So, imagine this. God knows that human beings would one day look at the world around them; the political unstability, the wars, the famine, the pain, and wonder who in the world is steering this rampant freight train called history. And so, He decided to let them know it wasn’t all lost and hopeless. He comfortingly let them know that He was in charge, he would never step out of the picture and leave them to themselves, and that one day He would fix this mess. Now imagine that the message was not received as “Don’t worry. There’s a point to all of this and I’m in control”.
Imagine that those human beings began obsessing about the message, the numbers, dates, details of the message. They became infatuated with the codes instead of their meaning; as though the alphabet, and not words they formed, was the purpose of the message. What if they even began lording it over each other; showing off how clever they were in deciphering clues in the memo and figuring it all out like a mathematical equation?
What if then the people who were supposed to hear comfort, heard everything but that. They heard everything from “be anxious”, to “be aware”, to “be scared”, and they based entire church denominations on the concept of fear growing out of doom’s day prophecies, hard times to come, and who would be “in” or “out” with Heaven’s posse.
What if the message of comfort created more division than relief? What if the entire message of ‘fear not’ got so lost in the works, that the Youth of the church stopped wanting to hear a single word more about the book of Daniel and Revelation, attend a single more seminar or hear another Evangelist “do the math” with large posters of beasts and statues behind him? And not because they couldn’t stomach it, or because they couldn’t be bothered to hear about it, but because a message had turned into a showing off contest between Christians who knew their Bible so well they didn’t know their Bible, and a dispatch of grace turned into a petty piece of overglorified Numerology. And what if the problem was never that the points made about the prophecies were not valid or important, but simply that first things never came first, and the purpose of it all was exchanged for an overfixation on the process?
But, surely that would never really happen. Imagine how foolish that would be!