Idolatry of the End: The Coming of the Kingdom or the Coming of a Kingdom?

A thing does not need to be false in order to become idolatrous. Virtues, truth, and good things in life are paradoxically the best candidates. And the end times focus is becoming so in Adventism. We struggle with a lack of historical and human wisdom, covering it with a myopic certainty and an enthusiastic but clueless militancy. There are two mechanisms that support and reinforce this idolatry of the end times. On the one hand, a "linear hermeneutics" that errs in thinking the biblical text has only one possible interpretation of end time events, and on the other hand, a "linear eschatology" that errs in perceiving the present events and actors in a compact, unilateral, and univocal way.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11933
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pres·ent
adjective
1 [predicative] in a particular place
• existing or occurring in a place or thing
• fully focused on or involved in what one is doing or experiencing
2 [attributive] existing or occurring now considered or discussed: the present article cannot answer every question.
• Grammar (of a tense or participle) expressing an action now going on or habitually performed, or a condition now existing.
noun [in singular] (usually the present)
the period of time now occurring:

Present (Truth), a word burned in the minds of all SDA’s, but without ever understanding the definition thereof!!! Nothing in the word present suggests static or forever. Yet the .org continues to use the word with truth trying to present it, truth, as static, never changing. Yet, a simple dictionary contains more understanding about the error of certain beliefs.

Thanks to the author for a very fine essay!!!

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A thing does not need to be false in order to become idolatrous. Virtues, truth, and good things in life are paradoxically the best candidates. And the end times focus is becoming so in Adventism.

Let me at the outset say thanks to the author of this interesting article. It causes us to think deeply about what we say , think and do, especially in our relationships with others.
In recent times, I have realized that we can become so occupied with the end times, so engrossed with the events that constitute the last days or the end times, that we as a church may be indeed committing idolatry- that is not focusing on God and His power, but focusing on people, on churches, their influence and the future to the degree that for some , it many be an obsession.
Across the Adventist world, there are scores of preachers who carefully delineate the future, using the favourite texts primarily found Revelation, Daniel and other books in addition to the Great Controversy and other texts authored by EGW, to maximum effect.
Could it be that in our attempt to enlighten others about what is to come in the future- that we have taken our eyes off Jesus and focused instead on the events, the people, the circumstances ?. Could it be that we have created and are creating fear in the minds of some? Could it be, that in every event occurring in the world, we try to put a spiritual ‘spin’ on the same and hence intensify the emotion and in some cases the unease which it may engender?
In Biblical times, idols were physical structures set up and worshipped. In our times the nature of idolatry may change because the idol itself may have changed. No longer do we worship or bow down to images or statues as in Biblical times, but could it be that today our idols are:
(a)the Sabbath .(b)vegetarianism (c)EGW and her writings. (d) the Pope and his work (e) calamities in the natural, physical, social and economic world for example.
Could it be that we are so taken in and taken up by focusing on these that we do not look to Jesus or **trust in Him ?
Some of the rather prominent speakers have actually set dates( specific years) by which they believe certain events , in their view will take place. I have seen 2027 suggested as the possible date for the end of the world, by an influential speaker, while for others they focus almost exclusively on what the Roman pontiff has done, is doing and will do on the future.
What does Jesus tell us to do ?

  1. Abide in him by faith
  2. Remain faithful to Him as we live each day
  3. Inspite of and in the midst of the end time events maintain the relationship with Him
  4. Continue to spread his gospel
  5. Encourage others to do the same and accept Jesus as Saviour.
  6. Should we die, rest assured in Him and His power to resurrect us and to grant us everlasting life.
  7. Allow God to be God and rest completely in him- in good times, bad times, in times of uncertainty, in the face of any or every kind of event. The true Christian’s faith remains unshaken- it is anchored in Jesus Christ.
    I can add more things to the list, but this will suffice. Let us focus not on events or people or circumstances, but maintain our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He who will save us and He alone deserves our worship, our praise and devotion. I hear the words of Jesus reverberate more and more : Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life. (Rev 2: 10 c).
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Fantastic Post! The elegant analysis can be used as an argument to clarify Adventism “Linearity” which some classify as our cognitive dissonance. The last few paragraphs and the insertion of the GC text though seem oddly placed as an a background point for conclusion…

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I can’t go along with this being a good essay, Take the above quote. “do not always say aberrant things” It is pretty much a given that there is rarely such a thing as always especially dealing with people, not always right and not always wrong. On the other hand pretty much no person “just” says things that are wrong. A completely useless sentence!

Again the same problem as above with “always” as if Adventism has only one concept of the end. Then on top of that in an essay about not knowing the end he writes that the supposed universal Adventism (whatever he thinks that is) does not always say things right about the end. Well, the end has not happened so how could he know if they were right or not? A lot of sound an fury and not much substance. Oh wait looking at the next line I have to point this out too:

Never. every organization should take the time to worry about whether they are saying the right thing or are they making mistakes. Fear of doing a bad job is something that good workers have. Then of course it goes back into the old “always” false generalization in the next line. Something this writer clearly relies upon too much

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(sigh)

To copy what was said about war and the generals, religion is too important to be left in the hands of theologians.

BY my family tradition - and library and volumes of SDA periodicals in the attic - my Sabbath afternoon research material as a child - about 1890 an 1900 an 1914 and 1919 and 1933 and 1938 - - - the doomsday “prophecies” were a central issue.

Now we have 2022. And Ucraine and Taiwan and Syria and China and Turkyie again and a shrinking RCC and a loss of Christian faith - - - -

If you expect “The End” to happen, you will see “The End” in everything. A bit like the man with a hammer seeing every problem as a nail.

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Getting warmer, @Nymous.

But religion is also much too important to be left in the land of language and stories.

Until one realizes that there is no salvation in merely believing ancient books or putting one’s faith in miracles he’s heard about but never seen, his religion will be as lifeless as the moon and all of his talk about his maker will sound as empty as a tomb.

At which point I suspect I’m wasting my breath, however, as I have little doubt that you’ll almost certainly refer me to some stale memory verse or recite another timeworn fairy tale, rather than encouraging me to remain calm and continue relying on the Holy Spirit for all my spiritual needs.

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Le me tell my experience again with making some remarks more clearing my view .

OK, the Roman Empire - fell. OK the Hunns,the Turks - twice at the gates of Vienna, Napoleon, 1866 (Prussia versus Austria at Koeniggraetz) - - And Solferino (Wherer is that ?)

There was a war somewhere around the Black Sea just in the time of 1900 : A German author wrote daily satirical reports for Berlin newspapers, himself naming “Wittchen” - about the funny everyday warfare there - just fake stories, saturated with irony…

WWI - - WW II ( =world wars !) (Two atomic bombs, now quiite eighty years ago - - fear , Cold War ! - Cuba !- the collapse of the USSR and the Warshaw Treaty - - PEACE, PEACE; PEACE; no more danger, no more anxiety ! A future !
Nowadays: No more Witchen !

And we neglected 2014 - well, some peninsula, somewhere.

And now, right now we are in the situation of . “Dr Strangelove or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb” - - with an overkill wildely exceeding the one of Dr Strangeloves “possibilities” we cannnot even realize. And the possibility to bring the whole worldwide climate / vegetation to collapse after a first and a second strike - -

No more Wittchen - - because : No more jokes about some far away playing their little wars !

That is new, That is our time . Call it as you like - - -

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