(how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference)
22 May 2018

I think that the best way to understand New Testament eschatology is to organise the material according to three future horizons: i) a disastrous war against Rome, which would result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple; ii) the overthrow of classical Greek-Roman paganism and the confession of Jesus as Lord by the nations; and iii) in a very hazy distance, the final destruction of sin and death and the renewal of heaven and earth.

I have also argued that what Jesus’...

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16 May 2018

The relocation of the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has given airtime to a right-wing, fundamentalist-Zionist (I refuse to use the word “evangelical” in this context) eschatological narrative that regards this provocative endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as a big step towards a cataclysmic Armageddon in the Middle East and the...

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8 May 2018

If Jesus believed that the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, with massive loss of life, would be an act of deliberate divine punishment, why didn’t he say so explicitly? Why is it that so many of the sayings about judgment that I listed from Luke’s Gospel come in the form of parables or rather cryptic allusions? Why is there no direct statement to the effect that the God who sent Jesus to...

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4 May 2018

It is sometimes argued by people who think that Jesus had no interest in violence that when he applied Isaiah 61:1-2 to himself in the synagogue in Nazareth, he deliberately stopped short of proclaiming judgment against Israel:

And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good...

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3 May 2018

I am generally a hesitant tweeter, but yesterday, in an idle moment, I tagged Derek Vreeland in a tweet suggesting that his republished Missio Alliance article asking “Did Jesus Really Usher in the Kingdom of God?” underplays the future aspect of the coming of the kingdom of God. He kindly tweeted back with a link to an article on the...

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30 Apr 2018

What does Paul mean when he says that “death is swallowed up in victory”? When will this happen? And has he made fair use of the Old Testament texts that he cites in support of his claim?

Paul argues in 1 Corinthians 15:50-57 that flesh and blood will not inherit the rule with Jesus at the right hand of God over the nations. So when this new order is inaugurated, those who have died in Christ will be raised, perishable bodies will put on imperishability, mortal bodies will put...

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27 Apr 2018

The question of the meaning of Habakkuk’s “the righteous shall live by his faith” (Hab. 2:4) came up in a comment on a recent post about Romans. My argument is that when Paul quotes this line in Romans 1:17, he is using it more or less in the same way that Habakkuk intended it, as identifying a pragmatic stance to be taken in the midst of historical upheaval and change. His argument is very different to the Reformed appropriation of the maxim...

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