Friday, July 8, 2011

Eschatology: Rapture or Restoration?

    We humans have a love-hate relationship with eschatology.  Eschatology is the study of the end.  What will happen at the end of the world?  What comes next? 
    On one hand, we seem to be irrevocably drawn to the apocalyptic, end-of-the-world stuff, especially in movies. lists 61 apocalyptic movies since the year 2000.  In his article, “It’s the End of the World, and We Love It,” Mark Moring says, “We are divinely wired to wonder what comes next.”1
    Every now and then, this deep hunger for knowing the future leads people to make some outrageous claims.  Just a few months ago, an 89 year old American radio guy named Harold Camping hosted a huge campaign - with public billboards, radio slots, news footage, and mobile bus advertisements - saying Jesus was coming back at exactly 6 p.m. on May 21, 2011.  Obviously, that didn’t happen.
    That kind of error-based fear-building has given many people a distaste for eschatology.  Many of us would rather just put our heads down and live today, one day at a time.  Some folks just want to forget the future.
    But eschatology is still really important.  It’s the closing chapter of our human story.  In fact, nearly all of the New Testament - and really the whole Bible - is forward looking.  From the Biblical perspective, the future is holding our hand and pulling us into its reality.  
    The problem with understanding the future is that it isn’t here yet.  As much as the Bible is forward-leaning, as much as Christianity views us as being pulled into the future, there aren’t many details. 
    Christians are deeply committed to the future, though.  We have a few absolute beliefs about the future.  ...

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