By Jaime Nava –
So Greg Laurie and his crew of neo-revivalists (well, maybe not so neo) have decided that the end of the world is here. So how did they determine this? Well, they read the Bible, skip some steps, read the signs of the times, and then determine from that where the events of today fall into what the Bible says about the end of the world. ISIS, beheadings, American Morality, Gog and Magog, cats and dogs living together are all signs that this is it. To further his point, he quotes Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (27:48 Mark) “the world is experiencing ‘historic defining times that will result in a new world order’ while questioning America’s role in the emerging world.” And in good Evangelical fashion he follows up with, “Now I don’t know what Defense Secretary Hagel meant by that, but I do believe a new world order is coming.” So long as the quote lends credence to the overall theme, I suppose context isn’t all that important. His overall message thing had everything to do with how the signs of the times are Biblical events that are leading up to the domino effect of the last days.
Aside from the fact that Greg didn’t proclaim forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ (John 5:39), aside from the fact that the entire message thing was based on scripture that has been fulfilled, aside from the fact that what makes a good Israelite is faith in God’s Word (not a hunk of land or even bloodline [Romans 9 anyone?]), aside from the fact that obscure apocalyptic texts are mistaken as literal (while the clear words “this is my body” and “baptism now saves you” are rejected), aside from all these skipped steps in biblical interpretation, I agree that every generation should expect it to be the last one. I don’t look for signs to tell me this. I simply listen to what Jesus said (Mark 13:32-37).
So what should I do? Since the end is here, should I go off the grid? Should I become a doomsday prepper filling shipping containers with boiled meat in mason jars? No. What I should do is serve my neighbor not hide from him. I might need to arm myself but I will only do it for the sake of my neighbor. What I should do is go to church. What I should do is remind humanity, people who deal with real issues like rent and cars and health, I should tell them that Jesus has won. The victory on Easter morning is greater than any threat of ISIS or San Bernardino shooters. I can continue to enjoy God’s creation. And in the midst of it all, I will keep playing video games. Like some people enjoy going out to the movies, like some people enjoy having a cigar and scotch (I like that too), like some people like working leather, like some people like mowing the lawn and keeping the flowers blooming, like each of us has something that we enjoy (in moderation), I will keep playing. I will expect that Jesus will return at any time and I will live like there is a tomorrow.
While Greg and (too many) others turn blue with bad hermeneutics, I will prepare for each day with a devotion with my family where we hear about the forgiveness of sins and the victory of Christ. We will close the day the same way. I’ll go to work. I’ll do what needs to be done to serve my neighbor. And I will watch silly videos about a giant Minecraft cart that flows through scenes from the Nightmare Before Christmas. I’ll chuckle at someone who seems to care nothing about the end of the world by creating a video game train ride that lasts, literally, for 210 days straight.
We’re not called to chase after signs of the end. That’s not how disciples are made. It’s not what Paul exhorts us to proclaim. It’s simply not Good News. Good News comes only from Jesus Christ and Him crucified. That’s our hope. It doesn’t lie in Israel. It lies in Israel reduced to One. With this assurance of hope and peace in Christ, I share it with others. I enjoy the blessings of God in this life while waiting for the greater ones in the next. I comfort, reassure, and point to Jesus, not to the antichrist or the Middle East. Now if you’ll excuse me, my train video still has 209 days for me to watch.