Sunday, April 15, 2018

9. Eschatology

9.1 The Rule of Faith
  • The dead are currently conscious, either in delight or turmoil, but they are still dead.
  • Christ will come again to ultimately establish God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
  • There will be a resurrection of all the dead and a final judgment.
  • The dead in Christ will rise, and those who are alive at the time will join them for the judgment.
  • There will be an eternal abandonment of the unjustified.
  • There will be a new creation, and Christ shall reign forever and ever in the kingdom of God.
9.2 Intermediate State of the Dead
  • The Old Testament has almost nothing to say about the fate of the dead. Some older parts seem to have a shadowy sense of the dead similar to that of the Greeks (cf. 2 Sam. 28). Sheol is simply the "place of the dead," without specification of any reward or punishment and does not necessarily picture a literal place.
  • Many parts of the OT specifically deny a personal, conscious afterlife (Job 3:16-19; 7:9-10; 14:12; Ps. 6:4-5; 30:9; 88:3; Eccl. 3:19; 9:4-5. 
  • The clearest reference to conscious afterlife is Daniel 12:2-3. Ezekiel 37 is metaphorical, as probably is Isaiah 26.
  • "We would prefer to be absent from the body and present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).
  • "I desire to depart and be with Christ" (Phil. 1:23).
  • "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43)
  • Parable of Rich Man and Lazarus -- Abraham's Bosom, place of torment (Luke 16)
  • "The souls under the altar called out, 'How long?'" (Rev. 6:9-10).
9.3 Great Tribulation
  • Mark 13; Matt. 24; Luke 21 are primarily about events preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70.
  • 2 Thessalonians 2 is deeply ambiguous, could be about end times, but seems to assume the temple is still standing. It is not obviously talking about a temple that is rebuilt.
  • Revelation 7:14 does not have the word "the there. "These are they who have come out of great tribulation," not the Great Tribulation.
  • The book of Revelation in general engages the Roman context of John (e.g., Rev. 18) and much of the imagery is fairly obviously about the first century Roman context (e.g., Rev. 17:9-11).
  • It is of course possible that much of this material does relate to the time just before Christ's return, but it is hard to speak definitively. We will know when it happens.
9.4 Parousia/Second Coming
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 - the "rapture" of 4:17 is probably to join Christ and the formerly dead in order to come back down and participate in the judgment (1 Cor. 6:2-3)
  • 1 Corinthians 15
  • Mark 13; Matt. 24; Luke 21
  • Hebrews 9:28
9.5 Resurrection of the Dead
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
  • 1 Corinthians 15
  • Revelation 20:5, 12-13. Since this is the only place in Scripture where two resurrections are mentioned, I suspect this is symbolic rather than literal.
9.6 Judgment of the World
  • Matthew 25 - Sheep and Goats
  • Revelation 20 - Great White Throne
9.7 Hell
  • The OT has no conception of hell, only Daniel 12:2 alludes to "everlasting contempt" for some of the resurrected.
  • Paul never mentions hell. In fact, the only mention of any other dead is 2 Timothy 4:1.
  • Luke does mention torment for the Rich Man but is generally silent on the subject (12:5)
  • Mark does briefly mention Gehenna, named after the trash heap outside Jerusalem (9:43-47)
  • By far the most references to hell are in Matthew. (e.g., 13:40-42; 25:32-41)
9.8 New Creation/Kingdom of God
  • Luke 13:28-30
  • Revelation 21
Previous "chapters"
Chapter 1: What is Biblical Theology?
Chapter 2: Theology of God
Chapter 3: Creation and Consummation
Chapter 4: Sin and Atonement
Interlude: A Theology of Israel
Chapter 5: Jesus the Christ
Chapter 6: Salvation
Chapter 7: The Holy Spirit
Chapter 8: The Church


Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for this good overview.

Scott D. Hendricks said...

I wish Blogger had a 'like' button. I'd rather not comment on where I disagree, as that does not seem appropriate.