Did Christianity begin as an End of the World cult?

lunamoth

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Hello Sassafras, interesting post. It seems that you expected the Christians on this forum to respond with indignant righteousness to the provocative tone of the opening post, and yet most replied with reasoned responses and many with interpretations that are close to your own. "End of the Days Cult" is a provocative term, and yet, don't you think that maybe Jesus was provocative in His life and teachings? It seems that by your criteria a Christian *can't win* either by reading the bible spiritually/symbolically, questioning the context or literal meaning (which you refer to as calling your religion "bunk") or by reading it literally, in which case, like the Pharisees, one would miss the true signs of the Return.

Baha'is believe that Christ has returned, in 1843 as predicted by groups such as the 7th Day Adventisits, and the signs of this are just as inscrutable to us now as they were to people in Jesus's and Muhammed's times. But how was the Babi movement unlike an end of the world cult? First let's neutralize the term cult, which in my dictionary simply refers to a religious system and/or its followers. And even if you add in the more outrageous and, again, provocative connotations, the Babis more than qualified as zealots and radicals, breaking social mores right and left (mostly for the better! I agree!).

And, like many of the posts above discussed, Baha'is believe that there really was an "end of the world" at the Dawn of each new Manifestation of God, but in a spiritual sense. My understanding is that Baha'is believe that the Bible is God's Word, that it is protected by God, and that Jesus meant what He said. Jesus referred to the end of days :

In Matthew, chapter 24, verse 3, Christ clearly says that what Daniel meant by this prophecy was the date of the manifestation, and this is the verse: “As He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” One of the explanations He gave them in reply was this (v. 15): “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand).” In this answer He referred them to the eighth chapter of the Book of Daniel, saying that everyone who reads it will understand that it is this time that is spoken of. Consider how clearly the manifestation of the Báb is spoken of in the Old Testament and in the Gospel.

(Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 42)


Now, Paul may really have thought that the material world was going to end in his lifetime, it's not clear when you read the Bible any way other than literally. But, the Babi movement, which later became the Baha'i Faith, started out very much like an end of the world cult, albeit in a more clearly spiritual sense.

If it seems like my ire is up, well, maybe it is a little. I have great admiration for the Baha'i Faith, but really, it's just not courteous or helpful to tell people that you understand their religion so much better than they do. I am now going to have to bring myself to account for this post!

Sign me, Going to h*** in a handbasket,
lunamoth
 
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iBrian

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Nothing to hold account for - it's all part fo the discussion. :)
 

IMSassafras

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Lunamoth,

First things first... My intensions for posting was not to imply I am more knowledgeable than anyone else about anything worldly or heavenly, but after re-reading my post, I can see how that may have been implied. I am just a lowly person trying to do right in this world and proclaim the Word of God. What I probably should have wrote this post sometime after noon rather than midnight. lol

My intensions for posting is a voice for my irritation. I hear comments of "the end of the world is coming" and discussions of Armageddon and talk of the Second Coming all the time with no one really, truely wanting to find the answers. They just seem to be following the norm like lost sheep. I think people generally like asking questions inwhich they figure there is no one out there that can answer them.

I really can't see where you interpretated that I said "christians *can't win*" basically no matter what they do. I did state that the literal translation of the scriptures is not the answer, and a more symbolic translation is needed, though.

Jesus' provocativeness was intended to be positive, enlightening, and uplifting in spirit not only for a small number of people near the Holy Land but for the whole world. A discussion like calling your religion (Christianity, in this case) an "end of the world cult" or "bunked" is either ingnorant or intending to be very profound and encourage very intelligent conversations.

The correct date is 1844, not 1843, since there is no year Zero.

But how was the Babi movement unlike an end of the world cult?
First of all, how was the Bab'i Faith LIKE an end of the world cult? The Bab announced He was to prepare the world for Someone greater that Himself. Does that imply the end of the world?... I don't think so.

There is need for clarification for the term "end of the world". Doesn't the Greek word for "world" translate from kosmos and aion? Doesn't the Greek version of the Bible use the world aion instead of kosmos? Aion means age and kosmos means world, so the correct translation of the phase is "end of the age." Doesn't that sound so much better?

I agree:
... Baha'is believe that there really was an "end of the world" at the Dawn of each new Manifestation of God, but in a spiritual sense. My understanding is that Baha'is believe that the Bible is God's Word, that it is protected by God, and that Jesus meant what He said.
Another correction: The Bab'i Faith did not become the Baha'i Faith. They are both independent Religions of God.

Again, I am sorry you may think I know more. There is a ton of things I don't know much about. I can't quote chapter and verses from the Bible, but I know how to look them up and copy/paste. And I have the world's greatest search engine - Ocean.

Basically, I just don't like it when I see any one discount their Religion because they don't know the answers.

Abdu'l-Baha said it wonderfully:
Firstly: He [Baha'u'llah] lays stress on the search for Truth. This is most important, because the people are too easily led by tradition. It is because of this that they are often antagonistic to each other, and dispute with one another.
(Abdu'l-Baha, Abdu'l-Baha in London, p. 27)

warmly,
Sassafras

BTW... No one does down under because they ask questions or respond to posts generated after midnight.
 

lunamoth

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Hi Sassafras, thank you for your reply. I apologize for my last paragraph comments--they came out more critical and personal than I wished. I think in part I was reacting to your comments about the clergy. While as a whole they have their problems, as does any other profession, the clergy I know are sincere servants with a lot of compassion and a lot of thought for others above themselves. The ones I know are also pretty progressive in theri thinking with respect to other religions. They do good work.


IMSassafras said:
My intensions for posting is a voice for my irritation. I hear comments of "the end of the world is coming" and discussions of Armageddon and talk of the Second Coming all the time with no one really, truely wanting to find the answers. They just seem to be following the norm like lost sheep. I think people generally like asking questions inwhich they figure there is no one out there that can answer them.

Well, I agree with you to an extent. But, I think that part of it is that the more vocal people are the ones who are no longer seeking, especially for something that may not look like they expect. However, my experience is that among most people who do think about such things, the answers are far from settled and clear.

I really can't see where you interpretated that I said "christians *can't win*" basically no matter what they do. I did state that the literal translation of the scriptures is not the answer, and a more symbolic translation is needed, though.

Jesus' provocativeness was intended to be positive, enlightening, and uplifting in spirit not only for a small number of people near the Holy Land but for the whole world. A discussion like calling your religion (Christianity, in this case) an "end of the world cult" or "bunked" is either ingnorant or intending to be very profound and encourage very intelligent conversations.

OK, I misunderstood. I think people here took up the idea in the sense of encourgaing intelligent conversations, rather than rising to the bait.

The correct date is 1844, not 1843, since there is no year Zero.
Thanks for the clarification.


First of all, how was the Bab'i Faith LIKE an end of the world cult? The Bab announced He was to prepare the world for Someone greater that Himself. Does that imply the end of the world?... I don't think so.

As I said, the end of the world in a spiritual sense. A New Age was ushered in. In fact, I believe that not only did the Bab herald Baha'u'llah, He ended the entire Adamic cycle, right? Talk about your end of the age.

There is need for clarification for the term "end of the world". Doesn't the Greek word for "world" translate from kosmos and aion? Doesn't the Greek version of the Bible use the world aion instead of kosmos? Aion means age and kosmos means world, so the correct translation of the phase is "end of the age." Doesn't that sound so much better?

Well, you know a lot more about it than me. :)

Another correction: The Bab'i Faith did not become the Baha'i Faith. They are both independent Religions of God.
OK, but how many Babis are there today? Usually the previous independent religions leave remnants of believers.

Again, I am sorry you may think I know more. There is a ton of things I don't know much about. I can't quote chapter and verses from the Bible, but I know how to look them up and copy/paste. And I have the world's greatest search engine - Ocean.

I don't know chapter and verse of the bible or anything either, but yes, I too can search.

Basically, I just don't like it when I see any one discount their Religion because they don't know the answers.

I didn't see anyone here doing that. :)

Hope your Birth of the Bab observance is/was blessed.

Cheers,
lunamoth

BTW... No one does down under because they ask questions or respond to posts generated after midnight.
:) thanks. i worried about it all night.
 

iBrian

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IMSassafras said:
First of all, how was the Bab'i Faith LIKE an end of the world cult? The Bab announced He was to prepare the world for Someone greater that Himself. Does that imply the end of the world?... I don't think so.
If I'm not mistaken in both Christianity and Islam, the return of "The Messiah" is effectively the "end of the world" even in physical terms (according to mainstream traditions in those groups). In Buddhism, the world would be in a profound state of incongruity, and I don't believe that Judaism takes the matter lightly.

Yet people of the Baha'i faith proclaim that Bahallah was the effective "Messiah" of each and all of these groups.

Therefore, it follows...

The Baha'i response that the world is merely changing "age" seems a profoundly liberal interpretation and dismissal of the very texts claimed to be represented. So it's hardly surprisingly that the argument of a world "Messiah" heralding some form of apocalyptic change seems like a rather difficult association to disentangle from.

I'm not trying to be dismissive here either - I'm trying to point out how from the outside it's difficult not to see the general "end of the world" hysteria contributing to the formation of the Baha'i faith, just as it did with various other major theological breaks focussed on that very issue in the 19th century. Jehovah's Witnesses are a particularly major example.
 

IMSassafras

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Lunamoth,

Thank you for your regards for the Bab. They were appreciated and very Blessed.

About the Clergy thing... There are some Clergy which are good at what they do, and, yet, there are those that are not.

Well, I agree with you to an extent. But, I think that part of it is that the more vocal people are the ones who are no longer seeking, especially for something that may not look like they expect. However, my experience is that among most people who do think about such things, the answers are far from settled and clear.
I agree with you. Even if a person is faced with the Truth of God, they have the choice to run from it or except it. I guess a third possibility would be hit the pause button.

My Quote:
First of all, how was the Bab'i Faith LIKE an end of the world cult? The Bab announced He was to prepare the world for Someone greater that Himself. Does that imply the end of the world?... I don't think so.

Lunamoth wrote:
As I said, the end of the world in a spiritual sense. A New Age was ushered in. In fact, I believe that not only did the Bab herald Baha'u'llah, He ended the entire Adamic cycle, right? Talk about your end of the age.
Well, you are correct, the Bab did end the Adamic Cycle and the Baha'u'llah began the Fulfillment Cycle. I had to search for the answer, though. It may have taken me past midnight, but all is well.

Reference:
The Bahá'í teachings assert that Adam was a Prophet of God and that He inaugurated the Adamic, or prophetic, cycle that ended with the advent of the Bab and that is followed by the cycle of fulfilment Bahá'u'lláh inaugurated. Shoghi Effendi explains that "The Faith of Bahá'u'lláh should indeed be regarded, if we wish to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of preliminary and progressive revelations. These, beginning with Adam and ending with the Bab, have paved the way and anticipated with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made manifest"
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 31)

I agree it is from a spiritual aspect in which one has to look at things like the term "end of the world".

Maybe it is just that so many, not all, people keep harping on the end of the world when a new world is growing, forming, blossoming, budding, and taking shape before their eyes and yet they seem too busy, blind, and deaf to pay attention, see, or hear God's Message.

OK, but how many Babis are there today? Usually the previous independent religions leave remnants of believers.
Well, Adherents.com says 1 million, but I don't know. I think that is too round a number.

Well, I will bit you far well and a good night.

warmly,
Sassafras
 

IMSassafras

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I, Brian,

I was merely trying to convey there are different ways of looking at things. The term "end of the world" is prophetic in all the Religions of God in some way or form.

With me living in a Christian-dominated society, I see "the end of the world" phase as a reminder of a hopeless statement and hopeless attitude. It reminds me of the Christian version of the rapture and tribulation -- "Except Christ into your life, or you will be punished to hell", "There is still time, save yourself and you will live with God for Eternity", "Ride next to Jesus, Our Lord, on His White Horse and carry the Sword to Victory".

The symbolic version of the end of the world has long been forgotten, and has been replaced by the literal one.

I have conveyed a personal perspective on religion in these few posts. If asked about the Baha'i Faith I would not stray from the Writtings for They are Truthful and of God. I guess I am just voicing an opinion and genernalization of a group of people that not as a whole, but just a whole bunch of them seem to really provoke me on certain issues.

As for the quote you quoted and opinionated on in you post, I hope I have answered it in this post or the one to Lunamoth.

Thank you for your post and God Bless.

warmly,
Sassafras
 

Ben57

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This has been an interesting topic to follow and see the comparisons in point of views. It is amazing how one passage can produce so many different reactions, from being a literal reading of 2 Peter 3 to a con job put up to keep followers. Personally, I think it is neither. I see it as Peter saying that a “system” or “way of life” of both governments and society as it was / is known ending.


Some readers here are going to think I am out of my mind (sometimes I think it is true) when I say that I believe the whole Bible, that it in no way contradicts itself, and is in complete harmony with itself and I believe that it is impossible for God to lie. Let me explain why I believe the whole Bible.

First,. I have never seen anyone disprove without a shadow of doubt anything in the Bible. The Bible, when it touches on any scientific mater, is also in fall harmony with all known scientific facts.

Second, personally, I view the Bible as a big jigsaw puzzle (one very, very big jigsaw puzzle). When one reads a passage, I do not think it wise to take it at face value straight away (some texts are obvious just as corner pieces in a jigsaw are obvious).

Have you ever put together a large complicated jigsaw? Have you ever put the wrong piece in the wrong place even though it looked like it would fit? As the puzzle comes together, the picture becomes clearer and the mistakes we make can be recognized.


Well, that’s the way I see most verses. At first read it could well appear to be saying one thing but when examined with the other pieces of the puzzle you see it change as to where it belongs (in the case of verses the meaning changes)

2 Peter 3 (as quoted in the first post) is one of those passages that can change as the bigger picture comes into focus.

When I examine the words of peter with some other Bible texts there is a contradiction, and I recon that there are no contradictions in the Bible.

To start, when Adam was created (yes I believe in the creation of one man and woman first), Adam and Eve were told to subdue the earth and fill it with us humans.

Isaiah 55 :11 saysso shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

So if Adam was to fill the earth with humans that is what God wanted.


Psalms 37:29 saysThe righteous shall possess the land, and dwell upon it for ever.

So there are to be humans here forever.

Psalms 78:69 He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded for ever.”
Psalms 119:90 Thy faithfulness endures to all generations; thou hast established the earth, and it stands fast.


Psalms 104 :5 says He laid the earth upon its foundations: it shall not be removed for ever.


So the earth was to remain forever.

If God can not lie, and what he says will come true and he told Adam to fill the earth and that people will be here forever and the earth will be here forever then when passages such as found in second Peter must mean something else or the other passages must mean something else.

I prefer to think that 2 Peter has the alternate meaning because it comes after the other occurrences and Peter wrote in harmony with the rest of the Bible.


What alternate meaning could 2 Peter have? Well when I consider that the Peter says heavens will be dissolved, being on fire,”I ask myself how can the heavens burn and dissolve? They already are gasses! The heavens are the home of God. Why would he dissolve his own place of dwelling? That starts to tell me that something else might be involved here. How are the heaven portrayed in the Bible.

The bible refers to the heavens as the part where our atmosphere is, also where the sun and stars are (and they are already fire balls), and where God and the angels reside. It is also used to represent rulership. A good example of this is the King of Babylon as recorded by both Daniel and Isaiah. The very dynasty of Babylonian kings that Nebuchadnezzar represented is described at Isaiah 14:12 as being starlike, a “shining one, son of the dawn.” By the conquest of Jerusalem, that Babylonian dynasty lifted its throne “above the stars of God,” these “stars” evidently referring to the Davidic line of Judean kings


Daniel 3:26“And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be sure for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.”


Isiah 14 :12-14"How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.”

My conclusion is that the heavens mentioned in 2 Peter refer to rulerships or governments of a “system” being dissolved completely as if by fire.


What about the earth? The Greek word used here dose literally mean the ground, land, soil etc. Is it possible that it could have a figurative user?? Psalms 96:1 gives us a clue when it tells the earth to sing “O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth!”The Hebrew word here literally means the ground, land the earth as opposed to heaven.Obviously, the literal earth can not sing. So the earth here stands for the people. Earth is also symbolically used to denote the firmer, more stable elements of mankind. The restless, unstable elements of mankind are illustrated by the characteristic restlessness of the sea.—Isa 57:20; Jas 1:6; Jude 13;

So there is Biblical evidence that the heavens and earth as mentioned at 2 Peter do not refer to the literal heavens and earth.

The rest of that chapter also lends itself to this conclusion. 2 Peter 3:13- 18

13But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”


Peter is referring to the conditions on the earth. The old “earth” was / is an unrighteous place where as the new “earth” would be one of righteousness. That is why he now tells his readers to try to keep themselves unblemished (as opposed to being blemished or unrighteous)

14 Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. ………17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

The way that they were to stay unblemished is to grow in knowledge of the Lord Jesus

Someone mentioned Mathew 24 and the apostles asking Jesus what would be the sign of the end of the “world”. At first glance this may seem as if Jesus was preaching am end of the world also but he wasn’t. The translations that say “world” are misleading. The Greek word rendered “world” here means for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity; period of time, age” So a correct rendering would be “and the end of this age” or “the end of this period” or “end of this system of thing”. So Jesus was speaking of the same thing as Peter an end to a system of rulership over mankind, and not an end to the literal world.

So My view is that the Bible says the earth as a literal place will always be here, that was Gods intent in the beginning and it has not changed, The way this world is ruled and the type of society of people that existed for the Jews before Rome destroyed Jerusalem and that would exist at the “end time” period when Jesus would be present again would end.

Just to confuse some even more, in Matthew 24 the apostles (according to some Bibles) asked when Jesus was coming, but that is not what they asked. They asked when is presence would be. The word translated coming means a being along side.
 

IMSassafras

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Ben57,

Very interesting post. I have to admit, I see the whole of God's Religions as a jigsaw puzzle of sorts. If a piece of the puzzle doesn't seem to have a place then it probably has to be looked at differently.

Well, I must be out of my mind, too, because I believe the entirety of the Bible AND the Writtings of All the Major Religions of God.

Science and Religion must go hand-in-hand: One of the principles of the Baha'i Faith.

Well, you and I do differ in some areas. I believe Adam was the first imbued human to know God. That means there was already human persence on earth. My proof is Adam and Eve's son Cain went to the land of Nod and he laid with his wife.... The land of Nod is east of Eden. Society had already been established on earth before the imbuement of Adam. The part of the Creation is the Knowledge of God was born. Make sense?

If I am not mistaking, the "stars" do refer to the rulers as well as the clergy (Pope Pius IX, to be exact). The best example of this is Baha'u'llah wrote to the leaders/monarchs of the world in His time and the only one which gave a positive reponse was Queen Victoria. Her Throne/Kingdom still rules today. All others were destoryed in one generation after Baha'u'llah's Summons. The Summons of the Lord of Hosts by Baha'u'llah.

I surely enjoyed your post.

warmly,

Sassafras
 

lunamoth

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Hi Sassafras,

Thank you for your response. Sorry to keep you up late (again) doing research. :)

I have often been struck by the similarities in thinking between JW and Baha'i, even if they do come to quite different conclusions.

Peace,
lunamoth
 

Ben57

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Greatings Sassafras

I glad some reads what I write :D

I am aslo glad i am not the only one who is out of his mind at times, It appeares in society (at least here in Australia) that if you beleive in a God your crazy.

My proof is Adam and Eve's son Cain went to the land of Nod and he laid with his wife.... The land of Nod is east of Eden. Society had already been established on earth before the imbuement of Adam. The part of the Creation is the Knowledge of God was born. Make sense?
Yes it does seem that way when one reads the Bible. Most translations say the land of Nod and I have one that says to the land of fugitivness. That is because the Hebrew word renderd Nod means wandering. So Cain went to the east to wander about. This is suported by the earlier verse that say he was to be a fugative and a vagabond. So from the account it is more likely that there were no other inhabitants. Where did he get his wife? It was one of his sisters. Genesis 5 :4 says Adam and Eve had sons and daughtes. There was no law against brothe sister marriage, and if they (Adam and Eve) were created perfect and had only just sined then I would assume that a close intermarrige would have had little effect on the offsrping. (Or maybe it did just look at us humans now)

If I am not mistaking, the "stars" do refer to the rulers as well as the clergy (Pope Pius IX, to be exact).
Yes I would agree with that as being anyone with oversight in a powerfull way religous or political

See yu soon:)
 

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The NT has a letter called "2 Peter." It may have been written after Peter died, or not, but it gives some insight into what was taught in the early Church.


2 Peter 3:5

...the heavens were of old, and the earth out of water and through water standing together by the word of God, through which the then world, by water having been deluged, was destroyed;
_________

Suggests this was a group with Judaism, because it starts by quoting from the OT, the story about a Great Flood covering the entire earth to the tops of the highest moutains..
_________________________

2 Peter 3:7
and the present heavens and the earth, by the same word are treasured, for fire being kept to a day of judgment and destruction of the impious men.

2 Peter 3:8
And this one thing let not be unobserved by you, beloved, that one day with the Lord [is] as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day;

2 Peter 3:9
the Lord is not slow in regard to the promise, as certain count slowness, but is long-suffering to us, not counselling any to be lost but all to pass on to reformation,

2 Peter 3:10
and it will come -- the day of the Lord -- as a thief in the night, in which the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, and the elements with burning heat be dissolved, and earth and the works in it shall be burnt up.
_______________

So Peter - or whoever - tells members of the early Church that "the day of the Lord" will certainly come, and when it does, the earth and the works in it shall be burnt up... that there will be a burning heat that will dissolve our planet.

Did it happen? It's been over 1,900 years and it didn't happen.

How long do we give an End of the World cult before we deny them crediblity?
____________________

2 Peter 3:11
All these, then, being dissolved, what kind of persons doth it behove you to be in holy behaviours and pious acts?

2 Peter 3:12
waiting for and hasting to the presence of the day of God, by which

>> the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements with burning heat shall melt;

2 Peter 3:13
and for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise we do wait, in which righteousness doth dwell;
_____________

This was the theological foundation of early Christianity, as taught by Peter (assuming this letter preserves the teachings of Peter, even if he didn't write it.) The present earth, everything we see around us, is going to be melted, by a burning fire, and then a new heaven and a new earth will be created to take it's place.

Is the author of this letter credible? Or should we reject 2 Peter as the predictions of another discredited End of the World cult?
just thought i would dig up this thread as it appealed to me .2 peter 3;13 is a promise from the bible, it does not mean the end of the planet as some seem to imply. but the new heavens are refering to rulership , a new rulership. and the new earth is refering to a new earthly society of people who are willing to go along with the new rulership . and righteousness will dwell . yes this is what it is all about , and we are now well along into bible prophecy and chonology, and the new heavens or rulership is right now well established , this heavenly kingdom goverment was set up and established in 1914 in the heavens . Daniel 2;44 and Jesus was given great aurthority ,he was given the kingship Daniel 7-13-14 the time is very close now when this Kingdom will step into the rulerships of man and then we will have really peace .
 

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In many ways Christianity assumed an apocalyptic dimension, because the early Christians (understandably) hoped for the promised return of the Messiah in their own lifetime.

It's something of an overstatement to say Peter provided the 'theological foundation' of early Christianity. The foundation was Apostolic, not Petrine alone, and it was not singularly or solely apocalyptic ... the apostles would have based any teaching on Christ's own words, 'no man knows' ...

It was St Paul who provided a theological framework for Christianity that was not bound to a revision of a Jewish Apocalyptic, but opened onto a truly universal dimension of the 'Eternal'.

Thomas
 

Saltmeister

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In many ways Christianity assumed an apocalyptic dimension, because the early Christians (understandably) hoped for the promised return of the Messiah in their own lifetime.

It's something of an overstatement to say Peter provided the 'theological foundation' of early Christianity. The foundation was Apostolic, not Petrine alone, and it was not singularly or solely apocalyptic ... the apostles would have based any teaching on Christ's own words, 'no man knows' ...

It was St Paul who provided a theological framework for Christianity that was not bound to a revision of a Jewish Apocalyptic, but opened onto a truly universal dimension of the 'Eternal'.

Thomas

But even what Paul contributed was but a small, tiny piece of Christianity, not the whole thing. A lot of people would argue that he did, indeed capture the totality of the meaning of Christianity, but I think it would be a mistake if people thought that way. Hence, many people label Christianity as "Paulinism."

So what do we do with all that stuff regarding concepts about Christ's sacrifice, salvation, Adam's sin, freedom from the Law, grace, the Lamb, the body of the Christ, etc. . . . ?

I would say it was Paul's way of explaining things. Paul's ideas were just a guide. They were intended for a specific audience, particularly those worried about how sin would affect their afterlife.

But what about what Peter, James and John said?

Peter says we are the stones that form God's spiritual temple.

John records Jesus as personally declaring that he is the Way-Shower, the invisible spiritual leader, the Invisible Man who was an image of the Invisible God. He was the one who told us to discern the lambs from the wolves. He introduced the symbolism of the water, the blood and the baptism.

James explains how we can be genuine followers and believers.

Each of them contributed their own slice of the pie. Each spoke to a particular audience.

Christianity could mean different things to different people, yet the concepts all lead to the same destination. No single Christian believer uses the entire spectrum of concepts. We're all tuned in to a particular wavelength.

End of the world? Maybe so. But in the meantime, I think life is here to be lived. In life, I suppose, one has to decide what's important. Same with Christianity. No single thing is important all the time, except perhaps God. But God wants us to live out our lives with the constant search for things that will please Him. Everyday there are problems to be solved and anxieties to be resolved. I would say that implies that there's a juggling of short-term and long-term goals.

The end of the world is like a long-term goal which may not happen in our time here in this "plane of existence." So in the meantime there are short-term goals.

A commerically sold bowl of noodles never just comes with noodles. Otherwise it'd just be plain and boring. The manufacturer usually includes other nice ingredients. Fringe benefits. Mmmmmm.:D

God didn't sell a life to us without some nice goodies in the package.:)
 

Thomas

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Hi Saltmeister –

Oh, I agree!

I'm not saying any one apostle said it all ... the only point I was trying to make was that in the first century there was an immanent expectation of the Parousia, which did not happen (in the manner it was expected), and which the apostles and their successors were obliged to 'manage' ... so there were aspects of an 'end of the world cult' about primitive Christianity, but that was through the followers, not the teaching, nor the teaching of any one, or all, of the apostles...

But the Aramic word 'Maranatha' – 'Come, Lord', I reckon would have taken on an apocalyptic significance ...

... you know what people are like ...

Thomas
 

mee

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Hi Saltmeister –

Oh, I agree!

I'm not saying any one apostle said it all ... the only point I was trying to make was that in the first century there was an immanent expectation of the Parousia, which did not happen (in the manner it was expected), and which the apostles and their successors were obliged to 'manage' ... so there were aspects of an 'end of the world cult' about primitive Christianity, but that was through the followers, not the teaching, nor the teaching of any one, or all, of the apostles...

But the Aramic word 'Maranatha' – 'Come, Lord', I reckon would have taken on an apocalyptic significance ...

... you know what people are like ...

Thomas
this word parousia
pa·rou·si´a means, literally, "being alongside," that is, a "presence." It is used 24 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures, frequently with regard to the presence of Christ in connection with his Messianic Kingdom.—Mt 24:3; we have been living in the parousia or presence since 1914 when Jesus was given the kingship in the heavenly kingdom goverment Daniel 7;13-14 Daniel 2;44 many bibles translate this word as COMING but the correct way is presence.
That Jesus’ pa·rou·si´a is not simply a momentary coming followed by a rapid departure but is, rather, a presence covering a period of time is also indicated by his words recorded at Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-30. Here "the days of Noah" are compared to "the presence of the Son of man" ("the days of the Son of man," in Luke’s account). Jesus, therefore, does not limit the comparison just to the coming of the Deluge as a final climax during Noah’s days, though he shows that his own "presence" or "days" will see a similar climax. Since "the days of Noah" actually covered a period of years, there is basis for believing that the foretold "presence [or "days"] of the Son of man" would likewise cover a period of some years, being climaxed by the destruction of those not giving heed to the opportunity afforded them to seek deliverance.
 
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