|The last time anyone saw Jesus alive.|
In 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 it is obvious that Paul felt he himself would be alive when Jesus returned to establish God’s kingdom on Earth. Needless to say, this didn’t happen.
Needless to say, this didn’t happen either.
The very formation of the Christian Church, in retrospect, can be seen as the great failure of Christianity.
If Jesus and Paul had been right about the apocalypse–i.e., the end times–then the judgement would have already come to pass. This is the reason neither Jesus nor Paul spoke about *organizing a socialized institutions such as a church. If everything was going to end the very next day, or next week, there was no need for it.
28 …[T]hose who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this. 29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:28-31; emphasis mine)
Later Christians apparently realized that the failure of God’s kingdom to be actualized, along with the failed prophecies about the end times, and the failure of judgement day to happen at all became a huge theological pain in the neck for early Christians.
Thus we see attempts to recify the situation. In 2 Peter 3:8 the author writes, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
Phew! That solves things.
Except for one small problem, modern Biblical scholars have found that 2 Peter is a pseudepigraphical work. That is, it is a book written by someone pretending to be Peter–who actually lived in a much later time. Nobody knows when exactly. But what scholars do know is that the time is late enough that the anticipated return of Christ, along with the day of judgement, still hadn’t come to pass and was a horrible embarrassment for the growing number of Christians who were keen to defend the validity of their faith.
But the author of 2 Peter’s message directly conflicts with what Paul and even Jesus Christ taught (*gasp! Yet another Bible contradiction). A thousand years later is clearly not within the lifetime of Christ or his Apostles.
“I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” (Matt. 24:34)