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What the heck is “eschatology?”
Introducing Theological Eschatology
Thinking About ‘Future Things’
“Tribulation refers to any times of trouble or distress experienced by God’s people, but it also refers to future intense period of Great Tribulation that will occur just prior to the return of Christ… Matthew 24:21–22 Jesus states that there will be a ‘great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be‘ and that it will be cut short ‘for the sake of the elect.’ A few verses later Jesus describes the coming of the Son of Man in similar terms to that found in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (both texts reference a ‘trumpet‘ and ‘clouds‘). This parousia [Greek for ‘Second Coming’] occurs after the great tribulation (cf. Matt. 24:29)…
Out of the entire New Testament, the infamous word, ‘antichrist‘ (antikristos), is only found in John’s Epistles (1Jn 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2Jn. 7)… John distinguishes between antichrists (plural) and the Antichrist (singular)… [where we] see that the presence of ‘antichrists’ currently in the world is evidence that we are currently living in the eschatological ‘last hour‘ (eschatē hōra). [John] says this is ‘how we know it is the last hour‘ (1Jn 2:18) and that the spirit of the antichrist is now already in the world (4:3). The phrase ‘last hour‘ is [therefore] more of a theological assertion than it is a chronological indicator…
The Antichrist [singular] refers to one who is satanically inspired and sets himself up as God… [and] should most likely be associated with the ‘abomination of desolation‘ (Mark 13:14), the ‘man of Lawlessness‘ (2Thes. 2:3–4) and ‘the beast‘ (Rev. 13:1–9, 11–18; 11:7). The anticipation of this evil figure is rooted in Daniel’s visions (Dan. 7:8, 19-25; 9:27; 11:31, 36–27; 12:11) and other similar evil figures in the Old Testament (Ezek. 28:2–3)… According to [the apostle] Paul, the ‘man of lawlessness‘ will arise and seek to exalt himself over God by demanding worship of no one else but himself (v. 4). He will severely persecute those who refuse to worship him. He will use signs and wonders to deceive the people and will give them false teachings (Rev 13:9, 11). By imitating the miracles and teaching ability of Jesus, he will appear to be the Messiah, but he [will] be defeated at Jesus’ second coming (v. 8). Throughout history some believed Nero, the Pope, Stalin, Hitler, and others to be the eschatological antichrist. While they were indeed wrong, we must understand that every generation has those who are opposed to Christ and could rightly be called antichrists… [The] spirit of the antichrist is [therefore currently] a work in any false teaching that denies the deity of Christ or claims to be Christ, but also refers to a future Satanic earthly leader who will demand to be worshipped and will persecute God’s people.”
” Dispensationalism — a theological & eschatological paradigm that introduced such concepts as the pre-tribulation rapture and third-temple Judaism in the millennium and was unknown prior to the nineteenth century — has become the official theology of some of America’s largest evangelical denominations. To some, its presuppositions have come to be seen as the indispensable foundation for correct biblical exegesis… Either all the Christian scholars prior to 1830 have been wrong about the central teachings of the New Testament or else the dispensationalists are wrong. When considering the biblical merits of each position, it is necessary to discern whether we are seeing the text as it reads and was intended, or whether we are reading the text through a preferred grid…”
“[Contra Dispensationalism ,] Biblical history is divided up into [only] two [not seven ] distinct ages: the age of promise, when God promises to make all things right by establishing his kingdom and rule through his Messiah, and the age of fulfillment, which is the age when God’s promises are fulfilled, in which Christians are now living, and which will continue on forever. One of the most striking dimensions of the New Testament is the apostles’s insistence that the ‘latter [or ‘last’] days‘ have broken into history. Each New Testament book, in some way, claims that the last epoch in Israel’s history has begun through the person of Christ. All that the Old Testament foresaw would occur in the end times has begun to be fulfilled in the first coming of Christ and continues until the second coming of Christ. The Old Testament end-time expectations of the great tribulation, God’s subjugation of the Gentiles, deliverance of Israel from oppressors, Israel’s restoration and resurrection, the new covenant, the promised Spirit, the new creation, the new temple, a messianic king, and the establishment of God’s kingdom have all been set in motion through Christ’s death and resurrection. The expression ‘already-not yet‘ refers to two stages of the fulfillment of the latter days. It is ‘already’ because the latter days have dawned in Christ, but it is ‘not yet‘ since the latter days have not consummately arrived. Scholars often use the phrase ‘inaugurated eschatology’ or overlap of the ages to describe this phenomenon.”
“Believers [already] live in the ‘last days’ [ Acts ch. 2 , esp. v. 17 ], upon them ‘the ends of the ages [have already] come,’ but ‘the last day,’ ‘the consummation of the age,’ still lies in the future ( Matthew 13:39-40 , 49 ; 24:3 ; 28:20 ; John 6:39 , 44 , 54 ; 12:48 ; 1Corinthians 10:11 ; 2Timothy 3:1 ; Hebrews 1:2 ; 9:26 ; James 5:3 ; 1Peter 1:5 , 20 ; 2Peter 3:3 ; 1John 2:18 ; Jude 1:18 ).”
“Christ announced the arrival of the Kingdom, he did not merely offer it.”
What Is the ‘Abomination of Desolation’?
Modern Israel in Bible Prophecy: Promised Return or Impending Exile?
Making Sense of Ezekiel’s Temple Vision (Ch. 40)
The difficulties of the dispensational interpretation seem insurmountable.
“Elaine Pagels has been called one of the world’s most important writers and thinkers on religion and history.“
[That is true. Dr. Pagels is universally revered in biblical scholarship circles , even by the very best; people like Harold Camping .]
Harold Camping’s false prophesies, the Left Behind fiction series and the voluminous other silliness notwithstanding (except they are with standing — considerable standing, in fact — at least in evangelicalism), how many of us have bothered to do any real homework on the biblical “rapture” ?
God’s Plan for Humanity — Paradise Restored or Paradise Replaced?
A Brief Sketch of Amillennial Eschatology
Amillennialism and The “Future” Kingdom of God
2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillennialism
Currents within Amillennialism
Essays on the Revelation of John
The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation
Course Materials on Revelation
Who or what is the great prostitute of Revelation 17?
Hippies head for Noah’s Ark
Thousands of New Agers descend on mountain they see as haven from December’s apocalypse