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What did Paul believe about Christ's return?

Discussion in 'Eschatology - Endtimes & Prophecy Forum' started by WesleyJohn, Sep 17, 2003.

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  1. WesleyJohn

    WesleyJohn Contributor

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    Specifically, I have one question.

    Did Paul believe that Christ would return during his lifetime?

    While it is generally accepted that many Christians believed Christ would return during their lifetime, it is slightly more unclear as to what Paul believed.

    The three options to the poll are:

    1) He consistently believed and taught that Christ would return during his lifetime.

    2) He consistently believed and taught that Christ would return, but not neccessarily during his lifetime.

    3) There is some sort of a progression in Paul's teaching, indicating that he may have believed it once, but moved away from that belief.

    Please supply verses to support your claim.
     
  2. WesleyJohn

    WesleyJohn Contributor

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    Oops...I meant to make a poll. Is there any way a poll can be made after the fact?
     
  3. Patmosman_sga

    Patmosman_sga New Member

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    Paul was not obsessed with the second coming in the same way many are today. That is a presupposition which is read back into the text by modern readers. From Paul's perspective, Christ's resurrection insured that his hope for the future was not a vain hope. Whether or not "the end" came in his lifetime was irrelevant. As far as Paul was concerned, if he was alive in Christ and Christ was alive in him, he was guaranteed a share in the resurrection, whenever it might come to completion.

    When Paul refers to "the coming of the Lord" and "the day of the Lord," he usually does so in the context of encouragement to those who are having trouble seeing the big picture because their present situation seems bleak or those who have become complacent because they have been told (erroneously) that the "day" has come and they have missed it.
     
  4. Justme

    Justme Senior Veteran

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    Hi,

    Here is one verse that shows Paul felt he or some he was writing to would be alive at the coming. (parousia)

    1 Thess 4
    15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

    Paul must have been aware of the "all these things must happen in this generation" statement that Jesus made. Unless Jesus was pointing to a 'chart of future life' all listening to that statement would assume they would be in THIS generation wouldn't they?

    Actually for Paul to accurately preach the gospel and because Paul was an inspired writer of the word of God, Paul had to KNOW what generation Jesus was talking about or else Paul was given statements from God as Paul wrote them or some such thing.

    Justme
     
  5. Patmosman_sga

    Patmosman_sga New Member

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    Again, it is a modern presupposition read back into Scripture which creates the impression that Paul and other early Christians were expecting something along the lines of the consummation of history or the end of the space/time universe to happen within their lifetime. What they were expecting was the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction of the fall of Jerusalem and their vindication as the true Israel of God. This indeed happened some 40 years (one generation) after Jesus' initial prediction (which was really a reiteration of what Daniel had prophesied several centuries earlier).

    How near are we now to the Lord's return? As near as the next Lord's Day. Whenever God's people gather in his name to worship and recount, remember, and re-live the events of Jesus' suffering, death, and resurrection, Jesus is there in their midst and, with him, the great cloud of witnesses: the faithful saints who have gone before us and now shine in eternal glory.
     
  6. Justme

    Justme Senior Veteran

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    HI,

    You wrote:

    .......early Christians were expecting something along the lines of the consummation of history or the end of the space/time universe to happen within their lifetime. What they were expecting was the fulfillment of Jesus' prediction of the fall of Jerusalem and their vindication as the true Israel of God.
    *******************

    The end of space/time...history...Yes, they apparently did think along those lines as shown here in Hebrews 9:

    26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

    Whoever the writer of Hebrews was ties the end of the world into the time of the crucifixion.

    Justme
     
  7. pmh1nic

    pmh1nic New Member

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    I agree with Patmosman_sga that Paul may not have been so concerned with the timing but that whenever Christ returned we would be ready to meet Him and not "be ashamed at His coming."

    Whether it was "resurrection from the dead" (Phil 3:11) or "alive and remain" (1 Thess 4:17) Paul wanted to be found "in Him." Off course Paul realized when he wrote 2 Timothy that Christ wasn't going to return in his lifetime. But he preached to us the blessed hope and encouraged us with "I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it."

    I think it's only natural to believe/hope that yours is the generation, either in Paul's day or today, especially at the beginning of your Christian walk. As your time on that journey lengthens I think you begin to have less concern with the when versus the desire to live each day to some extent as if it were going to be your last.
     
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