A History of the Second Coming: Christian History Interview - Hope Beyond the Details
In this issue we've dipped into every era and shown how Christians have thought and acted about the last days. The variety is surprising and the results are sometimes horrifying.
Many books have tried to put this all into perspective, but one of the better ones is Richard Kyle's The Last Days Are Here Again: A History of the End Times (Baker, 1998). So Christian History talked with the author, professor of history and religion at Tabor College, Hillsboro, Kansas, to find out what we might learn from the history of the end of history.
What prompted you to write a book about the history of the end times?
I was raised in the Plymouth Brethren church, and I knew of only one view—dispensational premillennialism. I didn't even know there were alternatives. As a teenager, I remember the invasion of Egypt in 1956 with Israeli, British, and French forces fighting together. This stirred up my passions in this area, but I had always been interested in the subject. In my study of church history, I became acquainted with the mainstream Christian views—postmillennialist, amillennialist, and premillennialist.
Then in 1993, I wrote a book on the religious fringe, and I began to see that so many groups had very fascinating views on the end of the world. And as I talked to my environmentalist friends, I began to realize it isn't limited simply to the Christian community. A look at movies and modern literature shows there are all kinds of end-time themes. It's embedded in our cultural psyche.
What was the most surprising thing that you discovered as you researched this topic?
Through much of history, people have been looking more for the Antichrist than for Christ. The Antichrist has to come first, before Christ, in most of these views. Also, there's ...