An observation about immanence
by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)
One of my favorite pastimes is playing a few computer games, especially the ones where you make money—er, run a business, simulation, that kind of thing. One of these gives you, as manager of a transportation company, the opportunity to choose how best to serve the industries and communities on the computer-generated, random, map. I myself love trains and use that as my favorite means of transport but the game also allows you to use motor vehicles, aircraft, and ships, depending on the variables you face. For example, the mainland may have an oil well complex that generates crude oil, but you really can’t do anything with it until you haul it to a refinery, where the “oil” becomes “goods”. And, if the refinery is on an island, you might be able to use rail but sometimes ships are the answer. You get the idea, I’m sure, about the challenges and opportunities you encounter in the game. After all, I’ve never made much money in real life, but in this game, I’ve been a multi-millionaire many times over!
But, of all things, the game has something that gives me a nearly graphic description of the term “imminent”. One definition may not have the same concept as Biblical writers by saying imminent means inherent, or sustaining something. Most of the time, I’ve heard the term immanent used to describe something like the return of Jesus Christ to this earth for His saints. Dr. J. Vernon McGee in one of his “Thru the Bible Radio” studies stated that the Rapture could be at any moment, or “tissue thin”, in his words. Now, some of us may still not get it, but this one computer game gave me an idea.
Occasionally a message will appear, in the game, along the lines that “Industry X” faces “imminent shutdown!” or closure or something similar. The catch is, you know the industry is going to go “out of business”—but you don’t know when, until the industry in question literally disappears from the map! Once that happens, your cargoes are useless, you can only haul away what was already produced or more or less in storage at your depot or terminal, and you’re going to either scrap what you were using, or find another destination.
But the key is “imminent”, meaning that a greater power than you is going to close one of your destinations. It’s closing, but not closed, giving you a window of opportunity to get the most “raw material” or finished product hauled to the industry before it closes up. For good.
We have no way of knowing when the Rapture is going to happen, or any other signs in the New Testament except for the few that have definite dates. No need to speculate, as we can do little to stop or even delay God’s calendar. But we surely can take advantage of the opportunities we have. We can witness, pray, share encouraging words, any number of things, while we’re here. But when the trumpet sounds, that’s it, the game’s over, and anything we didn’t get done is going to be left behind.
Immanent—coming, but not announced; definite, but not described. Are you ready for the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I?
If not, we can be! Be ready today!