His calculation used as its starting point the 1967 Israeli capture of the Old City of Jerusalem and the site of the Temple. The second coming of Christ may occur within “a generation” (forty years) of that event.


Though a minority, the number of Christians who think this may be true is substantial. In the United States, perhaps 15 to 20 percent of Christians—20 to 30 million people—belong to churches that emphasize that the second coming may be near.


Other passages in Paul also indicate that he thought the end was near. For example, in 1 Corinthians 7:26–31, Paul’s eschatological beliefs (beliefs about “the end”) shaped the advice he gave about marriage. Paul, however, was not primarily an “end-of-the-world” preacher; there seems to be an equal or greater emphasis in his letters about the new way of life that had already come into existence. For a compact provocative treatment of Paul that emphasizes his “present eschatology,” see Robin Scroggs, Paul for a New Day (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977).


These affirmations of nearness are emphasized in the introduction (Revelation 1:1, 3) and conclusion (Revelation 22:6, 7, 10, 12, 20). For an illuminating treatment of Revelation from the vantage point of mainline scholarship, see Adela Yarbro Collins: The Apocalypse (Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1979); Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1984); and her essay in the Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), vol. 5, pp. 694–708.


This is implied by portions of Jesus’ “farewell discourses” in John 13–17, esp. 14:15–31 and 16:5–24. For a perceptive analysis indebted to Raymond Brown, see Robert Kysar, John: The Maverick Gospel, rev. ed. (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1993), pp. 97–112. Kysar concludes that, for John, Christ “has reappeared in the form of the Paraclete” (Spirit); and Christian “experience of the Spirit is their experience of the reappeared Christ” (p. 111).