I certainly believe there will be an “End of Days” occasion where God brings to completion and accountability all creation. I believe that Jesus is our hope and salvation in the face of our obvious brokenness and sinful separation. I believe that God will never forsake us, no matter how terrible the trials and journeys we travel. I believe that God gives us signs and warning in scripture, nature and through scientific reflection, reason. I believe people who don’t want to pay attention to warning and signs will be content to quote, “No one knows the time the Lord will come.” They will go on waiting for the movie to come, and wait for the reviews and plan to catch it when it comes out on Netflix, if something more exciting doesn’t come along.
The brain the God has installed in our heads, can figure out, if we are living in hazardous community where crime is all around and threatening to break in and steal all you have, you should not be surprised by the thieves who come night after night. If you house looks like a crack-house then don’t be surprised if the police show up with a warrant. Most of the work of the biblical prophet is not prediction, rather it telling us the obvious that we obviously are not seeing.
If it looks all the blueberries are gone, then the season is most likely over. If the signs look like rain, don’t plan for a picnic and a swim party. If it’s snowing, don’t wear your flip-flops. If there are floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars, disease and famine, don’t be surprised there are crazy, nutty people mailing End-of-Days brochures in your mailbox. Somewhere in the middle of the extremes of “do nothing” and “sell it all and wait on the street corner,” we are called to live our faith, each day.
The timeline above is not one that I advocate as ‘the’ definitive model of dispensations, but it reflects that some people want to neatly present some order in the chaos to help us. Graphics such as these are intended to both comfort and challenge the viewer. We see that assurance that there is a plan, and by having the road map we know where were are going. I suggest that most of these models are off the chart and are not as helpful the authors would hope.
I truly believe there are folks waiting on ushers to hand out well ordered liturgies and worship bulletins for the Eschaton, and without such preplanned and well organized event plans they will never recognize the Savior standing in their presence or working through the church as promised. I’m not picking on worship committees, I’m pointing to folks who face fear by running from it. We living in a time where terrorist threaten the world, nuclear powers are growing, core traditions and beliefs are turned inside out, and the church is ask to be politically correct in respecting those with contradictory agendas and beliefs.
It seems that the world does not want to hear the church’s warning and invitation of faith. Here is the rub. If the only message, is to warned without grace then we extend the fear the world seeks to avoid. If we only extend grace and not grab the world’s attention we miss the opportunity.
The visual model is much simpler and not as detailed. Take sign of the cross. The crossroad is the intersection of truth about our faith and our fears. Jesus is waiting to meet us there, at the Eschaton and today. So if you need a bulletin of what’s going to happen when, meet Jesus with your faith and fears and every day will be and end and a beginning. So if you are worried or you hear someone worried about the End of Days, here is your sign: God is with us, Emmanuel!