(1) The disciples were all like “Oooooo” and “Aaahhhh” about how grand the temple was. (2) Jesus said: “Don’t be so easily impressed by this big pile of rocks. It’s going down; the whole thing—KABLOOEY!
(3) Later as they were hanging out on the hill, they asked him: “When is that going to happen? How will we know that you’ve come to the Father? How will we know that this present evil age has ended and that the Age of the Messiah has begun?
(4) Jesus answered: “Don’t let anybody trick you. (5) Lots of people are going to say “Look at me! I’m the Messiah!” Lots of people will fall for it, but my coming will not be like that.
(6) Don’t freak out when wars happen; in the time before the end of this evil age, such things are par for the course. (7) Wars, famines, and earthquakes (8) are just how it begins. (9) Before this age ends, you Twelve will be hated, betrayed, tortured, and killed because of me.
(10) Many will lose sight of the gospel. They will betray and hate one another. (11) They will fall for get-religious-quick schemes. (12) They will live without healthy boundaries, and they will experience the consequences — cold and frightened hearts. (13) But not you guys. Stick with me, and you will be safe from those perils. (14) You will spread the good news — that I am your king and defender — all over the place. Then–at most 40 years from now–this age will end, and the Age of the Messiah will begin.
(15) Watch for the sign of Daniel: The abomination standing inside the Temple. (16) When you see that, get out of town. Head for the hills. Literally. Run into the mountains and hide. Don’t waste a single second. (17) Don’t run back into your house (18) to get your stuff. There will not even be time for that. Just RUN. (19) It will be hard for those who are pregnant or have little kids. (20) It will be even harder if it happens in winter, or on a Sabbath when people are crammed into the Temple courts. Pray that it will not be so. (21) Because that is where it will start — a massacre the likes of which you have never seen. (22) Without Papa’s intervention, absolutely everyone there would die. (23) But she will intervene. She will intervene for you guys, the ones chosen to witness to what you have seen.
Like the ancient creeds, The Shack doesn’t have much to say about eschatology (“last things”). The creeds affirm the Second Coming, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life; but don’t say anything about the elaborate scenarios imagined in various “end times” novels. The Shack seems to follow the creeds here.
But since the Bible does talk about eschatology, The Shack Bible has to address issues not directly addressed in The Shack. So the paraphrase above does not necessarily reflect the eschatalogical views of Paul Young or his book. It merely expresses my best read of the relevant texts. And my best read says that many of our “Second Coming” texts (Matthew 24, for example) are not talking about the Second Coming at all; rather, they refer to a catastrophic event that would befall Jerusalem within 40 years. There are plenty of Second Coming texts out there, but Matt 24 is not one of them.
If you dislike my eschatology, you can blame N.T. Wright who has taught me so much about this and other topics. If you’re looking for a good read on the topic, I highly recommend his highly readable Surprised by Hope.