New Testament Eschatology: Part 5 of 7 Pauline Epistles

The Apostle Paul clearly states, in 1 Corinthians 10:11, that “the ends of the ages have come” (Gr. τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων κατήντηκεν). Also, he refers to Jesus’ incarnation as taking place “when the fullness of time had come” (Gr. ἦλθεν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου) in fulfillment of Jewish messianic prophecies (Gal 4:4). In Ephesians 1:7-10, Paul uses the phrase “the fullness of time” (Gr. τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν) referring to when believers were redeemed and forgiven through Jesus’ death and resurrection.[1]

Paul alludes to the latter-day new creation prophesied by Isaiah when he writes, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come (2 Cor 5:17 cf. Isa 43; 65-66). The letters of 1-2 Timothy depict a present “understanding of a latter-day tribulation characterized by false teaching and unbelief”[2] which is described in Daniel 7-12 and in other early Jewish literature.[3]

Furthermore, Paul gives instructions concerning the future fulfillment of the latter days. In 1 Corinthians 1:7-8, he writes, “as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:24 states, “Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.”[4] With this perspective, Paul addresses practical questions regarding the end and the future second coming Jesus when he writes to the church at Thessalonica (ex. questions about the dead in Christ in 1 Thess 4:13-5:11 ) and the church at Corinth (ex. questions about marriage if the end is imminent in 1 Cor 7).

[1] Beale, A New Testament, 140-141. [2] Beale, A New Testament, 141. [3] Beale, A New Testament, 141. [4] Beale, A New Testament, 141.

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