SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ANY-MOMENT RETURN OF JESUS VS. THE NOT YET (NT paradox)
A. New Testament eschatological passages reflect Old Testament prophetic insight that viewed the end-time through contemporary occurrences.
B. Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 are so difficult to interpret because they deal with several questions simultaneously.
1. when will the Temple be destroyed?
2. what will be the sign of the Messiah's return?
3. when will this age end (cf. Matt. 24:3)?
C. The genre of New Testament eschatological passages is usually a combination of apocalyptic and prophetic language which is purposely ambiguous and highly symbolic (see D. Brent Sandy, Ploswhares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic).
D. Several passages in the NT (cf. Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 17 and 21, 1 and 2 Thessalonians and Revelation) deal with the Second Coming. These passages emphasize:
1. the exact time of the event is unknown, but the event is certain
2. we can know the general time, but not specific time, of the events
3. it will occur suddenly and unexpectedly
4. we must be prayerful, ready, and faithful to assigned tasks.
E. There is a theological paradoxical tension between
1. the any-moment return (cf. Luke 12:40,46; 21:36; Matt.24:27,44) and
2. the fact that some events in history must occur (F. below)
F. The NT states that some events will occur before the Second Coming:
1. the Gospel preached to the whole world (cf. Matt. 24:14; Mark 13:10)
2. the great apostasy (cf. Matt. 24:10-13, 21; 1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:1ff.; 2 Thess. 2:3)
3. the revelation of the "man of sin" (cf. Dan. 7:23-26; 9:24-27; 2 Thess. 2:3)
4. removal of that/who restrains (cf. 2 Thess. 2:6-7)
5. hopefully aJewish revival (cf. Zech. 12:10; Romans 11)
G. Luke 17:26-37 is not paralleled in Mark. It does have a partial Synoptic parallel in Matt. 24:37-44.
H. For a discussion of the soon returm of Christ, see Special Topic: Soon Return
I. For a discussion of the delayed return, see Special Topc: Delayed Second Coming
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