Yes, imminence permeates the Gospels, the authentic Pauline epistles, and Revelation. Your presentation clearly presents the perspective of early Christian expectation as seen in the canonical documents. In retrospect, we can see that the expectation was a dashed hope; it was through and through a failed prophecy.
Historicism was a method of interpretation meant to rescue the failure of prophecy by casting fulfillment into far off predictions of epochs in Western civilization unfolding throughout identifiable historical events leading to a far off end of all things. The really cool part is that it all culminates in OUR time (mid-nineteenth century) oh well. As pointed out, this can only be done by ignoring the clear intent of the text. It also requires imposing the concept of deterministic foreknowledge of details of distant future events, something not required by a preterist understanding; that is, the writers simply expected the end to occur very very soon…and were mistaken. That should be the end of the story except those who believe in inspiration and certainty cannot accept that reality.
Being in on a fantastical ability to tell the future is just too enticing to reject…
But reality shows the futility of predicting the future.
The Millerite expectation was a bust.
The Adventist predictions have been a failure for most of two centuries.
I’ll hazard a prediction; none of the events forecast in SDA eschatology will occur. We’ll see if my predictive gifts are more accurate.
In reality, distinguishing between between fiction and nonfiction is simple.
Nonfiction writers talk about things that really happen to real people.
Fiction writers add fantastic elements to their stories that give them away as being obviously unreal and not true. Surviving an open flame unscathed falls into this category.
Thus, any biblically-based belief, or presupposed foreknowledge of future events, is essentially fictitious as the stories are replete with unreal aspects and can be dismissed as having no more predictive value than studying tea leaves or reading lines in people’s palms.
IOW, @bartwillruth ’s “prediction” above is a decidedly safe bet, current events in the Middle East notwithstanding.
Taking a more philosophical view of Revelation, one could say history repeats itself in recurrent themes. Every generation has a bad actor, and innocents that suffer under him. In “Revelation”, the beast is un-named, but each generation can put a name to it. For Christians, it is always the Anti-Christ; but in each generation, he survives to rule again.
If we were to step out of the compartmentalized view of scripture, and follow the themes, rather than historical events, there can a case be made that ultimately where it all “hangs together”.
The one detail that should give us pause, is Matt. 24; Mk.13. Here we supposedly have the events of “Revelation” placed in words from Jesus. The one factor that makes that scenario different, is the ominous statement that if it weren’t for Christ’s (Son of Man) return, no flesh would remain. As history churns out one “beast” after another, it is only our nuclear generation that stands in danger of being totally wiped out. Ans today, we can see the real possibility of that.
We struggle against literalism and date setting, but then turn around and try to make the book of Revelation, filled with symbolics beasts agree with another ancient book, that has goats and horns flying around. The battle between literalism and the larger picture ends up being a discussion on the level of the Abbot and Costello’s skit, “Who’s on First”.
As I’ve said before, there is no “us” if you’re counting me.
IOW, I don’t know how you let it affect you, or how your reading affects it, but the Bible does not give me pause as I don’t take any of it literally.
Sure, it did when I was a kid and everyone in my sphere of influence insisted that every word of it was true.
But knowing now that it’s all fiction, and that not one of its predictions has ever come true except as people read it with what they claim is 20/20 hindsight and reinterpret history’s facts fit their preferred narrative, I find the stories much less intimidating and the purported prophecies much more difficult to take seriously.
I don’t think I was responding to your post specifically. " Spectrum" is some derivative of the SDA community; and I’m posting here, in a discussion on issues that have been on my plate for years, so I identified with others interested in the same issues - hence the “us”. Beyond that, this was an editorial “us”.
Ahhh, the Harry Potter test. Read the Bible and see how far you get before you realize that you are reading fantasy literature in the same way that you discern the same thing when you read Harry Potter.
Jesus comes for the individual while they are alive. People choose their second coming by accepting or utterly rejecting the love and authority of Christ in their lives. No need to predict the future. Likewise damnation comes for the individual while they are alive as well.
“Fiction writers add fantastic elements to their stories that give them away as being obviously unreal and not true. Surviving an open flame unscathed falls into this category”
Have you ever heard of the “fire walkers” or seen them in action? Surviving an open flame is the usual…
I’ve never seen firewalkers in person nor a human survive being roasted in an oven with Jesus and his pals as supposedly happened with Daniel.
I have seen videos of people walking on hot coals on TV and I understand the physics of that-if and when it works-but that’s nothing similar to the supernatural miracles attributed to Daniel.
BTW, and apropos of nothing, here’s my latest favorite quote about the god of the Bible:
“If there is a God, He will have to beg my forgiveness.” ~ carved on the walls of a concentration camp cell during WWII by a Jewish prisoner.
(Oh, if you do have more recent evidence for any of the miracles described in the Bible, please provide a link to the video or a website as I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see if it’s something that can be reproduced in a more modern setting and under controlled circumstances….)
I have enjoyed your research. As you confront the data in the Pauline epistles, I would hope that you would not fall into the fallacy of reading the perspective of the later gospels back into Paul who seemed to be entirely ignorant of the “events” introduced decades later by the Gospel of Mark. Specifically, I would encourage you to recognize that Paul never ever used phrases such as “second coming”, “coming again”, “returning”, etc. Instead, he only wrote of him soon to appear, as though it were the first appearance soon to come which was anticipated. Failed prophecies as it turned out…
Right along with Revelation, I would include Genesis as fictional, allegorical, or poetical literature. Genesis reaches WAY back into oral story-telling times, but perhaps nobody in the 19th century was able to get past a culture when biblical literalism was paramount, hence a disappointed and disillusioned William Miller. But, those books are still interesting to me (I love fantastical stories) and to glean what wisdom I can for my life today.
So the Adventist’s 1844 ‘non-event” was actually the Second Great Disappointment?
And speaking of foreknowledge, if the god of the Bible really does exist and knows what’s gonna happen in the future, then shouldn’t he be considered exponentially more monstrous than merely being a “loving” creator who stands by and allows horrific things to happen?
In fact, shouldn’t he be eternally reviled for not giving clear and explicit forewarnings as to the timing of any and all upcoming natural and manmade calamities, this rather than speaking in some vague apocalyptic code about fantastic beasts and opaque timelines, or through self-proclaimed prophets who couldn’t manage a smart phone, much less decode astoundingly complex “divine” inspiration?
Actually, the third Great Disappointment. In the medieval period, there was great expectation that the year 1000 would be the time of the end.
Then add another, the Jehovah’s Witnesses thought 1914 would be the date.
If everyone would have simply recognized the failure of the explicit prophecies of the end for “this generation will not pass”, or “Some standing here will see…”, or “Those of us who are alive will rise up to meet him in the clouds…” in the first century, the expectation would have died out. But…delusions don’t die easily. Just after 1844, failed prophecies are met with reinterpretation; anything but packing up the stuff, calling it a day, and getting on with life.
And their doomsday “spidey” senses are on overload again given recent current events, just like my dad’s were more than 60 years ago during the Cuban Missile Crises which forced him to turn on Saturday morning TV news for the first time before going to church!
That those events happened around the dreaded October 22nd time frame was considered even more portentous and certainly scared the pajamas off a third grader like myself who was fairly certain that I fought with my younger brother too much to be considered for a place in Jesus’ heaven.
That said, I figure that one day, the doomsday clock will run out and all of the prognosticators will be able to say “See, we were right!”
At which point I’ll admit “Of course you were. Just as a malfunctioning watch gets the time right sooner or later!”
In the meantime, though, these “we’re all gonna die, be very afraid” types make for some of the most amusing comments here in Forum as it seems the joke never gets old for some SDA’s!
In my locale, we are getting mixed signals. After many decades, the state has lifted the ban on sales of alcohol on Sunday morning. At the same time, my homeowners association has restricted home construction on Sundays. Is there something about that in prophecy? Is it time to find a piece of property in the mountains with a cave where I can hide from my HOA?