Christian era: 2,000 years?
The writing of some of the early Christians have always been fascinating to me. They wrote that at the end of 6,000 years of history, Christ would return and reign for 1,000 years (referred to as the Millennium). These included Barnabas (c. A.D. 100), Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (c. A.D. 150), Lactantius (c. A.D. 325), and Methodius, Bishop of Tyre (c. A.D. 300). For example, Barnabas wrote: "As there had been 2,000 years from Adam to Abraham, and 2,000 from Abraham to Christ; so there will be 2,000 years for the Christian era and then would come the Millennium."
According to some chronologists, the 6,000 years recently expired. But what about the "2,000 years for the Christian era," as written by Barnabas? Was he wrong, or could he have been correct?
If he was correct, the "Christian era" began at Pentecost of the year of the crucifixion. But what year was that? This is debatable, but much evidence points to the spring of AD 33 for the crucifixion, about which some are adamant. (Please don't send me your contrary arguments. I am not dogmatic on this. Just follow my line of reasoning.) Pentecost would have been 50 days later.
If AD 33 is correct, then 2,000 modern, Gregorian (365-day) years takes us to 2033-2034. That is so far in the future, I have no immediate interest. Yawn. Please remind me in about 27 years, but I am not sure I will have this same email address then.
But if AD 33 is correct, and biblical years are used, then 2,000 (360-day) years takes us to 2004-2005. This captures my immediate interest! That is calculated by converting 2,000 modern years, which equals 1971.3 Jewish years (2,000 X 360 divided by 365.24).
If we start counting in the spring, April-May, of AD 33 and add 1971.3 years, we come to April-May 2004 + 0.3 years, or about the fall of 2004, as I calculate it.
If this is valid, and if Barbabas and other ancients are correct -- IF, IF, IF -- that means we just recently passed the 2,000th biblical-year mark of the church age and end-time events will start unfolding rapidly, as they apparently have been, eg, Israel, apostasy, increase in earthquakes, etc. And as many have been saying by biblical interpretation and by various personal revelations, the rapture and beginning of the tribulation are imminent.
The writings of other church fathers such as Victorinus, Bishop of Petau and Hippotylus support the argument that the apostles and the early church believed and taught that the Millennium would commence at the end of 6,000 years.
Even the writings of the early Jews expressed the view that the Messiah would come at abut the end of the last century. After the Bible, the Talmud is the most authoritative source of Judaism. The view frequently expressed in the Talmud, according to researchers, is that the world as we know it would last only 6,000 years. For example, the Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: "The world is to exist 6,000 years. In the first 2,000, there was desolation (no Torah, from Adam to Abraham), 2,000 years the Torah flourished, and the next 2,000 years is the Messianic era (He should have come within that period . . . He should have come at the beginning of the last 2,000 years; the delay is due to our sins )" (emphasis added; ironically, Messiah did come the first time at the beginning of the last 2,000 years because of our sins!).
Another early Christian writer, Ephraem the Syrian, wrote about the rapture as early as AD 373: "For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the Tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins" ( On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World , A.D. 373). See "Rapture: Three Fascinating Discoveries!" by Grant Jeffrey, at http://www.raptureme.com/terry/james27.html
I know a few of my readers do not believe in a pre-trib rapture, but that's okay. Jesus and I love you anyhow! We may soon see who is correct. Personally, I am clinging to "the blessed hope" that I won't be here to see about half the earth's population killed during the outpouring of God's wrath. It ain't gonna be fun and will literally be hell on earth. And if the blood of Jesus hasn't purified you by now, getting tortured or killed by Mr. Antichrist ain't going to do it either!
Whichever, I like
this spiritual law: "According to your faith, be it unto you."