Many Christians claim that the
total cancellation of the law of Moses after the departure
of Jesus (pbuh), which Jesus (pbuh) himself practiced faithfully
and fully throughout his lifetime, was warranted because they
are in "grace" and awaiting the second coming
of Jesus (pbuh) which will come any second now and establish the
kingdom of God in great glory and power. Rather than argue the
issue of grace and whether Jesus (pbuh) himself ever preached
such a concept, we will instead present the following verses with
regard to WHEN Jesus' second coming is supposed to occur. They
are self explanatory but this has not prevented some from inventing
new abstract meanings for them:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.."
How many generations have passed since?
"But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, that THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things be done."
How many generations have passed now?
"And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall NOT HAVE GONE OVER THE CITIES OF ISRAEL, till the Son of man be come."
They have not only gone over all of the cities of
Israel, but have dispersed throughout all of the Earth and we
are still waiting.
"For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, THERE BE SOME STANDING HERE, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
Are there any of those who were standing there who
are alive to this day? Is this not further proof of mankind's
tendency to put words in the mouth of Jesus (pbuh) which he never
(also see: Revelations 3:11, Rev. 22:7, Rev. 22:10,
James 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17,...etc.)
Regarding the verse of Mark, Tom Harpur says:
"Nevertheless, he (Jesus) apparently expected this cataclysmic event to occur very soon - in fact, during the lifetime of some of his followers"
For Christ's Sake, pp.37.
At first, the Christian community expected an imminent
return of Christ. We are told that during the first century AD,
the Christian community looked forward to the imminent return
of Christ in glory and the establishment of the Kingdom. This
hope carried on in the second century. When the second coming
failed to occur, the church organized itself as a permanent institution
under the leadership of its bishops.
This, however, did not stop the predictions of "the second coming." Some of the Christian sects that continue to preach this imminent second coming are the Seventh-Day Adventists, the Christadelphians, the Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Plymouth Brethren. For example, the "Adventists" believed that the second coming of Christ is imminent. They were taught this by the preaching of William Miller (1782-1849). On the basis of his study of the books of Daniel and Revelation, Miller predicted that March 21, 1844 was the precise date when Christ would return to earth. When this day came and went without the promised appearance of Christ, Miller changed his prediction to October 22, 1844. This time there was no doubt. On October 22, 1844, Christ would indeed return in glory and the Earth would be cleansed by fire, ushering in the millennium (a 1,000-year reign of righteousness and peace before the Last Judgment). When the designated date again passed without event, many believers drifted away.
The faithful remnant of Millers followers stood by
him despite the fact that both of his prediction never materialized.
The most significant of them are the Seventh-Day Adventists and
the Advent Christian Church. The most noteworthy leader of the
Seventh-Day Adventists was Ellen G. White (1827-1915) who shifted
their emphasis to health reform. To this day, they are believed
to number over 800,000 members.
Muslims too believe in the second coming of Jesus (pbuh). However, Muslims are told that Jesus (pbuh) was not forsaken by God to the Jews to be killed, rather, he was raised by God and it was made to appear to those present that he was crucified (Jesus' apostle Barnabas tells us that it was Judas the traitor who was taken to be crucified). Muslims are also told that he will not return to earth until just before the end of time, and not that he will return before the death of his own generation, as stated above.
Muslim-SA@acsu.buffalo.edu Last modified: Mon Nov 18 12:10:11 EST 1996