End times theology and me :)
Tonight my heart is full. I just went to two Bible studies. One online on the East Coast and then one here in Wyoming in person. The one on the East Coast is on the book of Daniel, and end times is discussed. It once again brought to mind one of the greatest personal lessons I have learned about eschatology (end times theology) in the last year. Herod summons the chief priests and the teachers of the law and asks them where the Messiah is going to be born. With no trouble at all, they can quote the Scripture that says exactly where he is going to be born. Twenty-four chapters later, presumably those same priests and teachers of the law call for his death. He came, and they did not recognize him for who he was even if they knew where he was to be born.
I suppose something like this can’t quite happen for the second coming since Scripture says every knee will bow before Jesus and every tongue confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11); but in Matthew, Jesus does say that not everyone who calls him “Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Some of them he will bluntly tell to go away because he does not know them (Matthew 7:23).
When God showed me this about the teachers of the law knowing the Scriptures so well and yet missing recognizing Christ, it was when I was wondering if I was incomplete in my following of Christ because I was not wrapped up in “watching” for Jesus by trying to ascribe to a certain theology when it comes to end times. I am not premillennialist, postmillennialist, amillennialist, dispensationalist, or preterist. (And if you don’t know what all those things mean, don’t feel inadequate in reading this; for the most part neither do I, which is precisely my point!)
But in having these actions of the teachers of the law and priests brought to my attention (I believe by the Holy Spirit), I have come to believe that I can “keep watch” as Jesus instructs his followers to do in Matthew 24:42 without focusing my attention on arguing over whether the rapture is literal or figurative or which parts of prophecies are fulfilled by what and when. Being well-informed about those things is not necessarily going to help me recognize the work of God in my life. As a matter of fact, anyone who is certain about which of those theologies is true, is someone whose teachings I cannot follow. If even Jesus does not know when that day or hour comes (Matthew 24:36), I am certain that no other human being can be trusted when they claim to know specific details about that part of the future.
These days I watch for Jesus’ coming when I pray. I do it when I look for and enjoy the fruit of the Spirit in his followers. I see Jesus’ presence in the beauty of Creation, which was created through him (1 Corinthians 8:6). And may it ever be, that I get to see Jesus’ come into the hearts of many of the unbelievers around me as well. Or, as one man in my prayer group always prays, 100% of the unbelievers in this world.by