SPECIAL TOPIC: THIS AGE AND THE AGE TO COME

The OT prophets viewed the future as an extension of the present. For them the future will be a restoration of geographical Israel. However, even they saw it as a new day (cf. Isa. 65:17; 66:22). With the continued willful rejection of YHWH by the descendants of Abraham (even after the exile) a new paradigm developed in Jewish intertestamental apocalyptic literature (i.e., I Enoch, IV Ezra, II Baruch). These writings make a distinction between two ages: a current evil age dominated by Satan and a coming age of righteousness dominated by the Spirit and inaugurated by the Messiah (often a dynamic warrior).

In this area of theology (eschatology) there is an obvious development. Theologians call this "progressive revelation." The NT affirms this new cosmic reality of two ages (i.e., a temporal dualism).

 

Jesus Paul Hebrews
  Matt. 12:32; 13:22,39   Romans 12:2   1:2
  Matthew 13:22, 39   1 Cor. 1:20; 2:6,8; 3:18   6:5
  Mark 10:30   2 Cor. 4:4   11:3
  Luke 16:8   Galatians 1:4      
  Luke 18:30   Eph. 1:21; 2:2,7; 6:12    
  Luke 20:34-35   1 Timothy 6:17     
      2 Timothy 4:10    
      Titus 2:12    

 In NT theology these two Jewish ages have been overlapped because of the unexpected and overlooked predictions of the two comings of the Messiah. The incarnation of Jesus fulfilled most of the OT prophecies of the inauguration of the new age (Dan. 2:44-45). However, the OT also saw His coming as Judge and Conqueror, yet He came at first as the Suffering Servant (cf. Isaiah 53; Zech. 12:10), humble and meek (cf. Zechariah 9:9). He will return in power just as the OT predicted (cf. Revelation 19). This two-stage fulfillment caused the Kingdom to be present (inaugurated), but future (not fully consummated). This is the NT tension of the already, but not yet!

 

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