The Early Church and the Lord’s Return
From the earliest days
of the church
the expectation of the
Lord’s soon return
has stirred the saints to
Recently I came across a comment from G.H. Pember, a great student of Biblical prophecy, that reminds us of why it is so important to have at least a basic grasp of the Biblical revelation of the Lord’s return.
To better understand his meaning, since he was writing in 1887, it should be noted that the early church strongly believed the Lord would return to set up His kingdom on this present earth and then reign over it through His followers for 1,000 years. Only then would the present heaven and earth be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 20:1-21:1). Today this is called the “premillennial” view.
It wasn’t until Greek philosophy began to infiltrate the church in about the third century that it started to reject this view. A little while later, around AD 400, as the church was settling down and being transformed to become a part of the world system, it adopted the “amillennial” view; it had to do this, because it had given up its present expectation of the Lord’s return. And until today amillennialism is still the dominant view in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Mainline branches of Christianity. (I have covered this in a recent series of the podcast; the first episode is “The End of Amillennialism” 1.)
Only in the 1800s was the truth of the Lord’s premillennial return recovered to again stir believers to serve the Lord in a more dynamic way.
The revelation of [the] blessed hope and glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ [Titus 2:13], had lifted up the Thessalonian Church to enthusiasm. And so, indeed, it has ever affected those whose hearts have been opened for its reception. It was that hope which stimulated the early Church to the extraordinary exertions of the first two and a half centuries; it is that which oftentimes since has supported believers through days of trial….And, at this present time, the same hope is again exercising a powerful influence in arousing the Church to renewed efforts, and in separating off a people for the presence of the Lord.
— The Great Prophecies, volume 1, page 426
May the Lord in these days recover so many of His saints to once again look for His soon return!
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— 15 February 2023 —