Beam me up Jesus?
1 Thessalonians 4.13-18
The ‘second coming’ of Jesus has been in the news this year. The American preacher Harold Camping has emphasised the second coming in his teaching. He says that Jesus will come at the ‘Rapture’, when true believers will be whisked away to heaven and those who are ‘Left Behind’ will come under the power of the Beast and face the wrath of God. He has made himself—and, by extension, the rest of us—a laughingstock by making no less than four false prophecies of the End: one in 1988, one in 1994—and two this year, on 21 May and 21 October. I feel terribly sorry for those people who sold everything they had to give to this man and his misguided message. (I hear he’s just retired. Good call Harold, but a little late.)
I mentioned a common script that people assume when they talk about the second coming. The world will get worse and worse; Jesus will come and whisk all the believers up to heaven; and then the world gets even worse still. Then Jesus comes as an enforcer and ‘kicks ass’.
Our young people have a great ministry with our church sign; they’re going with a sci-fi theme right now, so this week it’s said ‘Beam me up Jesus’. Star Trek fans will immediately recognise the phrase, ‘Beam me up Scotty’. It’s great fun and I love the sign—but it’s not great theology. A ‘beam me up Jesus’ faith is a faith that fails to hear the call of God.