AN IMMINENT RETURN

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36).

We are now twenty-four hours removed from the May 21 Harold Camping prediction for the Day of Judgment. It was nothing new. The graveyard of history is littered with the tombstones of doomsayer’s and prognosticator’s, though there was an inordinate amount of media coverage due to the nationwide billboard campaign by Family Radio. In reviewing these ongoing, misguided attempts to figure out, calculate, and decode what Jesus himself confessed to not knowing, we should consider the lessons to be learned. The most glaring, from my perspective, has to do with the hermeneutical task of rightly interpreting the sacred text for its intended purpose—heralding the preeminence of Christ and His exalted role in the redemptive purposes of God. This is the goal of the Law and the prophets in the Old Testament (“For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John” Matthew 11:13). Continued efforts to make the ancient text into some kind of predictor of global disasters, Arab-Israeli relations, or a premise for a uniquely American eschatology preoccupied with multiple returns of the Lord, wars of Armageddon, and seven years of tribulation as depicted in the Late Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind novel’s dishonors the sufficiency of our Lord and all that was fulfilled in his death, burial, and resurrection. The words spoken by the prophets of old were but pointers to the One who would be the Word Incarnate. The greatest testimony of our confidence in the sufficiency of His redemptive work isn’t to pass the day with calculators and charts in hand that we might, to the day, anticipate his return but to live obediently each day with the anticipation that this is the day.

I would not begin to guess the day but I know the day is imminent. Live accordingly.

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