C.S. Lewis once remarked that Jesus saying he’d return within a generation was, “certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.” While Lewis’ words are a bit brash, at least he was honest about his feelings. It’s clear in reading the New Testament that the early church literally thought Jesus meant one generation. Even 2 Peter has to face the question: “What’s taking so long?”
So if the early church had to wonder 90-95 years after Jesus, perhaps we too can wonder what’s taking so long some 2,000 years later. I believe that the authors of, When the Son of Man Didn’t Come: A Constructive Proposal on the Delay of the Parousia (which was beautifully written by an interdenominational group of believers), have a solution for the world. Their answer is not to interpret “generation” in some weird apocalyptic or symbolic light, but to simply understand how prophecy works. And it ends up that the Bible is quite clear: God can decide to change prophetic words depending on how his people interact with him.
In borrowing (almost entirely) from this book, my message today proposes that God changed his mind about when Jesus would return—and I don’t think that’s anywhere near as jarring as it sounds. Checkout the podcast to see how I get there.
I’d easily add this book to my favorite books of 2017.
Lewis, C.S. The World’s Last Night and Other Essays. “The World’s Last Night.” Harcourt, Brace and World, 1960. p 97-98.
Photo Credit: Lukasz Szmigiel