I find the idea of the world being forgiven of their sins by the death and torture of a man to be a something that is very twisted. In my opinion, everyone should be responsible for their own actions and it simply doesn't make sense to punish one man thousands of years ago for someone else's crimes. And it especially doesn't sound right for an all knowing, all loving, and all powerful god to come up with such a horrible solution to a very serious problem either. To be honest, I wouldn't put much stock in the bible as I don't think it accurately relates to reality. Thus, I highly doubt that a "judgment day" will ever happen as much as I doubted the 2012 apocalypse or any other end of the world claim. Claims, in my opinion, should only be taken seriously if there is sufficient evidence and reason to believe them. Otherwise the claim is completely unsupported and should be discarded as such.
As for what you said specifically about judgment day I don't think it is entirely correct to say that people would be judged according to how they lived their lives. People would certainly like to believe that but it is my understanding that living a good life and doing good deeds is not as important as whether or not you believed and worshiped the correct god. I keep thinking back to Dante's Inferno where the first circle of hell is reserved for those who actually did live virtuous and good lives but were simply born in the wrong century, country, family or weren't baptized. It's not just that but many other branches of Christianity would probably claim the same thing, if you aren't a believer or one of them--regardless of your actions--you go to hell.
While I'm curious about where in Pauls letters you found this, FYI Paul wasn't a prophet, nor disagreed with anything Jesus stated. As Jesus prophesied the end of the world, and gave His people a list of signs to look for its coming, I'd say Judgement Day is a sure thing.
Well Jesus, aka the main source of Christian authority, said that the eschaton would come within the lifetime of at least some of his disciples (Luke 9:27), so it's fair to say that the Bible got some stuff wrong. There's New Testament was written over a very long period of time, in both Jewish, Gentile and Hellenistic contexts. Ideas about the end of the world changed throughout the time that it was being written, edited and formed into a canon, so there's bound to be a lot of contradiction. If you planning on taking the Bible word for word, you'll have problems.
The last book of the Bible is not to be understood literally. It may well be taken as a type of the end of the world, but its real purpose was as comfort and encouragement to contemporary Christians of its time who were undergoing trials and persecutions, which were expressed symbolically. If it looks mysterious to us now, it's in part because the symbol vocabulary is no longer one with which we're familiar. It would have been clearer in its day.
Paul actually seemed to anticipate the second coming during his own lifetime. (1 Thess 4 speaks of "we who are alive" at the time.)
Huh... I've never heard of this section with Paul... which verse was it? Do you know? or which book in the Bible? Maybe "apocalypse" was used as a metaphor of some kind with Paul? It may be phrased differently in a different text, too. It's also possible there were apocalyptic theories before Jesus came and died that weren't mentioned in the Bible... don't hold me to that, it's just an idea. It could also mean that Christians don't need to fear the apocalypse. :/ Things are phrased strangely in the Bible from time to time (i.e., to 'fear' the Lord is not to be afraid of him, but to respect him.).
There are a couple ways you can apologize this with theology. One natural context is the transfiguration mentioned in the same setting was a display of the royal splendor of Christ in his heavenly form. The Greek word for kingdom in the Luke passage conotates this royal splendor.
But I am more in line with the other uses of the Kingdom that Christ mentions repeatedly being established in the hearts and minds of true believers after his resurrection. I think the apostles witnessed the coming of this kingdom at Pentecost. I believe Christ's kingdom is already established and fulfills his words here to his disciples as an encouragement for the fruit of the pain they will witness shortly by their messiah.
Other passages talk about a future generation witnessing signs and wonders proclaiming the end of days is near. I think every true believer sees that it could happen at any moment and before any of us tastes death.
I see them working in complete harmony to accurately describe the work of the cross, the salvation that it brings for the believer, and the judgement it brings for the condemned.
To my mind any attempt to say 'you're reading the Bible wrong' or explaining away contradictions is a dead give-away that you're uncomfortable with the contradictions. Then again, sometimes I hear a reasonable explanation, and I'm curious as to if he has one of those.
As I understand it, it goes something like this. Sin is like a cancer, like entropy, it seeks to undo creation by corruption of all that is good. The wages, the penelty of sin is death. We all must die because we have all sinned. That said, we now have a weapon against sin. And though the penelty of death must still be payed we can live again through the teachings of christ. By purifying the spirit and resisting sin we will be rewarded with eternal life after death.
The world was freed from sin because Jesus gave himself as a human blood scrafice to cleans us. To take advantage of that sacrafice we need only seek true forgiveness for our transgressions against ourselves, humanity and God. We don't need to wait for an apocolypse to test, segragate and purify us but need only seek God. Before then men had to atone for their sin by the sacrafice of a perfect lamb and even then I don't think there was an option of eternal life after death just restful sleep and you wouldn't be sent to hell. (I'm no scholar so I can't realy say on that point).
The Apocolypse spoken of in Reveleations is something like a harvest. Jesus will come to punish the wicked and gather those who are pure and take them "home". The earth will be destroyed for it will be utterly corrupted by the sin of man. The cancer must be burned away. Hell is reserved for those of true evil. Those who willingly and knowingly do evil and corrupt others. Mostly the lake of fire is for Satan, his angels and the antichrist. Eternal torment as punishment for all they have done. For the rest....I don't know. Probably the knowledge that God is true and the haunting worlds....I know you not. Maybe an outer darkness, maybe eternal fire maybe just absolute death. The earth will then be remade and some of those taken will return as stewards of the earth, others will find a place in heaven.
Of course this is a simplistic readers digest version of my view.
It came off to me as a story of the rest of the time the world would exist. "here is an evil man if you KNOW WHO I MEAN. And there will be others like him from now, until the end of time, all whom must be fought against."
I don't think that's all that it's about. There's some definite Roman-bashing going on in the Whore Babylon etc, but there's also a lot of attempts at predicting the future, too. It was about giving hope of a better future to the oppressed as to attack the oppressors in my opinion
Could you drop the relevant passage(s) from Paul? As far as I know only those are saved who "accept Jesus into their heart". Of course, it was never meant to be the Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh, but the Son of God (as in the Divine Trinity), which is – though human – not bound by time and space. This last part also makes the concept of Apocalypse much more interesting.