I heard somewhere that it is possible that the 12 Apostles, right after Christ's ascension, believed that His return would happen very soon, that is, even during their lifetime. What evidence do we have in the Bible that might indicate that kind of thinking on the part of the Apostles?

I've looked up the Wikipedia article on Second Coming, but it only quotes the words spoken by Jesus Himself about His second coming to happen soon.

As for the Apostles, it only quotes these words by John:

"Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour" (1st John 2:18)

What other verses in the Bible may indicate that the Apostles expected the Lord to be back very soon?

  • We don't do verse search questions here, because even if there are a few clear verses, there are so many more that are disputed and are interpreted in radically different ways. – curiousdannii Nov 11 at 13:08
  • @NigelJ - "And it is all quite understandable, given the circumstances" - Which circumstances do you men here? – brilliant Nov 11 at 14:31
  • @brilliant With the coming of Christ, came a New Testament and it is understandable that such a revelation caused the apostles to have a new view of the past, of Israel and and its history. It took time for them to absorb and understand what was actually transpiring. During this transition their expectations changed. – Nigel J Nov 11 at 16:08
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    @NigelJ - I see. Do you think we can establish the approximate time when these expectations of theirs finally changed? For example, did they finally change before the last event described in Acts (Paul's arrival at Rome) or afterwards? – brilliant Nov 11 at 16:43
  • @brilliant It's a very broad subject running in the background of the gospel accounts and Acts. I think the question is too broad to handle it here. – Nigel J Nov 11 at 17:13

As was noted, I don't think there are many. Rev 1:1 comes to mind and "shortly." Another one might be,

1 Cor 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; 30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; 31 And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

The problem is whether these things are to be understood spiritually as did the early church fathers, or as earthly historical events, which is the preference of many modern scholars. To see how the church fathers handled terms like "this generation" (Mat 24:34, Mark 13:30-31, Luke 21:32-33) check the Catena Aurea.

Catena Aurea

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