"In my opinion, the next event on the prophetic calendar will be the rapture of the church. I think that could happen at any moment and as we see all of these other things happening that only reminds us that the rapture is even closer."
OK, that wasn't my quote, that's from Greg Laurie, Pastor of Harvest Christian Church in Southern California. The quote is from Laurie's recent sermon, "Israel, Iran, and America in Bible Prophecy"
Now Greg Laurie is a respected Bible teacher and pastor and I honor that (especially since he came out of the Jesus Movement which I have a soft spot for) but I find it interesting that it is American ministers in general that seem to focus the most on end time prophesy, timelines, and trying , awkwardly I feel , to insert America into that equation. I mean why not, "Israel, Iran, and Canada?" Russia?...Mexico? See what I mean? I think we err when we, often unintentionally, begin viewing the Bible, and particularly prophecy, through the lens of culture and nationalism.
I know what you're saying, "but Steve, America is the superpower in the world not to mention the main ally of Israel. Surely it has a role to play in the "end times"?
...but I also know that since that day when Christ promised to return there has been a number of superpowers that have come...and gone. The Imperial torch passes again and again...and in the end it will be the Lamb (Jesus Christ) who is shown to triumph over them all. Until Christ does come again there will always be a new power on the block that feels it has the right to rule nations and shape history. If the Lord tarries 50 years, Laurie's teaching may be titled "Israel, Iran, and China" Should the Lord not return for 150 years the sermon may become, "Israel, Iran, and Australia"
Yes, Australia...it could happen! ;)
It's funny how my view of the "rapture" has changed as well. When I first became a Christian as a young boy I totally understood the "prophetic calendar" Laurie is referring to. A long map with the cross on one end, Christ's return on the other and a whole lot of action in between. I even had a T-shirt that had two empty tennis shoes with a "whoosh" graphic like someone had been snatched from them and the words "In Case of Rapture this T-Shirt Will be Empty" emblazoned on the front.
A snatching away of Christians... Mmmmm makes me wonder who would actually "make the cut" if Jesus did return for His Bride. I think we'd all be shocked but I'll save that for a whole other blog post.
Until that all reveals itself though I tend to resonate in my heart with something Pastor Brian Zahnd says. "The Blessed Hope is not that 'we're going' but that 'He's coming.'
I think the thought that Jesus is coming is a joy all Christians can agree with.