The blood moon and the end times

July 8th, 2014

The conversation at the back pew between visitors at the church was about whether as Christians we should be pre millennialists or post millennialists (also referred to by Alister McGrath as pre-tribulational or post-tribulational). Two of “my” parishioners entered the conversation. One very familiar with the terms and ideas of the discussion and another totally baffled about the subject matter. Later the baffled one would ask me about the entire conversation. As another parishioner said he had never heard a “Methodist” preacher talk about the rapture, so why would “my” parishioners know anything about the conversation, especially, if these terms are only familiar to those who are “dispensationalists” (as some theological dictionaries suggest). Nonetheless this issue is alive and well in many churches, even some United Methodist churches.

Having started my ministry in the middle of the Hal Lindsay craze with his prediction of the world’s end in the book, "The Late Great Planet Earth," (the end will come, “within forty years or so of 1948”) and having lived through “prophet after prophet” predicting the world’s end especially via late night TV or more recently billboards in Nashville; I have become familiar with many of the issues, although they continue to evolve. The Blood Moon Prophecy now seems to be the latest craze and, of course, the creation by Great Britain and the United States of the country of Israel through the United Nations in 1947-48 remains a key event for many in trying to predict when God will dramatically break into human history and “end” human life as we know it.

These conversations remind me that in the so-called Little Apocalypse of Mark Jesus’ words are quite clear

“but of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32

It continues to amaze me that many Christians will spend countless hours reading, studying, and wondering about these eschatological issues but so little time trying to make disciples of Jesus Christ or trying to become a better disciple of Jesus Christ (going on toward perfection).

As I use to say to college students in my Religion and America class, there has never been a time since Jesus that some Christians did not think they were living in the end times. They have always been wrong, some day they may be right but I don’t think it is now. How about you?

Oh, I did preach about this using the Mark 13:32-33 as the text and as one parishioner said as he left, "I can cross this off my bucket list" (a United Methodist preacher preaching about the End Times).

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