Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:50-53 (NKJV)
Two essential things to believe if you are going to be a Christian: 1) Jesus rose from the dead; 2) We will also rise from the dead. If you don’t believe either of those things, there’s no point in being a Christian.
There is a conundrum though. How can I be changed in the twinkling of an eye from one who sins regularly to one who will never sin again? Is it not necessary for me to change and grow into this new condition? What about my will? Don’t I have to successively make the right choices over time to become perfect? Apparently not, according to Paul.
It reminds me of an episode of Futurama titled Obsoletely Fabulous. In the episode, Bender the robot needs an upgrade to make him compatible with a newer robot. He has to go from hating this new robot to loving it. How can this be done without altering his personality against his will?
I’ve posted the episode below. It’s from YouTube, so it’s not a perfect showing, but the story is still fully there. Hopefully YouTube doesn’t remove the episode any time soon. Enjoy…
After part 1, there’s a section of the episode missing where Bender meets some other robots on the island. These are primitive robots who have rejected modern technology.
What happens when we no longer have any God (or gods) to look up to? What happens when men become their own gods? What happens when “the will” becomes the highest ideal?
Israel was purged of their tendency to worship false gods with their exile. Their house was cleansed of that demon. But eventually they turned their own religion into a false one and were worse off than before the exile.
When a society becomes Christian, all the old religions are displaced. There can be no going back. No one can become a child again. What replaces Christianity?
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Is the world in its last days? Probably not, but the western world might very well be, and that’s okay. Before anything can be reborn into something better and more glorious, it has to die first.
I watched the following video and was inspired to write this article.
Many western Christians are convinced we are in the last days before Christ returns. They mostly believe this because of what they see going on in the world today. They believe that current events are fulfilling biblical prophecy before our very eyes. This is called newspaper eisegesis, and it works very well if you want it to, at any point in Christian history too. If you go outside on a cloudy day, and are predetermined to see the likeness of human faces in the clouds, it’s not if you’ll see those faces, rather how quickly you’ll see them (about 30 seconds). This is newspaper eisegesis: If I have a predetermined eschatological narrative, I can take the events of any point in Christian history and plug them into that narrative easily.
Need an antichrist figure? Need a war? Need a pestilence? An economic crisis? Just read a history book. You’ll find an abundance of everything you need. Do you think those living in Constantinople thought they were in the last days as the Muslim armies grew closer? Or perhaps those living in Europe as Hitler expanded his power? Who is the expected antichrist now? Is it still the leader of the EU? No, that doesn’t work anymore. Bush or Obama? Nope. The leader of ISIS? Oh, they’re gone now. Carl Schwab? Almost ten years ago I wrote an article revealing who the antichrist was, and I still agree with what I wrote, and I’m still correct.
Western Christians are probably right to be worried about the end coming though. There are rough times ahead. But let’s not get all doom and gloom about it. Jesus intends on building His kingdom.
The best eschatological passage to be found in the bible is 1 Corinthians 15:20-28…
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He [the Father] puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign till He [the Father] has put all enemies under His [Jesus’] feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For “He [the Father] has put all things under His [Jesus’] feet.” But when He [the Father] says “all things are put under Him [Jesus],” it is evident that He [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus] is excepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him [Jesus], then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him [the Father] who put all things under Him [Jesus], that God may be all in all.
The “he’s” and “hims” can get confusing, so I put what I think are the correct names behind each one.
Notice, Jesus must reign until all His enemies are put under His feet, with the last enemy being death. The resurrection occurs just before the end, when Jesus hands the kingdom over to His Father. So, we know that Jesus will not reign after the resurrection (sorry premillennials), only before. This means Jesus is reigning now. He will continue to reign until all His enemies are put under His feet. Who are His enemies? All those who oppose Him.
The number one sign that we are near the end is when we see that Jesus’s enemies are nearly all put under His feet. Are we seeing this now? I don’t think so. As Christianity is stalling in the west, it is growing in the east and the south. There are far more people living in these areas than in the west. God desires to save all mankind. Why would He stop now?
Recommended books: Millennium: The End of the World and the Forging of Christendom by Tom Holland; Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright
Theodicy: a defence of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil
We ought to reject all attempts at theodicy. God did not need sin, death, and evil to bring about His plan for creation. Sin, death, and evil did happen, but not at God’s command or decree. And, we take comfort in the fact that God hates sin, death, and evil, and He will redeem His creation from it all.
Excerpt from an article written by David B. Hart titled Tsunami and Theodicy….
“Christians often find it hard to adopt the spiritual idiom of the New Testament—to think in terms, that is, of a cosmic struggle between good and evil, of Christ’s triumph over the principalities of this world, of the overthrow of hell. All Christians know, of course, that it is through God’s self-outpouring upon the cross that we are saved, and that we are made able by grace to participate in Christ’s suffering; but this should not obscure that other truth revealed at Easter: that the incarnate God enters ‘this cosmos’ not simply to disclose its immanent rationality, but to break the boundaries of fallen nature asunder, and to refashion creation after its ancient beauty—wherein neither sin nor death had any place. Christian thought has traditionally, of necessity, defined evil as a privation of the good, possessing no essence or nature of its own, a purely parasitic corruption of reality; hence it can have no positive role to play in God’s determination of Himself or purpose for His creatures (even if by economy God can bring good from evil); it can in no way supply any imagined deficiency in God’s or creation’s goodness. Being infinitely sufficient in Himself, God had no need of a passage through sin and death to manifest His glory in His creatures or to join them perfectly to Himself. This is why it is misleading (however soothing it may be) to say that the drama of fall and redemption will make the final state of things more glorious than it might otherwise have been. No less metaphysically incoherent—though immeasurably more vile—is the suggestion that God requires suffering and death to reveal certain of his attributes (capricious cruelty, perhaps? morbid indifference? a twisted sense of humor?). It is precisely sin, suffering, and death that blind us to God’s true nature.”