PULP FICTION POLICY. Having dismissed Second Coming hype years ago, I find it interesting that so many folks keep getting taken in by the "Left Behind" pulp fiction, conspiracy theorists, and so-called end-times experts who strain at gnats and swallow camels. None of this would matter much, except that we apparenty have some of the most influential advisors in the White House making Middle East policy based on Tim LaHaye's laughable projections about an Apocalypse, the Middle East, and the future of the world.
WRONG LENS, FOCUS, & DIRECTION. Don't get me wrong: If one takes the Bible seriously, one has to grapple with its apocalyptic content. Jesus has promised to come again. But much of the current end-times hype is based on flawed scholarship and unacceptable interpretations of Old and New Testament passages (like the proof-texts and scholarship that supported America invading Iraq was flawed, unsubtantiated, and wrong). To put it bluntly: the prevailing end-times lens is not only out of focus, it's the wrong lens pointed in the wrong direction looking for the wrong indicators.
For perpsective, an excellent online Bible study by Jirair Tashjian on numerous "second coming" New Testament passages is available at www.cresourcei.org/secondcoming.html. This quote, in particular, strikes me as poignant:
“When writers and preachers make such a big fuss about the Second Coming and the end of the world, they are forgetting something much more important. They are in effect minimizing the First Coming. In a real sense the world ended some two thousand years ago in Jesus. Something decisive happened for humanity and for our relationship with God in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. The New Testament is much more concerned with what it means to be crucified with Christ than with being glorified when he comes again."
The Christian Resource Institute site is a reliable online site for orthodox Christians and seekers. Note: This is not the Christian Research Institute, which I do NOT recommend or find credible. Discernnment required.