The end is near, signs are everywhere, and with each new hour more appear, showing that we are further from our starting point and closer to our destination. We must pay close attention to the time and keep going.
Could I be referring to the culmination of the ages in the second coming of Christ, or simply a long road trip?
Road trips can be exciting, yet always seem longer and more stressful with the presence of nagging children constantly crying from the back seat of the car: ‘Are we there yet?!’
The pressure, the exhaustion, the endless road before you and an un-willingness to enter long debates or discussions with infantile human beings usually elicits an all-too-common response: ‘soon!’.
For much the same reason, as time has passed, and the road of faith continues, church leaders are more likely to answer the question of ‘are we there yet?’ with a simple, ‘soon’, than plough through a twenty-part series on the book of revelation or the visions of the Prophet Daniel.
What will happen, ‘then’, is too complicated to explain, rather sit back down, stop asking annoying questions and live your best life now.
Obsessing over the time and destination whilst driving can make for a long and dreary road trip. Today, at least, we have satellite GPS that can help us get to where we are going without too many wrong turns. Where and how long are specific.
I remember trying to find brand new houses in new unmapped housing estates in my first several years of painting. We would pull over at a petrol station, look through the latest refedex maps, find the closest roads to the small map provided on the job spec, and then proceed to get lost for the next hour and a half looking for the house.
Now think about how difficult it is for pastors and teachers to explain to their impatient children, when, and how, we will finally be ‘there’: The end of our journey, the second coming of Christ, The millennium.
We do not have a satellite GPS to guide us, nor a topographical map, and, I would assume, most of us are not experts in reading the course of the stars. The map we do have, in John’s Revelation and the parables and sayings of Jesus, seems to be a bunch of catastrophic events, random imagery and hallucinogenic-like visions, mysteries and metaphors, literal and allegorical cosmic adventures, all thrown together with a blessing for anyone who reads them and a curse from anyone who tries to delete or change anything.
Should we steer our vehicle down the mystery road or stick to the broad and boring highway?
Most of us choose the safest route.
If we do go down the mystery road, we try to make sense of the journey by making the road ahead as plain, safe, and simple as possible.
This is what we often do to John’s Revelation roadmap by manufacturing timelines. It helps us feel more secure and pacifies the church members who are tired of their best life now and ready to fly away to their best life tomorrow.
The problem, historically, has been that timeline eschatology maps are always wrong.
We always miss some small signage and take a wrong turn. Pride means we tend not to throw away the map we have drawn ourselves. No one likes admitting that they have taught something wrong, no! We just missed a little detail!
Church history is replete with sects, cults and false doctrine stemming from someone’s re-interpretation of another failed eschatological timeline. Kind of like when males drive, we don’t get lost, we just miss a turn. Perhaps the church should be more open to letting a woman teach a man, as half of getting lost on the road stems from ignoring your wife’s directives.
So, what are we to do?
The events transpiring all over the world right now are throwing some obvious hints to the discerning that something strange is going on. On the one hand we have Christians getting jumpy and crying ‘are we there yet?!’ and on the other scoffers saying, ‘all things carry on as they have since time began.’ Should we start making maps again?
Perhaps we should try something else.
What I do know is there is something that makes a long road trip much shorter and more exciting: A good story, and the revelation of Jesus Christ is a great story!
The truth is, if we were to make a timeline about this story, we would need to draw a picture of a man. Forget the ruler lines, and number crunching diagrams – sketch out the Son of Man from head to toe instead. This main character is also the story itself.
He is the Beginning and the End. The First Chapter and the Last Chapter. The Alpha and Omega. He is every letter, comma, and full stop along the way. The more we share in this grand story with God’s children the quicker and more exciting the journey becomes.
If we can unveil this man as our timeline, we will get there! If He truly is the Beginning and the End, we know that whoever starts this journey in Him will end up in exactly the right place at the right time! Him! Now That is good news!
Joshua Robbie is currently serving the Lord under Pastors Ronnie and Shirley Naidoo of KZN Celebration Centre in Tongaat South Africa. He and His wife Rene’ moved from Australia to South Africa in April 2016. Their desire is to help in whatever way they can so that the church can become all that God has purposed her to be. Josh is a painter by trade and also enjoys sports such as surfing, basketball and boxing. He has also written a book, now available for purchase on Amazon called: “Your Father sees: Living the sermon on the mount”.Josh Robbie previous articles may be viewed http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/josh-robbie.html