Paula Fredriksen, in Paul, the Pagan’s Apostle, holds that Paul expected the return of Christ
in his generation. If Paul (and Jesus) thought the apocalyptic coming of the kingdom of God would happen in the first century, how are we in the 21st century to understand this?
One way is to dismiss it entirely.
But what if we take seriously the claim of Paul and other early disciples to have encountered Jesus after his death?
In that case, although the full apocalyptic scenario envisioned failed to happen, we still have a radically transcendent event, a divine breaking into history.
A popular way to understand this is to put a second coming into a long-delayed future end-time. There are several ways people do this and they usually involve highly speculative interpretations of the Book of Revelation.
There is also something called the preterist view that claims that the events predicted (or…
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