Apocalypse

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The apocalypse is the main Christian perspective of the end of the world, as foretold in the Book of Revelation. The belief is popular among Evangelical Christian denominations; however, many other religions contain prophecies about the imminent end of the world. Some cults set specific dates but so far have been proved wrong. The study of the end of the world generally is called eschatology. The event may be preceded by the tribulation and the rapture. The end of the world is expected to be followed by judgement day or the Messianic Age. The Book of Revelation predicts the final battle between God and the antichrist. Revelation says this present world will pass away and God will create a new heaven and a new earth, and this new heaven will last eternally.

Contents

Christian Predictions

The end of the world has been predicted so many times that it is beyond the scope of this article to state them all. A selection of notable predictions is cited here.

Biblical Old Testament

TODO

Biblical New Testament

There are many other references to the second coming of Jesus, usually within a lifetime. [1]

"And ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

— Mark 14:62

"Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power."

— Mark 9:1

Apologists argue this refers to the foundation of the Church, the Transfiguration, or that "this generation" refers to "this racial group" [2] but these interpretations do not seem to be supported by the New Testament. Other apologists, such as C.S. Lewis, simply accept Jesus was mistaken. [2]

Jehovah's Witnesses

Jehovah's Witnesses have made numerous false predictions of the end of the world. The response to these failures has been repeated revisions of chronology and expectations, as well as the claim that Jesus had returned but was invisible. [3]

Other Cults

TODO

Theological positions

Sapiential

A process of humanity becoming more like Jesus through time with no specific end. Christians are expected to participate in this process.

Dispensational

Primarily literalist interpretation of scripture, but allowing for some allegorical meaning, a complex system involving chosen people, the Second Coming of Christ, rapture, a great tribulation, Armageddon and the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem. Christ will then reign for a thousand years and after a final judgment there will be a new heaven and earth. This system was created by John Nelson Darby and the Brethren Movement in the 19th century. The term “dispensation” refers to the divine order, the sections of Biblical history that have been defined by changes to the divine code. Depending on the denomination, there are from 3 to 8 ranges. Disagreements over where the boundaries lie can lead to some dispensationalists calling other dispensationalists “hyper-dispensationalists”.

Hyper Dispensational

Includes all of the Dispensational beliefs and adds the claim that there are two gospels, one of Peter one of Paul, and that Paul created the doctrine of substitutionary atonement. A hyper-dispensationalist would most likely define the beginning of the Christian Church in Acts 9 or later rather than at Pentecost.

Progressive Dispensational

Accepts many of the basic tenants of dispensationalism, but takes a more inclusive view of the Old Testament, seeing the New Testament not as a break with the old but as a continuation of God’s work.

Other

  • Futurist: Some prophecies may have been fulfilled, but most have not. This view is combined with others.
  • Historicist: Attempts to link prophecies in the Bible to events throughout history and use them to predict the end times.
  • Idealist: Prophecies are symbolic of the ongoing struggle between the forces of good and evil.
  • Orthodox Preterist (Partial Preterist): Most of the prophecies of the Bible have already occurred, either in 70 CE or during the time of the Emperor Nero. There will still be a second coming.
  • Full Preterist: Includes the Orthodox Preterist beliefs and that the second coming was a symbolic event. The judgment of Jerusalem occurred when the temple was destroyed in 70 CE.
  • Amillennial
  • Pan-millennial
  • Post-millenial
  • Post-tribulation Rapture
  • Pre-tribulation Rapture
  • Mid-tribulation Rapture
  • Pre-wrath Rapture
  • None of the above: eschatology is not a defining element of Christianity.

Counter arguments

There is no source that has established a reliable records of prophesy. Mainstream science accepts that the Earth may be destroyed by natural processes but this is not expected to occur for billions of years.

If God planned for this world to eventually be replaced by an eternal heaven and hell, we did he not create that in the first place?

References

  1. Skeptic's Annotated Bible, What the Bible says about the End of the World [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 [2]
  3. Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses, wikipedia

See Also

External links

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