The other day I started thinking about what an extraordinary length of time that people have been patiently waiting for their respective gods to make
an(other) appearance on Earth. When I was in India, my English-speaking tour guide told me that Hindus were waiting for the final incarnation of
Brahma (who, interestingly enough, is supposed to come back on a white horse.) He said that faithful Hindus had been waiting for 1,500 years, that the
last incarnation had been Buddha. The length of time didn't bother him at all. The sacred writings of the Hindus speak of epochs of time consisting of
millions of years of human experience.
The other major world religions have been waiting as well for their god or prophet's promised appearance. Now, being highly ignorant of other
religions besides Christianity, I can only discuss this phenomenon from that perspective, but it would be interesting to hear about Mohammed (pbuh)
and other awaited holy figures.
Christians have been waiting two thousand years for the return of Christ. Two thousand. I know that doesn't mean much to God, because to Him, a
thousand years is like a day. (2 Peter 3:8) To us, that is an impossible length of time. Most Christians take solace in the idea that we are living in
the Last Days, and that His return is immanent. We base this on three ideas:
1.) The Gospel is being preached in all nations, so Jesus will come back after that. (Matthew 24:14)
2.) Israel has become a nation again, in fulfillment of prophecy. (Matthew 24:32)
3.) With nukes, we now possess the ability to destroy the world by fire, and God said it would be destroyed by fire. (2 Peter 3:10)
But what if these three things are not true?
1.) The word "nations" in the aforementioned Scripture is "ethnos," which means racial groups. Estimates vary, but some people state that over
40% of ethnic groups
have not heard the Gospel, representing nearly half the world's population. This is
after 2,000 years of propagation! We have not been able to keep up with the exploding population. And once mankind heads to the stars, forget it.
2.) Nowhere in Scripture is Israel referred to as a fig tree. Israel becoming recognized by most of the world as a political entity and having the
Jews return to it may be an important piece of the puzzle, but it's not what's alluded to in this Scripture. In fact, some people speculate that the
prophecies of Matthew 24 simply referred to the generation following the resurrection of Christ right up until the destruction of the Temple, which
signaled the end of the age in AD 70. See here
3.) I could point out that most of the deaths from a nuclear war would not be from "fire" but from radiation, starvation, disease, and social unrest,
but that is a minor issue. The main point is that we think that WW3=Armageddon, and this is not necessarily so. Let's say we had a nuclear war and
three billion people died. Would Jesus be obligated to show up just because of that? Really? Why? He didn't make an appearance during the Black Plague
or any other grim time in humanity's history. We could have WW3 and keep rolling on as a species. The Jews could be scattered again. We could lose the
ability to read and write and have to start all over again. Why do we think that we are special?
What if Jesus doesn't come back for another 2,000 years? Or 5,000. Or 10,000. How about one hundred thousand years. How would Christianity change in
that time? How would we keep the faith? I'm interested in all responses.
edit on 27-5-2013 by Snsoc because: wrong word choice