Jesus is not coming back to make everything ok.
Be all right, be all right, everything's going to be all right. Ask unbelievers what happens at the end of time and they give you a blank stare. Too consumed with trying to figure out what's happening right now, they haven't given much thought to any sort of end of the age. Ask a lot of believers the same question and they come back with a large degree of confidence, but nothing much more concrete...their veiw of the end involves strange lion and sheep displays at some zoo, a large number of clouds and more harp music than anyone cares to hear. (Why the harp? Any chance angelic beings play Stratocasters?) Their uncompelling view of the end is one of Jesus returning to make everything ok. Calm. Peaceful. Restfull. The entire universe takes a shot of transcendent morphine and we're happy, happy, happy all the day. Sing the 1st, 2nd and 4th verses and so on.
This is lame.
I've been pouring over eschatology notes and scripture itself, and I'm coming to the understanding that Jesus is not coming back to make everything ok as I have been quick to assume. Don't be alarmed - I'm not turning amillinialist...He most definetly is coming back, but not as some sort of opium with a strange copacetic side effect on the human race. He is coming back to make all things right...and the nature of making things right involves dealing with things (and people) who are wrong. As glorious as His return will be for those in right covenant with Him, it will be terrible for those who are not.
Christian music of our day has the end of the age pictured as a time when every poor orphan in India who we helped feed will approach us to say "Thank you...for giving to the Lord...", because we're convinced that even Heaven is somehow about us. This morning, I've got more faith in the lyrics of Johnny Cash's "The Man Comes Around."
There's a man going around taking names
and he decides who to free and who to blame
every body won't be treated quite the same
there will be a golden ladder reaching down
When the man comes around
The hairs on your arm will stand up
at the terror in each Sip and each sup
will you partake of that last offered cup
or disappear into the potter's ground
When the man comes around
The second line...everybody won't be treated just the same...grates against our western sensabilities and feelings of fairness. In reality, we're not driven by fairness, we're driven by an unwillingness to accept that any will 'disappear into the potter's ground'. Surely He'll figure out a way to subvert His own word...to somehow overlook sin when He's paid such a high price that we might live righteously...won't He? In a word: No. He's coming back and He will make things right.
In that day, will you stand unoffended? Or will God being God more than you can accept?