The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The concept of a global audience is a decidedly modern phenomenon.

Recently I have been thinking about the cultural disruption which the parousia will represent, how counter intuitive it is to our time-bound view of the world, of our now-centred way of making our way through life, and how Christ’s return would look in our media saturated, hyper connected society. Here are a few of my thoughts on this theme, offered in the hope that they might stimulate the minds and the motives of those reading along.

 

I spent a considerable amount of my study time in 2018 reading, thinking and praying about eschatology, about the essential teaching of Scripture on the Saviour’s second advent and its pastoral relevance to our lives in the here and now. This was not an exercise in idle curiosity, but one of the blessed implications of preaching expository sermons on 1&2Thessalonians. The rich references and the practical dynamics of the Saviour’s appearing required me to reread the relevant New Testament texts in depth, and to refigure some of my thinking on that theme. I have had to repent of an unstudied neglect of a crucial gospel truth, and of downplaying the living impact that it ought to have on my view of life, suffering and hope.

Recently I have been thinking about the cultural disruption which the parousia will represent, how counter intuitive it is to our time-bound view of the world, of our now-centred way of making our way through life, and how Christ’s return would look in our media saturated, hyper connected society. Here are a few of my thoughts on this theme, offered in the hope that they might stimulate the minds and the motives of those reading along.

The coming of Christ will be seen by all, but will interpret itself: the concept of a global audience is a decidedly modern phenomenon. Our great great grandparents’ generation would have had no categories for seeing anything beyond their immediate environment, their own community or nation – and the idea of being able to see something ‘live’ from another place entirely would have carried the flavour of time travel. Even in my lifetime it has been fascinating to watch the development of technology so that we no longer have the halting, time-lagged satellite connections which newsreaders (and viewers) once had to endure, but now enjoy instant relays of people and places in ‘real time’ (which is decidedly unreal in a non-technological sense).

Long prior to mankind’s slow grind towards creating this kind of communication technology, John records that at the coming of Christ ‘every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him’ (Revelation 1:7). What is spellbinding about this is not only the unthinkable idea that everyone, everywhere, at once will see him, but also that Christ’s coming will be moment and meaning simultaneously. When the tribes of the earth see the coming Christ there will be no confusion about his identity, no doubt about his authority, nor any dissenting from the reality of his judgement – what a stunning image of the sovereign Saviour.

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