It seems that Christians in each era believe the Lord could and would return in their lifetimes.
For example, in 1942, many were sure Adolf Hitler was the anti-Christ. The world was engulfed in a colossal fight that cost the lives of 50 million people. It did appear that life as it had been known was unraveling and the Second Coming could not be far off.
America recently elected Joseph Biden as its president. Some see the killing of unborn children – supported by Mr. Biden — as so heinous and evil that the Lord must return to render justice to the millions whose lives have been cut short. Christians see themselves as losing the cultural war that is now America. Churches are being squeezed by government decisions. Both Republican and Democrats have spent money at an unconscionable pace – leading some to believe that a cataclysmic shift from capitalism to socialism is imminent, which seems the wonder boy of the hour. America is deeply divided; is sick and needs the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Puritans of 1620 had their version of the end times also. They believed the world was on the verge of the millennial reign of Christ. In 1618 a comet appeared in the skies over Europe, which was seen as a sign of the final apocalyptic battle between good and evil. This comet was like Isaiah dating his experience with God as “the year that Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1) and Amos’ “. . . what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake” (1:1).
The Thirty Years War would soon rage across Europe as Protestant and Catholic forces reduced much of Europe to a burning, corpse-strewn battle-ground. The Puritans – and their to-the-right brethren, the Pilgrims – believed the Lord would use English Christians to bring victory. Maybe America, the continent previously dominated by Spanish and French explorers in their mad, hateful conquest for gold, is the place that God would bring the Reformed Protestant Church to perfection. Pilgrims saw going to the New World as their spiritual duty to plant a godly English colony in the New World.
It seems every age has placed itself in the Book of Revelation and seen the Lord’s coming as imminent. This might lead us to dismiss all musing about the Second Coming as irrelevant, since each age before has been incorrect in their expectation. But that would be a mistake because Matthew 24:44 says, “. . . the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Let’s remain alert.
1 This comet was like Isaiah dating his experience with God as “the year that Uzziah died” (Isaiah 6:1) and Amos’ “. . . what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake.” (1:1)