jonathan Welton’s website for his book Raptureless, and almost immediately a friend private messaged me and told me “don’t let people know you’re an amillennialist.“
I wrote back and asked why not? His reply was simply “because amillennialism is very anti-semitic”.
I didn’t bother arguing that old canary (and never mind whether I confirmed or denied being an amillennialist), but such a blanket statement shocked me a little.
If anything, can’t a case can be made that pre-tribulation rapture/everything-gets-worse view can come across as anti-semitic as well? Of course, I’m sure those who hold to that view would say differently. But who is calling who an anti-semite, anyway? What response do you get when you tell Jewish friends or family members in your life that you stand with them, but that you’re on the first train out of here before Jacob’s Trouble?
I don’t want to get into it too much here because I realize I’m in a minority view on this, but hear me out: I’m deeply concerned about all the “standing with Israel” I see Christians do online — from the safety of their keyboards and smartphones, by the way — and especially regarding this week’s speech by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Let’s face it, if one holds to any of the variations of futurism, including but not limited to the pre-tribulation rapture, then do you truly stand with Israel? Or do you stand with them only to the point that they are all gathered in their land so end-time prophecies can be fulfilled, including the Church being on the first train out of here, leaving them to suffer alone under all the expected trouble that will fall on God’s people during a period of tribulation?
Post-tribulation doesn’t get off the hook too much either, but at least its adherents believe they’ll still be here during a period of tribulation, and if severe persecution comes to the Jews it will also come to the Christians as well.
No friend, it’s not necessarily victorious eschatology or optimistic end-times views that are anti-semitic any more than a view that only wants what’s best for Israel because of what’s best for oneself so all the chess pieces can be in place to pave the way for your own rapture.
The Church claims to stand with Israel, but then is on the first rapture train out of here leading to all the nations of the world gathering and dogpiling on Israel in the last days and try wiping them out.
To me, it doesn’t sound like we’re that great of an ally!
Sept 9th/2015 Edit: I’ve since expanded this blog post into a podcast episode
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 38:35 — 18.1MB)
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