Eschatology: My Official Position

I’ve had some interesting conversations on eschatology (the end times) today after the appearance of the first of four blood moons. Eschatology is a confusing subject, and to be honest, I don’t think it matters as much as we think it does. Following Jesus is more about how much you love than how much you know, and faith is often more about mystery than certainty. Because there’s so much that we don’t know, I think it’s important that we approach eschatology with an attitude of humility, so that we can embrace the mystery wrapped up in the person of Jesus, so that we may get lost in the wonder of all that He is. I have a lot of questions, sure, but at the end of the day, I prefer mystery and wonder to certainty in my faith.

The world doesn’t need another book, movie, or sermon series on the end times. What they need is to know the love of the Father. And the Church doesn’t need to get caught up in figuring out what’s going to take place tomorrow (or 100 years from now), because that usually distracts us from our mission today. We should be more focused on renewing and restoring the earth, rather than plotting our escape from it. Jesus never told us that we have to figure out what the future holds us; in fact, He often encouraged us to focus on the present moment and let tomorrow take care of itself. When He talked about the end times, it was often in response to His being asked about them by one of the disciples (though this was not always the case). And so, when we see things like the blood moon or other significant “signs in the heavens”, rather than trying to relate it to future events, I simply pocket it as a subtle reminder that the Kingdom will one day come in full.

That being said, here is my “official” position on the end times. These are the things I believe with absolute certainty. Everything else related to eschatology is open to interpretation.

Regardless of what happens, God is still in control.
He remains infinitely faithful and sovereign.

He has already won.
The kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our God.
He will reign forever.

Our accuser will be silenced.
We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb.
For He stands in our defense.

Heaven will fully manifest on earth.
Life will overtake death.
Sorrow will endure no more.
Tears and pain will be wiped away.

He will dwell among us.
We will be His people. He will be our God.
We will be His children. He will be our Father.
For we are all the work of His hand.

He is the Alpha and the Omega
The Beginning and the End
The First and Last of All

He was. He is. He is still to come.
Praise be to Him who sits on the throne.
To Him be all glory and honor and power forever and ever.


Gray Thursday

Today is Gray Thursday, known in some circles as “Thanksgiving”.

Earlier today, I was driving from one relative’s house to another—through Austin suburbia—passed miles and miles of empty parking lots and darkened storefronts. It reminded me of a simpler time, a time when we weren’t such consumers, and could actually go a day without buying stuff.

But all of that is changing now. A few select stores have been open on Thanksgiving for years, giving workers a day off to be with their families before the most exhausting day of the year. Last year, many stores decided to begin Black Friday at midnight. Because they were met with such success, many stores decided to open on Thanksgiving evening this year—hence, Gray Thursday.

One of the leaders of Macy’s made it quite black and white: “Our midnight opening was so successful last year, so this year, we’re opening even earlier.” In other words, “We made a crapload of money last year (at the expense of our employees and their families), and we want more.”

I’m not here to condemn anyone; that’s pointless. I’m not so much concerned about people who go shopping as I am the sinful system where money is our primary motivator, and we’ll sacrifice things once held sacred to obtain more of it.

Rather than condemning people, we should grieve. Not because people are going shopping tonight, but because something is fundamentally wrong with our world. All is not well, all is not right. Denying this reality would be foolish, and trying to fight it is a waste of time. Instead, we can remember, we can grieve, and we can invite people to enter in to an alternative society that is free from the chains of mammon and consumerism. This alternative society is the Kingdom of God, and Jesus is the Door. Jesus is the answer to the pain that Gray Thursday brings to families.

Kingdom of Connection

The Kingdom of Connection

Last November, I was sitting in one of my favorite coffee houses when I overheard a conversation and afterwards introduced myself to a man who ended up being a pastor at a local church. I wrote about it here:

Yesterday, I was at the same coffee house, and ended up sitting next to Jerry—the pastor I met four months ago. We talked for over an hour, discussing topics ranging from adoption to salvation to grace. He also showed me a picture of the baby he and his wife recently adopted. And it’s cool, because the whole reason why we met last November is because I overheard a conversation about the adoption.

Tonight, I attended a special Maundy Thursday service at The Ridge Church, where Jerry serves as lead pastor. He saw me from across the parking lot as I was walking in and introduced me to his wife and their newborn adopted daughter, who in a way was responsible for me standing there in the church parking lot in Carrollton, simply because she was born. It’s remarkable how the trivial things can impact our lives in such profound ways.

Another pastor preached the service tonight, and he talked about how all Christians belong to one another in Christ, even if they attend different churches. He read from 1 Peter, and talked about how we are all “living stones” who are being built into a “spiritual house,” and he said that God is building a much bigger Church than what we see here, and that the house He is building is the only one that truly matters. And I liked that, to think that Jerry and I are both being built into the same house, and this was true even before we met randomly at the coffee house last fall.

This is exactly what I love about the Kingdom. Total strangers can have a conversation and feel like they’ve known each other their entire lives, because they have Christ in common. The Kingdom of God is a relational Kingdom—a Kingdom of connection.

“Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:3-5, NIV