As I sit here writing this, there have now been nearly 2,000 years since Jesus returned to heaven after saying he was coming soon, according to the inspired text of the Bible.
Most of the half-century that I’ve been alive by the grace of God, I’ve been told by modern-day Christians of various denominations and sects that Jesus’ return is imminent and to be ready. Don’t bother trying to make things better in the meantime as stewards of this planet because it will all get destroyed or burnt up— with a few sects telling me that the earth will be restored to what it was in the beginning, an earthwide Eden wherein we’ll live forever.
After Armageddon, that is.
I’m somewhere between thinking that it’d be nice if there were no bad people and bad things to happen— and thinking maybe it’s time we let the apes give it a try.
But regardless of what I think or wish to imagine, it’s been 2,000 years since “soon,” “shortly,” “is near,” and “at hand” were written by the hand of divine inspiration to believers in the first century.
I’ve lived through 50-some of those years.
Of course, given the tensions and crises of my generation, and human depravity to boot, things seem to have achieved all-new highs when it comes to the ability to wipe out the entire planet over political and religious squabbles and grievances. The basic Us vs Them mentality, in other words.
When the television program The World Tomorrow began overlaying modern-day military conflicts and weaponry with the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, they had my attention and I voraciously studied every brochure and book I could get from the World Wide Church of God, most of it written by a man named Herbert Armstrong.
Not long after I was seeing Bible prophecies and its types and anti-types, and Jewish festivals, I encountered the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s own take on ancient prophecies and current events.
It’s called Eschatology— one’s views, beliefs, and expectations concerning death, judgment, and the final destination for humankind.
And in spite of the multitude of sects of Christianity currently in existence as of this writing, the majority believe that Jesus’ second coming is future— even though it’s been two millennia since Jerusalem was first destroyed by the Jews trapped inside the city as the Roman forces set their siege, and then pillaged by the Romans when the siege ended.
Jerusalem and the Temple came to their end in 70 CE, and it’s now 2019 CE.
With things looking like they are getting worse and worse, and nuclear war always a threat since its efficiency was noted at Japan during World War Two, and society in the throes of cultural change as Christian morality is questioned in light of the religion’s demonstrated hypocrisy, it doesn’t require much to dismiss the two-millennia discrepancy in “soon” and “the hour” with liberal doses of conviction that even though Jesus hasn’t come back, it’s obvious that it can be any moment now. I might not even be able to finish this sentence before a trumpet sounds at the command of an archangel—
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not trying to be mocking or derisive here. If there’s any preposterousness to be found here, it’s in dismissing the fact that it has been two thousand years.
How much worse will things get on the world scene? Will Jesus return in my lifetime? Will I have to live through the Great Tribulation? Will my children or grandchildren have to?
Will I have believed in the wrong things, and lost out on a life that could’ve been— if only I’d taken time to stop and think and reason on what I should believe as I read the witness of those living in the first century of the Common Era. . . ?
This is what I’ll be exploring in the days ahead.
Submitted for your perusal and consideration,