Recently we discussed the meaning of Jesus’ words “this generation” in Matthew 24:34 here. Are there more texts in the Greek Scriptures that would seem to indicate that the end, conclusion of the system of things, coming of Jesus etc. would happen in the first century?
I have made a partial list of a few of the texts that I have found that would convey a sense of imminence for those first century Christians.
Romans 13:11,12 – ” Besides this, knowing the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near”
Romans 16:20 – “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Therefore don’t judge anything prematurely, before the Lord comes…”
1 Corinthians 5:5 – “turn that one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 7:29 – “And I say this, brothers: the time is limited…” For whom was the time limited? For us here in the 21st century? or the Christians back then?
1 Corinthians 7:31 – “…For this world in its current form is passing away.”
1 Corinthians 10:11 – “Now these things happened to them as examples, and they were written as a warning to us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.” The end of the ages arrived when the first century Christians were alive.
Philippians 1:9,10 – “And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, 10 so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ” Paul obviously thought and wrote under inspiration that many of the Philippians would be alive when “the day of Christ” arrived.
Philippians 4:5 – “Let your graciousness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.”
1 Thess. 2:19,20 – ” For who is our hope, or joy, or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? Is it not you?” Paul expected this congregation of Thessalonians to still exist and be active when Jesus came.
1 Thess. 4:15 – “For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep.” Paul believed his readers and possibly himself would be alive for the Lord’s coming.
1 Timothy 6:13,14 – “… I charge you 14 to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” Paul thought Timothy would see the “appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Hebrews 1:2 – ” In these last days, He has spoken to us by [His] Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things and through whom He made the universe.”
Hebrews 9:26 – “…But now He has appeared one time, at the end of the ages, for the removal of sin by the sacrifice of Himself”
James 5:8 – “You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the Lord’s coming is near.”
James 5:9 – ” Brothers, do not complain about one another, so that you will not be judged. Look, the judge stands at the door!”
1 Peter 1:5-8 – “who are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ”
1 Peter 1:13 – “Therefore, get your minds ready for action, being self-disciplined, and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. ” Peter under inspiration said his original readers in the 1rst century would be brought grace at the “revelation of Jesus Christ”.
1 Peter 1:20 – “He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the times for you”
1 Peter 2:12 – “Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do evil, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation.” The non-believers would glorify God on the day of his visitation because of these 1rst century Christians.
1 Peter 4:7 – “Now the end of all things is near; therefore, be clear-headed and disciplined for prayer”
1 Peter 4:17 – “For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?” That time for that judgement had come in the 1rst century.
1 Peter 5:1 – ” Therefore, as a fellow elder and witness to the sufferings of the Messiah, and also a participant in the glory about to be revealed…”
1 John 2:18 – ” Children, it is the last hour. And as you have heard, “Antichrist is coming,” even now many antichrists have come. We know from this that it is the last hour. ” When John wrote his letter (possibly before 70 A.D.) it was the last hour.
Many have dated the writing of the book of Revelation to a few years before the close of the first century. However there is a number of reasons to suspect it was written before the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D. Presenting evidence for the earlier dating of Revelation is beyond the scope of this article but you can do a search online and find several articles that deal with this topic. A short article can be found here.
Notice how many times Revelation mentions the imminent coming of Jesus.
Revelation 1:1 – “The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His slaves what must quickly take place…”
Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is the one who reads and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near!”
Revelation 2:16 – “Therefore repent! Otherwise, I will come to you quickly and fight against them with the sword of My mouth.”
Revelation 3:11 – “I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.”
Revelation 22:6,7 – “Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent His angel to show His servants what must quickly take place.” 7 “Look, I am coming quickly! Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book.”
Revelation 22:12 – ” “Look! I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me to repay each person according to what he has done.”
Revelation 22:20 – “He who testifies about these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!”
Revelation 22:10 – ” He also said to me, “Don’t seal the prophetic words of this book, because the time is near.” Compare this with Daniel 12:4 – “”But you, Daniel, keep these words secret and seal the book until the time of the end. Many will roam about, and knowledge will increase.”
Also let’s compare Daniel 8:26 – ” The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. Now you must seal up the vision because it refers to many days [in the future].” So Daniel is told to seal up the book because these things were to take place a few hundred years in the future. But John is told to not seal the book because the time was near. Logic would dictate that the fulfillment must have happened sooner than the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies.
If you were a Christian living in the first century before 70 A.D., what would you have thought? What would have been the only conclusion you could have come to about Jesus’ coming? That his coming was imminent and would likely happen in your lifetime. We must remember that these weren’t simply idle conjectures that the bible writers were throwing around. They were under inspiration. Therefore, the most logical conclusion which I have been forced to come to is that Jesus did come in the first century, in 70 A.D. to be precise.