Imagine that you are off on a day hike in the mountains. You take off in the morning. You have your cell phone. No one knows your plan. About the middle of the afternoon you see a storm coming and you need to take shelter. In the distance you see what appears to be an old cabin. You start out for it.
You are off the hiking trail now. The cabin is farther than you realize and your trek to it takes you down a valley and up another hill. You make it to the cabin. It’s abandoned, but you can get under cover and wait out the storm. Finally, after several hours it’s over, but now the sun is setting. You look around to try to find your way back to the trail. You are unsure if you are going in the right direction. An hour later, you start to panic because you can’t find the trail and nothing looks familiar. You’re lost.
You need help. You try to call 911 on your cell phone. There is no coverage. You can’t call out. You realize that probably no one is coming to look for you. It’s almost dark and you need to take action to survive. It’s up to you. It’s too late and you cannot get back to civilization at this point. There’s no one to rescue you and no way out of this situation. No waiting around. It’s do or die. Now, you must take matters in your own hand. You have no choice. It’s up to you.
What began as a pleasant hike turned into a plan to survive. Perspective is everything!
He Scuttled the Ships
Famous Spanish conquistador Herman Cortes sailed for the Yucatan on February 18, 1519 to conquer the Aztecs and capture their massive wealth of gold. He had 11 ships and 508 soldiers and about 100 sailors. Along with local Indian recruits and his small band of men, he was ready to face 10,000 Aztec warriors.
Cortes’ own men became disgruntled and were not so sure they wanted to face such overwhelming odds of defeat being vastly outnumbered. To prevent any plans to return to the ships on their own and sail away, he disabled 10 of the 11 ships (some accounts say he burned them). Why? To leave them with no choice but to become a cohesive fighting army. Cortes “committed himself and his entire force to survival by conquest.”1
They had no choice now. No way out. No way back. It was up to them. Do or die. Conquer or lose their lives.
Their perspective changed and it ruled the day. And the result? They defeated the Aztecs and took their gold. The new perspective brought an urgency when they discovered their ships were gone.
Question of Jesus’ Coming and the Kingdom
Depending on what you believe to be true, correct and certain about whether Jesus Christ is yet to come in the future or if He already came in AD 70 when Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed will affect your unconscious perspective about your obligations and responsibilities now.
Either the Kingdom in its fullness as God intended is yet to be manifested when Jesus returns in the future or it is ready to be manifested now.
Either we are waiting for Jesus to return to “take over” and clean up this mess or Jesus is waiting for us to avail ourselves of His power to manifest the Kingdom now in and through His local churches.
Either we don’t believe the Kingdom can be manifested now or we believe it can.
Either we have come to the conclusion that there is no way out of this deteriorating condition in our Israelite nations unless Jesus returns or we believe it can be changed and transformed beginning now.
It’s all about our perspective.
Questions for the Futuristic Believers
For the sake of argument, let’s say that Jesus is yet to return and usher in His Kingdom. Will He come in a year or two? We don’t know.
How about if He doesn’t come for another 5 years? How about 10 years from now? Let’s see, that would take us to 2029.
How about 20 years from now? That would be 2049! Surely it wouldn’t be that long! What kind of world would it be at the rate of destruction we are witnessing now?
What if Jesus delays for another 70 years? That would take us to 2089! What will it be like for your children and their children’s children in two more generations?
These may be unwelcome questions, but we have to answer them. Just wishing Jesus comes soon may not be good enough. I mean, let’s face it – from your perspective He hasn’t returned for nearly 2000 years. But surely the signs of the times are different today, right? Would you stake your posterity’s future on that premise?
If you hold to the futurist position – fine. But consider your perspective for posterity’s sake. May God use it to consider what we need to do now.
Lawrence Blanchard, ND, MDiv