Why Long for the End
Why long for the end?
Why Long for the End?
During his sermon on Luke 17:20-37, Israel opened with the question: why are people so obsessed with trying to predict or portray the apocalypse? We see it everywhere around us; it’s in our films, our history, our media, news blurbs, most religions, and sometimes in our plans for the future. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like imagining an epic ending to our messy world?
Unfortunately, Israel also demonstrated how futile it is to expect the world to end in a specific way. Our limited, human understanding falls far shorter than we like to admit where the future is concerned. And yet, when have limitations ever stopped anyone from pursuing an answer? False calendars and phony messiahs have fluttered throughout the pages of history with disturbing regularity, and there seems to be no end in sight.
So instead of dismissing the question, I would like to explore the why – why mankind remains so fascinated with the end of itself, the end of life as we know and will ever know. Imagining the reality of the apocalypse carries fear mixed with awe in its wake, which, I believe, is due to mankind’s’ limitations. Humans are mutable: we have a beginning and an end. We cannot transcend the tides of time, which pushes ever forward, threatening to drown us in wrinkles and hoarded belongings and aching joints. Because of the Fall, you and I must be born to live and then live to die. In this book-ended, ironic existence, mankind has realized that while we cannot control our conception, we can hope for a satisfying conclusion in death.
However, the death of the world is another matter. It too had a beginning, and it will have its end when Jesus thunders back into our atmosphere with the weight His of glory pouring out of heaven like flaming magma. This end will come suddenly and without question. It will reign terror upon those who care not for God nor for His Word. But for those in His Kingdom, there will be mercy and eternity.
Israel mentioned how the Kingdom of Jesus is now and yet not, here yet a far way off, sprouted and yet forever sprouting. This inauguration isn’t simply for God’s glory – it is for our comfort as well. The way I see it, because the Body of Christ lives among us, through us, we are given a divine blessing: the blessing of comfort and a promised end. As the Kingdom thrives among the peoples of the earth, God’s promise to preserve and provide for His children still stands. All of us are weak and afraid of the future, for our power is limited to the present, but when Jesus declares the Kingdom is here and yet still coming, He alleviates our worry with a physical/spiritual/relational truth. Instead of fearing for the end, we choose to wait with longing and with purpose.
“No zombie infestation, no alien invasion, no nuclear vaporization, no governmental persuasion, no natural explanation will keep us from the Kingdom of God.” Ain’t that the sweet truth. As believers, we no longer need to worry about how the world will end; we just need to worry about how we will meet our King in the end: as a good and faithful servant.