Last Updated on September 30, 2010 by Dave Farquhar
A lot of Christians today are really wrapped up in the so-called “end times” issues. It’s a natural curiosity, and in a way, healthy. Jesus told us to be ready for it.
I’m amazed sometimes at what you hear in regards to the end times, however. I’m not just talking Left Behind here. One member of my church said to me, in all seriousness, back in September 2002 (I only remember because it was within a few days of when I bought my house) that none of us would be here in six months, so nothing really matters. She and her husband talk frequently about their upcoming retirement and moving to the Lake of the Ozarks, so I figured she was referring to that. She was not. She was referring to the end of the world.
This surprised me. One, it was coming from a Lutheran. Two, it was coming from a long-time Lutheran. Three, it was coming from a long-time Lutheran with a dizzying amount of church involvement (among other things, her husband has been an elder in our church). Four, it was coming from a highly intelligent woman with a PhD.
Let me talk about this first just from a purely historical perspective, since I’m an armchair historian of sorts. Jesus’ 11 surviving disciples believed they were living in the last days. Jesus had, after all, told them that some among them would not taste death before the arrival of the Kingdom of God. They thought He was talking about his second coming. St. Paul thought he would see the second coming.
Some people believe we are living in the Tributation today (the period of time described in Revelation). I count myself among that group. But I also believe that the tributation has been going on for more than 1,000 years. While Christians are being persecuted today, persecuting Christians was a national pastime in Rome. Killing Christians was literally a sport. Is the present day really more tribulating than the days of Rome?
Certainly, I believe the end of the world could come today. It might come before I finish writing this, or before you finish reading it. But it’s equally likely that we’ll go on for another 2,000 years.
Jesus said even He didn’t know when the end of the world would be. If Jesus didn’t know, then who are we to try to say we know?
We won’t. Think back to the Parable of the Ten Girls. Ten were waiting for the bridegroom (Christ) to come back. Five were prepared and five were not. That’s the lesson most people take from it. But read it more closely. When the time came, all ten were asleep. Not one of them saw it coming.
There are much more important things for us to concern ourselves with.
3 thoughts on “The end of the world will be October 3, 2002! Make that Jan. 17, 2003! Er…”
Good analogy. In the long run, discussions about the end times are only entertainment. The only relevent issue is living a life that truly honors God. The same too about discussions about the after life – it’s only entertainment. Live the life worth living – God will take care the next life and the end of time. Believe in God’s love, keep your faith strong, and love for God pure. If these things are in your heart why be concerned about the challenges of the end times or promises about a special seat, a land of milk and honey, or 40 virgins after you’ve died. God will decide and God will provide, really that’s all you need to know.
Right on, Dean. There’s one other thing I meant to say that I don’t think I said. It’s where we end up that matters. Not when, and not whether we get there through death or through being alive during the second coming. The rapture is not a big deal–it’s a concept that first appeared in the United States, in the 19th century. Were there a great danger of being left behind, Jesus would have made a much bigger deal about it.
The super-religious of the first century A.D. had a lot of preconceived notions of what the Messiah would be like and what he would do. Those preconceived notions blinded them when it happened, and the majority of them missed it. Overemphasizing eschatology creates a danger of the same thing happening again.
I noticed that about the parable of the ten girls (funny, most translations use another word for them, but perhaps you’re trying to avoid some search engine confusion) about a year ago, and it really changed my own way of thinking about eschatology and its importance.
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