New Testament Eschatology: Part 3 of 7 Gospel of John

Like the synoptic gospels, the Gospel of John refers to a future final judgement and bodily resurrection that is coming on “the last day” (Gr. τῇ ἐσχάτῃ ἡμέρᾳ). In John 12:48, Jesus states, “There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.” In John 6:40, Jesus states, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (See also 6:39, 44, 54; 11:24.) It was believed that when the messiah comes, he would exist forever (John 12:34), and so Jesus promises that those who are in him will have “eternal life” (Gr. ζωὴν αἰώνιον) or life that will continue “unto the age” (Gr. εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα) (John 4:14; 6:51, 58)[1]

The Gospel of John uses more emphatic language than the synoptic gospels in describing the inaugurated “latter days.” In John 5:24-29, Jesus explains that the resurrection and eternal life has already come and is coming in the future. Jesus states,

Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done what is good will rise to live, and those who have done what is evil will rise to be condemned.

 Furthermore, in John 16, Jesus signals the beginning of the “latter days” by stating “a time is coming” (v. 2, 25, 32) and “in fact has come” (v. 32) when referring to a future and present tribulation. Lastly, in John 4:21-24, Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, and he states, “a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem” (v. 21), and “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth” (v. 23).[2]

[1] G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011), 131. [2] Beale, A New Testament, 131-134.

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