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More on the Second Coming

Six o'clock has now passed and we are still here, so we can breathe again. In this morning's Thought for the Day the Rev. Joel Edwards rejected the attempts of biblical numerologists to extract dates for the end of the world from scripture. Yes, he said, the Second Coming is indeed central to the New Testament but we don't know when it will be or what form it will take. In the meantime, we are exhorted to work for a better world and to be found at our post, doing our duty when the day comes.

Well, this is obviously a saner way of thinking about these questions, but it ignores the fact that Jesus was, in fact, an apocalypticist who expected the end of the world either in his own lifetime or very soon afterwards. That this is so is obvious to anyone who reads the texts without preconceptions. I remember puzzling over it as a boy during my Catholic upbringing. For a scholarly but readable discussion of this, see Bart D. Ehrman's Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.


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