Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Thu Oct 16 2008 - 13:23:26 EDT

Although some of the quotes in Ed's list suggest a return within the
lifetime of the disciples (there are, however, well-thought-out
arguments to the contrary), many are being misinterpreted to be
invoked about giving a time to Christ's return, in particular all the
ones that merely assert that the time of writing is in the last times.
 Being in the last times does not mean that Christ will definitely
return within a century, though it probably suggests that it is a
viable possibility.

As far as I know, the only passage that could legitimately be taken as
a specific prediction of the second coming within the disciples'
lifetime is the statement in the Olivet Discourse (parallels in
different gospels) in which Jesus says that these things will take
place within the present generation. Other parts of the Olivet
discourse evidently refer to the fall of Jerusalem, but such imagery
was freely applied to multiple incidents-in fact, it quotes from
Daniel what evidently referred originally to the desecration under
Antiochus Epimanes (as he was called when out of earshot). The end of
John specifically corrects a misunderstood statement taken as
suggesting that John would live until the second coming. Note,
however, that a) the mentioned coming of the Son of Man of a cloud is
not said to be a return to earth and b) Jesus seems to talk about two
things-a soon to happen destruction of Jerusalem and another event for
which no one knows the day and hour. The disciples were looking for
an ultimate triumph without the crucifixion, and so had their
eschatological timetable seriously confused. Surely the destruction
of the temple would be part of the very end! But no, it was not.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Thu Oct 16 13:24:07 2008

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