Today in 1844 the return of Christ was predicted by a group of believers. It has been over 2000 years since the first great Christian theologian and apostle, Paul, counted down the days until the return of the Lord, and many others have preceded him. First let’s examine the Biblical account of the Second coming in sequential order.  First we have Paul’s writings, and we don’t get much discussion of a return in regards to specifics; the accounts of Paul parallel closest to Matthew, who happens to hold the most informed Jewish traditions of the Gospels. What is interesting about second coming teachings is the variation of adhered doctrines centered around them.  For example, not many Christians I have encountered are aware of the New Testament’s push for alternative sleep cycles for Christians so they won’t be asleep when Jesus comes – Mark specifically warns of sleeping. This is an oddity that isn’t much discussed, among others.


There   are  four  passages  in  1 and  2 Thessalonians  dealing  with the second  coming  of  Christ:   1 Thess.   4:13-18;   1 Thess.   5:1-11;  2 Thess. 1:3-12;  and   2  Thess.   2:1-12.   The   first  passage   is  introduced    by  the words,  “We do not want you to be ignorant,   brothers”   (1 Thess.  4:13), an expression    frequently    used   by  Paul   to  introduce    teaching   which   he wishes to emphasize   (cf. Rom.  1: 13; 1 Cor.  10: 1; 1 Cor.  12: 1; 2 Cor.  1:8). It concludes   with  an  exhortation    to encourage    one  another   with  these words    (1 Thess.    4: 18).   The    second    passage    begins    with   “Now concerning”    (1 Thess.   5: 1) and  also  concludes   with  an  exhortation    to encourage   one another   (1 Thess.  5: 11). The  third  passage  is in the  form of a thanksgiving  to God (which normally  follows the salutation   in Paul’s letters)   and  it concludes   with  a  prayer   that  the  Thessalonians   may  be counted   worthy  of God’s  calling  (2 Thess.   1:11-12). The  fourth   passage begins  “Now  we ask you, brothers,   concerning   …” (2 Thess.  2: 1) and  is followed   by thanksgiving  for  their  election   by God  (2 Thess.   2:13-14) and  a prayer   for  encouragement   (2 Thess.   2: 16-17).

After     assuring      the    Thessalonian      Christians       that    Christ’s resurrection    is the  guarantee   that  those  who  have  died  in Christ  will be raised   from   the   dead   when   he  comes   again   (1  Thess.   4:14),   Paul introduces   his teaching  with regard   to the second  coming  by the solemn statement,   “This  we say to you by the word  of the Lord”  (1 Thess.  4:15). Since  Paul  characteristically  refers   to Jesus   as “the  Lord”  (cf.  1 Thess. 1:1,3;  2:15,19;   3:11,13;   4:1; 5:9), he means  to say here  that the basis of his teaching   about  the  second  coming  is jesus’   own  word  (cf, the  NIV, “according   to the  Lord’s  own  word”).

A similar  expression   is used  in  1 Corinthians   7: 10, where  in giving instruction    regarding    divorce   Paul  appeals   to jesus’   teaching   on  the subject:  “To  the  married   I give this command   (not  I, but  the  Lord):  A wife must  not  separate   from  her  husband.”  In the  next  paragraph  Paul says: “To  the  rest  I say this (I, not the  Lord)”  (1 Cor.  7: 12). The  obvious meaning here  is that  Paul does not have any explicit  teaching by Jesus  on the   matter   of  the   desertion  of  a  Christian  wife  or  husband    by  an unbelieving mate,  as he had  on the  matter  of divorce  in general.  Again, with regard   to “virgins” Paul says: “I have  no command from  the  Lord” (1  Cor.  7:25),  meaning  that   he  has  no  explicit  command  from  Jesus governing  this  particular  situation.  It is interesting  that  the  Synoptic Gospels  include   the  teaching of Jesus  against  divorce  (Mt.  5:32;  19:9; Mk.  10:11-12; Lk.  16:18), but  they do not include  any teaching of Jesus regarding  the  specific  matters   which  the  Corinthians  had  asked  about and  concerning which Paul gives his advice in 1 Corinthians 7: 12-16 and 25-38.

‘Some  have argued  from  Paul’s use of peri de “Now about,”  in 1 Thess.  4:9 and  5: 1 that Paul is  replying   to a letter  from  the  church;   cf.  1 Cor.  7:1;  7:25;  8:1;  12:1;  16:1;  16:12. IbId.,  pp.  247-248.

In  two  other   passages in  1 Corinthians,   Paul  refers   to  teaching which   he  had   received   and   passed    on   to  the   Corinthians.    In   1 Corinthians  11:23-25 he says that  he received from  the  Lord  and  passed on  to  the  Corinthians  certain   facts  concerning  the  institution  of  the Lord’s  supper.   The  words  of Jesus  recorded by Paul are  nearly  identical with   those   recorded   in  the   Synoptic  Gospels   (Mt.   22:26-29;   Mk. 14:22-25; Lk. 22: 19-20). The  use  of the  verbs paralambano “receive  by tradition,”  and  paradidiimi “pass  on,”  in  this  passage  is paralleled  in  1 Corinthians  15:3, where  Paul states that  he passed  on to them  as of first importance    what   he   had   also   received.    As  already     noted,    in  2 Thessalonians  2:15,  Paul  exhorts   the  Christians  at  Thessalonica:  “So then,  brothers, stand  firm and hold to the teachings we passed  on to you, whether   by word  of mouth   or by letter.”

In  all  of  the  instances  cited   from   1 Corinthains,  Paul  refers   to material   which  is found   in  one  or  more  of  the  Synoptic Gospels. We should,   therefore,   expect   that   his  use  of  a  similar   expression  in   1 Thessalonians 4: 15 would  refer  to material  also found  in these  Gospels. In  point  of fact,  that  is exactly  what  we do  find.  It will be the  object  of this  paper   to  show  that   the  teaching  of  Paul  in  this  and   the  other passages in  1 and   2  Thessalonians  on  the  second   coming   of  Christ parallels  the   teaching  of  Jesus   in  the   Olivet   discourse  recorded   in Matthew 24-25;  Mark  13, and  Luke  21. It will endeavor to show that  this discourse  of Jesus   was  the  primary   source   of  Paul’s  teaching  on  the second  coming  of Christ  in these  two letters. There    are  a  number    of  words   and   expressions  found   in  these passages in 1 and  2 Thessalonians that  are  similar  to those  used  by Jesus in  the  Olivet  discourse. These   will be discussed in  the  order   in which they  occur  in the Thessalonian  letters.

  1. The word parousia

Parousia, the word  used by Paul for the second  coming  of Christ  in 1

Thessalonians  4:15  and  2 Thessalonians  2:1  and  8,  is the  same  word used   by  the  disciples in  the  question  which   precipitated   the  Olivet discourse:  “When   will this  happen,   and  what  will be  the  sign  of  your coming   (fJarousia) and  of  the  end  of  the  age?”  (Matt.  24:3).  It is used three  times by Jesus  in the discourse itself: “As the lightning comes from the  east  and  flashes  to the  west,  so will be the  coming  tparousia) of the Son of Man” (Matt.  24:27);  “As it was in the days of Noah,  so it will be at the  coming   fparousia)  of  the   Son  of  Man”   (Matt.   24:37);   and   after describing   the life of the people  before  the flood who were unaware   that anything   would  happen   until  the  flood  came  and  took  them  all away, Jesus  adds,  “That  is how it will be at the coming  fparousia) of the  Son of Man”  (Matt.  24:39).  Parousia is the  only word  for  the  second  coming  used  in the  Olivet discourse.   It  is used  only  by Matthew.   It  is also  the  only  word  for  the second  coming  used  by Paul in  1 Thessalonians.    Besides  4:15,  it is used also in 2:19;  3:13;  and  5:23.  Paul  uses  two other  words  for  the  second coming  in 2 Thessalonians,   apokalupsis in  1:7 and  epiphaneia in 2:8,  but each of them   occurs  only once. He usesparousia  twice, in 2: 1 and  again in 2:8.

  1. The Lord  himself

Paul emphasizes   in 1 Thessalonians    4: 16 that  it is the  Lord  himself who will come  down  from  heaven.   In  2 Thessalonians    1:7 he speaks  of the  revelation   of the  Lord Jesus  in blazing  fire.  In  the  Olivet  discourse the  only  time  that  Jesus  uses  the  word  “sign”  is when  he  predicts   that “the  sign of the  Son of Man will appear   in the  sky” and  people  “will see the Son of Man coming”  (Matt. 24:30).  It is the very Son of Man who had no place to lay his head  (Matt. 8:20) who is to come with great  power  and glory.

  1. From heaven

“The   Lord  himself  will come  down  from  heaven   (ap’ ouranou)”  (1 Thess.   4:16).  This  will happen   when  the  Lord  Jesus   is revealed   from heaven  (ap’ ouranou) with his powerful   angels  (2 Thess.   1:7). Jesus  said that  the  sign of the Son of Man would  appear   in the  sky (en ourano) and that  people  would  see the  Son of Man  coming  on the  clouds  of the  sky (tou ouranou) with power  and  great  glory  (Mt. 24:30).  His coming  will be as visible as lightning  which flashes and  lights up the sky from  one end  to the  other   (ek t”iS  hupo ton ouranon eis hup’  ouranon)  (Lk.  17:24;  cf.  Mt.24:27).

  1. The Angels

Jesus    will  be  accompanied      by  angels:    “with   the   voice   of  the archangel”   (1 Thess.  4: 16); “with his powerful  angels”  (2 Thess.  1:7; cf. 1 Thess.  3: 13, “with  all his holy ones”). Jesus  said that  he would  send  out his angels  to gather  together   his elect from  the four  corners  of the earth(Matt.  24:31;  cf. Mk. 9:38).

  1. The Trumpet

The  coming  of the  Lord  will be heralded   with a trumpet   blast: “with the  trumpet   call (en salpingi) of God”  (1 Thess.  4:16;  cf.  1 Cor.  15:51). Jesus  said  that  he would  send  his angels  “with  a loud  trumpet   call (meta salpingos megalis) to gather   his elect”  (Matt.  24:31).

  1. The Survivors

Paul  speaks  of  “those  who  are  still alive  and  are  left  (hoi zantes hoi perileipomenoi)  at  Christ’s  coming   (1  Thess.   4:15   and   17;  cf.   1 Cor.15:51-52),  who  together  with  the  dead   in  Christ  will be  caught   up  to meet  Christ.  Jesus  does  not  refer   in the Olivet  discourse to those  who have died,  but  he does speak  of those  who endure   (ho hupomeinas) to the end  (eis telos) who  will be saved  (Mt. 24:13;  Mk.  13:13;  Lk. 21:19).

  1. 7. The Clouds

In  1 Thessalonians 4: 17 Paul  says that  we who are  still alive and  are left will be caught  up together with the resurrected  saints  “in the clouds” (en nephelais). Jesus   predicted  that  his  coming   would  be  in  clouds   (en nephalais) with  power  and  great  glory  (Mk.  13:26;  cf. Mt. 24:30,  epi ton nephelon tou ouranou, “on the clouds  of the sky”; and  Lk. 21 :27, en nephele, “in a cloud”;  cf. also Rev.  1:7 and  11: 12),

  1. To Meet  the  Lord

Paul  states  that  we will meet  the Lord  (eis apantesin tou kuriou) in the air (1 Thess.  4: 17). The  same expression is used  by Jesus  in the  parable of  the   ten   virgins:   “At   midnight   the   cry   rang    out:   ‘Here’s     the bridegroom!  Come  out  to meet  him  (eis apantesin autou)!‘”  (Mt. 25:6).

  1. The Time  of Christ’s Coming

Paul  refers   (/Jeri de) to  a matter   of  concern  to  the  Thessalonians, which  they  had  perhaps  written   to him  about,  namely, the  “times  and dates”  (ton chrontm kai ton kairon) of Christ’s coming. He says that  there  is no need  for  him  to write  to them  about  it because they  knew  perfectly well that  the  time of the Lord’s  coming  was unknown (1 Thess.  5: 1-2). A different  expression,  but  one  with  essentially the  same  meaning,  was used  by Jesus,   “but  concerning  that  day  and  hour   (/Jeri de tes nemepa sekeives kai horas), no one  knows” (Mt. 24:36).

  1. The Day of the  Lord

Paul  says that  the  Thessalonians  know  that  “the  day  of  the  Lord (liemera kuriou) will come  like a thief  in the  night”  (1 Thess.  5 :2). He uses the  same  expression in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 in his condemnation  of the false  report   that  the  day  of the  Lord  had  already   set in.  In  both  cases, Paul  is referring  to the  time of Christ’s second  coming. He refers  to the same  time  in  1 Thessalonians 5:4  when  he  says that  the  Christians are not in darkness that  the day (lie hemera) should  surprise them  like a thief. Jesus  refers  to the  time  of his coming  as “that  day”  (lie hemera ekeiiie) in Matthew 24:36;  Mk.  13:32;  and  Luke  21:34.

  1. Like a Thief in the  Night

One  of  the  most  striking resemblances between Paul’s  words  and those  of Jesus  is the apostle’s statement in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For  you know  very  well that  the  day  of  the  Lord  will corne  like  a thief  in  the night”  (has kleptes en nukti). Jesus  used  the  illustration of the  owner  of a house  who,  if he  had  known  at what  time  of night  the  thief  (ho kleptes) was corning, would  have  kept  watch and  would  not have let his house  be broken   into  (Mt. 24:43).  The  same  expression is used  in Revelation 3:3 and  16:15.

  1. Sudden  Destruction

Paul  goes  on  to say, “While  people   are  saying,  ‘Peace  and  safety,’ destruction (olethros)will come on them  suddenly (aiphnidios) … and  they will not escape” (1 Thess.  5:3). Jesus  compared his corning with the time of Noah  when  people  knew nothing about  what  would  happen   until  the flood  came  and  took  them  all away (Mt. 24:39;  cf. Lk.  17:27,  “then  the flood  came  and   destroyed  (ap”3lesen)them   all”).  He  later  warned   the disciples  against    allowing  their    hearts    to  be  weighed  down   with dissipation, drunkenness  and  anxieties, or that  day will corne upon  them suddenly (aiphnidios) (Lk. 21 :34; cf. Mk.  13:36).

  1. Labor Pains

Paul  compares  the  suddenness  of  Christ’s coming   to  the  onset  of labor  pains  (odin) in the  case of a pregnant  woman  (1 Thess.  5:3). Jesus used  the  same word  to denote  the  woes that  would  precede his coming: “These   are  the  beginning of birth  pains  (odinon)” (Mt. 24:8;  Mk.  13:8).

  1. No Escape for  the  Unprepared

Paul  concludes his statement regarding  the  sudden   destruction  to corne upon  people  at Christ’s corning by saying,  “and  they will not escape (ou me ekphugosin)” (1 Thess.  5:3). Jesus  urged   his disciples to be always on the watch and to pray  that they “might  be able to escape  (ekphugein) all that  is about  to happen”  (Lk. 21 :36).

  1. Sons of the Light

Paul  goes  on  to  say  that   the  Thessalonian  believers were  not  in darkness  that  the  day  of  Christ’s corning should   surprise  them  like  a thief,  because they  are  “sons  of the  light  and  sons of the  day”  (1 Thess.5:4-5),  who  are  expecting  the  corning of  Christ  although  they  do  not know  the  exact  time  of his corning (1 Thess.  5:1-2).  “Sons  of the  light” means   people   who  have  been   illuminated  with  the  knowledge of  his coming. Jesus  told his disciples on the Mount  of Olives, “See, I have told you ahead  of time”  (Mt. 24:25;  cf. Mk.  13:23) and  urged  them  to stand and  lift up their  heads  when  the  things  he predicted began  to take place (Lk.  21 :28)  in contrast  to other   people   who  are  filled  with  terror   and apprehension  (Lk. 21 :26).

16. Watch

In view of the uncertainty of the time of Christ’s  coming,  Paul urged the  Thessalonian  Christians to be watchful: “So then,  let us not  be like others    who   are   asleep,    but   let   us  be  alert    (gregoromen)   and   be self-controlled” (1 .Thess.  5:6). Jesus  repeatedly  used  the  same  word  to exhort   his disciples to be ready  for  his coming:  “Therefore  keep  watch (gregoreite),  because  you do not  know on what  day your  Lord  will come” (Mt.  24:42);   “Therefore   keep   watch   (gregoreite), because   you  do  not know  the  day  or  the  hour”   (Mt.  25:13);  “What   I  say to  you,  I  say to everyone: ‘Watch!’   (gregoreite)” !Mk.  13:37}.

17. The Danger   of Sleeping

Paul urges  the Thessalonians not to sleep  (me katheudOmen)  as others do  (1  Thess.   5:6).   He  goes  on  to  explain   that   those   who  sleep   (oi katheudontes) sleep (katheudousin) at night  (1 Thess.  5:7}.Jesus warned  his disciples lest his coming  find  them  sleeping  (katheudonlas) (Mk.  13:36).

  1. The Danger   of Drunkenness

Paul  also urges  the  Thessalonians to be sober  (riiphomen) (1 Thess.5:6) and  explains  that  those  who get drunk   (hoi methuskomenoi)  get drunk (methousin) at night  (1 Thess.  5:7). Jesus  told a parable  about  an evil slave who  during   the  delay  in  his  master’s   return   begins  to  beat  his  fellow slaves   and   to  eat   and   drink    with   drunkards    (ton  methuonton)   (Mt.24:45-49)  and   warns   the  disciples against   being   weighed  down   with dissipation and  drunkenness  (methe) (Lk.21:34).

19. Salvation

We who belong  to the day are  to be self-controlled, putting  on faith and  hope  as our  breastplate  and  the  hope  of  salvation (soteria) as our helmet   (1  Thess.   5:8),  for,  in  contrast   to  unbelievers,  we  have  been destined    to  receive   salvation  (soteria)  rather    than   wrath   at  Christ’s coming.  Jesus  said to his disciples who were  facing  persecution and  the spread   of  wickedness, “he  who  stands   firm  to  the  end  will be  saved” (sothesetai) (Mt. 24:13;  Mk.  13:13;  Lk. 21:19).

  1. With Power  and  Glory

In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 Paul declares  that “at the revelation of the Lord Jesus  from  heaven  with the angels of his power  (dunamis)” God will punish   unbelievers by excluding them  “from  the  presence of the  Lord and   from   the   majesty   (doxa) of  his  strength,   when   he  comes   to  be glorified  (endoxasthenai) in  his  saints  and  to  be  marveled  at  among   all those  who  have  believed.” Jesus   said  that  his  coming   would  be  “with power  and  great  glory (meta dunamdi: kai doxes pottes)” (Mt. 24:30;  cf. Mk.13:26;  Lk. 21 :27).

21. The Gathering  Together  of the  Saints

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1, when  Paul refers  to the coming  <parousia) of Christ,  he links  it with “our  being  gathered  (h’emon episunagoges) to him. According   to  Granville  Sharpe’s   rule,   when   two  substantives   are connected  by kai and  there  is an article  with  the  first  and  not  with  the second,  the two refer  to the same thing.  This  is the case here.  Paul refers to  the  event   that   he  had   described  in  1 Thessalonians  4:13-18,   the parousia of our  Lord Jesus  Christ,  at which time we are  to be gathered to him.   It  is the  verb  from   which  this  compound   noun   episungagoge is derived   which  was used  by Jesus   to  describe   the  action  of  the  angels when  he comes:  “He  will send  his angels  with a loud  trumpet   call, and they  will gather   (episunaxousin) his elect  from  the  four  winds,  from  one end  of the  heavens  to the  other”   (Mt. 24:31).

  1. The Apostasy

In  2  Thessalonians  2:3  Paul  urges   the  Thessalonians  not  to  let anyone  deceive  them  into believing that  the day of the Lord  had  already set  in,  because   that  day  will not  come  until  the  apostasy (lie apostasia) occurs.   In  Matthew 24:10-11  Jesus   predicts   that  many  will turn   away from  the  faith  (skandalisthesontai) and  will betray   and  hate  each  other, and  many  false  prophets  will appear   and  deceive  many  people.

  1. The Antichrist

Paul  goes  on  to  say that  another   event   must  precede   the  day  of, Christ’s  coming-the   revelation of “the  man of lawlessness” (ho anthr’Opos t”iSanomias) (2 Thess.  2:3) or “the  lawless one”  (ho anomos) (2 Thess.  2:8), who  is further   described  as one  who  opposes   and  exalts  himself  over everything that  is called God or is worshipped, who even sets himself  up in  God’s  temple,   proclaiming  himself   to  be  God  (2 Thess.   2:4).  This person,  whose coming  is said to be according to the working  of Satan  in all  kinds   of  miracles  (dunamis),   signs   (semeia) and   wonders   (terata) characterized  by  falsehood  <pseudous)  and   in  every   kind   of  evil  that deceives  those   who  are   perishing  (2  Thess.   2:9-10),   will  be  utterly destroyed at Christ’s  coming  (2 Thess.  2:8). Jesus  three  times warned  his disciples in  the  Olivet  discourse  concerning  the  appearance   of  false Christs  and  false  prophets:  “Watch  out  that  no  one  deceives you.  For many  will come  in my name,  claiming, ‘I am the  Christ’  and  will deceive many”   (Mt.   24:4;   cf.  Mk.   13:5;   Lk.  21 :8);  “Many   false   prophets <pseudoprophetai)  will appear   and  will deceive  many”  (Mt. 24: 12); “False Christs   <pseudochristoi) and   false  prophets  <pseudopropliitai)  will appear and   perform    great   signs  (semeia) and   wonders  (terata) to  deceive,   if possible, even  the  elect”  (Mt. 24:24).  Jesus  had  already   spoken  of “the abomination   of  desolation”  standing   in  the   holy  place,   probably  a reference  to the  temple  (Mt. 24:15;  cf. Mk.  13:14).

24. The Preaching   of the  Gospel  as a Testimony   to all Nations

In 2 Thessalonians   1:8-10 Paul  had  spoken  of the  punishment    that will be brought    to  those  who  do  not  know  God  and  do  not  obey  the gospel   (to evangelio) of  our   Lord  Jesus,   and  of  the  glory  that  will be brought      to   his   holy   people     who   have   believed,     including      the Thessalonian  Christians,  who had believed  the apostles’  testimony (marturion) to them.  In 2 Thessalonians  3: 13-14, Paul thanks  God for the Thessalonian  Christians   because  God chose  them  to be saved  and  called them  to belief  in the truth  through   the  gospel  (dia tou evangeliou). In the Olivet discourse  Jesus  states  that  the  one  prerequisite    for the  end  of the age to come is the  preaching   of the  gospel  (to evangelion) of the  kingdom to all the world  as a testimony  teis marturion) to all nations  (Mt. 24: 14; cf. Mk.  13:10).

Predictions of the second coming

For full list of 242 predictions accounted for  visit –

Date Event
44 Theudas declared himself the Messiah, taking 400 people with him into the desert. T beheaded by Roman soldiers. Josephus records this.
53 Even before all the books of the Bible were written, there was talk that Christ’s return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked on Paul, when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the rapture.
80 Ben Zakkai died about 80, and expected the Messiah about the time of his death
100 -200 Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus (1-2 Cent) thought the days of the Messiah would last 40 years. Before Bar Kochba the Mess. age was short; longer afterward
130 Rabbi Jose, the Galilean, a contemporary of Hyrcanus and Azariah, thought the Messiah would come in three generations (60 years), after the destruction; namely 130 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
381 Return of Christ; Tichonus a writer of the 4th Cent (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
400 Hippolytus “calculated that 5,500 years separated Adam and Christ and that the life of the world was 6,000 six full ‘days’ of years until the seventh the day of rest.” His calculations in 234 indicted there were still two centuries left. (from A History of the End of the World, Rubinsky and Wiseman, 1982)
400 Rabbi Dosa (2-3rd Century) said the Messiah would come at the end of 400 years. This was based (?) on Gen. 15:13 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
435 Messiah comes; Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (135-220) believed Messiah would come 365 years after Temple destroyed in 70 (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
470 Messiah would come; Rabbi Hanina (3rd C), though Messiah would come 400 years after Temple Destruction. (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)
500 A Roman priest and theologian in the second and third centuries, predicted Christ would return in A.D. 500, based on the dimensions of Noah’s ark.
500 Return of Christ; Hyppolytus (170-236) and Lactantius (250-330) said 500 would be the time for the second coming of Christ (Luther Martin, Date Setters, Guardian of Truth, Sept. 15, 1994)

The Great Disappointment

On October 22, 1844, as many as 100,000 Christians gathered on hillsides, in meeting places and in meadows. They were breathlessly and joyously expecting the return of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The crowds had assembled because of the prophetic claim of an upstate New York farmer and Baptist layman named William Miller (1782-1849). He was certain from his studies of the Bible that Jesus Christ was going to return on that day.

This dashed hope came to be known as “The Great Disappointment.” In his book When Time Shall Be No More, historian Paul Boyer offers an example of the deep despondency suffered by the Millerites. In the words of one tragically disappointed believer: “Our fondest hopes and expectations were blasted, and such a spirit of weeping came over us as I never experienced before…. We wept, and wept, till the day dawned” (page 81).

When Jesus did not return as expected, many who had hopefully waited for the return of their Savior threw off their faith completely. Some refused to give up their hope and eventually replaced one delusion with another. They would claim that Christ must have come invisibly in 1844, moving into the Holy of Holies in heaven to begin his “investigative judgment” of Christian lives.

Many simply returned to the churches out of which they had come, no doubt confused, distraught and embarrassed to have accepted something that was revealed to have been an empty fantasy. Miller, having renounced his prophecy studies after the Great Disappointment, died in 1849. Any remaining followers split up over differences of belief and doctrine. Ultimately, a variety of groups arose from the ashes of the Millerite camp.

If history is any indication

Christians have sought the end of the world for the last 2000 years, and it shows no signs of slowing down soon. If history is an indication you can rest easy; every generation has their “end of times” scares that captivate the ignorant masses. Even in my own life-span of 24 years I have went through Y2K, 2012, and the prepper movement that has been going on heavily for the last decade.  People are psychologically hardwired to believe these things – regardless of the religious reinforcements on top of the underlying cognition.

Shmuel Lissek, who is a neuroscientist that studies the fear system at the University of Minnesota, believes that at its heart, the concept of doomsday evokes an innate and ancient bias in most mammals. “The initial response to any hint of alarm is fear. This is the architecture with which we’re built,” Lissek says. Over evolutionary history, organisms with a better-safe-than-sorry approach survive. This mechanism has had consequences for both the body and brain, where the fast-acting amygdala can activate a fearful stress response before “higher” cortical areas have a chance to assess the situation and respond more rationally.

When will Christians today accept the fact that not only is the return improbable given the 23 elements that we are provided to denote the approaching end time; most of these elements are simply not current to world events;   Acts was aware of the problem of the non-return of Jesus; Acts 1 starts out with the ascension of Jesus with the disciples asking “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” – Luke-Acts being much later in date then Pauline epistles, and the preaching of the return that had been going on for 20-50 years depending on how late you date Acts. The writer here has to start the book off answering the first most common question in Christianity, why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? Now 2000 years later Christians are still asking the same redundant question, quoting the same scriptures, inventing new theological doctrines to keep the “second coming” can going down the road as popular as ever. Everyone else can lose sleep waiting for Freddy Kruger, I mean Jesus, but I will keep living, laughing, and mocking all the same 🙂


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