From the very earliest days of the church, the apostles and first-generation Christians had an earnest expectation and fervent hope that Christ might suddenly return at any time to gather His church to heaven. 'Be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:7-9). Peter echoed that same expectation when he wrote, 'The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers' (1 Pet 4:7).
'Yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry' (Hebrews 10:37). And the apostle John stated, 'Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many anti-christs have come, by which we know that it is the last hour' (1 John 2:18). The New Testament writers often wrote of Christ’s 'appearing,' and they never failed to convey the sense that this could happen at any time. 'And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming' (1 John 2:28; cf. 3:2; Col 3:4; 2 Tim 4:8; 1 Pet 5:4).
All those texts suggest that in the early church, expectation of Christ’s sudden return at any time ran high. A conviction that Christ could return at any time permeates the whole NT
. When the apostle Paul described the Lord’s coming for the church, he was convinced he himself might be among those who would be caught up alive to meet the Lord: 'We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord … . we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air' (1 Thess 4:15, 17 ). He obviously looked for Christ to return in his lifetime. ...
Posted by Twospirits 12-18-09 here http://americanvision.org/worldviewf...t=1328&start=0