1. The apocalypses of the early Christianity

1. THE APOCALYPSES OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANITY

For almost two millennia the Christian doctrine has ignited and fueled the majority of apocalyptic manifestations that have occurred in the entire world. The main reason behind this state of things has been the divine urge for practicing proselytism, amplified by the geographical and demographical spreading of Christians and by the political and economic power of the Christian nations. Between the 4th and the 21st century Christianity had the largest number of followers, in the last two hundred years dominating Europe, America, Australia and the south of Africa.

Christianity is a religion that transforms man into a being pleasing to God, capable of doing good and rejecting evil. Unlike Judaism, which is mainly an exclusivist, defensive religion, destined to a small group of people, Christianity (and Islam) is an expansionistic religion; it encourages the spreading of the gospel, as Jesus did, in order to convince non-Christians to convert. Christians are urged to promote and export their faith through words and actions. All people, regardless of color, nationality, religion or sex, are equally loved by God and deserve to know the gospel in order to be saved. In this way, through missionaries and priests, Christ’s message about the end of the world came to be heard all over the world.

The Christian apocalypticism of the first five centuries was born out of confusion; the Bible was conceived only in the 4th century, which meant that during this time the Christian religion was very susceptible to external influences, particularly from Jewish eschatology. Three main apocalyptic themes can be distinguished in this period: the identification of the Roman Empire with Babylon the Great, waiting for the Antichrist to rise from among the Jews, and the belief that the world would end when 6,000 years would pass from the creation of Adam.



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1.1. Rome - Babylon the Great

Christian eschatology was vulnerable to Jewish influences because Christianity, as a religion, was not yet clearly defined. It was a time when the sacred texts were written on scrolls and the concept of Bible was non-existent. Until the 4th century Christianity was a confused religion: there was neither a clear distinction between canonical texts and apocryphal texts nor the dual classification of the Old and the New Testament. Lots of contradictory and questionable texts...

1.2. Nero the Jew - the Antichrist

Early Christians agreed that the fourth beast from Daniel’s visions refers to the Roman Empire, that the Whore of Babylon from Revelation refers to Rome and that the final events of the world were taking place in front of their eyes. The main problem was the identification of the Antichrist. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries Irenaeus of Gaul and Hippolytus of Rome elaborated so well the image of the Antichrist that their conclusions became eschatological landmarks for the...

1.3. The millennial week

The prospect of the imminent end was also confirmed through chronological computation. The early Christians showed a great interest in determining the exact age of the world and the establishment of a general precise chronology. Tatian of Antioch, Clement of Alexandria, Sextus Julius Africanus of Jerusalem, Eusebius, Irenaeus or Hippolytus tried to accurately date Adam’s creation, Noah’s Flood, the death of Moses, the Exodus from Egypt or the building of the...


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