Pestilence, earthquake and flame; the binding of the great beast and the opening of seven seals: such ideas about divinely-inspired disaster and prophecies of doom have an enduring place in the history of Christian thought. For centuries men and women have made preparations for the imminent end of the world, and for the thousand year reign of Christ and his saints. Inspired principally by the startling texts of the Book of Revelation, Christianity has a rich and varied tradition of looking forward to the purifying fires of Armageddon. But what do recurring motifs like the Rapture, the apocalyptic Four Horsemen, plague, utopias, biblical prophecy and the building of the New Jerusalem really add up to? And how have understandings and interpretations of these patterns differed from century to century? Charting a steady course between the feverish predictions of early Christian heretics like the Montanists, whose leader was considered to be a manifestation of the Holy Spirit, and the febrile outpourings of modern-day, right-wing millennialists such as the Christian Zionists in America, John M Court explores the continuities and differences between their violent visions of cataclysm. His concise history offers an incisive analysis of such significant movements and figures as Joachim of Fiore, the Levellers and Diggers, James Jezreel and his Trumpeters, William Miller and Joanna Southcott, Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, and modern-day cargo cults and drug cultures. Embracing over two thousand years of intense and fiery admonition, Approaching the Apocalypse offers students of religion, history and politics the definitive handbook to Doomsday.
Approaching the Apocalypse
A Short History of Christian Millenarianism