Further Reflections on the Nature of the Eschatological New Testament Storyline
As a continuing series, G. K’s Book New Testament Biblical Theology is being analyzed and explained. Think of it as sort of an extended book review but without much critique. In fact, the express aim is to understand Beale by his own words.
Beale opens up this chapter by basically summarizing his Already-Not-Yet (ANY( reading of Scripture. He states, “in the NT the end days predicated by the OT are seen as beginning fulfillment with Christ’s first coming and will culminate in a final consummated fulfillment at the very end of history. All that the OT foresaw would occur in the end times has begun already in the first century and continues on until the final coming of Christ” (161).
Beale provides this chart on page 162 to illustrate his view of the Bible’s ANY storyline pictorially:
This chart shows that after Christ’s coming the present age has come “the last days” or the “end of the ages,” yet this should be contrasted from the future “age to come” or “the last day” or even “the end of the age.” In this way, explains Beale, “Christians live between ‘D-day’ and ‘V-day.’ D-day was the first coming of Christ, when the opponent was defeated decisively; V-day is the final coming of Christ, at which time the adversary will finally and completely surrender” (162).
Beale is prepared, therefore, to provide his storyline of the NT as it relates to the OT. First he reminds readers of the OT storyline:
The Old Testament is the story of God, who progressively reestablishes his eschatological new-creational kingdom out of chaos over a sinful people by his word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and redemption, resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this kingdom and judgment (defeat or exile) for the unfaithful, unto his glory. (163)
He then goes on to give his proposal for the NT’s storyline in relation to it:
Jesus’s life, trials, death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit have launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already–not yet new-creational reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this new-creational reign and resulting in judgment for the unbelieving, unto the triune God’s glory. (163)
Therefore, this is the NT’s storyline as it relates to the OT storyline. Jesus’s work and ministry has brought up the Old Testament promises. Yet some aspects of these promises are still awaiting consummation. Christians, according to Beale, are in the Already–Not Yet eschatological period between D-day and V-day.
At this point, Beale begins to address plethora of other issues that relate to his thesis. While they are all helpful, it is hard to summarize in a blog post. I encourage readers to look into this chapter themselves for more.