Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Inaugurated Eschatology

Futurism applies all of the New Testament's statements about the second coming and surrounding events, to the future.

Preterism applies all of Jesus' statements about the second coming and surrounding events, to AD70.

Part-preterists apply many of Jesus' statements about the second coming and surrounding events to AD70, but still apply some other statements in the New Testament in connection with the second coming, to the future.

Part-preterism is problematic, I think - because distinguishing between already-past and still-future events seems unnatural, considering the Bible speaks of all of it in connection with the same event, the second coming.

Full-preterism of course is problematic - because it stands or falls on taking 'audience relevance' more strictly and narrowly and literally than the Bible itself intends. It insists on it, ignoring the obvious. Both the obvious in history, and in logic, and in the rest of the New Testament, I think.

Full-Futurism with regard to everything Jesus discussed, obviously is impossible - because it ignores history, and implies Dispensationalism which conflicts with New Testament theology.

There might also be some elements of truth in each view, even if there is also error, and even if the term they use to describe those truths is somewhat inadequate or misleading.

A term I prefer is "Inaugurated Eschatology". Inaugurated eschatology explains that what the Old Testament described about the day of the Lord, the coming of the Messiah, and His Kingdom and salvation, has been inaugurated but not yet consummated.

It explains that all of that has come to pass - in two phases. The first coming of the Lord, and the second coming of the Lord.

Already/Not Yet.

The proof for this view is that the Apostles quoted Old Testament Scriptures about Messianic Kingdom themes, which in Jewish thinking belonged to the coming, eternal Kingdom-age - and applied it to the present. And yet, they still taught a future coming of the Lord.

So there is Inauguration/Consummation.

Some Old Testament prophecies hint at a distinction between Messiah's first and second comings - but it wasn't possible to be clear about this until Jesus rose from the dead, and the Apostles explained it.

Other Old Testament prophecies spoke of all future things almost as a unit, like a single event - if that was all that was necessary to their specific purpose at the time. Some of the dreams of Gentile kings, as recorded in the Book of Daniel, might be in this category. They saw symbols of the coming Kingdom of heaven - it wasn't important for the king to know at the time all the intricacies of how that wouldn't come to pass without a first and second coming of the King. But other Scriptures do prove it.

Summarising then: 
  • it's true the Kingdom has already come - it's also true the Kingdom is yet to come;
  • 'audience relevance' is a valid hermeneutic - it's also true that taking it strictly literally wasn't always intended, even though grammatically it could be taken that way.
  • it's valid to look at what is obvious, and compare Scripture with Scripture, as well as grammar, in determining the intended subject or timeframe for end-time predictions in the New Testament

  • the second, ultimate coming of Jesus, the resurrection, eternal judgment, salvation, vindication, and kingdom and new heaven and earth are still future
  • Jesus has already come the first time, judgment has already passed in a sense, He rose from the dead, we've been raised with Him and seated with Him in heaven spiritually in a sense, we've already been saved and vindicated, and all things have already been made new, in a sense
  • there has already been the fulfilment of many of the events surrounding the above themes which Jesus and the Old Testament predicted
  • there's a sense in which it was all inaugurated and understood through the birth, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating of Christ in heaven and its aftermath or ramifications both spiritually and historically
  • even though it is still to be culminated literally and visibly, when He comes the second time without sin unto salvation.

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