What does Eschatology mean in the Bible?

Dictionary

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia - Eschatology
That department of Theology devoted to inquiryconcerning the "last things,"—the Advent of Christ, Death and theState of the Departed, the judgment to come and the final award.
Holman Bible Dictionary - Eschatology
The teaching concerning the last things in world history. The Greek word eschatos means “last” or “final.” Accordingly, eschatology is the study of the things expected to occur at the end of history. There are two basic ways of approaching eschatology. The first, which has been most common over the centuries, focuses on those final events or situations which have not yet occurred. These are, chiefly, Jesus' return, the millennium, the last judgment, the final resurrection, and heaven and hell. Over the last century, however, scholars have generally agreed that the New Testament was written in an atmosphere pervaded by eschatology. Early Christianity was rooted in the paradoxical conviction that the last things had “already” occurred, even though they were “not yet” fully completed. (Jesus' resurrection, for instance, was understood as the beginning of the final resurrection of the dead [1]). This conviction lay at the heart of the early church's joy and hope. It shaped its understanding of Jesus, salvation, mission, and all else. Accordingly, when scholars speak of eschatology today, they are often referring not simply to events which have “not yet” occurred, but chiefly to the way in which the last things are “already” present, and to the attitudes and expectations which this arouses. Since eschatology, throughout much of church history and in much common speech today, often means the study of events still future, this article will first explore the traditional discussion of these things. Second, however, it will consider eschatology as the breaking of the future into the present and the meaning of this for Christian life.
The Millennium For the last century or so, different overall eschatological perspectives have usually been classified according to their viewpoint regarding the millennium. The “millennium” (from the Latin mille , meaning “a thousand”) refers to the 1,000 year reign of Christ and His saints described in Revelation 20:4-6 . Not all proponents of the various millennial views, however, insist that this period must last exactly 1,000 years. There have been three basic millennial perspectives. Each has existed in a more general and a more specific form, although these have not been entirely consistent with each other.
1. Premillennialism Premillennialists hold that Jesus will return before (“pre-”) He establishes a millennial kingdom on this earth. This return will be necessary because forces hostile to God will be governing the world, and Christ must conquer them before He can rule. Towards the end of the millennium evil will again arise, and it will have to be defeated once more before God's cosmic rule is perfected. Until the fourth century, the early church was generally premillennial. This perspective, which placed the church in sharp conflict with the Roman Empire, declined rapidly after Constantine made Christianity the Empire's favored religion. In subsequent centuries premillennialism was often held by radical groups at odds with state-supported religion. Those who hold the general expectation that Jesus will return before establishing an earthly millennium are called “historic premillennialists.”
Premillennialism's more specific form is qualified by the adjective “dispensational.” Dispensational premillennialism acquired its specific shape during the ministry of John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), founder of the Plymouth Brethren. It has remained popular among many American fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals. Dispensationalism contrasts God's way of working in at least two historical “dispensations”: those of Israel and of the church. See Dispensation .
Under the Israelite dispensation, God sought to establish an earthly, national kingdom centered in Palestine and governed by social and cultic laws. When Jesus came, He presented Himself as the King of this kingdom. According to dispensationalists, however, the Israelite, or “kingdom,” dispensation did not end when the Jewish nation rejected Him. Dispensationalists claim to interpret all biblical prophecy literally. They argue that many prophecies regarding Israel—such as the rebuilding of the Jerusalem Temple, the rule of a Davidic king over a universal, earthly realm of peace—have not yet been fulfilled. Therefore, these prophecies will be fulfilled, and the kingdom dispensation will be completed, in a time still future.
Ever since Israel's rejection of Jesus, however, God has worked through the dispensation of the church. Instead of being primarily concerned with one nation, God now calls all peoples. Instead of establishing a geographical kingdom, God gathers them into the church. Instead of being deeply concerned with the socio-political affairs, God's work in the Church Age focuses chiefly on spiritual matters. This dispensation, however, will cease at a particular point. When Jesus returns to gather His church (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 ), He will rapture it out of the world, and the kingdom dispensation will be reactivated. It will climax when, after several years of tribulation, Jesus returns with the church to center His millennial rule in Palestine.
2. Postmillennialism Whereas premillennialists hold that Jesus will return before the millennium, postmillennialists maintain that He will return after (“post-”) an earthly kingdom is established. This means, however, that the millennium will be simultaneous with an era of ordinary human history. This viewpoint was first comprehensively articulated by Augustine (354-430), who regarded the establishment of the church since about Constantine's time as the rule of Christ with His saints. Postmillennialism has often been the general perspective of Roman Catholic, Reformed, and other socially established churches. It became popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth century evangelical revivals, which emphasized social transformation. Today some socially-minded evangelicals are reviving it.
In a general sense, postmillennialism serves as a label for any eschatology which expects religious and social activity to play a large role in establishing God's kingdom. All such movements acknowledge that this kingdom is not yet fully established, for much evil still exists. They also grant that evil may sometimes gain the upper hand. Nevertheless, they hold that history and society in general have been and will be brought increasingly under Christ's rule and that the kingdom's advance is closely related to that of certain social and religious forces.
In the general sense, then, movements such as the early twentieth century “social gospel” and contemporary liberation theologies can be called postmillennial. Such theologies, however, seldom involve detailed theories as to how history will end. Many expect God to act entirely through the social forces presently at work. Accordingly, they interpret phenomena such as Jesus' return and the final resurrection as symbols rather than as historical occurrences.
In the more specific sense, postmillennialists are those, such as many reformed evangelicals of the last few centuries, who regard Jesus' return as an historical event and enter into discussion as to show how the final events will occur. They often anticipate a brief outbreak of evil before Christ comes and acknowledge that His rule after this time will be more pervasive than before. Although they insist that the church must significantly influence the socio-political sphere, they usually place evangelism at the heart of the kingdom's advance.
3. Amillennialism By adding the prefix “a-” (meaning “not”), amillennialists express their conviction that no historical period called the millennium does or will exist. In general sense, amillennialism can refer to everyone who interprets all language about a final, earthly realm of peace in a spiritual manner.
Paradoxically, it was during late antiquity, as many church leaders were adopting a postmillennial perspective, that much popular piety ceased hoping for any historical millennium and, focusing entirely on the afterlife, became amillennial. In this general sense, amillennialism tends to be individualistic, concentrating on the heavenly destiny of each person rather than on the future of this earth. It includes much medieval mysticism. Even modern existentialist theologians, such as Rudolf Bultmann, who regard futurist eschatology as mythological and emphasize encounter with God in the present, can be included under this general label.
During the nineteenth century, however, “amillennialism” was applied increasingly to a more specific eschatology. Like postmillennialists, these amillennialists believed that Christ was already reigning with His saints. They argued that He was doing so, however, in heaven with departed Christians, and not through specific ecclesiastical or social movements. Like premillennialists, these amillennialists expected Jesus to return, to conquer His enemies and to rule over a transformed earth. His perfected rule, however, would be established immediately, and not preceded by an interim called the millennium. This specific form of amillennialism, then, is far less individualistic than the general one, and views history before Jesus' return much as does the more general, or “historic,” premillennialism.
The Order of the Final Events Proponents of both forms or premillennialism, and of the more specific forms of post-and amillennialism, have often minutely debated the order in which the final events will occur. While this emphasis has been criticized for obscuring eschatology's deeper theological meaning and its practical significance, it demands attention in a general treatment of the subject.
People claim the Bible describes five major final events: Jesus' return, defeat of evil, resurrection, judgment, and renewal of the cosmos. Postmillennialists and amillennialists expect them to occur more or less together and to be preceded by a troubled time called the Great Tribulation (Mark 13:19 ) during which the antichrist will rule. They also anticipate a large-scale conversion of Jews before the end.
Historic premillennialists also expect Israelite conversion and the Great Tribulation to occur before Christ's return. However, they divide each of the other four final events into two phases. (1) At Jesus' return: antichrist will be defeated, and Satan will be bound (though not wholly destroyed); then “the just” alone shall rise from their graves; they will be judged and rewarded for their good works; and the millennial kingdom will be established. (2) Then, after the millennium: Satan and all evil will be destroyed; then the “unjust” will rise; they will be judged for their evil works; and the new heavens and new earth will descend (compare Revelation 21:1 ).
Dispensational premillennialists further subdivide this scheme. They distinguish two phases in Jesus' return. In the first, He will rapture the church. The Tribulation and Israel's conversion will follow (although in some versions, the rapture will occur in the middle of or even after the Tribulation). Then Jesus will return to defeat antichrist, bind Satan, and establish a Judeo-centric millennial kingdom. From then on, events will proceed much like those of historic premillennialism. The resurrection, however, must now occur in three phases: at the rapture, all who have died in Christ to that time will be raised; at Jesus' second return, those martyred during the Tribulation will rise; finally, after the millennium, the “unjust” will be resurrected. Judgment, too, will proceed somewhat differently: “the just” who join the rapture will be rewarded then, while those raised at Jesus' second return will be rewarded only after the millennium, when “the unjust” are raised and judged.
The Last Judgment While traditional eschatological discussion has been preoccupied with millennial issues for over a century, several other doctrines have received attention through much longer periods of history. Many ordinary Christians and theologians have been concerned not with exactly when the last judgment will occur, but with how many will be judged favorably, and with how the condemned will be punished.
1. Universalism Over the centuries, most Christians have believed that some people will finally be saved while others will be lost. They often assumed that the latter would outnumber the former. By the early third century, however, Origen (185–254) was teaching “universalism”: the doctrine that everyone would finally be saved. (Origen even included the devil in that number, although this particular addition brought the church's official condemnation.) While universalism was revived from time to time, it was never widely accepted until the nineteenth century, when liberal Protestantism emphasized the goodness of human nature and often extolled God's love to the exclusion of final judgment. In this century, although talk of divine judgment has become more acceptable, even some fairly conservative theologians, such as Karl Barth, have apparently been universalists.
Numerically speaking, opponents of universalism have more biblical texts on their side. The Old Testament abounds with annihilating judgments (Exodus 14:23-28 ; Joshua 7:24-26 ; Jeremiah 51:39-40 ). Jesus proclaimed negative judgments in parables (Matthew 13:1 ) and many other sayings (Matthew 5:29-30 ; Matthew 11:21-24 ; Ephesians 1:18-23 ). Paul often spoke of future condemnation (Romans 2:5-9 ; Romans 2:1 or. Romans 5:10 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:10 ) as do other New Testament writings (2 Peter 3:7 ; Jude 1:14-15 ; Revelation 20:11-15 ).
Universalists, however, can cite passages emphasizing God's desire that everyone be saved (1 Timothy 2:4 ; 2 Peter 3:9 ). They also argue that the scope of salvation becomes continally wider as biblical history advances (Romans 5:15 ). Finally, certain texts seem to directly teach universalism: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22 ; “[2] act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all” (Romans 5:18 RSV; compare Ephesians 1:10 ; Colossians 1:20 ; 1 Timothy 4:10 ; 1 John 2:2 ).
Positions on universalism, however, are not influenced by specific biblical texts alone. One's views on the character of God and of humanity and of salvation play important roles—sometimes in emotional ways. Universalists find negative judgment incompatible with God's overwhelming love and the dignity of the human person. Opponents of universalism feel that it seriously undercuts the urgency of the call to repentance and the firmness of God's justice and ignores too many biblical texts.
2. The Nature of Hell Negative judgment results in consignment to hell. Most Christians have supposed that this will involve eternal conscious torment. This seems to be taught by texts which speak of hell as enduring forever (Isaiah 66:24 ; Mark 9:48 ; Revelation 14:9-11 ). Others, however, have argued that such texts should be taken figuratively since for them such a penalty is incompatible with God's mercy and also is disproportionate to all sins that a finite being could commit. Moreover, some find the eternal existence of hell inconsistent with the perfected rule of God over the cosmos. Accordingly, some have proposed that hell consists simply in the annihilation of “the unjust,” involving their immediate loss of consciousness. Others have suggested that a gradual annihilation or deterioration of the wicked may be involved. Most evangelical Christians continue to expect a literal hell of torment. See Hell .
The Final Resurrection While the hope of resurrection has frequently been expressed in liturgy, hymns, and playful speculation, it has received far less theological discussion than have hell and judgment. Perhaps this is because most have regarded the affirmation of resurrection as far less problematic. In recent decades, however, some have questioned whether resurrection is compatible with another notion widely held since the first Christian centuries: the immortality of the soul.
Belief that the soul is inherently immortal implies, first, that every person passes immediately and automatically into God's presence at death. Yet this seems contrary to the biblical depiction of Death as an enemy barring the way to God and overcome only by Jesus' painful dying struggle and His resurrection. Second, since only the soul is immortal, this view implies only one part of the person comes directly into God's presence. This seems to contradict the biblical emphasis on resurrection of the body. Finally, if the soul passes immediately into God's full presence, eschatological hope would focus on the individual's death rather than on the return of Christ and the renewal of the cosmos. In other words, belief in inherent immortality of the soul tends to make one's eschatology spiritualistic and individualistic; belief in resurrection emphasizes eschatology's physical, historical, and corporate dimensions.
If a future resurrection be our ultimate hope, though, many will wonder: where are our departed loved ones, if they are not yet fully enjoying God's presence? Some, such as the Adventists, have long responded that souls simply sleep until the resurrection. Some talk of a distinction in eternity and historical time. Others think it best to simply affirm that the dead are somehow “in Christ.” While the uncertainty involved may unsettle some who are bereaved, this approach can also help people deal realistically with the tragedy that is still involved in death.
Event and Meaning As judgment and resurrection have been discussed, it has become increasingly clear that eschatological discussions arise not merely from speculation about future events, but also from the hopes, fears, and perplexities which anticipation of these events arouses. Upon closer examination, this also proves to be true of millennial questions. For when people ask about the relationship between the millennium and the present, they often are seeking to determine what kind of actions and attitudes are appropriate in the present. For instance, postmillennialists will usually conclude that because the millennium is already here, vigorous involvement in certain social movements is imperative. Premillennialists may conclude that because the millennium is not yet here, social involvement is not appropriate; or perhaps that radical, counter-cultural criticism and involvement are called for.
In any case, the more one penetrates into the questions which underlie traditional eschatological discussions, the more one recognizes that eschatology has to do not only with the future, but also with the present. The last things, at least insofar as they arouse hope, fear, and perplexity, are already alive in the present. But this insight reminds us of the verdict of contemporary scholarship: that ever since Jesus, the final age is “already” present, even though it has “not yet” been fully consummated. Indeed, if modern scholars are correct, eschatology cannot be adequately understood unless the present as well as the future is discussed. Let us see, then, what eschatology looks like when the “already-not yet” dynamic of the New Testament is taken into account, when eschatology is viewed as the in breaking of the future.
New Testament Eschatology What features were essential to the eschatological atmosphere that pervaded the New Testament era—and therefore to a full understanding of eschatology in general? Jesus' contemporaries felt that they were living at the end of an “old Age” dominated by forces which opposed God. Pagan gods and pagan political rulers seemed to hold all things in their grip. They afflicted Yahweh's righteous remnant with suffering and death. Pious Israelites cried out for deliverance. They expected Yahweh to intervene radically in world affairs. More specifically, they expected God, first, to judge and defeat His enemies; second, to rescue His people and raise the righteous dead; and third, to inaugurate the “new Age” of life and peace through the Spirit.
The gospel story tells how God did these very things—though in an unforeseen and surprising way. Instead of coming as a warrior Messiah to destroy the pagan nations and their gods, God came as a humble Servant who was put to death, but then was unexpectedly resurrected. Yet as the early Christian community pondered these things, they began to acknowledge that they had rejected Jesus and had therefore participated, whether actively or passively, in putting Him to death. However, this meant that not only pagans, but they, too, were God's enemies (Romans 5:10 ). By crucifying Jesus, they, too, had come under God's judgment. In fact, the last, decisive judgment of the world had “already” occurred. They, along with all humans, had been pronounced guilty! As Jesus said in John's Gospel, “this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19 ).
The early church also discovered that the anticipated resurrection of the righteous dead had “already” occurred—although again in a surprising form. For instead of all the righteous being raised, Jesus alone had been, as the “firstfruits” of final harvest (1 Corinthians 15:20 , 1 Corinthians 15:23 ). His resurrection had two astounding consequences. On one hand, since Jesus was again alive and continuing to offer love and forgiveness, no one who had rejected Him need remain under God's judgment. Those who repented of their sin could receive new life in fellowship with Him. On the other hand, by overcoming death, Jesus had conquered the strongest of those evil forces which oppose God (1Corinthians 15:26,1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ). Since this power had been defeated, no other power in heaven and earth could separate those who participated in Jesus' resurrection from God (Romans 8:37-39 ; Matthew 23:33 ; 1 Peter 3:21-22 ).
Third, the early Christian community discovered that the “new Age” of life and peace had “already” begun among them through the outpouring of God's Spirit. They began to understand that the Spirit, like Jesus, was the “firstfruits” of a new creation (Romans 8:23 ), while those who turned to Christ became the firstfruits of a new humanity (Romans 16:5 ; James 1:18 ; Revelation 14:4 ). Yet the “new Age,” too, was present in an unexpected way. For although the powers which dominated the old Age had already been defeated, they were “not yet” wholly destroyed. Indeed, even as the Spirit impelled the early Christians to spread the good news among all nations, they experienced opposition much like that which Jesus had suffered.
The early church, then, continued to live in an atmosphere charged with eschatology. Like Jesus' contemporaries, they continued to struggle with forces which opposed God and to long eagerly for God's final triumph and deliverance. Yet they did so with a difference. For their conviction that the new Age had broken in imbued them with certainty of victory. Convinced that new ways of living were possible through the Spirit, they began to serve each other, to share their wealth, to bring people from all social groups into their fellowship.
General Implications for Eschatology Traditionally, the study of eschatology has suffered from two attitudes: neglect and overemphasis. Since eschatology has focused on events which have not yet occurred, many Christians have ignored it; and many theologians have treated it as an appendix at the end of their systems. Other Christians and theologians, however, have become so obsessed with these events that they have dealt with little else. Both attitudes have been encouraged by the separation of eschatology from the rest of Christian life and doctrine. If the “last things” have been occurring since Jesus' time, they must be far more relevant to the main themes of Christian activity and thought.
The preceding sketch of the New Testament perspective does not necessarily support any traditional eschatological scheme. Neither does it mandate any particular way of doing eschatology. Nonetheless, we can usefully draw from it several suggestions as to how eschatology as presently understood by biblical scholars might influence eschatology as traditionally discussed by theologians.
When the last judgment is regarded solely as a future event, it often arouses perplexity as to who will be rewarded or condemned and fear as to whether I might be condemned. It is more in line with biblical thinking to affirm that the last judgment, in the most decisive sense, has already occurred in Jesus' death and resurrection. Final judgment is not determined primarily by h
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Eschatology
ESCHATOLOGY is that department of theology which is concerned with the ‘last things,’ that is, with the state of individuals after death, and with the course of human history when the present order of things has been brought to a close. It includes such matters as the consummation of the age, the day of judgment, the second coming of Christ, the resurrection, the millennium, and the fixing of the conditions of eternity.
1. Eschatology of the OT . In the OT the future life is not greatly emphasized. In fact, so silent is the Hebrew literature on the subject, that some have held that personal immortality was not included among the beliefs of the Hebrews. Such an opinion, however, is hardly based on all the facts at our disposal. It is true that future rewards and punishments after death do not play any particular rôle in either the codes or the prophetic thought. Punishment was generally considered as being meted out in the present age in the shape of loss or misfortune or sickness, while righteousness was expected to bring the corresponding temporal blessings. At the same time, however, it is to be borne in mind that the Hebrews, together with other Semitic people, had a belief in the existence of souls after death. Such beliefs were unquestionably the survivals of that primitive Animism which was the first representative of both psychology and a developed belief in personal immortality. Man was to the Hebrew a dichotomy composed of body and soul, or a trichotomy of body, soul, and spirit. In either case the body perished at death, and the other element, whether soul or spirit, went to the abode of disembodied personalities. The precise relation of the ‘soul’ to the ‘spirit’ was not set forth by the Hebrew writers, but it is likely that, as their empirical psychology developed, the spirit rather than the soul was regarded as surviving death. In any case, the disembodied dead were not believed to be immaterial, but of the nature of ghosts or shades ( rephaim ).
The universe was so constructed that the earth lay between heaven above, where Jehovah was, and the great pit or cavern beneath, Sheol , to which the shades of the dead departed. The Hebrew Scriptures do not give us any considerable material for elaborating a theory as to life in Sheol, but from the warnings against necromancers, as well as from the story of Saul and the witch of Endor ( 1 Samuel 28:3-18 ), it is clear that, alongside of the Jehovistic religion as found in the literature of the Hebrews, there was a popular belief in continued existence and conscious life of the spirits of men after death, as well as in the possibility of recalling such spirits from Sheol by some form of incantation. The legislation against necromancy is a further testimony to the same fact ( Deuteronomy 18:11 ). Early Hebrew thought also dealt but indistinctly with the occupations and conditions of the dead in Sheol. Apparently they were regarded as in a state resembling sleep.
There is no thought of resurrection of the body in the OT, the clause in Job 19:26 generally used to prove such a point being more properly translated ‘apart from my flesh.’ The resurrection expected was not individual, but national. The nation, or at least its pious remnant, was to be restored. This was the great evangel of the prophets. In the midst of this prophetic thought there was occasionally a reference to individual immortality, but such a belief was not utilized for the purpose of inculcating right conduct. Yet the new and higher conception of the worth of the individual and his relation with Jehovah paved the way to a clearer estimate of his immortality.
The later books of the Canon (Psalms 49:1-20 ; Psalms 73:18-25 ) refer more frequently to immortality, both of good and of evil men, but continue to deny activity to the dead in Sheol ( Job 14:21 ; Job 26:6 , Psalms 88:12 ; Psalms 94:17 ; Psalms 115:17 , Ecclesiastes 9:10 ), and less distinctly ( Isaiah 26:19 ) refer to a resurrection, although with just what content it is not possible to state. It can hardly have been much more than the emergence of shades from Sheol into the light and life of the upper heavens. It would be unwarranted to say that this new life included anything like the reconstruction of the body, which was conceived of as having returned to dust. In these passages there are possibly references to post-mortem retribution and rewards, but if so they are exceptional. OT ethics was not concerned with immortality.
In the Hebrew period, however, there were elements which were subsequently to be utilized in the development of the eschatology of the Pharisees and of Christianity. Chief among these was the Day of Jehovah . At the first this was conceived of as the day in which Jehovah should punish the enemies of His nation Israel. In the course of time, however, and with the enlarged moral horizon of prophecy, the import of this day with its punishments was extended to the Hebrews as well. At its coming the Hebrew nation was to be given all sorts of political and social blessings by Jehovah, but certain of its members were to share in the punishment reserved for the enemies of Jehovah. Such an expectation as this was the natural outcome of the monarchical concept of religion. Jehovah as a great king had given His laws to His chosen people, and would establish a great assize at which all men, including the Hebrews, would be judged. Except in the Hagiographa, however, the punishments and rewards of this great judgment are not elaborated, and even in Daniel the treatment is but rudimentary.
A second element of importance was the belief in the rehabilitation of the Hebrew nation, i.e . in a national resurrection . This carried within it the germs of many of the eschatological expectations of later days. In fact, without the prophetic insistence upon the distinction between the period of national suffering and that of national glory, it is hard to see how the later doctrine of the ‘two ages,’ mentioned below, could have gained its importance.
2. Eschatology of Judaism . A new period is to be seen in the OT Apocrypha and the pseudepigraphic apocalypses of Judaism. Doubtless much of this new phase in the development of the thought was due to the influence of the Captivity. The Jews came under the influence of the great Babylonian myth-cycles, in which the struggle between right and wrong was expressed as one between God and various supernatural enemies such as dragons and giants. To this period must be attributed also the development of the idea of Sheol, until it included places for the punishment of evil spirits and evil men.
This development was accelerated by the rise of the new type of literature, the apocalypse , the beginnings of which are already to be seen in Isaiah and Zechariah. The various influences which helped to develop this type of literature, with its emphasis upon eschatology, are hard to locate. The influence of the Babylonian mythcycles was great, but there is also to be seen the influence of the Greek impulse to pictorial expression. No nation ever came into close contact with Greek thought and life without sharing in their incentive to æsthetic expression. In the case of the Hebrews this was limited by religion. The Hebrew could not make graven images, but he could utilize art in literary pictures. The method particularly suited the presentation of the Day of Jehovah, with its punishment of Israel’s enemies. As a result we have the very extensive apocalyptic literature which, beginning with the Book of Daniel, was the prevailing mode of expression of a sort of bastard prophecy during the two centuries preceding and the century following Christ. Here, however, the central motif of the Day of Jehovah is greatly expanded. Rewards and punishments become largely transcendental, or show a tendency towards transcendental representation. In this representation we see the Day of Judgment, the Jewish equivalent of the Day of Jehovah, closing one era and opening another. The first was the present age, which is full of wickedness and under the control of Satan, and the second is the coming age, when God’s Kingdom is to be supreme and all enemies of the Law are to be punished. It was these elements that were embodied in the Messianic programme of Judaism, and passed over into Christianity (see Messiah).
The idea of individual immortality is also highly developed in the apocalypses. The condition of men after death is made a motive for right conduct in the present age, though this ethical use of the doctrine is less prominent than the unsystematized portrayal of the various states of good and evil men. The Pharisees believed in immortality and the entrance of the souls of the righteous into ‘new bodies’ (Jos. [1] Ant . XVIII. i. 3), a view that appears in the later apocalypses as well (Eth. Enoch 37 60, cf. 2Ma 7:11 ; 2Ma 14:46 ). This body was not necessarily to be physical, but like the angels (Apoc. [2] of Baruch and 2 Esdras, though these writings undoubtedly show the influence of Christian thought). There is also a tendency to regard the resurrection as wholly of the spirit (Eth. Enoch 91:18, 92:3, 103:3f.). Sheol is sometimes treated as an intermediate abode from which the righteous go to heaven. There is no clear expectation of either the resurrection or the annihilation of the wicked. Resurrection was limited to the righteous, or sometimes to Israel. At the same time there is a strongly marked tendency to regard the expected Messianic kingdom which begins with the Day of Judgment as super-mundane and temporary, and personal immortality in heaven becomes the highest good. It should be remembered, however, that each writer has his own peculiar beliefs, and that there was no authoritative eschatological dogma among the Jews. The Sadducees disbelieved in any immortality whatsoever.
3. Eschatology of the NT . This is the development of the eschatology of Judaism, modified by the fact of Jesus’ resurrection.
( a ) In the teaching of Jesus we find eschatology prominently represented. The Kingdom of God , as He conceived of it, is formally eschatological. Its members were being gathered by Jesus, but it was to come suddenly with the return of the Christ, and would be ushered in by a general judgment. Jesus, however, does not elaborate the idea of the Kingdom in itself, but rather makes it a point of contact with the Jews for His exposition of eternal life, that is to say, the life that characterizes the coming age and may be begun in the present evil age. The supreme good in Jesus’ teaching is this eternal life which characterizes membership in the Kingdom. Nothing but a highly subjective criticism can eliminate from His teaching this eschatological element, which appears as strongly in the Fourth Gospel as in the Synoptic writings, and furnishes material for the appeal of His Apostles. It should be added, however, that the eschatology of Jesus, once it is viewed from His own point of view, carries with it no crude theory of rewards and punishments, but rather serves as a vehicle for expressing His fundamental moral and religious concepts. To all intents and purposes it is in form and vocabulary like that of current Judaism. It includes the two ages, the non-physical resurrection of the dead, the Judgment with its sentences, and the establishment of eternal states.
( b ) In the teaching of primitive Christians eschatology is a ruling concept, and is thoroughly embedded in the Messianic evangel. Our lack of literary sources, however, forbids any detailed presentation of the content of their expectation beyond a reference to the central position given to the coming day of the Christ’s Judgment.
( c ) Eschatology was also a controlling element in the teaching of St. Paul. Under its influence the Apostle held himself aloof from social reform and revolution. In his opinion Christians were living in the ‘last days’ of the present evil age. The Christ was soon to appear to establish His Judgment, and to usher in the new period when the wicked were to suffer and the righteous were to share in the joys of the resurrection and the Messianic Kingdom. Eschatology alone forms the proper point of approach to the Pauline doctrines of justification and salvation, as well as his teachings as to the resurrection. But here again eschatology, though a controlling factor in the Apostle’s thought, was, as in the case of Jesus, a medium for the exposition of a genuine spiritual life, which did not rise and fall with any particular forecast as to the future. The elements of the Pauline eschatology are those of Judaism, but corrected and to a considerable extent given distinctiveness by his knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus. He gives no apocalyptic description of the coming age beyond his teaching as to the body of the resurrection, which is doubtless based upon his belief as to that of the risen Jesus. His description of the Judgment is couched in the conventional language of Pharisaic eschatology; but, hasing his teaching upon ‘the word of the Lord’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ), he develops the doctrine that the Judgment extends both over the living, who are to be caught up into the air, and also over the dead. His teaching is lacking in the specific elements of the apocalypses, and there is no reference to the establishment of a millennium. Opinions differ as to whether St. Paul held that the believer received the resurrection body at death or at the Parousia of Christ. On the whole the former view seems possibly more in accord with his general position as to the work of the Spirit in the believer. The appearance ( Parousia ) of the Christ to inaugurate the new era St. Paul believed to be close at hand ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:17 ), but that it would be preceded by the appearance of an Antichrist ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1 f.). The doctrine of the Antichrist, however, does not play any large rôle in Paulinism. While St. Paul’s point of view is eschatological, his fundamental thought is really the new life of the believer, through the Spirit, which is made possible by the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ. With St. Paul, as with Jesus, this new life with its God-like love and its certainty of still larger self-realization through the resurrection is the supreme good.
( d ) The tendencies of later canonical thought are obviously eschatological. The Johannine Apocalypse discloses a complete eschatological programme. In the latter work we see all the elements of Jewish apocalyptic eschatology utilized in the interest of Christian faith. The two ages, the Judgment and the Resurrection, and the final conquest of God are distinctively described, and the programme of the future is elaborated by the addition of the promise of a first resurrection of the saints; by a millennium (probably derived from Judaism; cf. Slav. Enoch 32, 33) in which Satan is bound; by a great period of conflict in which Satan and his hosts are finally defeated and cast into the lake of fire; and by a general resurrection including the wicked for the purpose of judgment. It is not clear that in this general resurrection there is intended anything more than the summoning of souls from Sheol, for a distinction should probably be made between the resurrection and the giving of the body of the resurrection. This resurrection of the wicked seems inconsistent with the general doctrine of the Pauline literature (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-58 ), but appears in St. Paul’s address before Felix ( Acts 24:15 ), and in a single Johannine formula ( John 5:29 ). The doctrine of the ‘sleep of the dead’ finds no justification in the Apocalypse or the NT as a whole.
4. Eschatology and Modern Theology . The history of Christian theology until within the last few years has been dominated by eschatological concepts, and, though not in the sense alleged by its detractors, has been otherworldly. The rewards and punishments of immortality have been utilized as motives for morality. This tendency has always met with severe criticism at the hands of philosophy, and of late years has to a considerable extent been minimized or neglected by theologians. The doctrine of the eternity of punishment has been denied in the interest of so-called second or continued probation, restorationism, and conditional immortality. The tendency, however, has resulted in a disposition to reduce Christian theology to general morality based upon religion, and has been to a large extent buttressed by that scepticism or agnosticism regarding individual immortality which marks modern thought. Such a situation has proved injurious to the spread of Christianity as more than a general ethical or religious system, and it is to be hoped that the new interest which is now felt in the historical study of the NT will reinstate eschatology in its true place.
Such a reinstatement will include two fundamental doctrines: (1) that of individual immortality as a new phase in the great process of development of the Individual which is to be observed in life and guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus. Distinctions can easily be drawn between the figurative media of NT thought and the great reality of eternal life taught and exemplified by Jesus. (2) The doctrine of a ‘Kingdom of God.’ This expectation, since it involves the elements of a loving personality like that of a God of love, involves a belief in a new humanity that will live a genuinely social life on the earth, although the conditions of such a life must be left undefined. In a word, therefore, the modern equivalent of Jewish eschatology for practical purposes is that of personal (though truly social) immortality and a completion of the development of society. Utterly to ignore the essential elements of NT eschatology is in so far to re-establish the non-Christian concept of material goods as a supreme motive, and to destroy all confidence in the ultimate triumph of social righteousness.
Shailer Mathews.
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology (2)
ESCHATOLOGY
I.Eschatology in the Synoptic Gospels.
A.Current Jewish eschatological conceptions.
1.The coming Kingdom.
2.The Jewish supremacy.
3.The Messiah.
4.Various forms of the conception of the Messiah.
5.The preliminaries of the coming Kingdom.
(a)The heirs of the Kingdom.
(b)The Resurrection.
(c)Hades, Gehenna, Paradise.
(d)The Final Judgment.
B.The main features of our Lord’s eschatological teaching.
1.His conception of the Kingdom of God.
2.His Messianic consciousness.
3.His view of the time of the Consummation.
II.Eschatology in the Gospel of John.
1.The idealizing style of the Gospel.
2.Its conception of Eternal Life.
3.Its attitude to Eschatology proper.
Literature.
The design of this article is indicated particularly under the letter B in the above Table of Contents. It is to set forth the main features of the teaching of our Lord regarding the Last Things. His doctrine is presumably discoverable from the Four Gospels, and is capable of being exhibited in a self-consistent form. Yet in view of the facts of the case and the present state of critical opinion, it will be necessary to keep certain distinctions steadily in mind.
We must distinguish between (I.) the Synoptic Gospels and (II.) the Gospel of John; and we must distinguish between (A) current Jewish conceptions and (B) the conceptions of Jesus. In proportion to our feeling of the real unity of our subject, it will be impossible to maintain these distinctions with rigidity; yet a total disregard of them is impossible to any one who would keep on terms with the criticism of the Gospels in our own day, or, what is more important, would appreciate in any just degree the holy originality of Jesus. The bearing, however, of what is called the Synoptic Problem upon any matter important to our purpose is so slight that we may safely ignore it, mentioning only that we assume as a good working hypothesis the prevailing critical theory, which gives precedence in point of time, and even, in certain aspects, of importance, to the Gospel of Mark.
I. Eschatology in the Synoptic Gospels.—
A. Current Jewish eschatological conceptions as Witnessed to by the Gospels.—So far as these are concerned, it does not seem necessary to make any distinction between the Synoptics among themselves or between them and John. It may be generally postulated, moreover, that the fundamental conceptions are those of the OT, although it will be found that some of these have undergone modification since the time of the latest canonical books. Our principal witnesses are naturally the Synoptics. In them we have the most accurate reports accessible to us of the words actually used by Jesus; and where His sayings, as there recorded, employ the language of eschatology, apart from explanations which give it a turn peculiar to Himself, we may assume that the language in its natural implications represents current Jewish belief.
1. The coming Kingdom.—It is clear that Jesus addressed people who had a perfectly distinct, though not accurately defined, idea of an age or kingdom to come, which should follow on the consummation (συντέλεια, Matthew 13:39 f.) of the present age. He speaks, e.g., of rewards to the faithful ‘in this time (καιρός),’ and of eternal life in the ‘world (αἱών) to come’ (Mark 10:30); and the phrase ‘Kingdom of God,’ which was constantly on His lips, while doubtless subjected to expositions which charged it with new meanings for His followers, yet rested on a view of things common to Him and to even irresponsive hearers. It meant the perfect form of the Theocracy of which all the prophets had spoken.
2. The Jewish supremacy.—It was generally believed that the Kingdom would come through an act of power, in which God would visit His people,—the Jews,—delivering them from all their enemies, so that they might serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness for ever (Luke 1:74). Men of the type of Simeon, Zacharias, and Joseph of Arimathaea waited for the consolation of Israel. Such persons doubtless believed with the prophets (e.g. Isaiah 11:1 ff; Isaiah 9:4 ff., Zechariah 9:9) that the supremacy of God’s people would be maintained, if not actually accomplished, by methods of peace, and even in the spirit of brotherly alliance among the nations (see esp. Isaiah 19:24 f.), who would receive the ‘law’ from Mount Zion (Isaiah 2:2-4). Yet obviously both they and the general populace, and even the disciples after the Resurrection (Acts 1:6), thought of a state of things in which the position of God’s ancient people would be central and supreme.
3. The Messiah.—Beyond the general belief that the Kingdom would come through an act or series of acts of Divine power, there is abundant evidence that in the time represented by the Gospels there was among the Jewish people, though not confined to them,* [1] the definite expectation that the Kingdom would come through the advent of a personal Ruler—called by the Jews the Messiah or, in Greek, the Christ = ‘the Anointed’—on whom God would pour forth His Spirit in extraordinary measure. This belief, so far as the Jews were concerned, goes back to the testimony of the earlier prophets (esp. Isaiah and Micah), but its history within the OT period shows that it sometimes either disappeared altogether or retired into the background, its place being taken by such a view as that expressed in Jeremiah 31:31 ff.—of a reign of Jahweh Himself through His law written on the hearts of His people.† [2] We need not here inquire into the causes of this fluctuation. It is enough to remark that for about a century before the time of Christ the belief that the Kingdom would be established through an individual worldwide Ruler, who would exercise practically Divine powers, had been current in larger or smaller circles among the Jews. Sufficient proof of this lies in the circumstance that in the time of our Lord passages in the Prophets (e.g. Deutero-Isaiah) or in the Apocalypse of Daniel, which had originally no reference to an individual Messiah,‡ [3] had come to be so interpreted. The interpretation is current. No other is even thought of. In some cases, no doubt—as notably in the fulfilments of prophecy marked by the First Evangelist—it may be difficult to decide whether the exegesis of a passage cited from a prophet is not of purely Christian origin; but there are unquestionably some cases (notably Daniel 7:13) in which the importation of a reference to an individual Messiah into passages which really contain no such reference, is of pre-Christian date.
4. Various forms of the conception of the Messiah.—It is difficult to determine with any minuteness how the Messiah was conceived, as regarded either His Person or His work. In regard to the former, e.g., it would be unwarrantable to infer from Matthew 1:23 (cf. Isaiah 7:14) that it was generally believed that He would be born of a virgin, and perhaps equally so to infer from the fact that the disciples (Matthew 16:16|| [4] ), and perhaps others also (Matthew 14:33), expressed their belief in the Messiahship of Jesus by calling Him the Son of God, the prevalence of a belief among Jewish theologians of the 1st cent. that the Messiah was of one metaphysical being with Jahweh. The utmost perhaps which we can affirm is that it was largely believed that the origin of the Messiah would be mysterious (John 7:27), and that this belief rested in all probability directly on the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 7:13 ff.§ [5] It seems possible, however, to distinguish two general types of belief regarding the Messiah and His work. The one may be called the Prophetic, the other the Apocalyptic type. The former type, which was the more popular and held its ground even with the scholars of the time (Mark 12:35 ff.|| [4] ), rested on the early Prophetic testimony that the Messiah would spring from the house of David,—a belief of whose persistence and of whose correspondence with the actual fact the circumstance that Jesus is confidently affirmed or assumed by five of the NT writers (Matthew, Luke, Paul, author of Hebrews, author of Apocalypse* [7] ) to have been of the seed of David may be considered the most striking proof. According to this type, so far as purely Jewish belief is concerned, the work of the Messiah, while superhuman, was conceived on comparatively secular lines. He would destroy his persistent enemies and establish a reign of lasting righteousness and peace over obedient and contented subjects. This type, taken by itself, hardly possesses for us eschatological interest. It belongs to a mode of conception in which the problems of death and immortality, if realized at all, cannot be solved. The sphere offered for solving them is too mundane. It is otherwise with the apocalyptic type of view, which rested mainly on the Book of Daniel, esp. Daniel 7:13 ff; Daniel 12:2 f. Whether or not the author of Daniel in the latter of these passages conceived of a resurrection from the dead available for all past generations of faithful Israelites, it seems certain that in the time of our Lord this sense was assigned to his words by those who, like the Pharisees, held the doctrine. According to Josephus,† [8] the Pharisees held a fatalistic doctrine of the present life—but not of human conduct—which seems to have resembled that of the Stoics, and which made them for the most part averse to schemes of political revolution. Their participation, therefore, in the popular view of the ‘Son of David’ was more theoretical than real. Their tendency was to conceive the final Kingdom on strictly supernatural lines. It was a wonder that would not spring from earth, but would descend from heaven. The Messiah was the Man of Daniel’s vision, the Man of the Clouds.‡ [9]
Two points have recently been much in dispute: (a) Whether in view of the grammatical possibilities of Aramaic, as used in the time of Jesus, He could have applied to Himself the phrase ‘Son of Man’ or ‘Man’ as a title, basing on Daniel 7:13; and (b) Whether He could have done this so habitually as our Gospels represent. Even those who, like Lietzmann§ [10] and Wellhausen,|| [4] have reached on these points the most negative conclusions, do not doubt that in the fatter part of His career, and perhaps habitually, Jesus held the apocalyptic view of the final Kingdom and of the glorious advent of the Messiah; and, even if we exclude the title ‘Son of Man’ from those passages in the Gospels which have no eschatological reference, there remains a sufficient number (about a third of the entire number, exclusive of John) where the eschatological reference is distinct. Thus, e.g., out of 32 instances of ‘Son of Man’ in Matthew’s Gospel, 14 are apocalyptic.¶ [12]
It is indubitable that in the time of our Lord the Book of Daniel and other Apocalypses modelled on it were much read by a considerable portion of the Jewish people. Many of those whose views were influenced by this literature saw no inconsistency in combining with these views others derived from literature of the ‘prophetic’ type, e.g. The Psalter of Solomon,** [13] embodying the ancient and still popular conception of the ‘Son of David.’ Yet, as this veneration for ancient prophecy was combined for the most part with political quiescence, it may perhaps be said that in the more reflective minds ‘Son of David’ and ‘Son of Man’ represented one heavenly ideal. Jesus Himself expressly repudiated the implications of ‘Son of David’ (Mark 12:35 ff. ||); but it is remarkable that this did not hinder the prevalence in Christian circles of the Apostolic age of the belief that He was of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Evangelists Matthew and Luke risked publishing pedigrees, whose apparent mutual inconsistencies constitute the chief difficulty of the modern mind in accepting the fact they were designed to establish.
Instructive in this connexion is the phrase ‘Kingdom of the heavens’ in Matthew’s Gospel. The phrase is, of course, equivalent in meaning to ‘Kingdom of God’ which the other Evangelists employ. It need not, however, be questioned that Jesus, occasionally at least, used ‘Kingdom of the heavens,’ and it seems certain that He did not invent the phrase. It was current, and it pointed to the apocalyptic construction of the Messianic hope. The Kingdom belonged to the heavens, and would come thence to earth. It was the unlikeness of Jesus to the altogether wonderful Personage of the apocalyptic Messiah that offended the Pharisees. If He were the Messiah, why should He refuse a sign from heaven? (Matthew 16:1 ff.).
5. The preliminaries of the coming Kingdom.—Assuming this leading idea of a Kingdom to come, heavenly in its origin and nature, we must now ask how the various matters preliminary to or accompanying its advent were conceived.
(a) Who were the heirs of the Kingdom? There were people ‘just and devout’ (Luke 2:25) who ‘waited for the consolation of Israel,’ the still surviving type of Jahweh’s ‘poor ones’ who ‘cried unto him and he heard them’ (Psalms 34:6). Such persons, however, did not advertise themselves, nor did they as a rule sit in the seat of the learned. The prevailing teachers were the scribes and Pharisees, whose yoke, practically intolerable, was yet theoretically imperative. It has been questioned how far readers of the Gospels get from them a fair impression of the moral and religious influence exercised by the teachers of the Law, and it has been contended, with perhaps some justice, that the impression so derived is as one-sided as the impression of the Roman Church one naturally gathers from histories of the Protestant Reformation. Still, the good type of scribe or Catholic is not due to the tendency against which the Evangelic text or the Reformation is a protest. It cannot be doubted that in the time of our Lord it was authoritatively taught by the Pharisees that the title to inheritance of the heavenly kingdom was a punctilious observance of the Law after the manner of their own practice. Their doctrine, indeed, on this point is not explicitly stated in the Gospels or in any contemporary documents. But the impression we gather from the situation depicted in the Gospels and from the record regarding the Apostle Paul favours the supposition that the view of the Pharisees in the time of Jesus is that represented by the Rabbinism of the 2nd cent., viz. that the Messiah would come when Jahweh’s people, the Jews, were found generally and carefully observing the Law.* [14] And the ‘Law’ meant not simply the legal precepts of the Pentateuch (in particular the Priestly Code), it meant the ‘tradition’ of the elders. While the average man inevitably shook off the punctilios of obedience, and the Pharisees themselves took refuge from their own rigour in an elaborate casuistry, we cannot doubt that the generally accepted view was that the passport to the Kingdom was ‘the righteousness of the law.’
(b) The Resurrection. But generations of faithful Israelites passed, and the Messiah did not come. Would they miss the glory when it came? At least since the time of the Syrian persecution (b.c. 168–165)—the time of the Apocalypse of Daniel—it was taught that death formed no insuperable barrier to the inheritance of the Kingdom. Probably the author of Daniel (Daniel 12:2 f.) had in view mainly (we cannot say exclusively) those Israelites who had sealed their fidelity to the law of Jahweh with their blood, but it may be taken for certain that, long before the time represented by the Gospels, all idea of the blessings of the Kingdom being restricted to members of the holy nation who had suffered death for their fidelity (if such an idea was ever entertained), had completely disappeared. It was taught that there would be a resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:14), i.e. of those who kept the ‘Law’ and the ‘Tradition.’
(c) Hades, Gehenna, Paradise. There is nowhere in the Gospels an explicit statement of what was held regarding the state of the dead; but four times (Matthew 11:23; Matthew 16:18, Luke 10:15; Luke 16:23) the word Hades (Αἵδης) occurs. In the LXX Septuagint this word is the almost invariable equivalent of שְׁאול; and when Jesus used it without comment, it must be held to have conveyed to His hearers the associations proper to that word. The NT as well as the OT* [14] is dominated by a view of things in which the modern idea that annihilation may be the fate of some men has no place. The dead are in a land of darkness and forgetfulness, cut off from knowledge of affairs human and Divine. Still, in this condition—at most the pale reflexion of full-blooded life—they exist. Two things, however, must be observed: (i.) There is in the OT itself a marked, if not systematized, protest against the idea that permanent detention in Sheol or Hades can be the fate of the righteous, who had found their portion in the living God (see esp. Psalms 16, 73 and Job 14, 19). Historically, doubtless, the experience of suffering under the various oppressors of the nation (Assyrian, Chaldaean, Graeco-Syrian) had much to do with the development of this protest; but it is probably a mistake to suppose that it was when they were actually suffering under the yoke of the world-powers that the people of Jahweh adopted from foreign sources much or anything that bore on the problem of what lay beyond death. This caution applies specially to the relation of Hebrew thought to the mythological ideas of Babylon or Egypt. The impregnation of the Hebrew spirit with ideas coming from these sources dates in all probability from a much earlier period than the 6th cent. b.c. All we can say for certain, perhaps, is that the experience of national humiliation quickened in a special degree the peculiar Hebrew genius, leading it at this time (say from the 6th cent. onwards) to place the peculiar stamp of the Jahweh faith on mythical ideas or pictures, which in some cases it had carried with it since the days of its infancy in Mesopotamia. (ii.) Although there is no hint in the OT itself of effect being given to moral distinctions between the wicked and the godly in Hades itself, yet the suggestion of a possible escape for the godly from the gloom of the underworld could not but raise, and ultimately decide, another question, viz. whether the distinction between the godly and the wicked was not observed from the moment of death. For perhaps about 100 years before Christ the idea of separate compartments in Hades, for the godly and the wicked respectively, had more or less prevailed (see Apocalyptic Literature, esp. the part dealing with the Book of Enoch). Obviously our Lord could not have uttered the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19 ff.), or said to the penitent malefactor (Luke 23:43), ‘To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise,’ had He not been addressing people accustomed to the idea that in the intermediate state, previous to the resurrection and the final judgment, moral distinctions were accorded a real, if incomplete, recognition. It is obvious from the entire tenor of our Lord’s references (see esp. the instructive passage Matthew 5:21 f.) to Gehenna that He spoke to those to whom this term represented the utmost condemnation and punishment. It represented the fate of those who should still be enemies of Jahweh in that day when Jerusalem should be renewed by righteousness, and all flesh (i.e. all living) should go out and behold the car-cases of those who had transgressed, for ‘their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched’ (Isaiah 66:23 f.). See artt. Gehenna and Paradise.
(d) The Final Judgment. In our Christian minds, as with the NT writers, the idea of the Resurrection is inseparably associated with that of the Judgment which follows it. In the main track of OT thought, indeed, this association did not exist. The habit of conceiving the subject of the Divine favour or punishment rather as a nation than as a number of individuals, made it possible, or even natural, practically to ignore the individual side of the problem of life and death, and the distinction, natural to us, between this world and that which is to come is represented in the OT mainly by the distinction between this life with God and this life without Him. Under this view of things the prevailing conception of judgment in OT times is that of a manifestation of Jahweh’s righteousness (whether it be through His ‘messenger’ [16] or through the Messianic ‘Son of David’ [17]), in which He effectually visits His people with His mercy, and breaks the arm of the unrighteous peoples, who forget God and oppress them. These heathen return to Sheol (Psalms 9:17); but the covenant of Jahweh with His faithful people is established for ever. The history seems to show that it was possible for pious Israelites to rest in this view, merging individual hopes in hopes for the nation, until the actual disaster of the Exile shook their faith in the permanence of the collective unit of the Jewish State. From this time, however, as we see clearly from the writings of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (cf. esp. Ezekiel 18), the claims of the individual come into prominence. It was felt that in the righteousness of God one generation ought not to suffer for the sins of its predecessors. Each generation, even each unit of a generation, had its own rights. Yet, in fact, it seemed as though these rights were ignored. It is with the problem raised by this conflict between the prophetic conscience and the facts, that the apocalyptic literature from Daniel onwards is concerned. The solution obtained springs from the despair that lies on the border of hope. The mundane element in the old idea of a Prince of the house of David tends to disappear. The blessing, which could not spring from earth, was expected from heaven, and at the touch of the new power, coming thence, even the ‘dust’ of the earth (i.e. esp. dead Israelites who had kept the covenant) should awake (Isaiah 26:19). While, doubtless, the adumbrations of the conception of immortality which we find scattered throughout the OT had their origin in the sentiment that it must be well with the righteous for ever, this positive aspect of the matter was inseparable from a negative. The righteous could hardly be vindicated unless punishment fell on the rebels and transgressors. Hence even in Daniel 12:2, which cannot be said to teach a universal resurrection, among the ‘many’ who awake from the dust of the earth there are ‘some’ who arise to ‘shame and everlasting contempt.’ It was inevitable that these conceptions should be universalized. If, as even the former Prophets and Psalmists in their own fashion had taught, there was to be a universal judgment (i.e. a vengeance of Jahweh exercised upon all rebel Gentiles and upon the transgressors of the covenant in Israel), and if the collective unit of the nation was practically displaced by the individual, it is clear that the idea of universal judgment must have come to have for its counterpart the idea of universal resurrection. No doubt the conception was held vaguely, and was as little effective for practical consolation as it is to this day (cf. Martha’s attitude, John 11:24)—still it was there. When Jesus spoke of the ‘resurrection of the dead,’ or even of the Messianic ‘Son of Man’ as executing judgment, He was using language whose general implications were either entirely or (as in the case of ‘Son of Man’) at least partially understood by His hearers.
B. The main features of our Lord’s eschatological teaching,—Turning now to the subject of our Lord’s eschatological teaching, and looking to the present condition of critical opinion, we may make a distinction, which has in most respects only a theoretical value, between the eschatological views of the early Church as reflected in the Gospels and those held and taught by Jesus Himself. The Gospels are as a whole too entirely dominated by the spirit of truth as it was in Jesus to make it possible, without arbitrariness, to vindicate this distinction in detail. Yet the investigation in which we are engaged seems to reveal problems arising out of portions of even the Synoptic Gospels, in connexion with which it may be well to remember that the Master must not be measured even by His best reporters. The distinction may seem a priori to have even more warrant in reference to the Fourth Gospel, whose representation both of the Person and the words of Jesus stands in such obvious contrast to that of the Synoptics as to justify our dealing with it in a separate section. We may do this even though in the end we may find ourselves to agree with Haupt* [18] that the Johannine presentation of the eschatology of Jesus supplies just the kind of supplement to that of the Synoptics which a critical study of the latter led us to think necessary. We therefore consider at present only the eschatology of Jesus as presented in the Synoptic Gospels.
1. His conception of the Kingdom of God.—Both John the Baptist and Jesus preached, saying, ‘Repent: for the Kingdom of God (in Mt. most frequently ‘the Kingdom of the heavens’) is at hand.’ There seems no reason to doubt that in general Jesus thought of the Kingdom just as John did. Modern writers on the Gospels, like Johannes Weiss† [19] and Titius,‡ [Note: Titius, Die neutest. Lehre vo
Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Eschatology
I. The Earliest Christian Eschatology.
1.Sources.
2.The Jewish background of ideas.
3.The new Christian message.
4.The chief doctrines of the Last Things.
5.Extent and importance of the apocalyptic element.
6.Relation to the teaching of our Lord.
7.Decline of the earliest type of Christian eschatology.
II. The Christian Apocalyptic Literature.
1.Revelation of St. John.
2.Non-canonical Christian apocalypses.
III. The Johannine Type of Early Christian Eschatology.
1.‘Spirituality’ of the teaching.
2.The place of the sacraments.
3.Later history of this type of eschatology.
IV. The Pauline type of early Christian eschatology.
1.Eschatology of St. Paul.
2.Eschatology of early Gentile-Christian churches.
Scope of the article.-Our subject is the eschatology of the Apostolic Church down to a.d. 100. By ‘eschatology’ we understand (1) the doctrine of a certain series of events associated with the end of this world-era and the beginning of another; and (2) the destiny of the individual human soul after death. We shall deal first with the earliest type of Christian eschatology, as it was taught by the first disciples of our Lord, in the primitive Judaeo-Christian communities; and then we shall endeavour to trace the various lines along which this primitive teaching was developed and modified.
I. The Earliest Christian eschatology.
1. The sources.-In studying the characteristics of the earliest Christian doctrine of the Last Things, it seems not unreasonable (in view of the trend of recent scholarship) to base our conclusions with some confidence upon the Acts of the Apostles, as a history ‘which in most points, and those essential points, stands the test of reliability’ (Harnack, The Acts of the Apostles, Eng. translation , 1909, p. 303). The evidence from the speeches must, perhaps, be used with a little more reserve, but even here there appears to be a growing tendency to recognize a real historical value. Evidence supplementing that of Acts may be drawn from the Epistles of the NT, particularly James, Hebrews, and 1 Peter, all of which belong to a Judaeo-Christian type of thought, though somewhat later in date than the earliest preaching recorded in Acts (see articles on James, Ep. of; Hebrews, Ep. to; Peter, Ep. of). From these NT writings it is possible to gain a fairly clear and definite conception of the earliest Christian eschatology.
2. The Jewish ‘background of ideas.’-The type of thought reflected in these early Christian writings is thoroughly and distinctively Jewish. Especially is this the case in the earlier chapters of Acts, where the ideas of Jewish apocalyptic form the ‘background’ of the preaching-a background so familiar that it never needs to be explained or expounded in detail, but yet never allows itself to be altogether forgotten. The men who preached the earliest Christian doctrine of the Last Things had for the most part been brought up in a religious atmosphere impregnated with eschatological ideas. The Judaism in which they were living was the Judaism which produced apocalyptic writings such as the Book of Jubilees, the Assumption of Moses, the Apocalypse of Baruch , 4 Ezra, etc.; and they were accustomed to think and speak of their religious hopes in the terms of Jewish apocalyptic. Now, although the details of apocalyptic eschatology vary from book to book (see e.g. R. H. Charles in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) i. 741-749), yet a few fixed points stand out in every ease, arranged according to a scheme which had become almost stereotyped in the apocalypses, and which is accepted as axiomatic in the apostolic preaching. This scheme is as follows: (1) the signs foreshadowing the end, (2) the Coming of the Messiah, (3) the resurrection of the dead, (4) the Last Judgment, (5) the inauguration of the Kingdom of God, The NT passages in which this ‘eschatological scheme’ is implied are too numerous to be cited; for typical examples, see Acts 2:17-36; Acts 3:20 f.; Acts 4:2; Acts 10:42; Acts 15:15-16; Acts 17:31, James 5:3-9, Hebrews 1, 2, 1 Peter 4:5; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Peter 4:17, 1 Thessalonians 4, 5, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, etc.
The comparative uniformity with which these ‘fixed points’ recur in the Jewish apocalyptic eschatology may be traced in part to the Jewish idea of predestination. The events were conceived of as already fixed in the mind of God, and (in a sense) already pre-existent in heaven; so that the progress of history may be regarded as an ‘apocalypse’ or unveiling of the Divine plan which is even now ‘ready to be revealed in the last times.’ It is necessary to realize this if we would understand the force of the Judaeo-Christian appeal to the Old Testament. Modern writers generally hold that the value of prophecy consists primarily in its insight into spiritual truths, and only indirectly in its foresight into the future; but to the Jew, a coincidence between a prophetic prediction and a subsequent event was a signal proof of Divine inspiration, for it showed that God had ‘unveiled’ before the vision of His prophet some detail of that future which was already predestined and lying spread out before His all-seeing eyes (cf. Acts 1:16 ff; Acts 2:17-34; Acts 3:18-22; Acts 4:25-28; Acts 11:28; Acts 13:32-41; Acts 17:3; Acts 17:11; Acts 18:28; Acts 26:22 f. etc., Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 9:23, and esp. 1 Peter 1:1-5).
But, while emphasizing the background of ideas common to primitive Christianity and Jewish apocalyptic, we must not ignore the distinctiveness of the former; and this now claims our attention.
3. The new Christian message
(1) The Messiah has come, in the Person of Jesus.-The belief that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the Christ, and that His life fulfilled the Scriptural prophecies, is the central truth of the apostolic preaching (Acts 2:36; Acts 3:22; Acts 5:42; Acts 17:2 f., James 2:1, Hebrews 1, 1 Peter 3:22; 1 Peter 4:5, etc). In the Jewish apocalypses, two Messianic ideals are manifested. On the one hand, there was the old prophetic expectation of a warrior-king of David’s line, raised up from among God’s people to rule them in righteousness and truth (Pss.-Sol. 17:23-31, etc). On the other hand, there was the purely apocalyptic conception of a heavenly Being descending, like Daniel’s Son of Man, from the clouds of heaven, endowed with supernatural powers, and presiding as God’s viceroy at the Great Judgment. It is to be noticed that the NT conception of our Lord’s Messiahship, while higher than any previously set forth, is much more nearly related to the Danielic ‘Son of Man’ than to the political type of Messiah (Acts 3:21, 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 2 Thessalonians 1:7, etc.). Now, if Jesus was the Messiah, then, since He had actually come, and had been rejected by His people, several consequences seemed (to Jewish minds) to follow inevitably, viz.:
(2) The Last Days are now in progress.-In Jewish apocalyptic, the coming of the Messiah is invariably associated with the end of this world and the beginning of the New Era. So, when the apostles proclaimed that the Messiah had come, they thereby conveyed to their Jewish hearers the impression that the Last Days had also come-not merely that they were at hand, but that they had actually begun and were in progress. And in fact this belief is implied in many NT passages, the full meaning of which often escapes the notice of the casual reader, who is full of modern ideas. But if once this eschatological outlook is realized, the early narratives of Acts are filled with new meaning. In particular, it will be noticed that the ‘appeals to prophecy,’ which occur as frequently in Acts, are often connected with the desire to prove that the Last Days have at length come; e.g. the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost is hailed by St. Peter as the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy, which expressly referred to ‘the Last Days’ (Acts 2:16-33; cf. Joel 2:28-32). His argument is that, since the prophecy has been fulfilled, it follows that the ‘Last Days’ foretold therein must have come. Similarly, the charismata, and the gifts of healing and of tongues, which were prevalent in the early Church, lent themselves readily to the view that they were a part of the miraculous ‘signs of the end’ foretold by prophets and apocalyptists (Acts 2:18; Acts 2:33; Acts 2:43; Acts 4:30 ff; Acts 5:12-16; Acts 16:18; Acts 19:6; Acts 21:9). Again, the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord were proclaimed by the apostles, not merely as interesting historical events, but as part of the miraculous portents which were to form the ‘birth-pangs of the Kingdom of God’ (Acts 2:24-36; Acts 3:14-26; Acts 26:8). All these things combined to deepen in the minds of the first disciples of our Lord the conviction that ‘it was the last hour.’
(3) The Messiah is immediately to return as Judge.-Jesus, the Messiah, has been rejected by His people, but there remains yet another act in the great drama of the Last Things. His life on earth has fulfilled some of the Messianic prophecies; but others (e.g. Daniel’s vision of the Son of Man) are still awaiting fulfilment. So the Messiah is about to come again immediately in glory on the clouds of heaven to judge all mankind (Acts 1:11; Acts 10:42; Acts 17:31; Acts 24:25, James 5:8-9; 1 Peter 4:5) and to destroy the apostate city of Jerusalem and the inhabitants thereof (Acts 6:14). Thus the apostolic preaching was in part a stern denunciation and a warning of judgment to come. But it did not end here.
(4) God is granting one more opportunity.-Herein lay the ‘good tidings’ of the apostolic preaching. Although the Jews had incurred the severest penalties of the Divine judgment by crucifying the Messiah (Acts 3:14 f.), yet another opportunity is being offered, by which all men may escape ‘the wrath to come,’ and receive the Divine forgiveness. The only conditions demanded by God are (a) belief in Jesus as Lord and Messiah (Acts 16:30 f.; cf. Acts 2:37 ff., etc.), and (b) repentance (Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 20:21). Those who ‘believe’ and ‘repent’ will be saved in the Judgment from the condemnation which is impending over all the world (Acts 2:40; Acts 3:19; Acts 3:23-26), and will be forgiven by the Lord Jesus, who, as Messianic Judge, alone has the authority to grant such pardon (Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43). Thus it will be seen that ‘salvation’ and ‘forgiveness,’ as terms of Christian theology, are in their origin eschatological, though they have been found capable of development along non-eschatological lines (see below). And it was just because of this eschatological background that the apostolic ‘gospel’ was so intensely fervent and urgent; for there was not a moment to spare; ‘the Judge was standing before the doors’ (James 5:9; cf. 1 Peter 4:5; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 Peter 4:17), and every convert was indeed a brand plucked from the burning (Acts 2:38-40; Acts 2:47; Acts 3:19-26). So the apostolic preaching was transformed from a denunciation and a warning of impending judgment into an evangel of salvation and forgiveness.
(5) The free gifts of God.-To describe the apostolic gospel simply as a promise of escape from the wrath to come would be inadequate; it was a promise rich with new gifts and blessings-e.g. the outflowing of the Divine Spirit (Acts 2:33; Acts 2:38 f.; Acts 5:32), and the ‘seasons of refreshing,’ which would sustain the elect until the return of the Messiah and the ‘restoration of all things’ (Acts 3:19-21; see below, I. 4 (5)). And these blessings were not to be laboriously earned, but were freely offered to all who would ‘repent’ and ‘believe.’
4. The application of the apostolic message to the chief doctrines of the Last Things.-The ideas underlying the most primitive Christian eschatology, as we have outlined it above, are so unfamiliar to us that their bearing upon the great problems of the future life is not at first sight evident, and requires a brief consideration.
1 The Second Coming of our Lord.-Most early Christians doubtless conceived of this in the traditional dramatic form, in accordance with the teaching of Enoch and other Jewish apocalypses. On the other hand, it should be remembered that (a) the ‘unearthly’ conception of the Messiah set forth in the Enochic ‘Son of Man’ would be modified by the recollection of the historical human personality of Jesus the Messiah; and (b) the apocalyptic idea of Messiahship, though one-sided, and therefore inadequate for a satisfactory Christology, was yet a high and transcendent ideal-one which needed to be supplemented and enlarged, rather than corrected. It formed a good foundation, upon which Christian thought and experience were able to build a fuller and truer doctrine of our Lord’s Person and Second Coming.
2 The Last Judgment.-This also was, in primitive Christian thought, closely linked with the Person of our Lord as Messianic Judge. It was thought of as limited in time to a date in the near future, and probably localized at some place on the earth (perhaps Jerusalem; cf. Acts 6:14, 1 Peter 4:17). Such ideas, however crude, were capable of being ‘spiritualized’ in course of time, without any breach in the continuity of Christian teaching. A more serious problem is raised by the difficulty of reconciling the doctrine of a universal Judgment (Acts 17:31, 1 Peter 4:5) with the doctrine of forgiveness, by which some men are ‘acquitted’ beforehand in anticipation of the Judgment. This is a hard, perhaps an insoluble, problem; but it is not peculiar to eschatology; for it confronts us wherever the ideas of forgiveness and justice are placed side by side.
3 The Intermediate State.-So long as the Return of the Lord was expected to occur immediately, there was little room for any speculations with regard to the state of those who had ‘fallen asleep in Christ.’ The ‘waiting-time’ seemed so brief that it did not invite much consideration. To expect to find in the NT authoritative statements either for or against prayers for the dead, or formal distinctions between an intermediate state of purgation and a final state of bliss, is to forget the peculiar eschatological outlook of primitive Christianity, and to look for an anachronism. The beginnings of Christian speculation concerning the Intermediate State come before us at quite an early stage (e.g. in 1 Thess.); but they do not belong to the earliest stage of all.
The case was somewhat different with regard to the faithful who had died before Christ came. Christians naturally wished to know how these would be enabled to hear the ‘good tidings,’ and share in the forgiveness and salvation now offered by Christ. Two well-known passages in 1 Peter bear upon this point: the ‘preaching to the spirits in prison’ (1 Peter 3:19), and the ‘preaching to the dead’ (1 Peter 4:5). A detailed discussion is impossible here; see the Commentaries ad loc. In the present writer’s Primitive Christian Eschatology, p. 254ff., it is contended that the passages should be interpreted in accordance with the methods of Jewish apocalyptic; and that their main purpose is to teach that the ‘good tidings’ have been proclaimed by Christ to those who had died before His Coming, so that at His Return they may have the same opportunities of repentance as those who are alive at the time. Broadly, too, we may see in these passages Scriptural warrant for the view that there may be opportunities for repentance after death.
4 The Resurrection.-Questionings with regard to the nature and manner of the resurrection are scarcely seen at all in the earliest eschatology as reflected in Acts and the Judaeo-Christian Epistles (see Lake, The Earlier Epistles of St. Paul, p. 91f.). Generally the references apply to our Lord’s Resurrection, and even where the general resurrection is implied (Acts 23:6-8; Acts 24:15; Acts 26:6-8) no details as to the manner thereof are fo
Webster's Dictionary - Eschatology
(n.) The doctrine of the last or final things, as death, judgment, and the events therewith connected.
CARM Theological Dictionary - Eschatology
The study of the teachings in the Bible concerning the end times, or of the period of time dealing with the return of Christ and the events that follow. Eschatological subjects include the Resurrection, Resurrection, the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Millennium, the Binding of Satan, the Three witnesses, the Final Judgment, Armageddon, and The New Heavens and the New Earth. In the New Testament, eschatological chapters include Matthew 24:1-51; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 17:1-37, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-17. In one form or another most of the books of the Bible deal with end-times subjects. But some that are more prominently eschatological are Daniel, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Zechariah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, 2Thessalonians, and of course Revelation. (See Amillennialism and Premillennialism for more information on views on the millennium.)
1910 New Catholic Dictionary - Eschatology
(Greek: eschatos, uttermost; logos, discourse on)
The branch of systematic theology which treats of the last things. These are, for the individual, death, judgment (particular), heaven or hell (purgatory, as a transitory state), the so- called "four last things," since they constitute the end of man's mortal life, and the immediate and final retribution of that life in another world. For the human race the last things embrace the resurrection from the dead and the general judgment. To these must be added the end and fate of the physical world or cosmic eschatology.
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Eschatology
The word ‘eschatology’ comes from the Greek eschatos, meaning ‘last’, and commonly refers to the study of ‘the last things’. This is a vast subject, and the following outline refers the reader to articles in this Directory that deal with its many topics.
In its broader aspects, eschatology is concerned with all matters relating to death and the afterlife (Psalms 16:11; Daniel 12:2; Luke 16:22-23; Hebrews 9:27-28; see DEATH; HADES; PARADISE; SHEOL). More specifically it is concerned with issues relating to the return of Jesus Christ and the new age that will follow (see JESUS CHRIST, sub-heading ‘Christ’s return and final triumph’).
Human history is tied up with the mission of Jesus Christ. At his first coming Jesus brought God’s plan of salvation to its fulfilment through his life and work, and particularly through his death and resurrection. God intervened in human history, and the ‘last days’ began (Hebrews 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:20; see PROPHECY; QUOTATIONS). Those ‘last days’ have continued through the present age and will reach their climax at Christ’s return. The coming ‘day of the Lord’ will be that final intervention of God that brings human history to its destiny (Matthew 24:29-31; 2 Peter 3:3-4; 2 Peter 3:10; see ANTICHRIST; DAY OF THE LORD).
To have a proper understanding of matters concerning Christ’s return, a person should consider them in relation to matters concerning Christ’s earthly ministry as recorded in the Gospels. Christ’s victory at his second coming will represent the triumphant climax of the kingdom that he brought at his first coming. The kingly Messiah and heavenly Son of man, having died for sin, will return to reign (Matthew 25:31-34; see KINGDOM OF GOD; MESSIAH; MILLENNIUM; SON OF MAN). The return of Christ will bring about the victorious resurrection of believers, but that resurrection is possible only because of the victorious resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; see RESURRECTION).
Christ’s return will also lead to final judgment, which means judgment not just for believers, but for all people. The one who died to save people from condemnation and give them new life is the one who will finally declare whether they suffer eternal condemnation or enjoy the heavenly blessings of the new age (John 5:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; see JUDGMENT; HEAVEN; HELL).
At his first coming Christ dealt with sin and showed his power over it. When he returns he will remove sin and all its evil consequences finally and completely. His victory will include the healing of the physical world, the destruction of death and the punishment of Satan (1 Corinthians 15:25-26; Revelation 20:10; see NATURE; DEATH; SATAN). Christ and his people together will enter into the full enjoyment of the eternal life that he has made possible for them. The ‘new heavens and new earth’ will be a new order of existence where God is supreme and all people find their full satisfaction in him (1 Corinthians 15:28; Revelation 21:1-4; Revelation 22:1-6; see ETERNITY; LIFE).

Sentence search

Universalism - See Eschatology
Intermediate State - See Eschatology
Day of the Lord - See Eschatology
Annihilation - See Eschatology
Last Days - See Eschatology
New Jerusalem - See Jerusalem ; Eschatology
Millennium - See Eschatology, Parousia
Chiliasm - See Parousia, Eschatology
Future - —See Eschatology
Last Day, Last Time - See Eschatology ; Judgment Day
Latter Days - See Eschatology ; Judgment Day
Lake of Fire - See Hell ; Eschatology ; Fire
Judgments of God - See Judgment Day ; Retribution, Divine; Eschatology
Hell - See Eschatology, Gehenna, Hades, Sheol
State of the Dead - See Eschatology, Paradise, Sheol
Return of Christ - See Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Millennium ; Parousia ; Second Coming
Hades (2) - —See Dead, Eschatology, and Hell (Descent into)
Hell (2) - —See Eschatology, Gehenna, and the following article
Intermediate State - See Eschatology, 3 ( d ), and Paradise, 3
State After Death - —See Dead and Eschatology, I
Second Coming - See also DAY OF THE LORD; Eschatology; JUDGMENT; KINGDOM OF GOD; MILLENNIUM; RESURRECTION
Book - and Eschatology
Consummation - See Eschatology
Parousia - See Day of the Lord ; Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Kingdom of God
Last Things, the Four - (See Eschatology
Premillennialism - This is a teaching concerning the end times (eschatology)
Eschatology - To these must be added the end and fate of the physical world or cosmic Eschatology
Abyss - The Jewish Eschatology of the time of Christ conceived of the abode of departed spirits as a great abyss, in the midst of which was a lake of fire, intended primarily as a place of punishment for the angels and giants, and accordingly for sinners
Eschatology - Eschatology is that department of theology which is concerned with the ‘last things,’ that is, with the state of individuals after death, and with the course of human history when the present order of things has been brought to a close. Eschatology of the OT . ...
In the Hebrew period, however, there were elements which were subsequently to be utilized in the development of the Eschatology of the Pharisees and of Christianity. Eschatology of Judaism . The various influences which helped to develop this type of literature, with its emphasis upon Eschatology, are hard to locate. Eschatology of the NT . This is the development of the Eschatology of Judaism, modified by the fact of Jesus’ resurrection. ...
( a ) In the teaching of Jesus we find Eschatology prominently represented. It should be added, however, that the Eschatology of Jesus, once it is viewed from His own point of view, carries with it no crude theory of rewards and punishments, but rather serves as a vehicle for expressing His fundamental moral and religious concepts. ...
( b ) In the teaching of primitive Christians Eschatology is a ruling concept, and is thoroughly embedded in the Messianic evangel. ...
( c ) Eschatology was also a controlling element in the teaching of St. Eschatology alone forms the proper point of approach to the Pauline doctrines of justification and salvation, as well as his teachings as to the resurrection. But here again Eschatology, though a controlling factor in the Apostle’s thought, was, as in the case of Jesus, a medium for the exposition of a genuine spiritual life, which did not rise and fall with any particular forecast as to the future. The elements of the Pauline Eschatology are those of Judaism, but corrected and to a considerable extent given distinctiveness by his knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus. His description of the Judgment is couched in the conventional language of Pharisaic Eschatology; but, hasing his teaching upon ‘the word of the Lord’ ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15 ), he develops the doctrine that the Judgment extends both over the living, who are to be caught up into the air, and also over the dead. In the latter work we see all the elements of Jewish apocalyptic Eschatology utilized in the interest of Christian faith. Eschatology and Modern Theology . Such a situation has proved injurious to the spread of Christianity as more than a general ethical or religious system, and it is to be hoped that the new interest which is now felt in the historical study of the NT will reinstate Eschatology in its true place. In a word, therefore, the modern equivalent of Jewish Eschatology for practical purposes is that of personal (though truly social) immortality and a completion of the development of society. Utterly to ignore the essential elements of NT Eschatology is in so far to re-establish the non-Christian concept of material goods as a supreme motive, and to destroy all confidence in the ultimate triumph of social righteousness
Eschatology - The Earliest Christian Eschatology. Decline of the earliest type of Christian Eschatology. The Johannine Type of Early Christian Eschatology. Later history of this type of Eschatology. The Pauline type of early Christian Eschatology. Eschatology of St. Eschatology of early Gentile-Christian churches. -Our subject is the Eschatology of the Apostolic Church down to a. By ‘eschatology’ we understand (1) the doctrine of a certain series of events associated with the end of this world-era and the beginning of another; and (2) the destiny of the individual human soul after death. We shall deal first with the earliest type of Christian Eschatology, as it was taught by the first disciples of our Lord, in the primitive Judaeo-Christian communities; and then we shall endeavour to trace the various lines along which this primitive teaching was developed and modified. The Earliest Christian Eschatology. From these NT writings it is possible to gain a fairly clear and definite conception of the earliest Christian Eschatology. Now, although the details of apocalyptic Eschatology vary from book to book (see e. ...
The comparative uniformity with which these ‘fixed points’ recur in the Jewish apocalyptic Eschatology may be traced in part to the Jewish idea of predestination. -The ideas underlying the most primitive Christian Eschatology, as we have outlined it above, are so unfamiliar to us that their bearing upon the great problems of the future life is not at first sight evident, and requires a brief consideration. This is a hard, perhaps an insoluble, problem; but it is not peculiar to Eschatology; for it confronts us wherever the ideas of forgiveness and justice are placed side by side. In the present writer’s Primitive Christian Eschatology, p. -Questionings with regard to the nature and manner of the resurrection are scarcely seen at all in the earliest Eschatology as reflected in Acts and the Judaeo-Christian Epistles (see Lake, The Earlier Epistles of St
Eschatology - ” Accordingly, Eschatology is the study of the things expected to occur at the end of history. There are two basic ways of approaching Eschatology. Over the last century, however, scholars have generally agreed that the New Testament was written in an atmosphere pervaded by Eschatology. Accordingly, when scholars speak of Eschatology today, they are often referring not simply to events which have “not yet” occurred, but chiefly to the way in which the last things are “already” present, and to the attitudes and expectations which this arouses. Since Eschatology, throughout much of church history and in much common speech today, often means the study of events still future, this article will first explore the traditional discussion of these things. Second, however, it will consider Eschatology as the breaking of the future into the present and the meaning of this for Christian life. ...
In a general sense, postmillennialism serves as a label for any Eschatology which expects religious and social activity to play a large role in establishing God's kingdom. Even modern existentialist theologians, such as Rudolf Bultmann, who regard futurist Eschatology as mythological and emphasize encounter with God in the present, can be included under this general label. ...
During the nineteenth century, however, “amillennialism” was applied increasingly to a more specific Eschatology. While this emphasis has been criticized for obscuring Eschatology's deeper theological meaning and its practical significance, it demands attention in a general treatment of the subject. In other words, belief in inherent immortality of the soul tends to make one's Eschatology spiritualistic and individualistic; belief in resurrection emphasizes Eschatology's physical, historical, and corporate dimensions. ...
In any case, the more one penetrates into the questions which underlie traditional eschatological discussions, the more one recognizes that Eschatology has to do not only with the future, but also with the present. Indeed, if modern scholars are correct, Eschatology cannot be adequately understood unless the present as well as the future is discussed. Let us see, then, what Eschatology looks like when the “already-not yet” dynamic of the New Testament is taken into account, when Eschatology is viewed as the in breaking of the future. ...
New Testament Eschatology What features were essential to the eschatological atmosphere that pervaded the New Testament era—and therefore to a full understanding of Eschatology in general? Jesus' contemporaries felt that they were living at the end of an “old Age” dominated by forces which opposed God. ...
The early church, then, continued to live in an atmosphere charged with Eschatology. ...
General Implications for Eschatology Traditionally, the study of Eschatology has suffered from two attitudes: neglect and overemphasis. Since Eschatology has focused on events which have not yet occurred, many Christians have ignored it; and many theologians have treated it as an appendix at the end of their systems. Both attitudes have been encouraged by the separation of Eschatology from the rest of Christian life and doctrine. Neither does it mandate any particular way of doing Eschatology. Nonetheless, we can usefully draw from it several suggestions as to how Eschatology as presently understood by biblical scholars might influence Eschatology as traditionally discussed by theologians
Millennium - In the study of end time doctrines (eschatology) the millennium is the period of time of Christ's rulership
Regeneration - Regeneration may also signify, in a cosmic sense, renewal of the Stoic world-cycle; and, in Christian Eschatology, the resurrection of the dead (Matthew 19)
Day of the Lord - Before Amos this view had not reached a definite Eschatology, and probably involved only a general expectation of the triumph of Israel and Israel’s God. It fact, it is not too much to say that the Eschatology of Judaism is really a development of the implications of the prophetic teaching as to the Day of Jehovah
New Age - See Eschatology
Eschatology - The word ‘eschatology’ comes from the Greek eschatos, meaning ‘last’, and commonly refers to the study of ‘the last things’. ...
In its broader aspects, Eschatology is concerned with all matters relating to death and the afterlife (Psalms 16:11; Daniel 12:2; Luke 16:22-23; Hebrews 9:27-28; see DEATH; HADES; PARADISE; SHEOL)
Dispensation - Darby was responsible for developing the two-stage coming of Christ into a fully developed Eschatology or theology. ...
Program of Eschatology Beyond the seven dispensations, the Darby movement had a definite program of Eschatology in five steps
Tribulation - See Dispensation ; Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Millennium ; Rapture ; Revelation, Book of; Seventy Weeks
Sheol - Hebrew Eschatology, although somewhat obscure in its early phase, probably tended to perpetuate the animistic conception. In the absence of any consistent Hebrew Eschatology, however, it is impossible to determine whether the dead were believed to be conscious or active
Abyss - In the later Jewish Eschatology, where Sheol has passed from its OT meaning of a shadowy under world in which there are no recognized distinctions between the good and the bad, the wicked and the weary (cf. we are in the midst of the visions and images of apocalyptic Eschatology
Abyss - In the later Jewish Eschatology, where Sheol has passed from its OT meaning of a shadowy under world in which there are no recognized distinctions between the good and the bad, the wicked and the weary (cf. we are in the midst of the visions and images of apocalyptic Eschatology
Theocracy - See Eschatology ; Final Hope
Rapture - See Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Tribulation
Lake of Fire - But, while Persian Eschatology shows the presence of the conception of penal fire (cf. Hence the presence of the idea in Jewish prophetic Eschatology is held by many scholars to be due to Persian rather than to Babylonian influence. In Jewish Eschatology we find three related conceptions, each possibly a different topographical setting of the same central idea:...
(1) The conception of the Valley of Hinnom (נֵּיהִנּוֹם) as a place of fiery torment for the wicked during the Messianic Age; cf. Charles, Eschatology: Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian2, 1913; W
Book of Life - See Apocalyptic ; Book ; Eschatology ; Judgment, Books of
Judgment - Biblical Eschatology centres about the Judgment to which all humanity is to be subjected at the end of this ‘age
Seventy Weeks - See Dispensation ; Eschatology ; Millennium, Tribulation
Gog - ’...
Upon the basis of Ezekiel 38:1-23 ; Ezekiel 39:1-29 , ‘Gog’ and ‘Magog’ appear often in the later Jewish Eschatology as leading the final, but abortive, assault of the powers of the world upon the Kingdom of God
Man - This article will deal only with the religious estimate of man, as other matters which might have been included will be found in other articles (Creation, Eschatology, Fall, Sin, Psychology). ...
The Bible estimate of man’s value is shown in its anticipation of his destiny not merely continued existence, but a future life of weal or woe according to the moral quality, the relation to God, of the present life (see Eschatology)
Parousia - Thirdly, it is necessary to form some estimate of the place of the Eschatology, and especially of its central conception, the Parousia of Christ, in the essential nature of Christianity. ) Schweitzer has the following pertinent remarks:...
‘Not until Pauline Eschatology gives an answer to all the “idle” questions of this kind which can be asked will it be really understood and explained. ’...
The attitude here indicated towards Pauline Eschatology is necessary towards the whole of primitive apostolic Eschatology. before and after the birth of Christ do not by any means present a coherent scheme of Eschatology, and it is possible that the same vagueness and inconsistency in detail will be found to characterize the early Christian apocalyptic, including the Pauline. Paul’s Eschatology we see only the orthodox Pharisee, believing in the resurrection of just and unjust. -The general tendency of modern scholarship is to find a development in the Eschatology of St. Paul from the ‘cruder’ Eschatology of the earlier Epistles, e. ...
The point of view is so different that it certainly makes it extremely difficult to maintain, at the same time, the Pauline authorship of both passages and the theory of a rigidly consistent Pauline scheme of Eschatology. They suggest rather a fluid than a rigid Eschatology. They present the appearance of the gradual, half-conscious modification of the older lines of Eschatology by the working of the new principle of the consequences of the Resurrection, an element which is of course wholly foreign to the Jewish schemes of apocalyptic, and peculiar to the Christian scheme. ...
These passages all point to the same background of expectation, but offer very little basis for the reconstruction of a definite Pauline scheme of Eschatology
Resurrection - ...
The principal questions that must be answered by any inquiry into the subject of the resurrection from the historical point of view are: (1) What was the place of the resurrection in the Eschatology of the time? (2) Are there more than one resurrection in any of the eschatological schemes of the 1st century? (3) How is the resurrection of Christ related to the general Christian resurrection-doctrine of the period? (4) How is the question of the relation between body and spirit, flesh and spirit, worked out? (5) How far does an ethical element enter into the various views of the resurrection developed by NT writers? These questions involve ethical, metaphysical, and eschatological considerations which were not clearly distinguished in the thought of the time, and cannot be separated in our treatment of the subject; yet they must be borne in mind in examining the various systems of the period. ...
The roots of Eschatology have been found to be far more widely spread in early civilizations than was formerly believed, and of all the conceptions of Eschatology none has a more varied and complicated history than the conception of the resurrection. Charles, Eschatology2, London, 1913, pp. Bréhier, ‘Of the whole Jewish Eschatology, this idea alone retains its vitality in Philo’s system, the future of the Law which is destined to attain universal sway’ (Les idées philosophiques et religieuses de Philon d’Alexandrie, Paris, 1908, p. This germ of the idea of a first resurrection appears especially in 4 Ezr 7:28, 13:52 (see Charles, Eschatology, p. Meir; but it must be remembered that the apocalyptic writings already quoted may well represent Rabbinical Eschatology of this period, and it is not necessary to suppose that the Talmud is the only source of information as to contemporary Rabbinical belief. Paul’s exposition of the resurrection clearly implies a resurrection before the Messianic kingdom in order that the dead may share in its blessings, it is possible that the idea may have been already present in his original scheme of Eschatology, although he had not imparted it to his converts. ...
In 1 Corinthians 15 the whole argument presupposes a belief in the resurrection, not necessarily depending upon the resurrection of Christ, although the resurrection of Christ is used to support the belief in the resurrection of the dead and to modify the general outline of the Eschatology. As a Pharisee he held the continued existence of the soul after death; as part of his Palestinian Eschatology he held the necessity of a resurrection to judgment of both righteous and wicked, and probably a first resurrection of righteous to participation in the Messianic kingdom. The resurrection of Christ assumes a catastrophic colouring, so to speak: it becomes the first act of Divine intervention in the introduction of the Kingdom, the first step of a process whose culmination also has a catastrophic character derived from the original scheme of Eschatology. ...
The tendency of this double working of the interpretation of the death and resurrection of Christ was to disturb the outline of the old Eschatology. The Oriental view, which influenced Alexandrian Eschatology, regarded redemption as the separation of matter from spirit, the dissolution of an evil and unnatural union
Perdition - See, further, Destruction, Eschatology, and Fire
Heaven - The reader is referred to the articles Eschatology, Hades, Immortality, Paradise, Parousia, and Resurrection, in this and other Dictionaries for discussion of various matters which are relevant to the treatment of the conception of heaven. Both these tendencies are discernible in the development of Christian Eschatology during the 1st century. -The principal features or Alexandrian Jewish Eschatology in relation to heaven are the view that the righteous enter at once into their perfected state of happiness after death, and the view that the resurrection of the righteous is of the spirit only. For a full treatment of their critical analysis and eschatological system see Charles, Eschatology, ch. Peter represents the primitive Jewish Christian Eschatology in its simplest form; even in the First Epistle, although Charles finds an advance on the Eschatology of Acts, the hope is still rather for the kingdom on earth; the heavenly nature of the inheritance is not to be understood as referring to the place where it is enjoyed, but rather to the place from which it comes. Paul’s case, In spite of the clear advance towards a greater spiritualization of the Eschatology, this advance seems to consist in the increasing emphasis laid on the spiritual assimilation of believers to Christ as the goal of hope, rather than in an abandonment of the hope of an earthly kingdom
Heavens, New - See Angel ; Creation ; Eschatology ; Heaven ; Hell ; Kingdom; New Jerusalem
Divine Retribution - See Eschatology ; Eternal Life ; Everlasting Punishment ; Future Hope
Dragon - But it was characteristic of Judaism, with its fervent Messianic expectations, that the idea of a conflict between God and the dragon should be transferred from the past to the future, from cosmogony to history and Eschatology, so that the revolt of the dragon and his subjection by the Divine might became an episode not of pre-historic ages but of the last days (cf
Revelation, Theology of - The theology of Revelation stands in the mainstream of first-century Christian thought, for it presupposes, with other New Testament books, the message of the crucified and risen Christ (1:18; 2:8; 11:8); a two-stage Eschatology in which Christ is presently enthroned in heaven (3:21; chap 5; 12:5,10) and will return to extend God's rule over the earth (2:27; 11:15); and a church in which Gentiles share the covenantal prerogatives of Israel (5:9-10; cf. Christ's imminent warning to some at Pergamum, for example, borrows the image of his coming to make war with the sword of his mouth, from Eschatology (2:12,16; Eschatology . If we take into account the book's intricate literary structure, and extract from its apocalyptic antitypes the information they yield about John's assumed scheme of strict Eschatology, we can, with guidance from more systematic New Testament statements of Eschatology (e. ...
Revelation adds little of substance to what other New Testament writings say about Eschatology
Parousia - The nearest approach to a compromise view is to be found in the position of the third group, who hold that Jesus to some extent utilized the Eschatology of His day, but that His references have been developed and made specific by the Evangelists. ( f ) The historical-critical view sees in the expectations of the NT Christianity survivals of Jewish Eschatology
Paradise - The references are not always consistent, as there was no clear-cut consistent scheme of the future life in Jewish Eschatology. The movement of thought was clearly away from the sensuous and material side of Jewish eschatological expectation, even though in the later development of thought in the Church there was a return to this element, and a corresponding loss of the vitality and freshness characteristic of Pauline and Johannine Eschatology
Sheol - See Death ; Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Hell
Millennium - See Eschatology ; Rapture ; Future Hope ; Seventy Weeks ; Tribulation
Day (That) - ‘Eschatology of the NT’; Beyschlag, NT Theol
Cerinthus, Opponent of Saint John - ...
His doctrines may be collected under the heads of his conception of the Creation, his Christology, and his Eschatology. ...
The Chiliastic Eschatology of Cerinthus is very clearly stated by Theodoret, Caius, Dionysius (Eus. His notions of Eschatology are radically Jewish: they may have originated, but do not contain, the Valentinian notion of a spiritual marriage between the souls of the elect and the Angels of the Pleroma
John, Theology of - John's portrait here avoids futurist Eschatology but this does not mean necessarily that he is at odds with the synoptic tradition. ...
Eschatology . Eschatology concerns the "last things" and usually in the Gospels refers to the events surrounding the second coming of Christ. However, serious debate surrounds Johannine Eschatology because the futurist categories well-known in the Synoptics appear absent. Johannine Eschatology is thus described as realized Eschatology . ...
While futurist Eschatology can be demonstrated in John, still, Johannine theology has a decided emphasis on the present
Eschatology (2) - ESCHATOLOGY...
I. Eschatology in the Synoptic Gospels. Eschatology in the Gospel of John. Its attitude to Eschatology proper. Eschatology in the Synoptic Gospels. In them we have the most accurate reports accessible to us of the words actually used by Jesus; and where His sayings, as there recorded, employ the language of Eschatology, apart from explanations which give it a turn peculiar to Himself, we may assume that the language in its natural implications represents current Jewish belief. ]'>[18] that the Johannine presentation of the Eschatology of Jesus supplies just the kind of supplement to that of the Synoptics which a critical study of the latter led us to think necessary. We therefore consider at present only the Eschatology of Jesus as presented in the Synoptic Gospels
Heaven - The reader is referred to the articles Eschatology, Hades, Immortality, Paradise, Parousia, and Resurrection, in this and other Dictionaries for discussion of various matters which are relevant to the treatment of the conception of heaven. Both these tendencies are discernible in the development of Christian Eschatology during the 1st century. -The principal features or Alexandrian Jewish Eschatology in relation to heaven are the view that the righteous enter at once into their perfected state of happiness after death, and the view that the resurrection of the righteous is of the spirit only. For a full treatment of their critical analysis and eschatological system see Charles, Eschatology, ch. Peter represents the primitive Jewish Christian Eschatology in its simplest form; even in the First Epistle, although Charles finds an advance on the Eschatology of Acts, the hope is still rather for the kingdom on earth; the heavenly nature of the inheritance is not to be understood as referring to the place where it is enjoyed, but rather to the place from which it comes. Paul’s case, In spite of the clear advance towards a greater spiritualization of the Eschatology, this advance seems to consist in the increasing emphasis laid on the spiritual assimilation of believers to Christ as the goal of hope, rather than in an abandonment of the hope of an earthly kingdom
Image of God - From the beginning of the end in Genesis (protology) to the end of the beginning in Revelation (eschatology), the image of God is crucial for understanding the flow of redemptive history. Thus biblical Eschatology envisions the restoration of all three of these relationships in a world where God's people may experience unhindered fellowship with him (Revelation 21:3-5 ) because the Edenic curse has been removed (Revelation 22:3 )
Eternity - ...
In the time of Christ, Jewish thought on the future had developed very much, and had assumed many forms (see Eschatology). —The subject is practically part of the larger topic Eschatology, and all books dealing with this latter subject refer more or less to Eternity
Jude, Theology of - ...
Eschatology . The overarching theological perspective in Jude is Eschatology
Second Coming, the - See Future Hope ; Eschatology ; Christology; Jesus Christ ; Rapture
James, Theology of - ...
Eschatology . James holds to the same kind of "inaugurated Eschatology" typical of the New Testament perspective: the days of the fulfillment of God's promises have begun, but a climax to those days is yet expected. As we stressed earlier, James' ethics are firmly rooted in his Eschatology
Apocalyptic Literature - The Eschatology of these chapters is somewhat sensuous as regards both the resurrection and rewards and punishments. ...
In the later chapters of this oldest section the new Eschatology is more apparent. ...
The importance of Enoch is great for the understanding of the Eschatology of the NT and the methods of apocalyptic. As Second Esdras the book has become part of the Apocrypha of the OT, and has had considerable influence in the formation of Christian Eschatology
Flood, the - Isaiah provides an explicit verbal indicator that the flood is a type of covenantal Eschatology (54:9), along with several possible allusions to the flood in his descriptions of the eschatological salvation of Israel (24:18; 28:2; 43:2; 54:8). ...
The New Testament writers recognize the typological connection between flood and Eschatology. Gage, The Gospel of Genesis: Studies in Protology and Eschatology ; G
Esdras, the Second Book of - In the earlier chapters, the Eschatology is entirely of an individual character, concerning itself with the future of the soul, and postulating, immediately after death, a personal judgment and entrance into an eternal world of punishment and reward (7:75ff. The later chapters (11, 12) are prevailingly political, and revive the old Eschatology of the nation, with its scheme of preliminary woes, world-judgment, and earthly Messianic kingdom of indefinite duration. Charles, The Apocalypse of Baruch, 1896, and Eschatology; Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian, 1899 (21913); R
God And Magog - ’ For a full discussion of the subject, see articles Eschatology, Parousia
Dead, the - ‘Eschatology’ and ‘Resurrection’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible; ‘Eschatology’ and ‘Dead’ in Encyc
Promise (2) - While the NT contains several passages which show kinship with current Apocalyptic literature and its Eschatology, and indicate a lingering belief in the mind of the writer that the fulfilment of the promises lies still in the future, the unmistakably prevalent thought of the writers is that in the work of Christ they have already seen the promises fulfilled. But whatever critical view be held of the records, and leaving undecided the question whether Matthew 24 and other similar passages which contain a considerable eschatological element are to be taken as representing a part of the actual teaching of Jesus, or rather His teaching as coloured by passing through minds steeped in the ideas of Jewish Eschatology, it is sufficiently evident that Jesus habitually used the expression ‘Kingdom of heaven’ in a different sense from the ordinary and popular one, and preferred to divest it of the usual patriotic and eschatological associations
Resurrection - See Eschatology ; Future Hope ; Sheol
Vine - See Agriculture ; Eschatology ; Israel ; Wine, Winepress
Soul - See, further, Resurrection of the Dead, Eschatology, Abraham ($ ‘Abraham’s bosom’), Paradise, Hell [5]. ‘Soul,’ ‘Eschatology,’ ‘Immortality of the Soul’ in JE Soul - See, further, Resurrection of the Dead, Eschatology, Abraham ($ ‘Abraham’s bosom’), Paradise, Hell [5]. ‘Soul,’ ‘Eschatology,’ ‘Immortality of the Soul’ in JE [13] ; consult also OT Theologies of Schultz, Smend, Oehler; and the NT Theologies of Schmid, van Oosterzee, B
Corinthians, First And Second, Theology of - Many modern interpreters believe that Eschatology, the doctrine of the endtimes, is the center of the apostle Paul's thought, beginning with his presupposition of the two-age structure. In short, Eschatology is the overarching theme through which these letters should be interpreted. The Corinthians' infatuation with themselves undoubtedly originated from some sort of overrealized Eschatology. Both of these consequences are stamped by the already/not yet Eschatology tension
Judgment, Day of - This is curious in view of the facts that in modern times there has been a great upsurge of interest in Eschatology and that the final judgment is at the very heart of biblical Eschatology
Parousia (2) - —Charles, Eschatology, Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian (1899); Wendt, Teaching of Jesus, ii. 190–204; Bruce, Kingdom of God (1889), 272–294; Stuart Russell, Parousia (1887); Warren, Parousia (1885); Muirhead, Eschatology of Jesus (1904); Adams Brown, art
Millennium - See also ANTICHRIST; DAY OF THE LORD; Eschatology; HEAVEN; HELL; JUDGMENT; KINGDOM OF GOD; RESURRECTION; SECOND COMING
Ignorance - The apostles in their Eschatology did little to dispel the darkness connected with the present condition of the dead
Daniel, Book of - Eschatology is prominent
Day - Time, Night, Eschatology
Antichrist - Transcendental pictures and current Eschatology set forth the Christian’s fear on the one hand of the Roman Emperor or Empire as a persecuting power, and on the other of Jewish fanaticism
Dualism - Apocalyptic Literature, Devil, Eschatology
Sea of Glass - Charles, Eschatology, Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian, London, 1899, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the OT, Oxford, 1913; H
Kingdom of God - See Eschatology ; Future Hope
Peter, Second, Theology of - ...
Eschatology is the dominant theological focus in 2Peter, with an emphasis on the certainty of divine judgment on ungodliness and apostasy
Eternal Punishment - ‘Eschatology’ from Smith’s Dict. ‘Eschatology’; Alger, Doctrine of a Future Life; also Greg’s Enigmas of Life, ch
Magi - The Eschatology is striking and lofty in its conception, and the doctrine of God singularly pure
Judgment Damnation - ...
With the Book of Daniel a new chapter opens in the history of Hebrew Eschatology. For an understanding of NT Eschatology these writings are of such cardinal importance that it is necessary to give some account of their leading ideas. Charles, Eschatology: Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian, 1899; P
Second Coming of Christ - Some have seen this as "realized Eschatology, " the view that the present kingdom of God, established in the life and the teaching of Jesus, is the whole story (C. Earle Ellis, Eschatology in Luke ; J. Vos, The Pauline Eschatology
Antichrist - But it was characteristic of the forward look of Prophetism and Messianism that the idea of a conflict between God and the dragon was transferred from cosmogony to Eschatology and represented as a culminating episode of the last days (Isaiah 27:1, Daniel 7). The Jewish Antichrist was very far from being a mere precipitate of Babylonian mythology and Iranian Eschatology
Habakkuk, Theology of - ...
Eschatology
Salvation - See Atonement ; Conversion ; Election ; Eschatology ; Forgiveness ; Future Hope ; Grace ; Justification ; New Birth ; Predestination ; Reconciliation, Redeem, Redemption, Redeemer; Repentance ; Sanctification ; Security of the Believer
Titus, Theology of - ...
Eschatology
Spirits in Prison - Charles, Eschatology, Hebrew, Jewish, and Christian, London, 1899
Bible, Methods of Study - The “historical and literal sense” became predominant, not only since the time of the Protestant Reformation, but even before, despite the many attempts in the Middle Ages to detect “deeper” meanings in the text (about doctrine, ethics, and Eschatology)
Evil - ‘In his cosmology, angelology, and demonology, as well as his Eschatology, he remains essentially Jewish’ (op
Restoration - The disappointment, however, is modified by two considerations: (1) Many of the references to the future life are quite incidental, and occur in writings which are themselves obviously of the most occasional character, in which, therefore, the immediate doctrinal or ethical concern is paramount, and no intention of dealing with the problems of Eschatology was before the writer’s mind. Charles, Eschatology, chs
Satan - Eschatology
John, the Letters of - The elder reasserted a more traditional Eschatology (see 1 John 3:2 )
Lord's Prayer, the - ...
All three petitions are to be understood in light of inaugurated Eschatology that Jesus embodies in his own words and work and will bring to completion at his second coming
New Creation - " In 4:26 the term "new creation" appears to have become a technical term within the vocabulary of this stream of Jewish Eschatology ("the Garden of Eden, and the Mount of the East, Mount Sinai, and Mount Zion will be sanctified in the new creation"); connected with the concept are the ideas of the purification of the earth and God's people from sin
Thessalonians, Second Epistle to the - The objection that this contradicts the Eschatology of 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 cannot be sustained
Lord's Prayer, the - See Eschatology , Kingdom of God ; Mishnah ; Midrash ; Rabbi ; Talmud and Targums
Immortality - of Christianity, we find, in the first place, that it is inseparably connected with the Resurrection of Christ, and, secondly, that it is also inseparable from primitive Christian Eschatology. Subsequent developments really consisted, not in a deeper and richer spiritualization of the eschatological view-point, with all its stimulus and insistent pressure of the real world surrounding and penetrating the phenomenal world, but in the total abandonment of Eschatology and consequent impoverishment of the Church’s life
Fire - ‘This verse,’ remarks Charles (Eschatology2, 1913, p. -articles ‘Eschatology of NT’ (S. of Christ and the Gospels , ‘Eschatology’ (R, H
Fire - ‘This verse,’ remarks Charles (Eschatology2, 1913, p. -articles ‘Eschatology of NT’ (S. of Christ and the Gospels , ‘Eschatology’ (R, H
Hosea, Theology of - ...
Hosea's Eschatology is built upon the covenant relationship as administered by a sovereign Lord
Jesus Christ - His followers must go and tell; His followers must unite the hope of Eschatology and the life of ethics in a fashion that will share the gospel with all the world (Matthew 28:19-20 )
King, Christ as - Ladd, The Presence of the Future: The Eschatology of Biblical Realism ; I
Light And Darkness - soteriology passes into Eschatology
Evil (2) - The optimism of Jesus is particularly evident in His Eschatology
Resurrection - It was doubtless the one-sided presentation of Pauline Eschatology that led to the heresy of Hymenæus and Philetus ( 2 Timothy 2:18 ), and the Apostle seems to have felt the necessity of balancing his mystical interpretation by an emphatic insistence on the literal truth that the resurrection is a future objective fact in the progressive life of man. The resurrection of the wicked occupies a very subordinate place in Pauline Eschatology, and we need not be surprised at the scanty notice taken of it, when we remember how constantly he is pressing on his readers’ attention the power by which the resurrection to life is brought about ( Romans 8:11 ,
Daniel, Theology of - ...
In other words, the details of Eschatology are not as crucial as eschatological ethics: behaving Christ-like now in this world, and living in the expectation and anticipation of Christ's return
Eternal Fire (2) - Oxenham, Catholic Eschatology; E
Glory - As already in Jewish Eschatology, δόξα is a technical term for the state of final salvation, the Heavenly Messianic Kingdom in which Christ now lives and which is to be brought to men by His Parousia
Good - ...
(4) Into the contents of the Christian hope, the details of the apostolic Eschatology (q
Death - Charles maintains in his Jowett Lectures on Eschatology ) or no, it seems to represent very primitive beliefs which survived in one form and another, even after the stern Jahwistic prohibition of necromancy was promulgated
Peace - No doubt this is largely due to the elevation of its Eschatology to a higher, transcendental plane
Bible, Authority of the - Yet unlike other matters of Christian belief and practice on which the Bible speaks—Christology, Eschatology, the nature of God, the Christian lifewe are here concerned with what the Bible says about itself
Repentance - ’ (See Schweitzer, Geschichte der paulinischen Forschung, 1911, who points out that the same stress on the importance of ethies in the descriptions of the coming world after the Parousia effectually distinguishes Jewish and Christian from pagan Eschatology
Retribution (2) - ‘Eschatology’; Wendt, Teaching of Jesus (esp
Thessalonians, First And Second, Theology of - In 1Thessalonians, however, where the concern is Eschatology or hope and endtimes, the order is faith, love, and hope (1:3)
Genesis, Theology of - Finally, for Israel in Egypt, this story had a kind of Eschatology in the promise that they would one day inherit the land of Canaan
Corinthians, Second Epistle to - 3), the teaching about Christ’s death (2 Corinthians 5:14-21 ), the Eschatology ( 2 Corinthians 4:16 to 2 Corinthians 5:8 ), the Christology ( 2 Corinthians 8:19 ), and the Trinitarian expression of the concluding Benediction ( 2 Corinthians 13:14 ), are among the leading Apostolic thoughts
Mark, Theology of - ...
Eschatology
Love - Paul’s doctrine of salvation was developed in the closest dependence on his Eschatology
Eternal Life (2) - Eschatology ii
Zechariah, Theology of - ...
Eschatology
Peter, Second Epistle of - The Synoptic Eschatology also, along with OT prophecy, has influenced 2Peter (cf
Day of the Lord, God, Christ, the - Witherington, Jesus, Paul and the End of the World: A Comparative Study in New Testament Eschatology
Foresight - Muirhead, The Eschatology of Jesus, p
Alpha And Omega (2) - ’ Apocalyptic Eschatology demanded a representative ‘Son,’ the ‘Beloved,’ chosen ‘in the beginning’ to be head of the ‘Beloved’ people of ‘sons’ in the end, with at least as much logical urgency as speculative cosmology demanded an agent of the creation itself
Acts of the Apostles - Eschatology
Christ, Christology - ...
The parables of the kingdom shed further light on Jesus' Christology of inaugurated Eschatology, since a true metaphor is more than a sign because it bears the reality to which it refers
Ezekiel, Theology of - Biblical Eschatology regularly speaks of the "enemies to the north" as the source of conflict and judgment, and the reference here is typological rather than literal
Eternal Life, Eternality, Everlasting Life - Ratzinger, Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life ; O
Universalism (2) - ’ His own inclination was towards a doctrine of conditional immortality, but he left his Eschatology somewhat in the dark
Descent Into Hades - Now the OT suggested a deliverance of the righteous from Sheol, and this thought was destined to be prominent in the development of Christian Eschatology
Covenant - On the whole, the covenant idea had not been intimately associated with Eschatology in the OT
Romans, Theology of - Since the Roman believers are showing signs of weakness, and since salvation is integrally tied to Eschatology in process of realization, Paul appeals to his readers at the beginning of the chapter (vv
Hell - Dewick, Primitive Christian Eschatology, Cambridge, 1912; W
Hell - Dewick, Primitive Christian Eschatology, Cambridge, 1912; W
Gnosticism - ...
(7) Eschatology
Gospels - In particular, two lines of thought in the Gospel point to this period: (1) the writer’s belief in the permanent validity of the Mosaic Law, (2) his Eschatology
Magi - On the other hand, the Jews themselves were undoubtedly expecting the Messiah (Charles, Eschatology, p
Hellenism - ,; we see it further in many notions of Jewish psychology and even Eschatology: it is Hellenistic individualism which distinguishes later from earlier Jewish theories
Hermas Shepherd of - His Eschatology is in one respect severe and narrow
Day of Judgment - ...
Thus the Day of Judgment as a form of the Day of Jahweh became the central point in Messianic Eschatology and the nomistic morality of Judaism
Apocalypse - Muirhead, The Eschatology of Jesus, London, 1904, p
Romans, Epistle to the - Paul is here putting his leading thoughts into systematic form ‘does not account for the omission of doctrines which we know Paul held and valued his Eschatology and his Christology, for instance’ (Garvie)
Samaria, Samaritans - § 3); and, besides, we must see that it would be impossible for a faith like theirs, continually under the pressure of a foreign bondage, to survive without absorbing many of the elements of Jewish Eschatology; and of these the Messianic idea was the most widely spread in the 1st cent
Messiah - But Eschatology, though involving the resurrection, is still somewhat naïve
Eucharist - Paul’s Eucharistic doctrine is explained on the basis of Jewish Eschatology, perhaps hardly carries conviction as a whole, but his criticism of those who allege Greek influence is very tolling
Mental Characteristics - Whether it were the purpose and use of the Temple, or the religious customs and conventions of the day, or practical problems involving conflicting considerations, like that set to Peter by the question, ‘Doth not your Master pay the half-shekel?’ (Matthew 17:24), or inquiries on the outer confines of human thought, such as those concerning Eschatology and the life beyond death, the Lord Jesus always looked into the very heart of the facts before Him, so that all accessories and accidents seemed to drop away and leave the truth in its naked simplicity under His eyes
John, Theology of - John’s Eschatology
Pharisees (2) - He set aside the Law, and turned Jewish Eschatology into soteriology