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 is the sixth installment of a series that is reading G. K. Beale’s New Testament Theology. The point of these posts is simply to outline his beliefs and highlight some of his key arguments.
The Eschatological Storyline of the Old Testament in Relation to the New Testament: The New Testament Focus on the Latter Days
Beale continues to argue that eschatology is a key to understanding Scripture, and that eschatology does not speak of the end but the present also. He understands Eschatology as being already fulfilled but without all being fulfilled. One could term this an Already-Not-Yet view of Scripture.
Beale believes that “eschatology is a dominant theme in the NT” (129). The phrase “the latter days” and similar terms in the NT “often dos not refer exclusively to the very end of history, as we typically think of it” (130). In fact, argues Beale, studying the latter days will “demand that the popular and even often-held scholarly view be reassessed.” This view is that eschatology or the latter days refers to the end of history alone. For Beale, we are in the latter days. Continue reading
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.
In G.K. Beale’s book A New Testament Biblical Theology, we learn a lot about an Already Not-Yet perspective on the Bible. If this means nothing to, click here to find out why it matters. We’ve just learned about Adam’s commission, now Beale’s embarks on the theme of the presence of the future in the Old Testament (or inaugurated eschatology or already not-yet . . . or . . . just read below 🙂 )
Beale nominates Genesis 1–3 for the honor of defining and establishing the whole Old Testament story. He pencils, “My thesis in this respect is that Gen. 1–3 lays out the basic themes for the rest of the OT, which, as we will see, are essentially eschatological themes” (29).
In order to verify that Gen 3 forecasts the OT the Story, Beale proffers four items to the jury:
1. a sketch of the thought in Gen. 1–3;
2. allusions o Gen. 1–3 elsewhere in the OT and how they develop that initial narrative;
3. observation of the themes from Gen. 1–3 elsewhere in the OT and how they develop that initial narrative;
4. the relation of the Adamic storyline derived from the above analysis to past proposals of the “center” of the OT. (30) Continue reading
If the title of this post means nothing to you, that’s ok. But I want you to know that you should know what this means. Why? Because like the explosive force of a ball rocketing off a bat, already and not yet theology has launched across evangelical churches.
In short, already-not-yet (ANY) claims that biblical promises are fulfilled in the present age yet are consummated (finally fulfilled) in a future age. For example, the kingdom is present today in our heart (or in the church, etc) but will have a super fulfillment when Jesus returns. Continue reading