We got stuck on when God’s kingdom comes, instead of who is king.
In the last two centuries, studies on the kingdom of God got bogged down in debate over when the kingdom comes. Is it already present now, or is it something Jesus will set up when he returns?
Wrong question: focusing on the When has obscured the Who. Continue reading “Who, not when”
Some of my friends think Jesus’ kingdom vision was unrealistic, something we can never achieve until he returns and forces the world to submit.
I think they’re wrong. Two reasons:
Continue reading “Was Jesus’ kingdom vision realistic?”
What message do you have for the future of the earth? “Armageddon,” or “I’m a garden”?
The battle of Armageddon frightens people who don’t understand John’s vision. It’s not a picture of a terrifying future. It’s a promise: the kingdom of God overcomes everything the world can throw at it. John sees that the combined force of all the armies in the world cannot bring down the King of Kings or block his reign. Continue reading “It doesn’t end with Armageddon”
A dark future? The “four horsemen of the Apocalypse” tell a different story.
Does the church have a message of hope for the world?
Netflix has loads of post-apocalyptic movies, portraying a dark future. To be honest, these dystopian disasters seem a bit overblown while I’m sitting back in a comfy chair, connected to the internet, streaming to a big TV. But movies allow us to explore alternative realities, and that experience can help us shape our choices today.
So where will technology take us? When the industrial revolution took off, the mood was unbridled optimism, the expectation that technology could solve all our problems. Today the mood is darker. Post-apocalyptic movies explore the destructive power of war. We build underground bunkers to survive after we’ve nuked earth’s surface. We search for another planet to call home after messing up this one. We imagine a violent world where people kill for what little is left. Perhaps we’ll face extinction if the machines evolve faster than we do. Only the most brutal survive in this post-apocalyptic world.
You know what bothers me most about this dark picture? This is how the church’s message has been heard. The word apocalyptic comes from the Bible. The Apocalypse is the Book of Revelation. People imagined that Revelation was about the end of the world, so post-apocalyptic has come to mean after the end of the world as we know it.
Continue reading “What will the post-apocalyptic world be like?”
How is the kingdom of God connected to the 1000-year reign in Revelation 20? Does it help to ask who this vision is about, rather than when?
What comes to mind first when you hear the phrase kingdom of God? For some, it’s a future era of global peace with Christ reigning for 1000 years. Continue reading “God’s kingdom and the millennium”
How do you think the story will end?
Riverview Church runs a few Hot Topic nights each year, evenings when people can text in questions on a topic that churches tend to avoid as controversial of difficult. His Kingdom Come: Preparing for the End of the World was the topic — appropriate for the date (9/11).
Graham Irvine and I (Allen Browne) began by providing some background (15–20 minutes each), while the audience texted in their questions. You can listen to the audio: Continue reading “Q & A — end of the world”
Why do the Gospels depict Jesus as the saviour for non-Jewish people?
Open Matthew 8:10-13.
Some of Jesus’ kingdom pictures sound odd to us. He spoke of people from the east and the west coming to take their places with Israel’s long-dead patriarchs (8:11). Some readers imagine they’re all dead and gone to heaven, but that doesn’t do justice the way Israel’s kingdom story worked or to the role of the patriarchs in that story. Continue reading “Jesus’ kingdom hope (Matthew 8:10-13)”
What is “The Day of the Lord”? Find out in this short video.
The Bible Project has released an excellent little video on The Day of the Lord. What does that mean? Find out with this 6-minute video: Continue reading “The Day of the Lord (video)”
Who were the three characters who visited Abraham in Genesis 18?
Genesis 18:1 says “the Lord” turned up at Abraham’s tent door. The next verse says “three men” turned up. When two of these “men” left (18:22), they’re described as “angels” (19:1). Who are these three figures? Men or angels? Perhaps all three are angels, with one of them speaking on God’s behalf? Or is one of these three men/angels actually YHWH in disguise? Read the commentaries on the Bible, and you’ll find a confusing array of opinions over how to understand this narrative.
Continue reading “The king’s visit (Genesis 18:1-15)”
Humour: it’s so easy to get the future wrong.
We all have some misunderstandings about how the story of God restoring his world will come together in the end.
Hopefully we don’t err at so many points that we miss the point completely. 🙂 Continue reading “Where’s it all headed?”