What will Jesus’ return look like to media saturated, hyper-connected world?
A Baptist pastor studying eschatology explored how the return of Jesus Christ to earth will look in today's "media saturated, hyper connected society."
Andrew Roycroft, who leads Millisle Baptist Church in Northern Ireland, revealed on his blog that he spent a significant amount of time in 2018 reading, thinking and praying about the teachings in the Bible about Jesus Christ's return to Earth.
He suggested that there are some modern phenomena, such as that of the global audience, to consider when thinking about the end times.
“Our great great grandparents’ generation would have had no categories for seeing anything beyond their immediate environment, their own community or nation — and the idea of being able to see something ‘live’ from another place entirely would have carried the flavor of time travel,” Roycroft pointed out.
“Even in my lifetime it has been fascinating to watch the development of technology so that we no longer have the halting, time-lagged satellite connections which newsreaders (and viewers) once had to endure, but now enjoy instant relays of people and places in ‘real time’ (which is decidedly unreal in a non-technological sense).”
The pastor noted that in Revelation 1:7 in the Bible, the apostle John records that “every eye will see Him (Christ), even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him.”
He reflected that what is “spellbinding” about that description is “not only the unthinkable idea that everyone, everywhere, at once will see Him, but also that Christ’s coming will be moment and meaning simultaneously.
“When the tribes of the earth see the coming Christ there will be no confusion about his identity, no doubt about his authority, nor any dissenting from the reality of his judgement — what a stunning image of the sovereign Savior,” he continued.
“The coming of Christ will resist all analysis, but will compel every tongue: related to this universal and inescapable appearance is the sustained response which it will elicit from a watching world. Ours is a day of hyper communication, and fragmented analysis,” Roycroft wrote.
The pastor envisioned that when Christ appears, the back-and-forth debate and discussion that characterizes the modern media scene will no longer matter.
“If every eye will see Him, likewise every mouth will be stopped (Romans 3:19); all gainsaying, all spin will finally be spent. Nothing about the parousia will be up for grabs or subject to individual interpretation. While human beings are marrying and being given in marriage, while it is business as usual in the rumor factory, while the world may chatter and twitter and fight, Christ’s appearing will throw all of this activity and expression into silence,” he predicted.
Roycroft said that Jesus’ return will “interrupt everything in human history, it will consummate everything in God’s purpose, and it will thwart every hand and voice raised against Him.”
He offered that what all this means, is that in the face of how decisive and disruptive the return of Christ will be, people “ought to be humbling ourselves before Him now, and preparing our hearts to see him in His glory.”
Prominent theologians, such as "Bible Answer Man" Hank Hanegraaff, have also attempted to answer some big questions concerning Christ's return.
Hanegraaff, who is president of the Christian Research Institute, insisted in a March 2018 video podcast that the Second Coming will be physical.
"Jesus appears physically — of that there is no doubt. The Christian faith is not platonic, it is physical," he told a listener at the time.
"Christ was raised physically from the dead. He ascended physically into Heaven, He transcends time and space, and He will return again physically, and we will be resurrected physically," the Bible Answer Man added, explaining that believers will "welcome in the Master to a restored universe."