New Testament Texts on the Imminence of the End

There is absolutely clear evidence running through the New Testament documents that the early followers of Jesus (Nazarenes) were convinced that they were living very close to the end of the Age. They expected the “Parousia” (arrival) of the Messiah within the span of their generation. This apocalyptic hope was largely based on the preaching of Jesus himself that the “Kingdom of God was at hand,” as well as a general understanding of the prophecies of the book of Daniel, especially chapters 9 and 11. It is only in some of the latest texts of the New Testament that this hope begins to wane (e.g., 2 Timothy 4:6-8; 2 Peter 3:8-10).

Synoptic Gospel Tradition
Mark 1:15 — The time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the Gospel.
Mark 9:1 — And he said to them, I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.
Mark 13:24 — But in those days, [immediately in Matt 24:29] following that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. . . .
Luke 21:31-32 — Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. (Cf. Mark 13:29-30)
Matthew 10:23 — When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
Luke 3:9 — The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every three that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
[Acts 3:19-21 — Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.]

Paul’s Letters
Romans 13:11-12 — And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Romans 16:20 — The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.
1 Corinthians 2:6 — We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing [present tense — doomed to pass away].
1 Corinthians 7:26, 29, 31 — Because of the present distress, I think it is good for you to remain as you are [i.e., unmarried] . . . What I mean, brothers, is that the appointed time has grown short . . . For this world in its present form is passing away.
1 Corinthians 10:11 — These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the end of the ages has come.
1 Corinthians 15:52 — For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we [i.e., those alive, he includes himself, cf. 1 Thess. 4:15] will be changed.
Philippians 4:5 — Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is at hand!
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 — . . . They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead — Jesus who rescues us from the coming wrath. Also, note references to Parousia in 2:19; 3:13; 5:1-10, 23 in which imminence is implied.
1 Timothy 6:14 — . . . keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our God Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13 — . . . while we wait for the blessed hope — the glorious appearing of our great God, and Savior Jesus Christ.

Other Texts
Hebrews 1:1 — In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
Hebrews 10:37 — For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.
James 5:7-9 — Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. . . You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door!
1 Peter 1:20 — He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
1 Peter 4:7 — The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray.
1 John 2:18 — Dear children, this is the last hour, and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrist have come.

Book of Revelation
1:1 — The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.
1:3 — Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to hear what is written in it, because the time is near.
2:25 — Only hold on to what you have until I come.
3:11 — I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon.
22:10, 12, 20 — Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near. . . Behold I am coming soon! . . .’ He who testifies to these things says, `Yes, I am coming soon.’


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