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Aug 07, 2006

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Quotidian Grace

What's up with all the Chinese comments, Mike? Didn't know the Kronicle had so many international fans!

Thanks for the laugh--"Mr. President, when are we going to withdraw our troups to the Hill of Meggido and start fighting the armies of Satan?"

Made me choke on my coffee..

Michael Kruse

Actually, there are some folks in China who read this blog every now and then but the comments aren't from them. They are from some Asian porn site. They attacked my site every day for about a week last month. I see they are back. Time for more defensive measures.

There are so many great line in this Stewart thing. I rather liked "156!!! That is arbitrarily terrifying!!!"

Todd Bensel

Mainstream Christianty has been talking about eschatology for quite awhile now - in the form of the Left Behind Series and from every place else except liberal pulpits. Not all fundies and evanglicals are certain and sure about end time events - it's just that the dialogue has been misplaced. Academics don't get it and modern theologians seem to have a blank spot for any studies of "end times" things. At least I don't ever read anything substantial from put our for popular discussion. And as far as the preaching and teaching that I've heard in the PC(USA), it doesn't exist, except to say that "We can't, ,don't and shouldn't know!"

Ray

Lebanon and northern Israel are in flames and the president of Iran waits for his messiah--the Mahdi--to return to earth and establish his rule over all humanity. Fans of the "Left Behind" novels look at any new conflict in the mid-east as another sign of the imminence of Armageddon and the return of Jesus. Do Apocalyptic Muslims and Christians share the same desire and hope of a final battle where their Messiah will destroy his enemies in a furious conflagration? Is there no difference?

Where is the Lamb? In Revelation the image most often used of Christ is the Lamb that was slain. He conquers, not by destroying his enemies in a bloody battle of tanks and jet fighters, but by going to the cross. The victory has already been won on Calvary. In chapter 19 of Revelation Christ is depicted riding a white horse and doing battle against his enemies. But he conquers, not by the sword of steel, but by the sword of his Word. The armies seem to be all assembled for battle but there is no battle described. Jesus has won, and his Word will last forever.

We are called to be peacemakers not war-encouragers. We do not look toward a Messiah who will kill and maim in a show of power and a display of military might. We anticipate the victorious Christ who will bring the new Jerusalem where all nations will worship and enjoy life together.

In this time when Iranians have even set-up a 'hot-line' to answer questions about the Mahdi, our churches could use some instruction on the Messiah that's depicted in the Book of Revelation. Christ has conquered by the cross. He calls us to sacrificial acts of love in his name--acts that reflect his coming kingdom. Let's leave the Mahdi and his depiction of a final vengeful war to the Iranians and fundamentalist Muslims. Let's worship the Lamb.

Michael Kruse

Maybe mainstream wasn't the best choice of words. Maybe Orthodox would be a better word. I agree with you that there are some preachers who preach "Left Behind" but it is my perception (possibly wrong) that the majority don't preach this view. They don't preach anything, which is your point. People form an eschatology from somewhere and if they aren't getting it from orthodox Christianity they will simply be formed by the ubiquitous spirit of the age. Your PCUSA experience is mine as well.

Michael Kruse

"Christ has conquered by the cross. He calls us to sacrificial acts of love in his name--acts that reflect his coming kingdom. Let's leave the Mahdi and his depiction of a final vengeful war to the Iranians and fundamentalist Muslims. Let's worship the Lamb."

Amen! And Amen!

David Stanley

I laughed so hard when I watched this my kids thought something was wrong with me. I swear John Stewart is the funniest man alive.

That said, I have to admit, I whip out Revelations for a quick read through when these sort of events take place just to remind myself what the Bible has to say about the 'end times' and to remind myself once again how little sense any of Revelations makes to me. :)

Dana Ames

Ray, well said.

David S., I was helped very greatly by hearing Bruce Metzger teaching on Revelation. He began the video series by saying, "Revelation does not mean what it *says*; it means what it *means*."

Michael Kruse

"David S., I was helped very greatly by hearing Bruce Metzger teaching on Revelation. He began the video series by saying, "Revelation does not mean what it *says*; it means what it *means*."

Dana, I am in study right now where we are studying Revelation. Personally, I am using two “four view” commentaries, a commentary by Ben Witherington and the one by Metzger. After reading a lot of this stuff with the endless qualifications scholars make I conclude that they don’t know either on significant portions of it. What I am convinced of is that Jesus prevails. That we are called to be faithful and persevere. That worship is a great thing to do in the midst of turmoil. That there is no rapture in the dispensational sense of being taken off to heaven. That no one knows when Jesus will come and to go to scripture searching for a timetable that says “This is the time!” is pointless. That creating such scenarios and timetables runs the risk of encouraging ungodly things in our efforts to “help things along.” And that these words are true, “"See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."

We don’t know what a lot if means, but what we do know means an awful lot!

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