“Hope is not confidence in the virtues of history, any more than it is confidence in the virtue of the noble savage or of man’s nature. To the extent it reduces itself to that, it means nothing. Whoever nurtures that kind of belief is merely an idealist, and hope is, in that case, a vague, pleasent feeling.
“Hope is the act whereby a person becomes aware of the distance of the Kingdom, and it clings to apocalyptic thinking. If the Kingdom is there, within easy reach, if the Kingdom is quite naturally within us, there is no need for hope. The latter is the measure of our distance from the Kingdom. Certainly the saying which attests that the Kingdom is at hand, that the Kingdom is in our midst, is truthful, but it is truthful as a saying of hope. It is not the report of an observable, measurable reality, complete with tangible consequences. It is an affirmation of a counter-reality. Humanly speaking, it is not true that the Kingdom of God is present. . . .
“The Apocalypse is tied to the thought of a God who intervenes in history, who makes his own decisions and acts as sovereign, creating the world he wants through his almighty Word, whose fiery approach melts mountains and causes man and his works to collapse. It is to take the living God seriously. Now hope is that work which incites this God to come and reveal himself, no ling in his discreetness, weakness, and humiliation, but also in his glory. If one doesn’t hope in the glory of God, of which the Apocalypse is a translation, there is no hope. There is only human progress and the hatred of those who obstruct it.”
~ Jacques Ellul, Hope in a Time of Abandonment, 206-7, 209.