The book of Revelation ends with this commitment to expecting the return of Christ. I think it is something that we have not paid as much attention to as we should have. I grew up during a tumultuous time (the 1960’s and early 70’s). The culture changed dramatically in a ten year period, and my parents and I came to faith in Christ in the middle of all that social change. And the Baptist church we attended preached A LOT of eschatology. With war in Vietnam, radicalism redefining culture, the vivid daily threat of nuclear holocaust, drug culture going mainstream, and political corruption, it all seemed to be lining up. As a kid, I fully expected Jesus would return before the 1980’s were upon us. That really bummed me out, because I wanted to at least graduate high school!
The one advantage of all those sermons on Christ’s soon return was that I lived with a sense of urgency and expectancy. I knew that when the church was raptured and the events of biblical prophecy began to unfold, one of them would be the judgment seat of Christ where I would give account of myself. And being aware of the immediate possibility of that happening kept certain clear spiritual priorities in front of me. This is why I believe that good eschatology ought still be preached, maybe not with the newspaper headlines that it had in the 70’s but at least with some conviction that it is imminent!
And 2009 has been already a year of sweeping change. Old threats are re-emerging. North Korea has gone from sounding like a toothless old man, to flexing some serious nuclear muscle. Iran is leading radical Islam dangerously toward a hellfire confrontation with the West. Despite eight years of effort, the war on terrorism continues unabated in threats against American life. And America transformed in the 60’s and 70’s by a culture war is now leaning further toward Sodom than ever. Gay marriage, family redefinition, government bailouts of the largest corporations and banks, and a weird new socialistic ethic have seized the culture. And the evangelical church looks like the 1960’s again with social gospel, liberal theology, cutesy inspirational talks, and political liberation displacing the gospel in many churches. Time to remember that Jesus is coming soon. It never was time not to remember that truth.