Why This Solar Eclipse is a Sign of the Last Days

Today a line from the west coast to the east coast will experience a total solar eclipse. This is the first time this has happened since 1918. Many are wondering if this is a sign of the last days. I think it probably is. Let me explain.

2 Timothy 3 tells us that in the “last days…people will be lovers of self…” That’s why I say this eclipse likely reveals we are in the last days, at least here in America. This eclipse has revealed how infatuated we are with ourselves. There has been a massive spike in Google searches and articles about end times hysteria. Some have written that this total eclipse is a sign of God’s judgment and that the end is near. There is just a little problem with that. Eclipses happen all the time in other places. Consider this from NASA:

“During the 5,000-year period from -1999 to +3000 (2000 BCE to 3000 CE), Earth will experience 11,898 eclipses of the Sun. The statistical distribution of eclipse types for this interval is as follows: 4,200 partial eclipses, 3,956 annular eclipses, 3,173 total eclipses and 569 hybrid eclipses. That means that, every 1000 years you have 840 partial eclipses, 791 annular eclipses, 635 total eclipses and 114 hybrid eclipses. That works out to 2-3 eclipses of all kinds each year, and about 2 total solar eclipses every 3 years.”

So why are people freaking out about this one? Because it directly impacts us. This is a serious problem with the way we read the Bible. Certainly every culture will read the Scriptures through their own lens. That’s inevitable. But the ethnocentrism with which we read the Bible is going to really mess things up for us. You cannot read a book that is fundamentally not about you and rightly understand it if you have a worldview which believes everything is about you.

So this solar eclipse probably doesn’t mean much. Unless you want to say all the other eclipses in other nations, in all the other ages of history, are a sign of a coming apocalypse.

But I’m going to keep this short…I have to prepare for the zombie apocalypse.

Photo source: here

Read This! 08.21.17

When Worship Lyrics Miss the Mark

Love Piper’s response here.

Two Different Ways to Think About Sex in Marriage

This is crucial.

The Complicated Life and Death of Hideki Irabu

Sad.

Why Dying Churches Die

This is a really sad sentence: “Most dying churches will die.”

On Coming Out As Fat

Trevin Wax at his best.

Patriotism and the Church

I must confess, I share a good bit of Ed Stetzer’s position on this one.

Reflections of a Rookie Counselor

As one who does counseling on a somewhat regular basis I like hearing how others view their own efforts at giving counseling.

Parents Need To Get Serious About Saving The Next Generation From Internet Addiction

This is concerning.

This looks incredibly fun:

Read This! 08.17.17

Can You Repent Without Changing?

This is a really good treatment of how young men get so caught up in sexual sin.

Hope in the Darkness of Mental Illness

This also looks like a really interesting seminar to check out.

Three Ways to Help Your Worship Leader

Very helpful.

Lecrae and Shai Aren’t Your Problems

Thabiti looks at the role of conscience in the debate about Christian hip-hop. Interesting perspective.

10 Issues To Work Through Before You Get Married

Store this one away for pre-marital counseling.

Counseling Parents about Smart Use for Smartphones

Some pretty good guidelines in here.

70 Prompts for Praising God

Here are seventy, I bet you could easily come up with 70 more.

But Seriously…Why Are Christians So Mean?

Yep. This is a baffler.

I’ve just recently discovered Nate Bargatze. I’ve made free-range chicken jokes myself:

Idolatry Doesn’t Fix Idolatry

milada-vigerova-45368I’m trying to learn from Moses.

My heart is full with all of the unrest in our nation. More than anything my heart is pained by the way I see believers responding to one another. I’m grieved that our unity so often is found in things other than Christ.

After the unrest in Charlottesville over the weekend President Trump said, ““Above all, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first.” I don’t expect the President of the United States to say anything different. But I am a bit shocked when I see Christian’s giving a hearty ‘amen’ to this sentiment.

And this is the problem for us as believers. We cannot biblically sign on to this. Scripture tells us that our primary citizenship is in heaven. We are followers of Jesus first, not Americans. To be anything other than “Jesus first” is idolatry. The refusal to say “Rome first” is what got many of the early Christians beheaded.

But I also believe President Trump is absolutely correct in his understanding of how unity happens. He is correct in saying that the fundamental reason for our disunity is that we are placing other things above our shared identity as Americans. When you move away from that you will have nothing but civil unrest.

This is why I say only the gospel can fix what is happening in our nation. And I don’t mean a Republican gospel or a Democratic gospel. I mean the unfettered gospel of Jesus which unites tax collectors and zealots. Idolatry doesn’t fix idolatry. The vision of America, as beautiful as it is, pales in comparison to the vision of the kingdom of God. The vision of America doesn’t hold the power that the risen Christ holds. It’s not powerful enough to unite us.

But this is why I’m saddened. I see many professing believers selling this birthright for a pot of political stew. We hold more in common with those on the same political aisle than we do our brother or sister in Christ who sees social issues different than we do. We look at things first through the lens of an elephant or a donkey instead of a disciple of Jesus. We fight to protect heritage or racial identity before we fight for our brother and sister who is different than us.

The typical response to a post like this is to say, “well, what about…” This just proves my point. It seems we’ve lost the ability to assess ourselves in light of the gospel instead of a party label. And we keeping screaming at each other. We keep taking shots at our brothers and sisters in Christ and calling into question their fundamental identity simply because they don’t share our political identity. I understand that for the world, for those who aren’t followers of Jesus, their identity has to be fixed in something else. But believers must follow a different path.

I’m not calling for some sort of amorphic Christianity where everybody gets along and sings “kumbaya” but doesn’t have firm ground to stand upon. There are issues of truth and answers to social issues clearly defined in Scripture. It is possible to be on a different side than Jesus—and in those instances we are placing ourselves outside of our unity in Christ.

Switching idols doesn’t fix white supremacy. Switching idols doesn’t fix abortion. Switching idols doesn’t fix racial tension. Only Jesus heals.

And so I’m trying to learn from Moses. He’s the guy who stepped away from his privileged status as an Egyptian to identify with the suffering and the hurting Israelites. He stepped on the same well-trodden path that our Savior walked. You cannot expect to walk down this path without getting it from both sides. You cannot expect to identify with the persecuted and not get persecuted yourself. So I’m praying for the courage to continue on the path of a suffering Savior.

And I’m also trying to learn from Moses what not to do. Once his eyes were opened to the plight of the Israelites, and once he made that leap, he took matters into his own hands. He killed an Egyptian and tried mediating between a couple Israelites. He made himself prince/judge. This ended with him being exiled for about 40 years. But Exodus 2 ends with the Israelites praying and God responding to their plight.

Prayer does what my pen and pulpit cannot.

There is a time to pick up my pen and to passionately persuade from the pulpit. But that time is always after prayer. Only the gospel can heal. One heart at a time. That’s not a dodging action. That’s recognizing our foundation and then getting to work to see the kingdom of God consistently lived out.

Idolatry doesn’t fix idolatry. That includes me.