Do Christians believe that the Second Coming is imminent?

I was chatting with a Christian on IRC today who told me that she believes that Jesus’ return is imminent.

Upon asking why, she said that the generation that saw the taking of Jerusalem will also see Jesus’ return. She cited a reference from the bible:

That was from NIV:

Earlier on in the chapter, it talks about the taking of Jerusalem as a event that will precede Jesus’ return.

This particular Christian claims that this happenned in 1967 when the Jews took Jerusalem as their own.

As mentioned earlier, the chapter then goes on to talk about Jesus returning as well.

Now, back to the previous quote which says:

“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened”.

This was interpretted as meaning that not everyone who saw the taking of Jerusalem in ‘67 will die before Jesus’ return, in which all Christians will rise to Heaven.

Assuming no one alive in '67 lives to be (let’s be generous) 150 years of age, this would mean Jesus must return before the year 2117?

The Christian I was talking to seemed fairly convinced that this was going to happen, and she told me this was a common view held amongst most mainstream Christians.

My question:

Is this a common belief held amongst most mainstream Chtistians?

It’s not a common belief among mainstream Christians.

Some Christians believe it, some Christians believe it’s metaphorical, some Christians interpret the bible literally, but a different way.

Some of each group will claim those who aren’t in their group aren’t Christians. Others will.

Other than that, I think this is more a great debate than a GQ.

Some do; most don’t.

Perhaps the best stance is to paraphrase Jesus: “Nobody knows except the Father when the Master will return. Therefore I say to you: Be ready!”

As a fun metaphor related to the subject, allow me to point out that the oldest known Eucharistic liturgy is the Apostolic Liturgy of Hippolytus, dating from no later than 110 AD and perhaps much earlier. It’s been adapted by the Episcopal Church into Eucharistic Prayer B (pp. 367ff, BCP). Allow me to quote a brief line from it:

We give you thanks…above all for sending Jesus your Son. For in these last days you sent Him to be incarnate…"

In short, from the day Mary conceived Him until now is seen as part of the Last Days – and we’ve continued to use that line, without irony, for nearly 2000 years.

The Ice Cream Machine area over on the Pizza Parlor deals with eschatology and who expects what when and why they expect it. (It gets a bit bizarre for most folks in there; the “ice cream” thing is a sort of extension of the pizza=spiritual nourishment metaphor of the area, with this area being dessert=eschatology.)

God, who is eternal and outside of time, has said that it will be “soon.”
If you can tell with precision when “soon” is, you’re ahead of us.

I understand that God likes to speak cryptically, but the key lies in the quote I mentioned in the OP:

“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

So if Christians accept the taking of Jerusalem as the one mentioned in Luke, why don’t they believe that He will soon be coming back to earth?

One organization which appears to bank heavily upon an imminent Second Coming is the Asssemblies of God. Notable members of that organization include Pat Robertson, former American Secretary of the Interior James Watt, and current American Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Watt took a lot of flak for selling off American public lands. He was not shy about stating his view that it was man’s duty to “subdue the earth” as directed by the Scriptures, and on at least one occasion (in 1981) he purportedly speculated before a Congressional committee that a Second Coming was imminent.

In 1999 Ashcroft gave a notorious speech to Bob Jones University in which he incorrectly stated that a common slogan during the American Revolution was “we have no King but Jesus.” He repeated the error in answer to a question from Sen. Arlen Spector during one of his confirmation hearings on January 17, 2001.

It turns out that this slogan actually goes back to the English Civil War. More particularly, it is attributed to the Fifth Monarchy Men, a sect which fervently believed in an imminent Second Coming. This leads one to wonder why Mr. Ashcroft is (vaguely) familiar with that group…

Polycarp’s paraphrase…

"Perhaps the best stance is to paraphrase Jesus: “Nobody knows except the Father when the Master will return. Therefore I say to you: Be ready!”

New International Version…

“You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” - Luke 12:40

So, whatever translation you use, be it Polycarp or NIV, you can rest assured if anyone tells you they know exactly when Christ is returning, they’re a little misguided.

Jesus is coming - quick, look busy!

Some would say that “this generation” refers to the generation hearing these words when they were first spoken. Many who met Jesus when he was walking on Earth expected to see the second coming during their lifetimes.

Throughout the centuries, there have been any number of believers who were sure that they knew when Jesus would return, when the rapture would occur, when the world would end, etc. So far they have all been wrong. The Bible is a great work of spiritual truth and learning, but it hasn’t been worth a horse’s patoot for predicting the future.

Like Gary T said.

Jerusalem has been beseiged a number of times. The most notable one (during J’s contemporaries’ lifetimes) was when Rome trashed the Second Temple during the 1st century AD. But let’s not forget about the Crusades. Our own era is just the latest. So, yes, some fundamentalists do believe that the passage you quoted means that J is coming back this century. But do most Christians? I don’t think so. But on the other hand, many generations of Christians have thought that their generation was the last. Yet here we are.

All I know is that he’s coming soon :smiley:

christians have believed jesus is coming back soon for the last two thousand years, and they will contiue beleiving it for the next two thousand.

Just a “hear, hear” to what some of the other posters have said.

The Bible specifically says that the time Christ will return is unknown and will be sudden. Some Christians take this as an admonishment to live your life as if He will return today.


What Im not sure about, is if He comes back, how would we know & what would we do?

Yeah, Dreamer, but define “soon”!! :smiley:

May I point out that Jerusalem was taken many times in the past?
For instance by the Romans from the Jews, by the Arabs from the Byzantines, by the crusaders from the Arabs, by the Mameluks from the crusaders, by the Turks from the Mameluks, by the British from the Turks?

So, what would make 1967 that special?

Anyway, only a tiny minority of christians hold this belief.

Simple answer is: some Christians do, some don’t. My attitude is, the end will come when it suits God, and He hasn’t seen fit to let me know when that is.

I don’t have my Bible in front of me, but I’m pretty sure that in the passage cited by Polycarp, Jesus said “As for the day and the hour, no man knows, nor even the SOn, but only the Father.” Got that? JESUS HIMSELF said that HE didn’t know when the end would be.

Now, if Jesus himself didn’t know, it’s a little presumptuous for any Christian to think he’s smarter than Jesus!

I was brought up as a Christian and spent a lot of time reading the new testament. Well, I’m no theologian and I was just reading English translations of very old sources that have been filtered many times… but it seemed to me plain as a pikestaff that the characters in the NT believed - in fact were positive - that the Second Coming was imminent, and due to happen in their lifetimes.

John 5:25: “The hour is coming, and now is,when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live”.
Mark 13:30-31 “Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done. Heaven and Earth shall pass away: but my words shjall not pass away”.
Matt 16:28 “Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom”.
Mark 9:1 “Some of them that stand here which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power”.

In my view, the fact that this ‘soon’ event hasn’t happened for 2000 years is good enough for me to conclude that it ain’t gonna happen at all. I mean, I’m as patient as the next man, but… two thousand years? And still waiting? Sorry, but I think JC told some fibs.

Of course, if you’re still afflicted with the religion virus, then you can always just shrug and say “It will happen, it will happen” and so on, forever. To state that an event will happen at an undefined point in the future is unfalsifiable, hence equivalent to saying nothing at all.

This, of course, implies that it has already happened and we missed it.

Either that, or some of them that were standing there were immortals, possibly Vampires :eek: