Speculating about the timing of the return of Christ, and dreaming about being whisked to heaven, seems to be a past-time for some Christians. Does that mean they are better Christians?
I’ve been called a lot of names over the years, and been accused of a lot of things – some fairly. But during a recent “the end is near” discussion in which I was involved, someone told me that I did not believe the Lord was coming soon because I was too fixated on this world and loved this present world too much.
Several Speculators have stated this mantra as well, claiming that God wants us to “always be looking up” so that we do not become too attached to this world.
Some have said that watching for the return of Jesus Christ has a “cleansing effect” on Christians, keeping us holy.
Let’s see what the scripture says in this matter.
Peter Does Warn of a Coming Dissolution of Things
To be fair, the Apostle Peter talks about the end of the age and a dissolving of heaven and earth, which should thus lead to holy lives (2 Peter 3:11). But this event is the Day of the Lord (verse 10) in which the old heavens and earth are dissolved and a new heavens and earth established. Even if this is a non-metaphorical, wooden literal event that is yet future, it isn’t a description of any rapture to heaven to get out of the pains of this earth.
And Peter even states that his readers are to “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (verse 14) and “seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace…” (verse 15), indicating that the new heavens and earth are the impetus for such holy living.
Dreaming of a Better Life or Situation Is Not the Same as Holy Living
Let’s just cut to the chase: people who spend their time huddled in pre-tribulation rapture discussion groups, or who say “Maranatha” at the end of all of their posts, or who chide others for not “watching”, are simply looking to escape this present fallen world and go to the next one, where the promise of perfection and everlasting bliss awaits.
How is that the same as living a holy life? Paul tells us to be content (1 Tim 6:8) and that godliness with contentment is great gain. I could spend my time dreaming of winning the lottery. That doesn’t make me holy. That just makes me less content with what God has given me.
And what is so difficult about dreaming of paradise? How is that a worthy and arduous pursuit? The people who chastise others for not speculating about The End of the World seem to think they are humble participants of a higher calling. After all, they care less about the things of this world, because they care more about the next one.
I have often heard pre-tribbers say that believing in an imminent rapture keeps their hearts right, keeps them close to Christ and their thoughts pure. After all, they wouldn’t want to be whisked to heaven bodily by surprise.
First of all, can a pre-tribber show me a single verse that SAYS this? Peter’s statement above speaks of a new heavens and earth, not a rapture event. If you are only clinging to an “any day now” rapture where you are taken out of this world, in order to stay close to Christ…you got problems.
Jesus said “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal…” (Matt 6:20). That connotes activity, not passive imaginations. We are to WORK for those treasures that do not fade away. Not speculate about when we get them, or dream of a day that God will take away all of our pain. We are here as laborers for Jesus, doing the work He has called us to do, in joy and possibly suffering (Eph 2:10, 2 Tim 3:17). We aren’t here to huddle in discussion groups and day-dream.
Dreaming of paradise doesn’t make anyone a better person. God has left each of us here for a reason. Finding out what that reason is, going about the business of stewardship in His Kingdom, and maybe even suffering for His name are godly endeavors
It takes a servant’s attitude to handle what God has given us in this life with care, and to build treasures in heaven using the gifts God has given us. Paul didn’t glory in looking forward to the next life. He took glory in nothing but “the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal 6:14).
Do we have what it takes to endure affliction, accept what God has given from His hand to us to use, and then use it for His glory? That’s the mark of truly loving the Lord, and walking away from the world and it’s glory.