What If Jesus Doesn’t Return for 500,000 Years?

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know that I have little grace for those who try to convince others Jesus is returning soon. Harold Camping, Edgar Whisenhut, and Tim LaHaye and his Left Behind books have all been the target of my sarcasm.

My reaction is not without reason. Those who preach such things, while likely from good motives ,can have a devastating effect on Christians investment in advancing God’s kingdom of earth. After all, why polish brass on a sinking ship?

So, I would like to posit a possibility for you to consider: What if Jesus doesn’t return for 500,000 years?

Is that so unthinkable? Why would Jesus have told parables about the ten virgins unless He was not going to return for a very long time? And if your initial response is “Jesus said he was returning ‘soon,'” – if it means 2,000 years, it could just as easily mean 500,000 years. “Soon” is not 2,000 years in any human’s vocabulary. “Yes,” you say, “but to God a day is as a thousand years.” Yes, to God it is, but when Jesus said He was returning soon, He was talking to men. It would make no sense to give men a timetable using metrics that meant nothing to them.

The better explanation is that when Jesus said He was returning soon, He was referring to His return in judgment on Jerusalem for rejecting their Savior. The judgment metaphors and the references to Jesus coming on the clouds are all consistent with this reading of Matthew 24.

So, back to my original question: So, what if Jesus is not going to return for 500,000 years, how would that change your view of our responsibility for caring for the planet? How would you live your life differently?

Jesus is coming for all of us within our lifetime, so we shouldn’t need to leverage His return to judge the world as a means by which to scare the lost into repenting. Instead, we, more than the seculars, should be thinking for the very long haul.

The meek will inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5), but if we fail to preserve te earth because we are trying to wring every last penny of fast profit out of it for our own benefit, there will be nothing left to inherit. The future has always belonged to those who can see far enough down the road to leverage it. Regardless of what you think about Elon Musk as a person, he is seeing farther down the road than most right now and, as a result, he is changing the world.

Just think how different the world could be if Christians were thinking and living for the long haul. Christians have the assurance from King Jesus that they will inherit the earth; it is time they start shaping it. GS

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