Is There a Problem in Heaven? Or is the problem here with us?
If you’ve ever Googled the question of why Christ’s coming is so long delayed, you would have found dozens of proposed answers (or perhaps hundreds? —I was unable to find the end of the list). This blog is different. Rather than proposing yet another theological excuse, it proposes that we re-start the search—this time with eyes and ears that are wide open.
Ever since the Great Disappointment of 1844, when Christ (apparently) failed to appear in the year that was so clearly described by Jesus and Daniel, Adventist followers of William Miller and others have been asking sadly, “Why is Christ’s coming delayed?” After attempts to adjust the calculation of the year brought additional failures, the question became, “Why is Christ’s coming so long delayed?”
At first, a decade’s delay seemed to be a long time. After 17 years, America was plunged into the chaos of the Civil War, with many parts of the country witnessing destruction on what seemed to be an apocalyptic scale. In a dream in November 1861, Julia Ward Howe heard and wrote down the words which became the Battle Hymn of the Republic: “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…” with several references to the return of Christ drawn from the Book of Revelation.
But after four years of extreme suffering, although the principles of freedom and equality won out in America, yet still Christ did not return from the sky. The long delay stretched onward—the first generation, who had witnessed the Great Disappointment, all passed away, while a new generation grew up—constantly being taught that He could appear in the sky “any day now”.
New theologies sprung up in an attempt to explain the delay. Some suggested that the clear Biblical references to 1844 pertained to a time when Christ was moving in heaven, in preparation for His descent to earth, and that His descent would be a little later, but still “soon”.
One of the clearest signs of the time of the end was cited by Jesus: The return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem (see Luke 21:24) after an age of its control by the Gentiles (non-Jewish peoples). This change has clearly unfolded in stages, from the early 1800s to 1967. But still, Jesus did not descend from the sky.
Now additional decades have elapsed without the expected return, and it seems ever more likely that something is wrong with our expectations. This might cause us to reflect on how most of the Jewish people, 2000 years ago, allowed their particular expectations of their own Messiah’s return to block them from recognizing Jesus. Then we might begin to wonder if a similar clinging to our own particular expectations in the modern age may have blocked us from considering unexpected possibilities.
If you are ready to explore other possibilities, then you are ready to join Zach and James as they begin their spiritual exploration from the West to the East, in 1844, and to share in their discovery of answers that far exceeded their highest hopes. The quest begins in Chapter 1.
Available at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wise-Men-West-Search-Promised/dp/173245115X