Saint Augustine of Hippo was an early Christian writer who influenced the development of western Christianity. He was the bishop of Hippo Regius in north Africa and is viewed as one of the most important Church Fathers for his writings – including The City of God. This book featured passages on the apocalypse – the apparent final destruction of the world, according to the Book of Revelation.
Martin Palmer, theologian and Director of the International Consultancy on Religion, revealed to BBC Radio 4 “In Our Time –The Apocalypse” listeners how Augustine believed this event world play out.
He said in 2003: “What Augustine did was two things.
“First of all, he got rid of any concept that you can work out the date of the apocalypse.
“As far as mainstream Christianity is concerned he puts a cap on speculation of the church.
“He does, however, say it is the individual conversion that brings about the New Kingdom.”
Mr Palmer went on to explain why we are now living in a “ticking time bomb”, waiting for the end of the world.
He added: “If you look at the teachings of Christ and gospels, it is the Kingdom of God that is here now, not in the future.
“The thing that he does that lays a ticking time bomb on Christianity is he introduces a thorough-going dualism.
“He introduces the notion that this world is evil and corrupt.
“He gets rid of the sense the apocalypse is around the corner, but he sets up an absolute tension between the forces of good and evil.
“And we are currently in evil.”
It is not the first time claims of this nature have surfaced.
Last month, doomsday preacher Paul Begley claimed we are now in the final days.
He said: “These are truly the last days – the Bible gives us a warning.
“Jesus said when you seek false Christ then false prophets will rise in the last days – we certainly have that.
“He also said there will be wars and rumours of wars – nations against nations and kingdoms and kingdoms – that’s absolutely going on.
“He said ‘all these see that you are not troubled, all these things must come to pass, the end is not yet.'”
Mr Begley also pointed out specific worldwide events that have occurred over the last seven years that apparently prove the end is near.
He added: “The Bible says there will be famine, drought – well we’ve had record droughts in Australia, record droughts in California – that’s why we had wildfires in 2017 and 2018.
“Canada has also seen wildfires and there have been increased droughts in Africa.
“The Bible says the Euphrates River will dry up so much the kings of the east will be able to march over it.
“Well it is 85 percent smaller than it was eight years ago – you can see on Google Maps – there’s only 15 percent left.
“The Sea of Galilee is down 40ft since 2013 and the Dead Sea is drying up."