All through the Bible there is the idea of "the remnant." These people are those who stay faithful to God and are a grace to their family and neighbors no matter what the situation. Their faithfulness and style of life helps others around them to experience the saving grace and love of God. This idea gained prophetic sharpness in the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation in chapter 14. Most of us fall short of being a fully good "saving remnant."
The sense of being a remnant is intensely personal in New York City. After World War II, Jewish New Yorkers had a powerful sense of being "survivors" of the Holocaust. One Jewish writer wrote how he dreamed that in a fiery furnace of Nazi Germany he saw Jesus rescuing people. Between 1950-1970s, Christians felt that they were embattled survivors in a secularizing and decaying city waiting for the Messiah's return. However, many people came to know the Lord and a better way of life.
Today, we have found that there is a feeling among churches that they have survived the worst to build for the future. They believe that Jesus could play a powerful role in the transformation of the city. The belief of many New Yorkers is that Jesus is returning to the city through evangelism and good works pointing forward to the day of Jesus' return in full glory.
We have analyzed the results of a random survey in English and Spanish of about 1200 Hispanic residents in NY-NJ-PA area. 37% say that they are born-again or evangelical Christians (some are also Roman Catholics), 53% are Roman Catholics and 25% are Protestants.
A majority of the metropolitan area Hispanics believe "that Jesus will return to earth in their lifetime." This conviction is found among both Catholic and Protestant Hispanics.
The question then is quite clear for this majority of Hispanics: how do you live your lives so that Jesus will honor you when he soon returns? This is a good practical question for all New Yorkers, regardless of ethnic, racial or nationality background.
We are collecting the best sermons by NYC rabbis on the Book of Daniel and pastors on the Book of Revelation to accompany a study of prophetic attitudes among religious groups. If you have any suggestions, we would welcome them!
Thanks for your help and comments.
Note: Statistics from Values Research Institute census & surveys and an analysis of the dataset from the Pew Hispanic Center/Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey “Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion.” It should be noted that “The Pew Hispanic Center and Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life bear no responsibility for the interpretations offered, or conclusions made based on analysis of the Pew Hispanic Center/ Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey ‘Changing Faiths: Latinos and the Transformation of American Religion’.”