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Monday, October 30, 2006

Things I Don't Understand: End Times Trend

I was listening to a radio broadcast of a well-known pastor today in the car. I didn't hear much of it because my mind started wandering. He was preaching from Isaiah and talking about when Jesus comes back to rule for the thousand years. He said something about "forced righteousness" He said that in the millennial reign, people won't be able to do wrong even if they want to. That's about where I stopped listening.

I am not an expert, thus the title: Things I Don't Understand.

What I do understand is that Jesus is coming back and I don't know when. But really, beyond that I don't know much. I've read the book of Revelations several times. I've read a couple commentaries and I've listened to some pastors speak on the "End Times." I've read some articles. Not books though. I've heard the pre, mid and post millennial arguments. Forgive me for being crass, I don't care to figure out when Jesus is coming. He said even He didn't know. Didn't he say that?

So anyone telling me exactly what events are going to take place in exactly the order they'll happen as well as what we will be doing in Jerusalem with Jesus during the millennial reign, I just stop listening. The way I understand it, when Jesus came the first time they didn't believe He was Messiah because He didn't come the way they had it in their heads. They thought He was coming as a warrior, to rule--as a government leader.

When I hear about Jesus coming back and how we won't have this democracy, we'll have a theocracy, really-I'm ok with that, but it sounds Pharisee-ish to me. When I hear about Christians ruling with Jesus with our new bodies and "forced righteousness" I cringe. Didn't Jesus say that the least will be first? This preaching sounds heavy with power and pride.

I don't know how Jesus saves people, I just know He does. I don't know what your heart looks like, I know He does. I don't know when He's coming back, I don't think He does either. I don't know what events will transpire before He comes, I just know that He's coming and I'd like to be caught doing something for Him instead of being drunk, overstuffed with food and jovial from the party.

If you know when a thief is coming, is he still a thief?

4 comments:

Heather said...

If a thief steals in the woods, does he poop?
In all seriousness, I think it is important to think about the issues, although because of the nature of the language of Revelation, Christians will disagree. I don't think a full understanding of it is necessary to salvation. However, we all have our theological systems (don't tell me that you don't have one, that you [not you, Michelle, just "you" in general] just go to the Bible - that's not true, we all have a filter). One of those systems, or part of one is how we see the end times. Whether I'm pre-, post-, or a- mil, does make a difference for how I understand not only Revelation, but also other passages of the Bible as well as how I understand the world around me. It doesn't make all the difference, but it makes some difference.
I'm premil, but I've also heard some darn good arguments for amil. We disagree on some things, but we are both believers with the same ultimate hope of Rev 21 and 22 (recreation and restoration), and we are both attempting to incarnate Christ's love in the world, to act as a redemptive force.
As far as the millenium, I happen to believe there will be one, and that it will be a theocracy. However, I do not believe in "forced righteousness." How would you explain this group that rises against Christ at the end of the mil if we can't do bad in the first place?

Michelle Pendergrass said...

I also don't think a full understanding of Revelations is needed for salvation, I'm sorry if I implied that.

I'm not saying there won't be a thousand year reign, either. I believe that there will be, but I'm pretty sure it just says that we'll be reigning with Him.

But maybe I'm wrong?

It doesn't say anywhere that I can find that there will be this forced righteousness. It doesn't say what we will be doing or how we'll be doing it. Right? It just says we'll be reigning with Him.

What I was trying to get across with the post and maybe I should have just said it (I thought I did) is that so many people seem so caught up in these end times things and the order of events and how events occuring today point to the end, that they're missing the big picture. Jesus is coming whether or not we know when the rapture is and really, we don't need to know when the rapture is.

And if I back up and look at things as a whole, I see some hard fundementalists who resemble the Pharisees to a degree that I almost can't separate them. They seem to be the ones always preaching on the end instead of the here and now.

Does that make sense?

Heather said...

Sorry, Mich. I seem to be in a fiesty mood today (see today's Charis Connection). Maybe it has to do with the fact that I can only use the computer with one eye closed. Maybe I'm just debative today.
I totally didn't think you thought Rev necessary for salvation. I was clarifying what I was saying so that you didn't think I meant that. Ha! That backfired.
I love your last line - knowing that he's coming and you want to be found doing something for Him. That sums up nicely so many parts of Matthew.
And I was agreeing with you that the whole "forced righteousness" thing is stupid. When I think it's really bad, it becomes stupit, by the way.
And I agree that some get so caught up in details that they miss that big picture. I also think the opposite is true for some - that they think that it doesn't really matter what anything means. If that were so, I don't think God would take the time to preserve all these hard passages for 2000 years. By the way, I don't think you are in either of these groups.
You know what? I'm just going to shut up now. I'm intent on getting myself in trouble today.
I love you very very very much!!!!!!!! And that, my dear friend, means so much more than pre, post, or a mil!

Dianne said...

Interesting post. I don't know either. I grew up in a hard core fundamentalist camp though and it seemed like the end times talk was more useful as a threat to encourage righteousness than as a promise of hope that I think God intends it to be for us. I just blogged about Madeleine L'Engle last night - one of the things I enjoy about her is her ability to admit she just doesn't know everything, especially where God is concerned. I'm okay with that. I think God is too. It doesn't make me doubt him but rather trust him more.

Enjoying your blog . . .