Recently, I posted a blog where I explained that some clichés are necessitated in learning. This isn’t one of them.
You can almost assume you are watching a B-rated movie when you see a scene featuring a homeless man holding a sign describing how the world is about to end. Whether it is central to the plot or added as a comedic relief, chances are there was something better that the movie could have done… like anything.
I understand that vampires and soon-to-be-zombies aren’t “hip with the youngsters” anymore, but mainstream media has now decided to go down the Post-Apocalyptic route like this is more acceptable and cool. It isn’t. It is like Hollywood forgot how bad the 60’s and 70’s were to the world and wanted to relive it in EVERY way (cue Daft Punk’s new DISCO song, “Get Lucky”).
One thing that I enjoy about being Pentecostal and from the Assemblies of God is its young, but rich, heritage. This year marks 100 years since it’s founding in the early 1900’s. A denomination marked by innovation, gender equality, and once pacifism and environmentalism, the A/G is currently getting recognized as one of the only Christian denominations flourishing in a world now marked by a decline in spirituality.
I think one of the things that I like about Pentecostalism is their grasp of a realized eschatology – and understanding that Jesus is coming soon. It is what drives their hearts. It gives their love for others perseverance as they know that time is short. Jesus is coming… and he will be here any time.
Just as life is a pendulum swing, I think that is true with the greater church’s view of the end. Where the church at large tries to hide behind the phrase that, “no one knows the hour,” Pentecostals equally cry wolf on many occasions. And people who are outside the church looking through its stained-glass windows see the Church as a some beatnik-crazed transient in a B-rated film with a sign reading, “The End is Near.”
The problem is the end IS near. It has been near for the past two thousand years. The church of the first-century realized that, the people of the early Pentecostal Movement realized that, and we need to healthily embrace it. I’m not saying that we need to preach that Jesus is coming every chance we get. But we need to be aware that he IS coming to set the world to rights.
Paul wrote about it all throughout the epistles in the New Testament. Many scholars talk about it as “now/not yet” theology – truths that hold merit now but will not reach their full fulfillment until the eschaton. We are reconciled along with the world, but it won’t be fully understood until Jesus returns. We are saved from the wrath of God, but it won’t be fully seen or understood until we reach the final judgment at the end of days. We are sanctified, but we won’t be like-Christ until we are with Christ.
Don’t run to the end times like a loon-radio-evangelist or a distraught homeless man, but don’t run away from the fact that Jesus is coming back. He is coming to close the inclusio that was introduced in Creation – the bracket of Old Creation and New Creation, when the world will be as it was before the Fall. We will be with God and He will be with us.
The end is near, and we are here now to help usher in the new world of tomorrow.