Expecting the end of the world moment by moment is an attitude that appears already in the old church. This expectation, even weakened, did not cease to exist in the next centuries. Some regard the book of John’s Revelation as the cause of this. John’s Revelation makes the end of times vividly present, but there are more in the New Testament justifying such an expectation.
Christ’s very prompt “be ready, for the son of man comes at an hour you don’t know” (Luke 12.40), unexpected as a thief in the night, obviously refers to anyone listening and not to some far away time. This way the Second Coming becomes imminent in the Christian mentality even before the Passion. We have to admit that everything Christian is a lie and fiction, or that the moment of the Second Coming needs an interpretation that will explain the passing of so many centuries after it was first promised.