I’ve been mostly absent from my blog for some time now, and I apologize for that – but for once I actually have something to say. Yesterday at around 6:00 (depending on your timezone) it was supposed to be the beginning of the end of the world. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people were disappointed to find out that the world did not end. Never mind the fact that people have been guessing wrong for a very long time, now it’s Christianity in general that looks foolish for a fairly small group of believers’ inability to read the Bible (Which in itself is nothing new.)
First of all, there is no exact date given in the Bible for the end of the world or just exactly what it would look like. The Bible doesn’t say: “And lo, on the twenty-first day of the fifth month eleven years after the millennium I shall come.” It doesn’t say: “Believer, if you divide the number of days since the flood by the dimensions of a bath taking away from it the time that the sun stood still in seconds you shall arrive at a figure which is that time in which I shall return.” The teaching of the rapture isn’t entirely agreed upon by the whole of Christianity. Some people say it won’t happen. Some say it’ll happen before, still others, in the middle, and some groups believe it’ll happen after. We don’t have a minute-by-minute plan, just a general play-book of what’ll come to pass.
So, just what does the fall-out look like? People are saying things like: “I knew it wasn’t the end of the world! The whole thing was made up.” “It’s time to examine these beliefs and whether or not it is time to finally set them aside.” “I went to the party with the non-believers and we’re all still here … I was disappointed to find out that the Christians are here, too. Oh well, you can’t win them all.” Congratulations, in one swift stroke you’ve managed to discredit Christianity. Where did you go wrong? Setting a date and time.
One person wrote that “Jesus’ return hasn’t happened since he left two-thousand years ago, one could argue that it was largely a non-event. Just like the promise of His Kingdom, believers are left with nothing to show for their efforts.” (And that was the nice paraphrase of a blog written by a believer!) So let’s look at their assertion: Jesus’ return won’t happen because he hasn’t come back yet. The thing about Christianity is that you have to have faith. If you throw a ball into the air, it’s going to have to come down eventually. If you don’t believe that Jesus will return, what profit is it to be a Christian? If you don’t believe that Jesus will return, who will reward you for your efforts? If you don’t believe that Jesus is – then what is the point? Then the point out how believer’s were let down when Jesus’ Kingdom didn’t materialize. The believers were expecting Jesus to set up a kingdom, build up an army, take out the powers that be, and lift up his people to their rightful place. What happened is that their beloved Jewish Rabbi was crucified on a tree. So, what happened? The believers had their hearts set on His Kingdom, but the didn’t recognize it as it was put into place all around them. Jesus might have been crucified as a Rabbi, but the sign above his head read “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, he died as a king. Just what does his kingdom look like? It’s not what you expect. He is a King, he has an army of angels, but he has another army as well. They’re called Christians, and they’re aren’t supposed to guess, just follow Him to the best of their ability and understanding. Here too, you went wrong, following not His word, but His mistaken servant. Finally, they say that believers are left with nothing to show for their efforts. Is that really true? I can’t say. I don’t know the people who were having a bad day until somebody told them that God loved them. I don’t know if anybody was just about to end it until somebody told them that Jesus had died so that they could live. I don’t know the hearts of either groups involved. So I can’t say for sure that nothing is the result of this effort.
The thing of it is that all Christians have at one point discredited Christianity to some degree or other. It’s okay. Now here you have to do the hardest thing that there is: humbly apologize. Some of you have given up everything, now it’s time to serve Him with all that free time. Some of you have give up all your savings and possessions, now it’s time to read the Bible and do what it says. You know what you did the day before yesterday … keep on doing it, just don’t set a date. Keep believing in Him, keep serving Him, keep loving Him, Keep your focus on Him, that is what will help you through this. (and, for that matter, forgive His servant, he is your brother and perhaps he needs it most of all.)