You may have heard people referring to the Covid-19 lockdown as ‘strange times’, and to coming out of lockdown as the ‘new normal’. Is lockdown so strange now? Has it become ‘normal’ (or nearly so)? Is it moving forward which now looks strange or even scary? Too much like change?
Something which a number of people focus on is the reference to ‘end times’ in the Bible. Over the years there have been quite a few predictions of “today’s the day” and nothing’s happened. Even now, some scan the Bible for clues and seek to make similar predictions, but Jesus was clear: ‘But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.’ (Mark 13:32). If the ‘end’ is a fixed point in time, then we are moving to that event. If, however, the ‘end’ isn’t a fixed point but rather something which will happen when certain conditions are met, we may be as far away from it as ever, and that would certainly explain why only God knows when it is going to be. Perhaps we have to make some progress towards establishing God’s Kingdom here before God comes and finishes the job off for us, setting everything as it should be.
If this were the case, what might some of those conditions which God is looking to be met be? The Bible is full of them but here are just a few suggestions:
– they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more (Micah 4:3)
– do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor (Zechariah 7:10)
– you shall love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31)
– do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)
The list could go on. When I see a world which truly lives by these precepts, that’ll be the new normal/strange (end) times I’ll welcome.