Friday, January 7, 2011

Excellent Overview of Biblical Eschatology

I've often thought of Christianity as "living backwards from the future." By his decisive coming to earth in the past, Jesus Christ has secured the future salvation of God's people--and by his Spirit even now we participate in the firstfruits of that deliverance. We're told the end of the story in advance and are then expected to live our way forward into the life that is to come. But the kingdom of God is not only a coming, future reality; the Gospels declare that it has already come in part and is coming presently, active today. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth--and the Holy Spirit says to all churches everywhere--that because Jesus the Messiah has come, "the fulfillment of the ages has come" along with him (1 Cor. 10:11). We are now living in the grandest era of history, when the promises pledged by God for the salvation of his people are coming true. Thus it is fitting that Jurgen Moltman describes the whole message of Christianity as an eschatological message:
Christianity is eschatology, is hope, forward looking and forward moving. . . . The eschatological is not one element of Christianity, but it is the medium of the Christian faith as such, the key in which everything in it is set.

All that is to say that what Don Garlington has written here is probably the best synopsis of New Testament theology (i.e., eschatology) I've read yet. Even if you don't care about his discussion of Revelation 20:1-6 and the "millenium," the first two sections on eschatology and biblical interpretation are well worth reading.

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