Early Christians & The End Of The World


It’s logical that the people of the generation of Jesus thought the end of the world was coming within their lifetimes.

There is a video here which lists several NT passages that indicate that the followers of Jesus expected him to return in their lifetime, many of which don’t hinge on how “generation” is defined.

… this generation shall not pass…

Matthew 24:34
Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.

Mark 13:30
Amen I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, until all these things be done.

Luke 21:32
Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away, till all things be fulfilled.

Matthew 23:36
Amen I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

… shall not taste death…

Matthew 16:28
Amen I say to you, there are some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Mark 9:1
And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Luke 9:27
But I tell you of a truth: There are some standing here that shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God.

Caiphas, the high priest, shall see the return of Jesus in the clouds.

Matthew 26:64
Jesus saith to him: Thou hast said it. Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

Mark 14:62
And Jesus said to him: I am. And you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming with the clouds of heaven.

(continued in next post)


Individual examples

Matthew 10:23
And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.
(The author of the video points out that with a such a small area as Israel, that going to each city could be done very quickly.)

1 Corinthians 7:29
This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none;

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
Then we who are alive, who are left, shall be taken up together with them in the clouds to meet Christ, into the air, and so shall we be always with the Lord. Wherefore, comfort ye one another with these words.

1 Peter 4:7
But the end of all is at hand. Be prudent therefore, and watch in prayers.

James 5:8-9
Be you therefore also patient, and strengthen your hearts: for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Grudge not, brethren, one against another, that you may not be judged. Behold the judge standeth before the door.

This may be a reference to this passage in Mark 13:29
So you also when you shall see these things come to pass, know ye that it is very nigh, even at the doors.

Assuaging fears that Jesus has not returned
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord delayeth not his promise, as some imagine, but dealeth patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.

The author of the video also pointed out that the Bible says to ignore anyone whose prophecy does not come true, as it’s not from God:
Deuteronomy 18:22
Thou shalt have this sign: Whatsoever that same prophet foretelleth in the name of the Lord, and it cometh not to pass: that thing the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath forged it by the pride of his mind: and therefore thou shalt not fear him.

If anyone is interested in seeing the whole series, here’s part 1 which is a summary of the argument. Part 2 is the one I linked to above. Part 3 is here. Part 4, which includes arguments against preterism, is here . The final part, which argues against futurism as well as against defining “generation” as “people” or “nation” is here.


Maybe if you considered the verses before the passage of 2nd Peter you mentioned, about how a day to God is a thousand years to us, it would be clear that soon to God is a long time to us.


Unfortunately the passage regarding a day being like a thousand years is a complete non sequitur. The passages that I’ve quoted are pointing out that Jesus’ return (and the end of the world considering the signs Jesus gives before his return) would happen before a point in time in which all those listening would be dead.

That point in time has passed. All those that heard those words are dead.

Matthew 24:29 says certain signs would appear after the times of distress and soon before his arrival:

Immediately after the distress of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken

None of those events occurred.

Matthew 24:30 says that there will be the sign of the Son of Man in heaven that all the people will see and that all the people will mourn.

Those events also did not occur.

Matthew 24:34 has Jesus saying the generation (the people he was speaking to) will not pass away until all the events occur.

The generation did pass away yet none of those events occurred. The Olivet Discourse is Jesus telling them the end of the world would happen within their lifetimes, and thus it is a failed prophecy. How you play with the day/1000 years line has absolutely, positively no bearing on these facts.


We are still in that generation. The generation Christ is speaking of is the generation of the Church.


Think about what you’re saying. You’re defining “generation” as the generation of the Church. When does that generation end? When Jesus arrives.

Now let’s put it all together. Jesus will arrive when Jesus arrives. That’s not a prophecy, but a tautology. If I predict that Kim Jung-Un will no longer be leader of North Korea after the age of Kim Jung-Un (meaning after he’s no longer in power) then I can’t be wrong whether it’s tomorrow or 50 years from now. But at least such a term makes sense. Futurists who abuse and misuse the term “generation” to explain away the failed prophecy undercut the value of any such prophecy.

Beyond that I’ve provided numerous other passages which don’t use the term generation, but do tell of an impending return in the clouds that the people he was speaking to would see. Caiphas would see it. Some of the people there would not taste death before seeing it. If there were go to the next town after being persecuted in one they would see it before they ran out of towns.

No, to explain away all of these passages requires more than a disregard for language concerning the word generation. The intent of all of the passages is clear. At least you and I agree that the events prophesized in The Olivet Discourse have not occurred.


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