The end of the world

I grew up in a pre-tribulation atmosphere in church. Those were the days of “A Thief in the Night” movies and books like The Late Great Planet Earth. I wrote an essay in a high school writing class on the final clash of the Soviet Union taking on Jesus’ army or some such crazy end time story.

When I was in college I began to extract those theories from my theology. One assignment I gave myself was to take on Mark 13 in a project that would be graded by one of the toughest professors I had at the time. I wanted to move away from “rapture ready” thinking to understand the text more fully.

I have found that over the years it is still hard to get that early training completely out of my head. So, as I read Mark 13 again this morning, I was struck again by the obstinance of “pre-tribulation” theology that rattled around my brain! This was in contrast to my recent trip to Israel and learning that most Jews today do not hold to a thought that the third Temple must be built. I hadn’t really thought about it much, but when I hear that, I was caught a bit off guard. It led to some great discussion.

My growing up years had this strand of thinking that the Temple must be built so anti-Christ would come and do his thing and the world would end and Jesus would come. Then, to find out most Orthodox Jews don’t have that desire at all! Mind. Blown.

All of that to say, I still struggle with the remnants of bad theology. I have to keep in mind this particular thought from another essay I read recently:

There is a danger to reading a text poorly. It can easily lead to being discipled poorly. People can be led to think that accepting Jesus is important only in order to escape the tribulation and wrath of God. The purpose of evangelism can become about helping others escape. Obsessing with current events can become a desirable practice of discipleship.

More HERE.

The Kingdom of God is serious stuff. And it is about eternal life NOW, not just in the “sweet by and by.”

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