I have recently been involved in some discussions regarding current events where I have heard a frightening statement (note: this statement is more apt to be found in a Seventh-day Adventist context than traditional evangelical context): “If voting for [fill in the blank] brings prophecy to fulfillment and the coming of Jesus sooner, then I’m in.” This statement always feels jarring to me when it comes from the mouth of a follower of Jesus. Let me address why.
The end of time is not what we expect.
First, while I understand the sentiment of wanting Jesus to return soon, it lacks a complete understanding of what will happen at the end of time. The end of time will be extremely difficult for a true follower of Jesus. Revelation says:
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, restraining the four winds of the earth so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. —Revelation 7:1 (CSB)
Currently God is holding back the great tribulation. Many of us born and raised in the Christian west have little understanding what it is like to be persecuted and little to no understanding what it means to go through famine and war. We have lived in relative peace with politics our only source of fear of persecution.
To vote for a particular candidate or issue with the hope of bringing about the end of time is out of the character of Christ and completely opposite of the upside down kingdom Jesus came to establish here on the earth.
Where is the love of God in this?
The second reason I find this sentiment unpleasant is if we are fully submitted followers of Jesus we would be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit into reflectors of Christ’s love and character. Peter says in his second letter:
The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9 (CSB)
If Christ Himself is patient with us, and wants as many as possible to be saved, should we not want that as well? Should we not be praying for more time to reach our neighbors, friends, and family members for Christ?
This is the ultimate indicator of our transformed nature, when we pray with the power of the Holy Spirit that God would give us more time to reach those, through His power, who are still wavering in their decision to follow Jesus or not.
Can we control God?
Third, this statement reveals our belief that we can control God’s decisions. We can’t control God’s decisions or actions. Never have, never will. He acts independently of our demands. Yes, God has changed outcomes based upon prayers (I’m thinking Moses convincing God to not destroy the Israelites). But God doesn’t cater "to our demands. God says through the prophet Isaiah:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” —Isaiah 55:8-9 (CSB)
To even invoke the possibility that we are proud of the fact that we could hasten the coming of God or the end of time by our vote for a particular political candidate is more in line with the pride of Satan than the love and patience of Christ.
Ultimately, we vote for who or what we believe fits our worldview the best. I am in no way intending for this to be an argument to vote for or against a particular candidate. My intention is that we spend more time seeking Christ and His desire for us and the world, and less about our desire to escape this world for the next.
Christ wasn’t about escapism. Christ was about establishing His kingdom ethics here and now in each of our hearts.
Nick Jones is a husband and father. He currently serves as a pastor in the Oregon Conference.
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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/10149