One of the more interesting aspects of today’s sermon was the fact that the sermon speaker considered one of the main aspects of prophecy to be conversations in the setting of the future. Being the sort of person who thinks at length about the content and meaning of conversations, which often form the raw material of this particular blog, whether directly or indirectly, it ought not to be a surprise that I would wish to focus on this element. Considering the fact that my Sabbath school class had the homework assignment to take sermon notes, which they are supposed to be commenting on tomorrow in our second class, I figured it would be a good thing for me to comment a little bit about the context of the message as well, specifically as far as it relates to conversations in the setting of the future.
When it comes to the Bible, conversations in the setting of the future are not hard to find. One of the most classic examples  occurs in Psalm 110:1-4, which contains a conversation in the setting of the future between God the Father and Jesus Christ as two separate beings (see also Daniel 7 for a vision of what this conversation would look like from a human perspective): “The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies! Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; in the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, you have the dew of Your youth. The Lord has sworn and will not relent, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”” There is a lot about this passage that is curious and worthy of interest, including the obvious fact that we are dealing with a conversation between two beings with different roles even if they are totally united in purpose. What I would like to focus on, though, is the content of the conversation. This conversation is all about the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom over the entire world, where some people will volunteer to support Jesus Christ and others will be disciplined by a rod of iron and have to be under the feet of Jesus Christ unwillingly. The content of prophetic conversations is not always a pleasant matter, as even beings without sin and flaw have enemies who must be dealt with.
There was another aspect of a conversation in the setting of the future that I found to be interesting from the message as well. The speaker stated that the laws inscribed in society have been evil since 1973’s obiter dictum of the Roe vs. Wade decision. That said, there have been plenty of other evil laws and Supreme Court decisions before that (Plessy vs. Furgeson and Dred Scott come to mind ). There were laws which made people property and which stole the fruit of their labor to give it to idle and corrupt masters and mistresses. There were laws that made it a crime for people from different races to marry even as it was legally permissible for people to rape and abuse others with impunity. These two were evil laws. In some sense, every society has its own evils that they must struggle against. Even as some evils are dealt with, other evils become prominent, and it becomes difficult to speak against such evils because they are so intertwined with a culture’s self-image. We cannot be selective in what we see as evils, instead, we must fight against evil wherever it may be found, not only in our enemies, but even in ourselves if it is necessary. Indeed, it would be better to start from the inside out, as our working out our own salvation gives us the moral credibility to speak out about the evils around us.
Personally, though, I really hate having enemies at all. I especially hate being estranged from people I have known for years, as has happened at least a few times in my life. It is one thing if life has separated people and time has prevented there from being conversation; it is not difficult at all for me to imagine a conversation in the setting of the future were we pick up where we left off with no break. No, what bothers me, and bothers me regularly, is when there are difficulties with people that are not resolved for months and years, where it seems difficult to imagine a conversation in the future that goes well, because there is not only time but also the awkwardness of doubt and worry and anxiety and interpretation that must be stripped away to have good conversations again. It is a source of great difficulty for me when I think about the fact that I must find myself estranged from those whom I have no bad feelings toward at all, but who have become estranged through accidents or blunders or adverse circumstance . Hopefully it will not always be so; life has not been good enough to me for me to think of the friends I have made and invested a great deal of time and energy in as being so easily cast aside without thought or concern at all. Others may do that sort of thing, but not me.
Why should conversations in the setting of the future matter at all? One of the main reasons is that one of the few things we know about our future is the essential nature of harmony and unity between the children of God. We will all spend eternity in harmony with each other. However we will communicate, we will all remain separate beings, and so we can expect many conversations in the future. To be sure, these conversations will exist between people who are united in love and in purpose, and so we can imagine such times as being immensely enjoyable. I love conversations, even if they involve having a slightly clumsy but adorable child spilling an entire glass of water on my lap (which, someone noted, seemed to reflect the way that my relationships with women have gone in general in the past decade or so). I can honestly say I look forward to an eternity spent in unity and harmony with God and others. I often wish that unity and harmony was easier to see in this life, though. Why should we have to wait for the world tomorrow to enjoy the feast of friendship that results from good conversation with good people?
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