11 August 2009

Dunn: Eschartiology

That the kingdom of God, God fully exercising his rule on earth, was still to come was, and remained implicit in the prayer taught by Jesus, 'May your kingdom come.' But the really distinctive feature of Jesus' preaching . . . was his claim that the blessings of salvation hoped for in the age to come were already being realized in Jesus' mission. . . . Jesus spoke and lived as one who was enacting these blessings [of God's favor] already in his mission--the blind receiving their sight, the lame walking. . . . Probably most striking of all were the claims Jesus is recalled as making regarding his exorcisms, that they were evidence that the final defeat of Satan was already happening. . . .

Those who are familiar with these passages need to pause and attempt to hear them again as for the first time. The claim being made was indeed an astonishing one. Without other signs of renewed material prosperity, of liberation from Roman domination, or spiritual revival across the land, Jesus nevertheless proclaimed the realization of many of Israel's most cherished hopes. And without priestly, far less royal anointing or authorization, in his table-fellowship with the despised and irreligious, and in his pronouncing sins forgiven, Jesus was enacting the reality of God's hoped-for favor for his people. Eschatological salvation was now. (James Dunn, New Testament Theology: An Introduction [Abingdon 2009], 83; emphasis original).

In other words: eschartiology!

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