"The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15) The first public words issued by Jesus were prophetic in scope. They announced God's imminent regal action in history to judge and restore his people. As should be expected then, Jesus' precursor John preached an … Continue reading Revelation 11 and the whole prophetic narrative
Multiple independent layers of tradition remember Jesus as an exorcist, a healer, a raiser of the dead, a multiplier of food, and a calmer of storms. These deeds of power, more than simply displays of God-given authority, conveyed in themselves the kingdom message. They too were parables of the kingdom; or as the Fourth Evangelist … Continue reading The parable of the stilled storm
Separation from Pagan Greeks I argued last time that Paul's doctrine of justification by faith rather than works of Law—regardless of what we think of the New Perspective on Paul—performed an essential social function: to separate communities that would inherit authority in the next age from communities that would inherit destruction at the coming of … Continue reading Justification by faith at the end of the age: another example from Galatians
As is the case in many of his letters, Paul uses his opening words to the Galatian churches to summarize his message. But for a letter so devoted to the topic of justification by faith, Paul's introductory note rings a surprisingly apocalyptic tenor. More surprising still, neither faith nor justification is mentioned. Grace to you … Continue reading Justification by faith: a seaworthy eschatological vessel
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor; and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." (Matthew 4:8-9) For much of church history—and down to the present day—Jesus' temptation in the … Continue reading “All of these I will give you”
Christ's possession, judgement, and reign over the nations (τὰ ἔθνη) constituted a central eschatological hope among the early Christians. They believed God was acting to bring about the obedience of the nations. Across the empire pagan Greeks were "turning from idols to serve the living and true God and await his son from heaven" (1 Thessalonians … Continue reading Which nations are the nations?
The three-horizons Most traditional theologically-focused interpretive constructs identify only one eschatological horizon in the New Testament: the end of history. According to these schema, almost all eschatological data are to be situated at the end of time. Andrew Perriman's narrative-historical method of interpretation, on the other hand, identifies three temporally-distinct eschatological horizons upon which the … Continue reading Romans: theology or history?