New Testament Eschatology: Part 2 of 7 Synoptic Gospels

Throughout the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) there is an implied emphasis on Jesus inaugurating the “latter days” as described in the First Testament. This is seen throughout the narratives where the writers refer to lineage, to messianic titles, to prophetic fulfillment, to miraculous signs, and to the arrival of the kingdom of God.[1] As for specific instances of eschatological language throughout the synoptic gospels, there is not much to draw from; however, when it does appear in the writings, the focus is on the future final “age” (Gr. αίων) that is on the horizon.

Matthew uses the phrase the “end of the age” (Gr. συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος) to refer to a future coming final judgement and to refer to Christ’s ongoing presence with his people until he comes again (Matt 13:39-40; 24:3; 28:20). Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30 refer to the saints who will receive “in the age to come, eternal life” (Gr. ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον) which is linked with the phrase in Luke 20:34-35 “of that age to attain and in the resurrection from the dead” (Gr. τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου τυχεῖν καὶ τῆς ἀναστάσεως τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν).[2]

Moreover, Luke 1:33 refers to Jesus’ messianic reign lasting “into the ages” (Gr. εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας) and “of his kingdom there will be no end” (Gr. τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔσται τέλος). Lastly, the synoptic gospels refer to the coming signs and events that precede the “end” (Gr. τέλος).[3] Matthew 24:6 states, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” (cf. Mark 13:7; Luke 21:9). Matthew 24:13-14 states, “but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

[1] K.E. Brower, “Eschatology,” in New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (NDBT), edited by T. Desmond Alexander, et al. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 461. [2] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 130[3] Beale, A New Testament, 130.

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