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6:00 has come and gone, and I'm still here.  Since everyone else seems to be still here as well, I'm not as worried as I might otherwise be.....

In case anyone hasn't heard, today (Saturday, May 21) was supposed to be the Rapture.  Again.  Sadly, many people who bought into this made really bad life decisions.  Many had some hopes dashed, and I wonder what the impact will be on their faith.

All of that said, the coverage given to the whole "end times" mania might actually have some positive effects.  Hopefully some people who weren't thinking about eternity now are thinking about it.

Scripture says that we don't know the day or the hour of Christ's return.  Unfortunately, that seems to translate more often into a sense of distance from that event rather than a sense of urgency.  I wonder how my prayers would be different if I really believed that Christ might return in my lifetime? maybe in the next month?  Would I be praying as much for physical, material needs?  Or would my prayers focus more on preparing spiritually to meet my Lord?  Would my prayers for unsaved friends and family find a sense of urgency that they don't have now?

Dave Butts, in his book Prayer and the End of Days, makes a really good argument here.  The fact that the church today doesn't focus much on the return of Christ may be dulling our sense of urgency.  The early church was mistaken when they believed that Christ would return in their lifetimes - but that thought gave an urgency to their prayers, an urgency to their witnessing and missionary work, that may be missing today. 

I'm not about to go sell my house and quit my job.  God calls us to be wise and Jesus warns us against those who say, "here he is" or "there he is".  But I'm not sad that this non-event occurred.  It has reminded me to pray more fervently, more urgently, and with more of a spiritual focus.

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Comment by Andrew R. Wheeler on September 3, 2011 at 7:44pm

Timothy, I completely agree with you.  Most of the teaching we've seen about the last days is all about trying to identify signs, predict events, etc.  I'm certain that that was not the approach of the early church.  Their context of thinking that Jesus' return was near spurred them on toward evangelism, caring for the poor, missions, etc.  They didn't waste time trying to figure out who the Antichrist was or which horseman was coming next.  But the urgency to all their ministry was based on the thought that time was "short" (whatever that means).

 

Your point about Matthew 24:14 is exactly what I'm trying to say.  I believe that the fact that we no longer emphasize Jesus' return is exactly why the sorts of things you mention are not taking place as much as they should be.  Absolutely, if we believed he would return in our lifetimes, we would be more involved in kingdom work.  It will be good for the servant whose master finds him at work when he returns.  The point isn't to know when he is going to return - the point is to live like we expect him to return.

Comment by Timothy Burns on August 29, 2011 at 1:53pm

From my point of view, (and I realize I may be in a minority here) the expanded teaching during the 70's and 80's about the end times, pre-tribulation rapture and "identifiable" global events that precede Jesus coming, like the popular Left Behind series, have done more to lull the church into complacency than spur it on to love and good works.

 

In Matt 24.14, Jesus said the gospel will be preached to the ends of the world, and then the end will come.  If we want to hasten his return, shouldn't we be more involved in the work he left in our hands??  Then it really doesn't matter when Jesus returns. We will be like the virgins waiting and watching, with oil in our lamps. 

 

Then maybe teachers who preach a day and hour will stand out as the confused souls they really are.

Comment by Lewis Turner on May 22, 2011 at 7:50am

Andrew:

 

AMEN--Well stated!!!

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