We completed the last lesson in 30 Life Principles. The principle as stated was: “An eager anticipation of the Lord’s return keeps us living productively.” The reference was Revelation 22:12. So we came in and our leader had listed references in Daniel and Matthew and had a diagram meant to illustrate what was clear from those verses and also the fact that there are a lot of disagreements about how to interpret it. It showed two 3 1/2 year periods, an unveiling of the antichrist, and pre-, mid-, and post-trib. positions on the rapture. Also noted was that the word does not appear in the bible.
Now it seems that the author of our study is quite enthusiastic about keeping one’s focus on the end times, as he refers to it as a form of motivation for Christian living. In our class however, the consensus seems to be that we long ago encountered various teachings about the end times, and after looking at the various theories, all based on prophetic writings, which are generally quite symbolic and often vague as to detail, we decided to just leave it all in God’s hands and walk with Him in this life as best we can. So I have to say, most of us don’t find much motivation here.
We did go down a list of questions in the book. Who knows when Jesus will return; no one. How did Noah know about the flood, and who else knew? God told him. No one else was listening. What will people be doing? They will be doing whatever they normally do. Why be watchful? Well, we are told to do so, and there is that parable of the virgins when the unprepared were blocked from the feast. What happened to the servant who prepared for his master? He was rewarded. Who should you warn? Warn those who do not know Jesus. It’s pretty standard stuff.
We had a short discussion of the idea that we may have interpreted all the verses about being taken and left in a backwards fashion. That is, to use the flood as an example, those who were taken died, those who were left started over. One member said we could indeed be left in order to enter the kingdom prepared for us. It is odd to think that all the left-behind stuff that was so popular when we were young, might be quite backwards. But I bet most of us were somewhat disappointed when all that did not happen within 5 or 10 years as promised, so the irony is delicious.
But we returned to the idea of how we should live our lives. If we are pursuing Jesus, and doing or at least attempting to grow into His vision for us, is that not keeping us prepared for the Lord’s return? Even when we think of the idea that some will receive the same heavenly reward without spending much time on the Christian life, you can think two ways about it. One is the obvious, that is seems unfair for those who have worked and struggled for the kingdom to get the same as those who have a deathbed confession. The other is that they missed out on living this life with Jesus all along the way. It is a good thing to walk with Jesus and they will be sad that they missed it. I never really thought of it that way, but it makes good sense.