Perhaps Today

I live in an area where there are a pretty large number of Mennonite families, and some of them are fond of posting little signs at the end of their farm lanes with Bible verses or religious sayings.  Recently my husband and I passed one that simply read, “perhaps today.”  This refers, of course, to the fact that Jesus is coming again (Lutherans believe we have been in the end times since Jesus ascended into heaven) — but we don’t know when.

Over the course of history, many have tried to predict when Christ would come again.  Because the number 666 is described as “the number of the beast” in the book of Revelation, many Christians in the 17th century believed the world would end in 1666.  Of course, that didn’t happen (although the great fire of London did).  In 1831 religious leader William Miller predicted that Christ would come again in 1843.  When that didn’t work out, he went for 1844.  Wrong again.  More recently, Harold Camping made predictions based on numerology — 1994 and then 2011.  Neither of those dates proved to be correct (notice, we’re still here).

There’s a good reason why all our human attempts to determine this date have failed.  The Bible tells us quite clearly, that the time of Christ’s Second Coming will remain unknown.

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”  Matthew 24:36-39

So don’t worry and fret and try to figure out what God doesn’t want us to know.  Live with the uncertainty.  Just be ready.  Perhaps today.

For more on the end times see these posts::

Lutherans and the End Times

Unraptured by Zack Hunt — Book Review

 

 

 

Lutherans and the End Times

Until I was grown, I never heard much about the end times at church.  All I knew about the rapture came from bumper stickers (In case of the rapture, this car will be unmanned) and I never heard of the 1000 year reign.  All this is probably because most Lutherans are amillenialists (big word for the day).  This means that unlike the pre- and postmillenialists, Lutherans don’t believe there will be a 1000 year reign of Christ on earth.  We believe that when Jesus comes again, that is the end.  What comes next is the New Jerusalem, the earth perfected.  Lutherans also believe that we are in the end times now, the time that began with Christ’s ascension into heaven.  How long will the end times last, and when will Christ come again?  As Lutherans the correct answer is, “I don’t know.”

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your LORD will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.  Matthew 24:36-44

It seems pretty plain to me — nobody know when Jesus will come again, not even Jesus himself!  The truth is, we probably won’t be expecting it.  Instead of spending time “predicting” when the end will come, we should concentrate on being ready today because it may happen at any time.

Of course, some believe these verses to refer to the rapture, but most people don’t know that this reading of Scripture wasn’t even around until the 1830’s.  It was developed by John Nelson Darby, a Plymouth Brethren pastor, who edited a study bible which popularized his theories.  There are no other verses in the Bible to support or further explain the rapture (Lutherans say when in doubt, compare Scripture to Scripture) and so Lutherans do not accept this interpretation.  We are decidedly “unraptured.”

All this being said, I must point out that I am a layperson without seminary training.  I don’t claim to have all the answers about Lutheran theology and doctrine, but should any readers have questions, I will earnestly try to obtain the answers!

 

Things We’re Not Meant to Learn

“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you.  For you yourselves are full aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  1 Thessalonians 5:1-2

Well, I guess you’ve all heard, once again someone is predicting the end of the world.  The date?  September 23rd, 2017.  Tomorrow!  Yikes.  There have been many, many predictions of this sort, and it’s plain to see they’ve all been wrong. Not surprising when we actually examine what the Bible has to say. In the verses above, the apostle, Paul, says there is no need for Christians to concern themselves with this question.  The end will come without warning.  Jesus, in the book of Mark says that even HE does not know the exact date:

“But concerning that day or hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Mark 13:32

Trying to figure out what God has specifically told us we can’t know is pretty presumptuous, not to mention downright sinful;  probably right up there with Eve eating the apple.  There is however, one big thing Jesus wants us to learn about the end of time, and here it is:

“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”  Matthew 24:42-44

Don’t waste your time speculating about when Jesus will come again.  Simply be ready ALL THE TIME.  This passage is immediately followed by two parables:  the Ten Virgins and The Talents.  The wise virgins didn’t wait to purchase oil for their lamps;  the good servant used his talents to produce more. Don’t put your relationship with God on hold for the things that seem more important today.  Be faithful now.  Stay awake.  The Lord IS coming.  We just don’t know when.

P.S.  I fully expect to be blogging tomorrow!