It never ceases to amaze me at the fascination that some Christians have with the end of the world. This may be due in part to pre-tribulation rapture theology as espoused by most American Evangelical churches today. Americans for the most part feel entitled to not suffer anything, either in this world or for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. More than a few Fundamentalists would love nothing more than to have Congress enact some laws requiring everyone to believe what they believe and to live under some Quasi-Christian form of Sharia law.
Beloved I warn you not to be deceived, for the Antichrist will come one day offering all that many hope and pray for. He will bring about peace in the Middle East, for a season. He will rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and when he stands in it declaring himself to be god, and forces all to worship him and his image, then the legislated religion forced upon the people will have come full circle.
When will this happen? I do not know, but by looking back in history I can tell you when others have said it would come about. The Millennial day theory, or the Sabbath millennium theory, is a theory in Christian eschatology in which the Second Coming of Christ will occur 6,000 years after the creation of mankind, followed by 1,000 years of peace and harmony. It was a very popular belief accepted by certain pre-millennialists who usually promoted young earth creationism.
The once popular Sabbath Millennium theory, as espoused by many end times prophecy teachers, made its first appearance in the Epistle of Barnabas C. 80-120 AD.
Chapter XV. The Sabbath is mentioned at the beginning of the creation [thus]: “And God made in six days the works of His hands, and made an end on the seventh day, and rested on it, and sanctified it.” Attend, my children, to the meaning of this expression, “He finished in six days.” This implieth that the Lord will finish all things in six thousand years, for a day is with Him a thousand years. And He Himself testifieth, saying, “Behold, to-day will be as a thousand years.” Therefore, my children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished. “And He rested on the seventh day.” This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day. Roberts-Donaldson English Translation.
The millennial Sabbath was also expressed by Hippolytus, Bishop of Rome, from the visions of Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar, taken in conjunction with the Apocalypse of John. Hippolytus C. 170-236 was the first great Christian Father whose history is Roman, nevertheless, he was not a Roman, but a Greek. He was a disciple of Irenaeus the Bishop of Lyon, who was a disciple of Polycarp the Bishop of Smyrna who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John.
Hippolytus. Part 1 Exegetical. 4. But that we may not leave our subject at this point undemonstrated, we are obliged to discuss the matter of the times, of which a man should not speak hastily, because they are a light to him. For as the times are noted from the foundation of the world, and reckoned from Adam, they set clearly before us the matter with which our inquiry deals. For the first appearance of our Lord in the flesh took place in Bethlehem, under Augustus, in the year 5500; and He suffered in the thirty-third year. And 6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day “on which God rested from all His works.” For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled. And they are not yet fulfilled, as John says: “five are fallen; one is,” that is, the sixth; “the other is not yet come.” TRANSLATED BY THE REV. S. D. F. SALMOND.
Hippolytus using the Roman date of 5,500 for the birth of Christ expressed his belief that The Lord would return around the year 500AD. Well that didn’t happen and others have used Bishop Usher’s calculation (First Published in 1650) that purported to establish the time and date of the creation as the night preceding Sunday, 23 October 4004 BC, according to the Julian calendar. Ussher’s proposed date of 4004 BC differed little from other Biblically based estimates, such as those of Jose ben Halafta (3761 BC), Bede (3952 BC), Ussher’s near-contemporary Scaliger (3949 BC), Johannes Kepler (3992 BC) or Sir Isaac Newton (c. 4000 BC). So depending on whose date of the creation is the most accurate we might just see the Millennial Sabbath theory survive for a while anyway.
When I was in my teens and twenties I was a regular attendee at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the Millennial Sabbath theory was a popular theology and was taught by Chuck Smith. I was very excited about the return of The Lord and I still am looking forward to His return even though I never truly subscribed to that theology or to pre-tribulation rapture. I am a pre-millennialist and I’ve been told by many Pastors and teachers that they accept anyone who’s at least a pre-millennialist. How relieved I am that they think it’s acceptable to have a thought other than theirs.
From Chuck Smith C2000 Series Leviticus 25-26 “Now there is that interesting pattern of the six years of servitude, the seventh year being the year of liberty being set free. I see it really in the earth. I believe that Adam sold out the possession that God had given to him just about six thousand years ago. How close to the six thousand years, nobody really knows, awfully close now though, because we do know that Adam sold out to Satan. If you take the figures out of the Bible and add them all up, the ages of each person and all, you come to about 4000 B.C. that Adam sinned against God and gave the earth over to Satan. Now we are in 1979, coming towards the close of it. So you’ve got a few years divergency here that could be eaten up in several different ways. We are approaching, certainly approaching, and at least at the longest, we are less than twenty years from six thousand years of slavery to sin to Satan, his possession of this earth. Now we know that there is a thousand-year period coming of restoration, of a righteous reign of Jesus Christ of peace and glory upon the earth. The fact that the six thousand years are almost over is extremely exciting to me, because I am personally convinced that the seventh millennium of the earth will be the glorious Kingdom Age, and we can’t be more than twenty years away. Now I’m excited about that. And to me there’s nothing of doom and gloom but glory to God, the mess is over. Oh, I’m so excited. What an exciting time to be living. The close of this age, the close of this millennium, the close of this final millennium prior to that glorious seventh millennium, the millennial reign of Christ. He shall rule and reign for a thousand years upon the earth. He’s gonna rule and reign forever, a thousand of it will be here upon the earth, and we shall rule and reign with Him as kings and priests. Can you imagine that? How close we are, whoosh it’s exciting. I love it. The fact that the six thousand years are almost over is extremely exciting to me, because I am personally convinced that the seventh millennium of the earth will be the glorious Kingdom Age, and we can’t be more than twenty years away. “
“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Mark 13:32 NASB
“So Jesus is saying that no man knows the day, or the hour, only the father. So that anyone who presumes to know the day or the hour is making an unbiblical presumption. But there are many people who try to explain away,” this, no man knows the day or the hour,” and try to proclaim that they do know the day or the hour. But they fall in that category of false prophets.” Chuck Smith Tape 5189.
I never heard or read anywhere that Pastor Chuck said that God had told him or anyone else that the return of The Lord was coming on any certain date, but he admitted quite clearly that he could be wrong about The Lord’s return in 1981 or any other year. It’s just that we were just so excited about the establishment of the Kingdom age, the end of pollution, the threat of nuclear war, the depletion of the ozone layer and all the doom and gloom that we lived under in the 60’s and 70’s. If you are old enough, you can remember the duck and dive drills in school, and if you are too young I’ll explain. All schools in the 50’s and 60’s went through nuclear blast drills just as they do fire drills today. The teacher would drop a book on the floor or make a loud noise and we were trained to duck under our desks or dive to the floor. We even had the mandatory US Civil Defense training films and fallout shelters in schools equipped with a basement. Also, there was a clear desire to have clean air again, for on so many days we could not have PE class due to unhealthful air quality. Rivers in American had so much pollution in them that they often caught on fire. American cities had burned in race riots and anti-war protests. The love of many had grown cold, the wars and rumors of wars were real and Israel was often at war with its neighbors.
Beloved, I assure you that one day The Lord will return, but we should not think that we can look at the events around us as an indicator of the end of days. Rather we should be excited about the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We should be so excited that we want to share this great hope with others, and live it out in our lives and families. That’s why our Christian life is referred to as our WALK and Jesus is the WAY.
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 NLT