I’ve never been sure that I bought all of that Second Coming stuff. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection I get, sort of. For some reason a man rising from the dead has never seemed too far-fetched, which is silly, but it hasn’t. What has seemed just a little crazy (maybe this is because I grew up reading Left Behind) is that someday Jesus will magically descend, riding on the clouds to save us all from this rotten ol’ world and take us to the big Disneyland in the sky so we can watch it burn from really, really, for away.
Of course, that’s not really what the Bible says, exactly.
What has helped is the power of narrative. I think one of the unique and dynamic and beautiful things about Chrsitianity is that it provides this metanarrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end. And I’m glad there’s an end, I really do. But God would be a terrible writer if it happened sort of ex nihilo: things are getting worse and worse and the plot is thickening and getting more complicated and then: TA DA! Wow, thanks Jesus!
Forgive my sarcasm.
It’s just that, in a good story, the characters work to make the plot resolve. The decisions they make in the beginning affect those in the end; they matter and give the narrative shape and substance. I suppose that what I’m suggesting, and I certainly wouldn’t be the first, is that maybe we’ll have to work to bring Jesus back. Maybe He’s got stuff He wants done before He’s going to come back.
I think you call that postmillennial eschatology. More or less.
If there’s one thing that evangelicals are totally boneheaded about (and it’s just SO hard to choose sometimes), it’s eschatology. Seriously, how many times can you incorrectly identify the Antichrist and just keep on guessing like you could possibly have any idea? It’s definitely Hitler. Nope. Lenin. OK, Stalin. No no, it was Gorbachev for sure. Actually, it’s Obama.
Or maybe you’re just a tool of the neoconservative movement. Did no one consider that possibility, or find it even slightly coincidental that the Antichrist has just happened to be the political leader of America’s enemy for the past 100 years?
That being said, talking about the resolution of plot and everything, I think that instead of being on alert for the apocalypse, maybe the Church should actually start working for it.