Spirituality

Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake: The Second Coming and stereotypes associated with it

For many years, the thought of terrible and catastrophic upheavals, invariably associated with the expectation of the Second Coming of Christ into the world, settled in many people’s minds. This is mainly facilitated by the reading of all the passages, predominantly in the synoptic gospels. Apostle John passes over this topic in silence, only indirectly mentioning it in the words, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18) and others like this.

Many of us having uneasy minds and the ardor of a discoverer, began to scrupulously count the number of earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and other man-made and natural disasters. The peak of interest in the statistics of tragic and terrifying cataclysms came in the mid-1990s, when some even seriously questioned the meaning of studying, working and moving on in life.

Sooner or later, a large majority of these people realized that there is a need to work, read, study materiel, build and repair, do many other things, which, however, the life of an ordinary person consists of, and it was at that time that the excitement of expectations began to subside. 

Faith in the Advent has not disappeared to this day, but it has acquired more sound forms than before. Passions subsided and gave way to calm reasoning, where the event itself, the date of which is known only to God, turned into a subject of deep reflection, study and expectation.

The words of Jesus show that wars, earthquakes, epidemics, natural disasters are not the goal of intimidation, and even more so should not be the center of attention. Jesus himself said that “all these things must be” and “this is the beginning of diseases”. Attention is inevitably drawn to other aspects of the expectation of the Coming and the signs that Christ emphasized and which are invariably lost against the background of more grandiose and striking ones, such as fires, tsunamis, epidemics and wars.

Christ apparently did not want to oppress us, although he warned of the onset of these. His main goal, apparently, is to remind us of the danger of losing interest, plunge headlong into solving earthly problems, being carried away by acquisitions, construction, endless repairs, and the relevance of the iPhone for the current year.

The idea of ​​the unexpectedness of the Advent could lie precisely in the fact that a person gets used to daily news and often gets tired of them. Their daily listening and repetition brings alienation, fatigue and a desire to concentrate on other, more pleasant aspects of life, all the more there are plenty of prerequisites for this.

The main stereotype of the Second Coming can be called the fear and expectation of disasters, and reading the book of Revelation fuels this fear and increases it many times over.

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And what else surprised was the words of the Jesus, where He draws a parallel between the times of Noah and the generation that will live in the immediate vicinity of the Coming.

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“But as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the coming of the Son of Man: for, as in the days before the flood they were eating, drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. They knew nothing about what was happening until the flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same when the Son of Man comes.”  Matthew 24:37-39

This is where the main, most dangerous stereotype of expectations lies. It turns out that the Coming of Jesus Christ will take those who live on Earth by surprise (a reference to the book of Revelation, where this phrase occurs more often than in the rest of the New Testament). Living on Earth, they will go about their business, not paying attention to wars, cataclysms, disasters, getting used to them and with a truly philistine behavior, aspiring to store discounts, thinking only about home improvement, and completely forgetting about God, Christ, Redemption and the inevitable End.

This text suggests that it will not be so terrible, apparently, on Earth, as too exalted preachers portray, paying attention only to death and another tsunami somewhere in Indonesia (by the way, one of the most destructive in history). The course of the life cycle, according to Christ, proceeds in line with the cares of the age, accumulation and the maximum desire for peace and comfort. This plays a fatal role, completely sweeping out of consciousness the thought of God and striving for Him.

Christians who know about the Coming, expect it, but nevertheless fell asleep, will be taken by surprise, assuming that it is not soon, and not everything has come true yet. The set of their assumptions can collapse in one moment, and against the backdrop of a well-fed and comfortable life, this set presents a certain danger of oversleeping and wondering why everything did not go according to plan.

There are a lot of stereotypes, there are only a handful touched on the surface, only God knows how many of them remain in the heads of those who are in the agonizing expectation of the next flood or epidemic.

In any case, everything may well not be as we expect it, and God forbid that our expectations correspond to reality and do not harm the mind, heart, and even more so faith.

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