Merciful to A Thousand Generations

a rambling meditation on eschatology, politics, and sick children

It’s that time of year again. Tummy bugs and various yucks make their way through my young children, and I find myself home with a feverish child Sunday morning. I listen to an amazing, prophetic worship service. I love to hear scripture sung, and I love the prayerfulness of charismatic worship. As is the case whenever scripture is sung, there comes a point in the service where the Spirit and the Bride say “come”, and there is a longing for the King to reign in glory here and now.

This morning, as I was worshipping, I turned to the Psalms and my eyes found Psalm 105:8 :He remembers His covenant forever, the Word which he commanded for a thousand generations. While looking up the length of time of 1000 generations, I found a few other references. Exodus 20:6 …but showing mercy to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments

Eschatology  is something I have struggled with since my 20’s, when I did a study on various cults, and found that the idea of a “rapture” was not around until a little the mid 1800’s. It began with John Darby in 1830, thirty years before the beginning of the Civil War.  By  the late 1800’s there were many groups who  thought the end was here, and went off somewhere to await an imminent rapture.

It was a tumultuous time in our nation, the days leading up to the Civil War. Can we blame the church for thinking the end was here? As Christians, we are commanded to watch, to pray, to look for the Coming of the Lord. We are also commanded to go, tell, make disciples, take dominion and fill the earth.

Which Christians fulfilled the will of Christ in the late 1800’s? Some hid themselves on mountaintops to wait for Christ to rescue them out of tribulation. Some were operating underground railroads, bandaging injured soldiers, speaking truth in the face of wickedness, and tending to widows and orphans, and welcoming foreigners. Which Christians will we be in the face of national adversity?

So how long is a thousand generations? 40,000 years. At least.  There’s a strong possibility that stars won’t roll up like a scroll until we’ve reached a few of them. Why? Because the Lord is merciful. Again and again is scripture, we hear of his longsuffering, of his gracious compassion. (Also how freaking cool is that–he gave us a whole universe to explore, just for His glory!)

So, in light of tumultuous times, how shall we live? In patient expectation. He will come. He has come, and He will come again. He will visit us. The Spirit and the Bride say “Come”. But until then, there is work to be done.

There will be great and terrible days of the Lord. The will be tribulation. God’s people will be hard pressed on every side. But the Word of the Lord will stand.  I raise children in faith that God their Father God will keep His word and that my children’s, children’s children will still be praising Him.

*** a note for anyone reading this who was like who is like, esha-what? What about Left Behind?

The Bible talks a lot about things in the future. Daniel predicted 4 great empires, and the ultimate coming of Christ at the end of the Roman era. Jesus talked about a judgment that was coming upon Jerusalem, and one did about 40 years after he spoke. Some say  that everything he and the apostles said was fulfilled in 70AD, with the horrific destruction of the temple. Yet, Christ has not yet physically returned to the earth, and he promised that as well. The Bible does talk a lot about “a great and terrible day of the Lord”. A rereading of Jesus’ words in Matthew open the possibility of a generation being judged and  removed from the earth, like in the day of Noah. This certainly happened in 70 AD.  And yet, the dead in Christ will rise, and those that remain will be caught up “to the meeting of the Lord in the air”. This is the Blessed Hope of the Church.

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