SPECIAL TOPIC: JESUS' RETURN

The NT as a whole is written within the worldview of the OT which asserted

1. a current evil, rebellious age

2. a coming new age of righteousness 

3. brought about by the Spirit's agency through the work of the Messiah (Anointed One).

 

The theological assumption of progressive revelation is required because the NT authors modify Israel's expectation.  Instead of a military, nationalistic (Israel) coming of the Messiah, there are two comings (see Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come).  The first coming is the incarnation of Deity in the conception and birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  He came as the non-military, non-judicial "suffering servant" of Isaiah 53; and the humble rider on the colt of a donkey (not a war horse or kingly mule) of Zech. 9:9.  The first coming inaugurated the New Messianic Age, the Kingdom of God on earth.  In one sense the Kingdom is here, but of course, in another it is still future.  It is this tension between the two comings of the Messiah which, in a sense, is the overlapping of the two Jewish ages that was unseen, or at least unclear, from the OT.  In reality, this dual coming emphasizes YHWH's commitment to redeem all humanity (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

The church is not waiting for the fulfillment of OT prophecy because most prophecies refer to the first coming (cf. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, pp. 165-166). What believers do anticipate is the glorious coming of the resurrected King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the expected historical fulfillment of the new age of righteousness on earth as it is in heaven (cf. Matt. 6:10).  The OT presentations were not inaccurate, but incomplete.  He will come again just as the prophets predicted in the judicial power and authority of YHWH.

The Second Coming is not a biblical term, but the concept is the worldview and framework of the entire NT.  God will set it all straight.  Fellowship between God and mankind made in His image will be restored.  Evil will be judged and removed.  God's purposes will not, cannot fail!

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