Thursday, March 26, 2015

Four Words that Keep Me on My Toes

Newsworthy end-times signs and the real reason for great anticipation.

Of all the news stories from the past couple of weeks posted and tweeted by prophecy followers, none has caused my heart to skip a beat. The significance of Netanyahu’s win. I read that our president doesn’t love Israel. Blood moons. Human gene editing. ISIS. Nukes in North Korea. I got a good look at the new Prime Minister of Greece. Some people think he’s the big A-C. He’s an Assyrian descendant ruling in the former Greco-Roman Empire, and his swift uprising and appeal have people talking.

But he’s really not someone we can point to and declare, “The end is near!” As for the other notable reports, I assumed the guy in North Korea would engineer himself some nukes, or at least claim he had. The science of remaking the human race is not news to me—my fiction is built on that frighteningly real possibility. If not for the furious speed of communication, I wouldn’t know the moon was having issues. I haven’t seen any sign of it in sunny Florida. The president doesn’t love Israel? Whaaaat? As for the political win in the Promised Land, I’m glad the man is still standing. God be with him.

None of these matters are any more notable than the multitude of happenings during the last several years. Or the last decades or centuries. Or millennia. The most important indicator of “the end” was a brief statement spoken by the Promised Messiah who died, then showed up alive again. Some sixty years after His death on the cross, he gave a message to John the Revelator. And to the world.

“I am coming soon.”

Since those four words were declared two thousand years ago, they shouldn’t cause any fluctuation in the rhythm of our collective hearts today. Right? What did the God of the universe who never makes a mistake or gets held up in doing anything at the perfect time mean by soon?

Some modern translations replace “soon” with “quickly.” A study of adverb/verb usage in the New Testament clearly indicates Jesus was not saying, “I’ll see you next month.” Rather, he was saying, “I will show up suddenly.” This is a statement to kick start the apathetic heart.

The last church rebuked by Jesus in the book of the Revelation was the church of Laodicea—an actual church at the time of the writing, which had fallen into an apathetic pattern. But the scripture, according to most New Testament scholars, also refers to the last church age—the age of apathy. This doesn’t mean
every church and every Christian is apathetic about all aspects of their faith. But the representation is there, and our age-aligned propensity toward indifference is irrefutable. Wealth and enlightenment have dissolved into poverty and blindness, just as Jesus said they would (Rev. 3:17).

And what does this condition of the church come to at its end? A state of being lukewarm. Under committed. Apathetic. The words of Jesus were spoken for all ages, but was He specifically addressing the Church of Perpetual Laziness when He declared his arrival would happen soon…quickly …suddenly? With little warning? We’ve been on notice for two thousand years, but somebody’s going to get taken by surprise.

How long is the age of Laodicea? Only God knows. When will the long-awaited, forewarned, plenty-of-time-to-get-ready event suddenly happen? Sooner or later. Why does that make my heart skip a beat? Because it’s an indisputable proclamation about the Second Coming. Because it’s closer today than it was yesterday. And because I need a little cardiac arrhythmia to pull me out of my lethargic, stand-around-and-wait-for-it mindset. Sometimes I can feel my sluggish feet sinking into the dull ground of Laodicea. But I think I’d rather be dancing when “soon” happens.
Poor and wretched company I keep
And keeping brings me closer to unmoving
Shake the burdened dirt from off my feet
For dancing keeps me ready for His coming
Suddenly He’ll come if I am standing still or dancing
But dancing keeps me ready for His coming

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said. Are you a dispensationalist? We are nearing 2000 years after Jesus death. Do you think the Jew's return to Israel in '48 is important? Should we be reading the signs of the times?