By John M. Court
Plague, earthquake and flame: principles approximately divinely-inspired catastrophe and prophecies of doom have a permanent position within the historical past of Christian notion. for hundreds of years women and men have made arrangements for the upcoming finish of the realm, and for the thousand yr reign of Christ and his saints. encouraged largely through the startling texts of the e-book of Revelation, Christianity has a wealthy and sundry culture of watching for the purifying fires of Armageddon. yet what do routine motifs just like the Rapture, pestilence, biblical prophecy and the construction of the recent Jerusalem quite upload as much as? and the way have interpretations of those styles differed from century to century? Charting a gradual direction among the feverish predictions of early Christian heretics just like the Montanists, and the febrile outpourings of modern day millennialists corresponding to the department Davidians and Christian Zionists in the United States, John M. courtroom explores the continuities and ameliorations among their violent visions of cataclysm. His background contains an incisive research of such pursuits and figures because the Levellers and Diggers, James Jezreel and his Trumpeters, Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, cargo-cults and drug cultures. Embracing thousand years of excessive and fiery admonition, Approaching the Apocalypse deals scholars of faith, heritage and politics the definitive guide to Doomsday.
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Extra info for Approaching the apocalypse : a short history of Christian millenarianism
The notion of the thousand years may depend upon a way of interpreting the seven days of Creation within Jewish thought. The opening chapter of Genesis, with its account of the timescale of Creation, is structured in terms of the days of the week, perhaps influenced originally by the Babylonian calendar and refined in accordance with Jewish temple liturgy. Creation (or the ‘first things’) then becomes a model for the expectation of the End (the ‘last things’) in a cyclic world view. The days of Creation are taken by some as a forecast of a cosmic World Week of history, within which each day is calculated to represent a thousand years.
It has a living and strongly spiritualised relevance as part of the Christian message in Luke’s day. There is still an eager and earnest expectation of the fulfilment of God’s promises and the completion of the divine plan, but the urgency and the imminence have been transformed by the establishment of an extended sequence of time in which particular events of world history can (and must) be included. 116 This text reveals particular perspectives among some early Christians about the ideas of resurrection from the dead and the Second Coming of Christ.
Many early Christians will have regarded this resurrection and judgement as an imminent event. The immediacy of such an expectation would have proved a reassurance in periods of trial and persecution, brought about by the enemies of the Christian communities. Such suffering must have been infinitely easier to endure, when the prospect of an imminent millennial reward provided recompense. A typical interpretation of this chain of prophecy anchored to the book of Revelation, in terms of the patterns of world history, is the following (from an anonymous text headed ‘An eye for the future’ that was circulated as unsolicited mail in spring 2002): The 1260-year period equals ‘three and a half times’ (Rev.
Approaching the apocalypse : a short history of Christian millenarianism by John M. Court