My Religious Study Notes

End Time Prophecies – From Bart’s ‘Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium’

1980’S – Proof was given in a widely distributed and remarkably influential booklet entitled 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. Written by Edgar Whisenant, a former NASA rocket engineer—who presumably, therefore, was a pretty smart fellow—the book, true to its title, enumerated biblical and logical reasons why 1988 would be the year that history would begin to end.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 4). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

1970’S – In fact, probably the single most read author of religion in modern times is a writer who, while somewhat more guarded than Mr. Whisenant, predicted in 1970 that a thermonuclear holocaust would engulf the planet by the late 1980s. The author is Hal Lindsey, and his book, The Late Great Planet Earth was the best-selling work of nonfiction (using the term loosely) of the 1970s. Today there are over 28 million copies in print.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 7). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

19TH CENTURY – William Miller’s Great – Disappointment Probably the best-known date-setter of American history is William Miller, a kind of nineteenth-century Edgar Whisenant.12 Unlike his fated successor, Miller never published anything like 2 million copies of his writings; but the splash he made in American history was far greater. He wasn’t as precise as Whisenant in knowing the particular week in which Jesus would come, but he did know the year. Based on a careful study of biblical prophecies, Miller maintained that Jesus would return to earth in a cosmic blaze of glory in the year 1843.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 12). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

17TH CENTURY – In 1650 CE, an Irish archbishop and scholar, James Ussher, engaged in a detailed study of when the world began. Ussher based his calculations on the genealogies of the Bible (which state not only who begat whom, but also indicate, in many instances, how long each of the people thus begotten lived) and a detailed study of other ancient sources, such as Babylonian and Roman history. On these grounds, he argued that the world was created in 4004 BCE—in fact, at noon on October 23. This chronology became dominant throughout Western Christendom. It was printed widely in King James Bibles and continues to be believed by nonevolutionarily minded Christians today.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 11). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

12TH CENTURY – Joachim of Fiore is scarcely a household name, but it used to be.15 For centuries. Joachim was born in Calabria (the toe of Italy) in 1135 CE. As a young man, he served as an official in Silicia, in the court of Palermo. But in 1171 he entered the Benedictine monastery of Corazzo and soon thereafter became the abbot. While on a trip to another monastery south of Rome in 1183, Joachim had a series of visions in which he learned, directly from God, he claimed, the mysteries that would unlock the meaning of the Bible and the course of human history. Over a period of eighteen years, he wrote and discussed these mysteries, while remaining actively involved in political affairs as a kind of liaison between secular and church officials.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 14). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

END OF 2ND CENTURY – One of the reasons the Montanists have been seen as so important historically is that one of the most prominent theologians in the history of the church joined their ranks at the height of his career. This was the fiery and prolific North African author Tertullian, commonly regarded as the father of Latin theology. Tertullian wrote most of his surviving works after the turn of the third century. Montanus had been active some thirty years earlier.

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 16). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

49 CE – This is the first letter to the Thessalonians, written probably in 49 CE, fewer than twenty years after the death of Jesus: For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord by no means will precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:15–17).

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 17). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.

For it is within the New Testament Gospels themselves that Jesus tells his disciples: “Truly I tell you, some of you standing here will not taste death before they have seen the Kingdom of God having come in power” (Mark 9:1); “Truly I tell you, this generation [i.e., presumably, the one he was addressing] will not pass away before all these things take place” (Mark 13:30); “Truly I tell you, You will see the Son of Man…coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Is it possible that the historical Jesus himself—like so many of his followers in subsequent generations—predicted that the end of history as we know it would come in his own generation?

Ehrman, Bart D.. Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (p. 18). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.