(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
Series: Characteristics of the Jesus Movement for today
5. It was believed to be the end times and that the return of Christ was imminent.
Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and one’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready
Larry Norman; Love Song; Barry McGuire; Creedence Clearwater Revival; Peter, Paul & Mary; Bob Dylan and many others were all singing about it. Hal Lindsey wrote a best-selling book about it. Preachers were preaching on it. The return of Christ was foremost on everyone’s mind in 1970. It’s part of what made the gospel feel even more critical at that time. The return of Christ put a time limit on the message. “There isn’t much time; better get right with God.”
And we truly believed it. This was not a fantasy. It was going to happen, and it was going to be soon. Yet here we are, 50 years later, and a lot of the intensity has faded, but is it any different? Has the return of Christ been postponed? Of course not. God is always on time. Were we wrong? Well, yes and no. We were wrong in terms of the timing of our predictions (we should never attempt this because scripture says no one will know the day or the hour), but we were not wrong to announce the soon return of the Lord and to encourage everyone to watch and pray for it. Though we won’t know exactly when, Jesus said we can watch for the signs of His coming and always be ready for Him to return.
Actually, every generation, including the disciples and the early church, has believed they would see the return of the Lord, and the Bible says that we purify ourselves in this belief. Expecting the imminent return of the Lord purifies us by keeping this world and its enticements in perspective. This world is not our home, and though we build homes and legacies here, we keep an eye on heaven so as not to become enthralled with that which is not going to last.
Here’s one thing we know for sure: we are closer to the Lord’s return than we were 50 years ago — 50 years closer. Be ready.