There are always many questions about when and how the end times will come. Although no one can say exactly what it will be like, the early followers of Jesus felt that they understood what would happen. Many of the followers of Jesus had apocalyptic views on the end times. After analyzing and reviewing over Erhman and the bible, readers can understand the different views and why they believed so strongly about it. Upon examining first and second Thessalonians, Mark and Revelation, readers can see the different and similar aspects of the beliefs for the end times. In this piece, we will look into what the different groups of apocalyptic followers believed would happen in the end times.

Paul spent a lot of his time trying to teach the Thessalonians that there “Pagans were false gods”, and that there was only hope for salvation through Jesus. They believed that Jesus’ death and resurrection made their “relationship with God right”, therefore they took Paul’s message literally and thought that Jesus would soon return to the world (Ehrman, pg.211). After Paul left, he was sent word from Timothy who came to bring them “good news of faith and love”, that the people were concerned about the end times because some member of the church had “died before the return” (Ehrman, pg.210). Paul had to reassure them that when Jesus came back, those who died will be raised first therefore “they should live to please God.” However Paul did believe that he and some others would be “alive at this time” (Ehrman, pg. 212).

Paul and many early followers claimed that the “end was near”, they stood firmly in their apocalyptic views and that God’s “kingdom was imminent” (Ehrman, pg. 334). Revelations is one of the “most commonly known account” about the end of the world (Ehrman, pg. 337). In the first section, John describes his vision of Christ while in the second section, seven letters are addressed and written to the “seven churches in Asia Minor” that describe the churches and suggests for a “behavior change” (Ehrman, pg. 336). The last section focuses on the major catastrophes that occur on Earth and the “final battle between Jesus” and “all enemies of God.” (Ehrman, pg. 347) Many churches in Asia Minor were going through  time of persecution and so Revelations was written in order to offer an explanation as to why they were going through this and to give “hope to an imminent end” while encouraging them to remain faithful because the “one who is righteous will live by faith” (Ehrman, pg. 340) Revelation also gives some symbolism of end times such as the “number 666” and the  reference to the emperor Nero (Ehrman, pg. 340). It also includes violent occurrences along with triumphant movements suggesting that “creation itself will be set free.”

In the gospel of Mark “ends in a very abrupt way”, in which readers learn that Jesus has been raised and that the women do not say anything because “they were afraid” (Ehrman, pg. 71). This ending suggests that Mark’s message to the people, was that the end times were near and that the “suffering of his community” would not “last any longer” (Ehrman, pg. 74). Much like the Thessalonians and Paul, Mark’s audience was aimed at “converted pagans” and therefore to the gentile group who had a very “apocalyptic view of the end times” (Ehrman, pg. 74).

In 2 Thessalonians, it is stated that the Lord will not come until the “day of rebellion” does, where an evil one who believes he is higher and any god will take a seat and declare himself God. It is said that this evil being also called the “lawless one” is already planning is evil works and will strike when he is ready. However Jesus will destroy him and win over Satan. The author begs that the people are not afraid or alarmed by what is to come and to be ready for the day the Lord comes. Thessalonians were dealing with a lot of suffering and infliction during this time and so they were told that “God would repay with affliction” to those “who afflict you” (Ehrman, pg. 202)

In these passages, it is easy to see that the early apocalyptic believers all thought that the end times were coming soon. They all believed that it would happen in their lifetime and even Paul thought that this would happen before his eyes. However as time as gone on, we know that the end times are yet to come. These passages still show readers what was expected by the earlier Christians, such as events of devastation and a battle that Christ must fight. All of these books do however offer encouragement and reassurance to their readers. They all also contain bizarre symbolic visions that are interpreted by the prophet. All apocalypses also contain violent repetitions that cause people to believe that it violates the literal sense of the text. The apocalyptic worldview will also include a winning or triumphant ending in order to encourage their audiences to stay faithful. With all this knowledge, we have a better understanding of what to expect when Jesus returns.

Citations:

http://bible.oremus.org/

Erham ” A Brief Introduction to the New Testament”

Photo

animal-imagery
Apocalyptic thought after Revelation Lorenzo DiTamasso This picture shows many of the bizarre and traumatic events that may occur in the end times.

While Jesus and his disciples are in Bethany, a woman comes up to him and anoints him with expensive perfume, this angers the disciples because they believe she could have sold the perfume and used the money for the poor. Jesus goes on to defend her and tell them that the poor will be with them forever but that he won’t. To me this statement  makes me feel very uncomfortable, it seems too much however he is the son of God.

Mary Magdalene and Mary were the main women who are mentioned in the gospels as devoted followers of Christ. Mary Magdalene was a woman that Jesus had casts demons out of, and shortly after she became a devoted follower of his. Both Mary’s go to his grave, and find his body missing. Others mentioned in these passages are Joanna the wife of Chuza, and Susanna, who were all healed by Jesus. The mentioning of women in these books reminds readers that women were also devoted and important followers of Christ.

Mary and Martha opened up their house to Christ and his disciples. Mary focused on what Christ had to preach while Martha was busy trying to get everything ready for the guests. Jesus tells her to stop worrying and to be more like Mary. In my personal opinion, I think Martha had good intentions and that it was unnecessary to compare her to Mary. Martha simply wanted everything to be perfect for Jesus and his disciples. In the other verses, it mentions them when it came to times when Christ healed people, showing that they followed his steps closely.

Upon arriving at the tomb, Mary and Mary Magdalene found that Christ’s body was not there. They were scared until he showed himself to them, and told them to send a message to his disciples to meet with him. It is interesting that he does not tell them to spread the good news but as we have discussed in class, this is because he does not want the attention.

In the excerpt regarding Mary and the disciples, we see that the disciples are weeping. Mary tries to comfort them, and Peter tells her to explain to them what Christ had told her. To their surprise she is able to tell them a lot of what he said, but she is afraid they do not believe her. She cries and argues that she could not have made all of this up by herself and the disciples take her word and go out to preach it. I understand why the followers may have questioned her at first because why would Christ go to her instead of one of his own? Mary crying also did not better the situation.

As seen in this photo, Mary Magdalene is associated with sexual sins, with her shoulders showing and low top we can see how this correlates.
As seen in this photo, Mary Magdalene is associated with sexual sins, with her shoulders showing and low top we can see how this correlates.

Artist: Georges de la Tour

Name: Magdalene with the Smoking Fire

http://www.bibleodyssey.org/tools/image-gallery/m/mary-magdalene-1.aspx