Book Excerpt: The River of Life

With heaven and hell relegated to a minor role, what are we supposed to look forward to? One important difference between liberal and conservative theology is the manner in which the two sides view Jesus’ second coming. Conservatives can hardly be criticized for being future-minded. They imagine a glorious day in which Jesus will descend back to earth, slaughter two hundred million people, raise the dead to life, and then fly away with all the good guys to an eternal existence beyond the clouds. Perhaps somewhere in this timeline Jesus remains on earth for a 1,000 year reign and perhaps not.

Liberal Christians and critical Bible scholars, however, often have a hard time with this picture. While it’s true the majority of the New Testament writers expected Jesus to come back, they also wrote with an intense urgency, placing all the excitement squarely in the first century … not two thousand years later. How can the second coming still be in our future? The following promises are all made by Jesus:

When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

And he said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God present with power.”

Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

Was Jesus wrong about this?

–The River of Life, Energion Publications, 2014 by Lee Harmon

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