This essay is an excerpt from a book in progress, entitled, The High King of Heaven: Discovering the Master Keys to the Great End Time Debate. In essence, it is an exposition and defense of the eschatology of the classic Reformation, according to which Christ will return once, at the end of the age, to raise the dead, judge the world in righteousness, and bring in the new heavens and the new earth, the eternal Kingdom of God. Lord willing, the book will be published in mid-2013.
THE COMFORT OF HIS COMING
Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians contain some of the New Testament’s richest veins of eschatological instruction. Written from Corinth around AD 50-51, they reveal that the apostle’s early ministry to European Gentiles was charged with a lively expectation of Christ’s soon return (1 Thess.1:10, 2:19, 3:11-13; cf. Acts 17:16ff, 1 Cor. 15).
They also reveal a problem among the Thessalonians: Paul’s Jewish opponents had forced him quickly to flee the city, with the result that some of his converts were left confused (or ignorant) about his teaching on the afterlife and the Consummation (Acts 17:1-9). These letters feature Paul’s painstaking efforts to clear up every such misunderstanding. As a result, they speak often, and in great detail, about the Last Things: the signs of Christ’s Parousia, the nature and purpose of his Parousia, the Resurrection, the Judgment, and the World to Come (1 Thess. 4:13-18, 5:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:3-12, 2:1-13). Accordingly, they are a vast treasure-trove of eschatological truth!
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