Early Judaism and Eschatology

Having testified of the rampancy of Already-Not-Yet readings of the Bible and displayed Beale’s eschatological approach to Scripture, this post displays how Jews between the Old and New Testament understood history—at least according to Beale.

While writing on “The Eschatological Storyline of the Old Testament in Relation to Judaism,” Beale covers the range of Jewish Literature ranging from The Twelve Patriarchs to Tobit. He covers various themes relating to eschatological language and judgment, the destruction of the heaven and earth with a new creation, the resurrection, the glorious inheritance, the fulfillment of the patriarchal promises, the restoration of Israel, the restoration of the temple, eschatological lawlessness, eschatological wisdom, the coming of the Messiah, end-time suffering and tribulation, an absolute end of sin and evil, and other ideas related to end times.

Remarkably all these ideas fit exactly into the Old Testament storyline and theology; and in point of fact, they also relate directly to the New Testament’s theology. Beale writes, “The preceding survey shows that almost all the topics found earlier to be associated with the OT use of “latter days” recur in the early Jewish literature” (127).

However, a there are small growths and expansions, which is to be expected as time passes. Thus, Beale sums every thing up, “So there is nothing absolutely new in early Judaism, though there are developments and different emphases.

The main thing to take from this is that the Old Testament storyline that Beale and other Christians perceive is very much like the story line early Judaism saw. Nothing is new under the sun. In fact, these ideas in kernel form throughout the second temple period of Judaism, explode in growth during the New Testament period.

Next up: Beale shows how the Eschatological storyline relates between the Old and New Testament. This is where the rubber hits the road.

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