Is Jesus coming back really soon?
Are all these horrors befalling us “signs of the times”?
I get the questions often and the answer I give rarely satisfies the inquirer.
My answer (depending on my mood) is either a flat “no” to both or the more irenic “I don’t know”.
I probably should work “I doubt it” into the mix.
American Christians are steeped in an eschatology that believes things will get worse and worse and worse until Jesus appears in the clouds to save us…and surely He isn’t going to wait much longer because things are really awful.
“Awful” is a matter of perspective…and people get very upset when I note that historically, this is one of the most comfortable, prosperous, healthy times in human history.
It’s not one of the most comfortable times in our experienced history, but I’ll take it over the centuries of the Black Plague, no antibiotics, poor sanitation, and the years before Sunday Ticket allowed me to see Minnesota Viking games in Oregon.
Just kidding on that last one…a little…
As I get older, those questions have started to annoy me, though I couldn’t really discern why.
I figured it out this morning.
The emphasis on the physical return of our Lord to clean up this mess is often a denial that He’s already here and has given us the tools to clean up the mess ourselves…with His help and in His name.
It’s also a denial of the truth He gave us repeatedly…in this world you will have tribulation…and He told us how to react to that truth.
He told us it would be hard and He told us how to cope and stay grounded in the faith until the end.
He told us that the power was in sacrificial love and suffering and those were our tools to overcome the world.
We have rejected those tools and prefer rage and the carnal means of acquiring power…and things are getting worse.
We should not be surprised.
So…this expectation that Jesus is coming to save us when we have told Him that we despise His ways and we demand that things be done our way…is not only slightly humorous, but somewhat blasphemous.
From now on, I’ll answer the question biblically…He’s already here and He’s told us what to do.
By doing this, I’ll make sure that my hearers become “rapture ready”…
Sorry, I couldn’t resist…
Make your own application…