Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Oct 14 2008 - 11:49:14 EDT

Many commentators see two distinct events envisoned in the primary
apocalyptic section of the gospels (Mt. 24 and parallels). There is
the coming destruction of Jerusalem (cf. 24:2, though it was not until
the AD 135 Jewish revolt that the Temple was destroyed) and then
ultimate end time. A number of specific pointers are associated with
the former, and in fact the Jerusalem church seems to have taken them
to heart and fled before the final siege. Conversely, the latter is
associated with reiterated emphases on not knowing the time, not being
quick to think "Here it is!".

A significant complicating factor is the extent to which major
troubles are seen as a foretaste of ultimate judgement. Both get
described using vivid images, not necessarily thought of literally as
opposed to simply conveying drastic upset to the present order.

Another issue is that the coming of Jesus and His life, death, and
resurrection are seen as the definitive arrival of the last age. The
next major event in earth history will be the end of history. This
tells us nothing about how long the last age will be.

Although a quick read of Acts 4:32-37 suggests selling all that one
has, 5:4 suggests that such an action was optional; even the fact that
Barnabas selling was noted in 4:36-37 suggests that it was not the
universal practice (of course, many of the other leaders may not have
had much to sell in the first place.)

The Thessalonian correspondence shows that different, conflicting
ideas of just what would happen were circulating, so claims that the
early church was overwhelmingly expecting an immediate parousia and
were seriously disappointed and confused when it didn't happen do not
seem tenable. It was an issue, but not overwhelming.

Decisions on a preterist view must be made exegetically. The age of
the earth and evolution are irrelevant to eschatology, with possible
minor exceptions relating to issues such as Christ's connection to all
of creation.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Tue Oct 14 11:50:11 2008

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