Crises in heaven and earth The coupling of political realities with spiritual realities is a hallmark of Jewish apocalyptic. In such works the heavenly stage is reflected upon the earthly stage. Examples of this relationship are numerous: disturbances in the heavens spell disaster for the earth, the unrolling of heavenly scrolls ensures the pouring out … Continue reading Signs of the kingdom: the dispossession of Legion
Christ died and was exalted
Christ died and was raised Scholars characterize certain New Testament texts as discrete confessions or hymns. The most well-known among these is Paul's good news "of first importance" in 1 Corinthians 15—that Christ died in accordance with the scriptures, was buried, was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and then appeared … Continue reading Christ died and was exalted
Revelation 11 and the whole prophetic narrative
"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 we might expect then, Jesus' precursor John preached an … Continue reading Revelation 11 and the whole prophetic narrative
Justification by faith: a seaworthy eschatological vessel
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
Which nations are the nations?
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 … Continue reading Which nations are the nations?
The kingdom of God is not the church
Eschatological woes The conceptual merging of the kingdom of God with the church appears to be a prudent theological move. The scheme relieves us of our eschatological woes, offering a remedy for the urgent and awkward apocalyptic eschatology we find in the New Testament. Once we have conflated the kingdom and the church there appears … Continue reading The kingdom of God is not the church
What is the coming of the Son of Man?
In my previous post I failed to explain the significance of the Son of Man's coming with the clouds of heaven as it was envisioned in Daniel and in the New Testament. Let's clear that up. Daniel 7 When Daniel first introduces the one like a son of man, the figure is approaching God on … Continue reading What is the coming of the Son of Man?
The Devil and his Demons: the function of the demonic in Revelation
The Dragon and his Beasts In accordance with the overall historical thrust of this blog, I'd like to demonstrate in this post how the spiritual demonic realities addressed by the Biblical authors are ultimately subordinate to and representative of historical-political concerns—not the other way around. Put simply, Satan and his demons personify pagan political power. … Continue reading The Devil and his Demons: the function of the demonic in Revelation
Revelation 14 and the good news about Jesus
The Gospel in our contemporary context is most often associated with Jesus' death for sins: the sinless savior sacrificed himself to rescue us from death, hell, and/or God's wrath. His deed of obedience is effective for all people for all time. Such an understanding of the Gospel sometimes stands in tension with how the Bible … Continue reading Revelation 14 and the good news about Jesus
“Come out of her, my people!”: Rahab and the Exodus from Rome
The Exodus is more than the founding myth of the Hebrew people; it is a literary stream that runs from the beginning of the scriptures to the end. It is recalled all throughout the Biblical narrative: at creation, at Israel's return from exile, at the death of the Messiah, and at John's judgement of the … Continue reading “Come out of her, my people!”: Rahab and the Exodus from Rome