Eschatology is a word that means the study of the end times, the final days. In the secular world we refer to these things as transhumanism, futurism, or the singularity. In pop culture we call it the zombie apocalypse. People love to ponder mankind’s final swan dive and to speculate what it’s going to look like. I’ve always loved sci/fi because there is such optimism there. Hidden even in darkest utopian vision is the fact that we have survived long enough to make it 5000 years into the future.
I often have trouble believing we’ll make it to next week. Given all the evidence on the ground, it’s quite remarkable we’ve survived as long as we already have. Trust me, we are not a happy evolutionary accident. An an accident waiting to happen is more like it.
In Christianity, some people take their eschatology very seriously, men especially seem to love to ponder these things, partly because of the intellectual exercise and partly because of their heightened desire to do everything they can to try and protect their loved ones. Also, it’s probably quite romantic to imagine oneself as a great leader, a Mad Max in a Road Warriors apocalyptic scenario, a zombie hunter.
Doesn’t matter is you’re a Christian or a secular Doomsday Prepper, eschatology is quite fashionable these days. Wal Mart now has an entire section devoted to freeze dried food, canned spam, and survivalism. Those who don’t like too much truth with their truth, politely just call it “emergency preparadness.”
It’s not that I don’t take these things seriously, it’s just that I have been informed that my particular role in the whole scenario involves being along for the ride. Quite simply, Jesus is not my co-pilot, He’s actually driving the car. Doesn’t matter what I think or believe, I’m just a passenger.
I also don’t intend to mock those who make a study of these things, well except perhaps the guy who has just claimed May 24 to be the last day. It would be a bit funny if Jesus returned on May 22 instead, just to really drive the message home that He keeps his own schedule, thank you very much.
Sometimes in the midst of these great theological debates involving pre-trib, post-trib, and raptures, I am tempted to stir up some trouble. It would be somewhat amusing if we were to discover that we’re already nearly through the 7 years of tribulation and that Jesus has already arrived. Perhaps He’s been walking about undercover, doing reconnaissance, introducing Himself to people, gathering intelligence, visiting our blogs and face book pages. Sitting in the back of our churches, quietly observing. I wonder if He’s seen Himself on those teeshirts people wear in malls, the ones that portray Jesus as the Terminator and say, “I’ll be back.” Or perhaps He’s seen the posters of Himself as an Occupy protester, a liberal socialist hippy in sandals saying, “peace man.”
What if we were all so busy studying theology and obsessing over our i-phones, He arrived and nobody even noticed? What if the mark of the beast came upon us many years ago? What if time is not really linear so the sequence of these end time events can come in random order, looping about and repeating themselves beyond our ability to perceive them? Also, if you truly believe in the rapture, why in the world are you hoarding all that bottled water and canned spam??
I’ve always read signs, quite literally “signs” as in words written somewhere, but always containing a rather profound spiritual answer to my questions. They usually come in threes. There are other signs in the world that seem to indicate things are in chaos, so one day I simply asked God if we were there, if we had arrived at the final chapter, and went to get a cup of coffee. On the way I drove past a guy holding a sign, “911 was an inside job,” and than on the back it said, “the end of the world.” Hmm. Then I passed the theater playing At World’s End and took note of it. I got my coffee, opened the newspaper and nearly poured it all over myself. There on the front page were the words, “It’s The End of the World.” It was actually a sad story about a woman who had committed suicide by jumping off a cliff here we all call “the end of the world.” Spooky, just the same. Besides, if you read it in a newspaper, you know it must be true.
The context is irrelevant, synchronicity in threes always get my attention, especially when I have just asked a question. The answer appears to be yes, we have arrived at the end of days. Some people like to try and dismiss these things as confirmation bias. I already knew the answer to my own question and simply went seeking signs to validate it. Oh, but some people so do not live in my world and simply cannot understand.
It brought to the forefront a keen awareness that our days are really numbered. End times or not, all of our days are numbered anyway and we have no idea how much time we have left. That’s how we should be living our lives anyway, deeply appreciative and passionate, letting go of all the small things that really don’t matter, just breathing in life with all it’s mystery and wonder.