Strangers And Aliens (19a): The End Of All Things

It is an article of faith among a certain school of critics of the New Testament that Jesus and his apostles had an apocalyptic eschatology, which believed that the end of all things was immanent. In this paradigm, Jesus is seen as a disappointed, failed, apocalyptic preacher. According to this view apocalypticism makes a sharp dualism between this age and the age to come. According to G. E. Ladd, this “age will finally come to its end, and God will inaugurate the new age of righteousness. However, this final redemptive act has no bearing upon the present” (G. E. Ladd, “Apocalyptic Literature,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–88), s.v., “Apocalyptic Literature.” Because of this disjunction and the loss of confidence in the divine work in history Jewish apocalyptic was pessimistic. According to Ladd, for these apocalyptic writers also see the course of this age as determined to fixed periods, which leads to what he calls “ethical passivity.” Continue reading →