The Orange Leader
Most Theologians of every religious denomination will have at least a nodding acquaintance with the terms ESCHATOLOGY [es-cha-tol-o-gy] or ESCHATOLOGICAL [es-chat “ o-log”I-cal]. (Please don’t worry if you can’t pronounce these tongue twisters.) They are words that have to do with a branch of theology that is “concerned with the end of the world or of humankind; a belief or a doctrine concerning the ultimate or final things, such as death, the destiny of humanity, the Second Coming of Christ or the Last Judgment” (Dictionary definition).
Throughout the world’s history there have been more than 200 date-setters who have predicted the exact date when Christ would return.
One of the most recent in our area proclaimed that May 21, 2011 would mark the end of the world. When it didn’t happen, another date in October was set. It didn’t happen then either.
There has, however, long been an interest in the Second Coming of Christ. Some will remember the wildly popular series of novels called Left Behind written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins and published between 1995 and 2007. These authors never set a date for Christ to return.
There is no disputing the fact that Jesus said he would return to this earth a second time. He warned us to be watching, expecting, and not knowing the day or the hour of his return. Our faith is to remain strong in spite of miscalculations, misunderstandings and misinterpretations about Christ’s second coming.
There is one certainty that is absolute: HE WILL RETURN!
After his death, and resurrection, just as He began to ascend back to heaven, as the apostles in wonder watched, two bright angels spoke to them saying, “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
The Apostle Paul also bears witness saying: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud cry of summons, ... And those who have departed this life in Christ will rise first. Then we, the living ones who remain [on the earth], shall simultaneously be caught up along with [the resurrected dead] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord!” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).