In the past two weeks, I’ve had text messages from teens and young adults in my church, asking me about “the end times.” One of them came home with a nine-page sermon, citing
Oprah and Obama as signs of the rising anti-Christ (maybe he doesn’t like people who’s name starts with the letter ‘O’…Pat O’Reily might be okay, but you know, he’s not, um, from
Illinois). It’s funny to me how folks who claim to ‘interpret the Bible literally’ try to make claims about when Jesus is coming back. They seem to have skipped over 1 Thessalonians 5 that talks about Jesus coming like a thief in the night and catching us all by surprise. Then there’s Jesus himself: “Therefore keep watch, for you won’t know the time or the hour” (Matthew 25:13). Now some claim that they can still predict, but they have to go through so much scriptural gymnastics to get there that I don’t think they can claim to be ‘biblical literalists’ anymore without feeling at least a little bit dirty. (example, this guy: http://www.bibletime.com/faq/thief )
I honestly think that some of these folks are just “keeping watch” and I’m cool with that. To try to come up with guesses of when Jesus will come just delays his coming. If we believe that Jesus tells the truth and Jesus tell the disciples (and therefore us): ‘hey…I’m a lot sneakier than you think. You’ll NEVER guess when I’m coming back” THEN every time someone guesses that Jesus will return, just keeps him away. Who knows, maybe he wanted to come back for the last twenty years (who wouldn’t want to miss Pearl Jam), but some guy in Ohio screwed it up by saying, “Jesus is coming NOW…I mean NOW….no, I mean NOW!”
So this is my proposal. I think it would be cool if Jesus came back. This is all we have to do. The whole church has to agree and proclaim that Jesus most certainly will NOT be back on a certain day. There isn’t enough time left in 2011 to get it in this year. Hollywood has already predicted the end of the world in 2012, so we have to 2013. How about June 6th, 2013. NO! That won’t work because it has 6s in it and people go nuts over 6s. How about February 4th, 2013?
Okay, so if everyone could please declare February 4th, 2013 as THE DATE that Jesus WON’T come back. I think we’ll all be in for a real surprise! (Plus, I hear that Pearl Jam is on tour next winter…of course Jesus isn’t going to miss that).