When will Jesus return?
He has promised to do so.
We are getting ever closer to the exact point when it is 2000 years since Jesus taught about his Second Coming (though no one knows when that anniversary will be reached, only when it will have been reached, c. 2034).
Does it matter whether it is 2000 years since?
Here is a thought: in the year 4020, if the Lord has not returned, will we Christians be any more or less anxious about the not yet fulfilled promise?
Is Christianity - as a faith movement, as a way of living, as an aspiration to rule the world [kingdom of God] - timeless or time bound?
Can we continue - as long as the sun shines on our planet - just being faithful, quietly ignoring the promise to return?
Or will we get anxious as we confront the challenge of the end - eschatology - as Jesus taught it? (By "confront" I mean have a wide ranging, earnest, global, potentially church splitting debate agonising over "what Jesus really meant" ... as we do over, you know, Another Topic.)
Of course the challenge has been faced before!
I am old enough to remember the 1970s and the excitement which Hal Lindsay's The Late Great Planet Earth induced (or was it surfing a wave already heading towards Christian shores?).
In NT itself there are signs of distancing between the inaugurated eschatology of the Synoptic Gospels and Paul (e.g. 1 and 2 Thessalonians) and the realised eschatology of John's Gospel - between the former's conviction that Jesus would be returning very soon and the latter's disinterest in the matter.
Yet, if Revelation is the last NT document to be composed, the ending of the collection of new sacred scriptures fans the flames of urgency and anticipation about Christ's return.
As best I understand periods of renewed urgency and anticipation in the history of the church, Revelation is the much invoked scripture which continues to fuel such flames.
One of the puzzles in 2020 - I venture to suggest - is that when we live in a world anxious about its future (if Coronavirus doesn't kill us, it will destroy the global economy; if global warming doesn't fry us, it at least raises the question whether we humans deserve to call Earth our home, so perhaps we should all leave), there is not a new outbreak of eschatological fervour, a renewed yearning for Christ to Return, to release us from the mess we are in.
And, surely on past performance, the corollary of eschatological fervour, the enthusiasm to identify the AntiChrist would have no shortage of candidates to consider, starting with one Donald Trump.
I mean, look at how many Christians more or less idolise the ground upon which he walks!
So, a question, "whither eschatology?"
Will we show a renewed interest in the matter?
Will we engage with some decent depth of commitment in the exegetical puzzle of what Jesus meant when he taught the imminent end of the world, even before the generation hearing his teaching had passed away?