It’s odd, and a bit sadistic, just how obsessed humanity is with the end of the world. From the ancient Mayans to modern day Christians, many cultures all share this belief that the planet and civilization will come to an end, one day.
Walk through any downtown city, chances are high you’ll see a cardboard sign with red marker stating that the “END IS NEAR”. Visit any American church, chances are high that you will hear a hyper-zealous pastor teaching how to interpret the end times. Chances are high that that same pastor is deeply certain this generation is the last. Just like every generation’s pastor said before him.
Now I don’t wish to bash the Church for anticipating the return of the LORD. Nor am I skeptical regarding the Bible’s promise of a “new earth”. My only desire is that we would collectively shift our focus to our actual job. I too would like to see Jesus return and set things straight. However, I am also aware of the assignment that Christians carry in this world today.
Look how Jesus redirected the focus of the disciples when they were focused on the end times;
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)
This verse was the resurrected Christ’s response to the disciples’ inquiry of when the “Kingdom [would be] restored to Israel”. Jesus simply redirects their focus to living powerfully and bringing the kingdom now.
Quite frankly, the apocalyptic prophesies in scripture are far too complex and ambiguous for us to fully understand. We host seminars and write books describing who the antichrist will be. Because of our unbalanced obsession with the end times, we have an unhealthy relationship with the world today.
Unfortunately, as a culture, we American Christians are not the best at nutritional health, nor do we seem to care for environmental protection, or even social/ethical activism. This isn’t to make anyone feel guilt or shame, I only want to highlight this reality. Honestly, this is a topic for a whole nother blog post in the near future. The point I would like to make however is this: I wonder if the modern church has lacked so much in human, planetary, and technological progression because we hold this subconscious idea that the world must get worse before Jesus comes back.
If a deep theological conviction we all share, and this is all monotheistic faiths, is that a God-imposed end of the world is coming, then how could we expect to invest our time and energy in the betterment and progression of the world? I have heard friends in the midst of discussions allude to “well the world’s ending any ways so it doesn’t even matter” and they laugh problems off. This is proof to me, that many of us have allowed this apocalyptic belief to highjack our God given abilities to create and advance the human race.
I will repeat the verse for clarification, let's remember where Jesus directed our focus:
“It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…”
So again, let’s ask the Father to send his Holy Spirit so that we will receive the power to change the world and not contribute to its destruction.