Friday, February 11, 2011

Jonah and Modern Day End Times Obsession

Are those Evangelicals today that are constantly obsessed with tribulation and end times judgment modern day Jonahs - looking for God's judgment to fall on the wicked - in a kind of Schaudenfraude (taking delight in the pain and suffering of others)?

Recently the Pastor of the Church we are attending preached on Jonah.  As he preached, I began to think about the modern day focus in much of the Church on the end times and tribulation (with even the non-Christian world joining in with end of the world movies) - seemingly looking forward to God's wrath falling on the world.  Jonah knew God's character - how he is quick to forgive and did not want to preach to the sinners, because he was anxiously awaiting God's judgement on those he perceived as the enemies of Israel.  God's mercy on his enemies is what he feared, and he laments their being forgiven by God:
Jonah 4:2 And he prayed to the LORD and said, "O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
Do you think that the fascination with God's judgement falling on unbelievers in the "Left Behind" stories and other end times scenarios points to the fact that some are really more interested in God's judgement of the wicked than they are in pointing them to a merciful and forgiving Savior.  God knew He had already made provision for those in Nineveh through His promised messiah.  All their sins would be paid for on the cross.  God is merciful to us in Christ Jesus - He takes all of our sin and gives us His righteousness.  Focusing mainly on God's judgment of the wicked and His wrath pleases our hearts - God's going to judge those rebellious sinners!  But in reality, we all deserve that judgement equally.  Christians need to be showing others God's mercy and forgiveness, not telling them our own insights into how God will in the end judge the wicked.  Thank the Lord we live under the Cross of Christ, not His judgement, for no one stands right before God - only through Christ are we counted as righteous.

What do you think of all the end times focus of much of Evangelical Churches and books?  Do you think they could be modern day Jonahs? I know that I myself have given into this temptation - looking forward to the ungodly and wicked being judged - how about you?

1 comment:

  1. Seems to me that there are many ways to be arrogant. (On such subject, I happen to have expertise.) Hoping for the demise of the wicked while you are raptured away would be one, but so would thinking that God will not punish, or can be manipulated into not punishing the sins of one's own self, nation, or community. So also would be a false humility that sees oneself as quite above desiring just judgements of a righteous God.

    As I am sinful, arrogant I never quite know if my attitude is truly Biblical or a slight twist in one direction or another.(perverse) One thing I know, jumping for joy at the death of an enemy is a surefire way to the recieving end of his perfectly justified and uberpatiently delayed wrath.

    As for me, I am afraid, very afraid.