Unification News For February 1996
Christ May Not Return
by Lloyd Howell-Holiday, FL
This is the text of an advertisement that Lloyd ran in the religion section his local paper to generate dialog. We reprint it here as an inspiration to our readers.
CHRIST MAY NOT RETURN in the manner that many expect! A large number of today's Christians hold fast to the view that Christ (God's anointed) will return literally "on the clouds." But recall that 2,000 years ago there were many who also held fast to that same view (having read Daniel 7:13) and still others who held varying but inflexible concepts about how the messiah would appear and what he would do. These faithful believers were caught unaware and as a result of their adamant adherence to fixed concepts they were never able to recover their balance and seriously entertain that God's anointed had already appeared in their midst-having grown to maturity years after an inconspicuous birth. In futility they awaited a most fantastic and blatant advent and because of this missed the moment they had waited and suffered for.
The Unification Movement holds that the real challenge of faith is to remove the mote from one's eye so that the truth & love of God can be recognized as embodied in a living person-ultimately the Christ. The believer's task is therefore to be cleansed, to eliminate his arrogance, self-centeredness and so forth so that he will be able to recognize the Messiah when he walks the earth again.
As a missionary member of the Unification Church I want to invite my fellow Christians to reevaluate their expectations and at least consider the possibility of another silent night. Consider that the word "clouds" can also be used symbolically. Refer, for instance, to Ezek. 39:9 & Heb. 12:1. Thus the words "clouds" can mean a group of people or a mass of believers, purified through trials and tribulations (much as water is purified through vaporization into a cloud). The returning Christ would gather these people and be heralded by them.
As for literal clouds, perhaps that is a possibility but in a different way-why couldn't Christ appearing in our day and age take the common mode of transportation-the airplane! Then indeed he would come via the clouds perhaps hopscotching from country to country so that all eyes may see and hear him! I know many contemporary Christians will recoil in dismay and say "blasphemy" upon hearing of this possibility, yet just how farfetched is it? Didn't Jesus the Christ 2,000 years ago take the common mode of transportation- traveling to & fro via donkey & foot-did that make him any less the Son of God?
Consider also that Jesus said the 2nd advent would come upon mankind like a thief in the night-that is to say, catching people by surprise. Thus this event that we wait for may not at first occur in such a blatant form as a man riding literally upon the clouds. Surely a birth would indeed lend itself to this understanding. In Luke 18:8 Jesus asks, "However, when the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth?" Consider that perhaps Jesus was referring to "true faith"-that ability to recognize, belief in and follow a God-sent human being, a person burdened with the messianic mission.
When Christ appeared 2,000 years ago there was indeed faith on the earth-great faith-many dedicated believers then studied their scriptures, many observed the holy days, fasted, tithed and prayed. Yet when it came right down to considering that the Messiah might be walking beside them, eating food as they did and wearing clothes similar to theirs, they had great difficulty. From this viewpoint, Jesus could not find any faith on earth. Similarly today there are millions of good Christians waiting for the Lord to appear (on the clouds); but if he comes in the same manner as before, WILL THEY HAVE THE FAITH WHICH ENABLES THEM TO RECOGNIZE HIM, FOLLOW HIM & SUPPORT HIM?
Thus I ask you my fellow believers to consider the possibility, however remote it may seem, that Christ may indeed return in a manner most unexpected. For the sake of preparing ourselves appropriately, you are invited to come and explore this possibility. Lectures, videos and literature are available. Matt. 9:17.
Lloyd Howell, M.Re.Ed.-Unification Missionary
2626 Blossom Lake Drive, Holiday, FL 34691
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