Hal Lindsey (of Late Great Planet Earth fame) recently said, "The Battle of America has begun! So be it!" Evangelist John Hagee told his congregation in San Antonio, Texas, "You can hear the Four Horsemen riding to Armageddon." New York minister David Wilkerson preached on September 16, "One network anchor declared, 'Think of it, our two symbols of power and prosperity have been smitten in one hour.' Little did he know, he was quoting Revelations 18:10: 'Alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.'"

These would-be prophets could be right, but history is definitely not on their side. Obviously, every other prediction regarding the imminent end of the world has been wrong. That's why historical insights must be added to the mix of messages currently bombarding us. I excerpted the following from Christian History issue 61: The End.

Justin Martyr (c. 100-c. 165) and Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-c. 200) spoke of the Millennium as a far-off event they hoped for someday. Its only importance to Christian living was as a reminder of the hope that should guide a Christian's life. Justin also believed that the faithful departed would rise from the dead and reign with Christ for a thousand years in a rebuilt Jerusalam, but he allowed for other interpretations: "I and many others are of this opinion, and believe that such will take place … but, on the other hand, many who belong to the pure and pious faith, and are true Christians, think otherwise."

In City of God, Augustine (354-430) viewed the thousand years of Revelation 20 not as some special future time but "the period beginning with Christ's first coming," that is, the age of the Christian church. Throughout this age, the saints reign with Christ—not ...

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