The Unattainable Future or The Undiscovered Country

October 20, 2012

 

In a recent discussion I had the privilege of conversing about the End Times. The discussion got me to thinking about Revelation and its prophecies. Revelation is probably the most controversial book in the Bible because of the vivid and colorful descriptions of future events. It talks about creatures such as dragons and seven-headed, horned beast from the sea with feet like a bear, mouth of a lion and the appearance of a leopard. There are many more strange beasts that it talks about and it paints a very hostile future for mankind. It spends a lot of time telling of what is to come and it does it with some very odd descriptors of places and things.

Because of all its strange descriptors the book has been the basis of many arguments among theologians and non-theologians alike, throughout history.  Some very renowned people in history have spent a lot of time and energy trying to decipher the book, even Sir Isaac Newton used a big part of his intellect wrapping his mind around the end times. It has been rumored that he actually deciphered the “end times” timeline and came up with a date some time in our near future. If that was true and he discovered some secret code in the Bible to nail the time down, then I would have to ask how could that be if God said only HE knows when the date and time will be?  The minute anyone claims to know the time they become a liar by God’s own words.

Every generation since Jesus’ death, has those who believed theirs was the generation that would witness His return. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe everyone of them has been wrong. Every generation deciphered Revelation so as to see their present day worldly events as matching the events in Revelation. Our generation is no different, so I could care less about the events matching today’s events. All Christians want to be able to see him return and because of that we try to make the prophesies fit our time. It may well be that we are in the end times but that also isn’t what I want to talk about.

What I want to talk about is how important is it to try to “decipher” the book’s imagery, not how to decipher it. I would ask everyone out there, if the book actually did say that the world would end on a certain date what difference would that make in your life? I’m sure some people would change their ways if they did study the Bible and discovered the actual date of His second coming.  However, most people who study the Bible are already on their path to salvation, so it probably wouldn’t affect them that much anyway. The majority of the unsaved could care less about what the Bible says because most don’t believe the Bible to be anything more than a piece of fiction anyway, which means it probably wouldn’t affect them at all.

So what difference does it make if we knew that Jesus was returning tomorrow, next week, next month, next year or even the next thousand years? If it takes the threat of the end of the world to make someone behave as they should have been behaving all along, then more than likely they won’t make it past the gate keeper anyway. Being a Christian is more about the actions out of love than about the actions out of fear. One’s heart must be into being a Christian because if the heart is right, then the hands will follow. The fear of death can change a person, but I would ask this question: Is a change caused by the fear of death as sincere as a change of heart without the fear of death? It is better to become a Christian when there is no threat than when threatened with a knife at your throat.

There is a difference about being sorry for what you have done and being sorry than repenting about what you are doing. It is far too easy to become a Christian on your death bed.  One would have to ask the question, is God going to be so willing to accept the death bed repentance when there is no real turning away from sin because life has ended and there is no other chance for sin.

A devout Christian isn’t someone who has just said the words then cried out to God and done nothing else. A devout Christian is one who has confessed, repented, been baptized and turned his life away from sin. Death bed Christians are “convenience Christians” because they become Christians only because it was convenient and they were desperate. Becoming a Christian because you know when the end is coming makes you a “convenience Christian” and that would have to make one wonder if their heart is really into being a Christian. God knows our hearts so he would know the sincerity of the “convenience Christians”.  He would judge them accordingly and it is not for me to judge them. Who knows, after all Jesus did forgive the two thieves crucified beside him, while they were dying on the cross.  Arguably you could say that was a special occasion but nonetheless He did forgive them.

Now let us get to the real subject that I want to discuss. I want to discuss whether a Christian should try to decipher the end date or not.  First we have to consider what benefit a Christian would get from knowing the date. Is there any benefit of knowing the date and time? The only benefit I can think of is the bragging rights of knowing only what God knows. This is not a benefit that a Christian should pursue.  Would a devout Christian change his way of life because of knowing when to expect the spirit in the sky? Absolutely not, because a devout Christian would already be living his life in a Christian fashion and there would be no need to change. So what benefit is there? I would dare say… none!

If there is no benefit, then why worry about the date and time? We are even told not to worry about the tomorrow because the tomorrow will take care of itself. We shouldn’t worry about when He is coming back, but just know He is coming and live accordingly. Today is the only day that makes a difference and it is the only day where we can make a difference. Yesterday is gone and we can never change yesterday. Tomorrow will always be tomorrow and we can never live in tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. We live in today and should always live in today. If you always live properly in today then today will not only give you a pleasant past to reminisce about, but it will also make tomorrow something worth the anticipation.   Today is the only day we can change, so we should be working for today not tomorrow. If we do what is expected of us today then tomorrow will a better today tomorrow. (I hope everyone can follow all of that.)

The future has been referred to as “The Undiscovered Country” which is very true, but it is undiscovered for a reason because it is undiscoverable. The future never really comes and we can never grasp it, which makes it undiscoverable and unattainable.  The future will always lie in the future. That is why we should never worry about the future and we should always let it take care of itself and take care of what we can take care of, the present day.

We should never try to grasp the future because to try to grasp the future is to try to grasp the wind. The future can’t be seen and you can look out into it and see the possible effects of the future, but you can’t see the future. The future can be felt pressing down on you, but you can’t press back against something that isn’t there.  The future can be devastating when it comes in like a lion, especially if you’re not properly prepared for the devastation.  The future can be as soothing as a cool breeze or it can be disturbing as a hurricane. The future can clear the air of the stench of past.  But the future is always the future and unattainable.

With all the wonderful attributes of the future, it will always be in the future and there is nothing we can do about that, so why worry about something we can never discover or attain? Live like there is no tomorrow, live like Jesus is walking through your front door this very minute. If you do that you will have nothing to worry about in the future.

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