Riddlebarger: New Testament Eschatology Is The Fulfillment Of Old Testament Prophecy

Old Testament believers were aware that God was moving history toward a goal that lay far off on the distant horizon. That goal was the coming of the promised Redeemer who would bring to fruition the prophetic expectations and hopes of the people of God. As we turn our focus to the eschatological expectation of the New Testament, it is vital to notice that New Testament eschatology did not arise suddenly in a vacuum. Instead, it grew directly out of this Old Testament prophetic expectation of a coming Redeemer and a glorious age of redemption. …

New Testament revelation opened with the strong sense that God was about to fulfill the promises anticipated under the old covenant. The promised Redeemer was about to come.

As the New Testament writers unpacked this Old Testament expectation and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, it soon became clear that the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the messianic age and the blessings Christians can enjoy in the present age were a major step toward a final and glorious fulfillment to come. This is known as the already, the “realized eschatology,” or as George Ladd speaks of it, “the presence of the future.” Because of Jesus Christ and his coming, the Christian possesses the complete fulfillment and blessings of all the promises of the messianic age made under the old covenant.

But the arrival of the messianic age also brought with it a new series of promises to be fulfilled at the end of the age. The fulfilled promises pointed to a more glorious and future fulfillment. This is called the not yet or future eschatology. It is this already/not yet tension that serves as the basis for understanding much of New Testament eschatological expectation.

Kim Riddlebarger | A Case for Amillennialism: Understanding the End Times, Expanded Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2013), 74–75.


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  • Tony Phelps
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    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

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