by Geerhardus Vos
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. II:979–993. 
I. Doctrinal and Religious Significance
II. General Structure
III. Course of Development
IV. General and Individual Eschatology
V. The Parousia
VI. The Resurrection
VII. The Change of Those Living at the Parousia
VIII. The Judgment
IX. The Consummate State
X. The Intermediate State
I. Doctrinal and Religious Significance
The subject of eschatology plays a prominent part in New Testament teaching and religion. Christianity in its very origin bears an eschatological character. It means the appearance of the Messiah and the inauguration of His work; and from the Old Testament point of view these form part of eschatology. It is true in Jewish theology the days of the Messiah were not always included in the eschatological age proper, but often regarded as introductory to it (compare Weber, Judische Theol. 2:371). And in the New Testament also this point of view is to some extent represented, inasmuch as, owing to the appearance of the Messiah and the only partial fulfillment of the prophecies for the present, that which the Old Testament depicted as one synchronous movement is now seen to divide into two stages, namely, the present Messianic age and the consummate state of the future. Even so, however, the New Testament draws the Messianic period into much closer connection with the strictly eschatological process than Judaism. The distinction in Judaism rested on a consciousness of difference in quality between the two stages, the content of the Messianic age being far less spiritually and transcendentally conceived than that of the final state. The New Testament, by spiritualizing the entire Messianic circle of ideas, becomes keenly alive to its affinity to the content of the highest eternal hope, and consequently tends to identify the two, to find the age to come anticipated in the present. In some cases this assumes explicit shape in the belief that great eschatological transactions have already begun to take place, and that believers have already attained to at least partial enjoyment of eschatological privileges. Thus the present kingdom in our Lord's teaching is one in essence with the final kingdom; according to the discourses in John eternal life is in principle realized here; with Paul there has been a prelude to the last judgment and resurrection in the death and resurrection of Christ, and the life in the Spirit is the first-fruits of the heavenly state to come. The strong sense of this may even express itself in the paradoxical form that the eschatological state has arrived and the one great incision in history has already been made (Hebrews 2:3, 5; 9:11; 10:1; 12:22–24). Still, even where this extreme consciousness is reached, it nowhere supersedes the other more common representation, according to which the present state continues to lie this side of the eschatological crisis, and, while directly leading up to the latter, yet remains to all intents a part of the old age and world-order. Believers live in the "last days," upon them "the ends of the ages are come," but "the last day," "the consummation of the age," still lies in the future (Matthew 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:20; John 6:39, 44, 54; 12:48; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; 9:26; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:18).
The eschatological interest of early believers was no mere fringe to their religious experience, but the very heart of its inspiration. It expressed and embodied the profound supernaturalism and soteriological character of the New Testament faith. The coming world was not to be the product of natural development but of a Divine interposition arresting the process of history. And the deepest motive of the longing for this world was a conviction of the abnormal character of the present world, a strong sense of sin and evil. This explains why the New Testament doctrine of salvation has grown up to a large extent in the closest interaction with its eschatological teaching. The present experience was interpreted in the light of the future. It is necessary to keep this in mind for a proper appreciation of the generally prevailing hope that the return of the Lord might come in the near future. Apocalyptic calculation had less to do with this than the practical experience that the earnest of the supernatural realities of the life to come was present in the church, and that therefore it seemed unnatural for the full fruition of these to be long delayed. The subsequent receding of this acute eschatological state has something to do with the gradual disappearance of the miraculous phenomena of the apostolic age.
II. General Structure
New Testament eschatology attaches itself to the Old Testament and to Jewish belief as developed on the basis of ancient revelation. It creates on the whole no new system or new terminology, but incorporates much that was current, yet so as to reveal by selection and distribution of emphasis the essential newness of its spirit. In Judaism there existed at that time two distinct types of eschatological outlook. There was the ancient national hope which revolved around the destiny of Israel. Alongside of it existed a transcendental form of eschatology with cosmical perspective, which had in view the destiny of the universe and of the human race. The former of these represents the original form of Old Testament eschatology, and therefore occupies a legitimate place in the beginnings of the New Testament development, notably in the revelations accompanying the birth of Christ and in the earlier (synoptical) preaching of John the Baptist. There entered, however, into it, as held by the Jews, a considerable element of individual and collective eudaemonism, and it had become identified with a literalistic interpretation of prophecy, which did not sufficiently take into account the typical import and poetical character of the latter. The other scheme, while to some extent the product of subsequent theological development, lies prefigured in certain later prophecies, especially in Daniel, and, far from being an importation from Babylonian, or ultimately Persian, sources, as some at present maintain, represents in reality the true development of the inner principles of Old Testament prophetic revelation. To it the structure of New Testament eschatology closely conforms itself.
In doing this, however, it discards the impure motives and elements by which even this relatively higher type of Jewish eschatology was contaminated. In certain of the apocalyptic writings a compromise is attempted between these two schemes after this manner, that the carrying out of the one is merely to follow that of the other, the national hope first receiving its fulfillment in a provisional Messianic kingdom of limited duration (400 or 1,000 years), to be superseded at the end by the eternal state. The New Testament does not follow the Jewish theology along this path. Even though it regards the present work of Christ as preliminary to the consummate order of things, it does not separate the two in essence or quality, it does not exclude the Messiah from a supreme place in the coming world, and does not expect a temporal Messianic kingdom in the future as distinguished from Christ's present spiritual reign, and as preceding the state of eternity. In fact the figure of the Messiah becomes central in the entire eschatological process, far more so than is the case in Judaism. All the stages in this process, the resurrection, the judgment, the life eternal, even the intermediate state, receive the impress of the absolute significance which Christian faith ascribes to Jesus as the Christ. Through this Christocentric character New Testament eschatology acquires also far greater unity and simplicity than can be predicated of the Jewish schemes. Everything is practically reduced to the great ideas of the resurrection and the judgment as consequent upon the Parousia of Christ. Much apocalyptic embroidery to which no spiritual significance attached is eliminated. While the overheated fantasy tends to multiply and elaborate, the religious interest tends toward concentration and simplification.
III. Course of Development
In New Testament eschatological teaching a general development in a well-defined direction is traceable. The starting-point is the historico-dramatic conception of the two successive ages. These two ages are distinguished as houtos ho aion, ho nun aion, ho enesios aion, "this age," "the present age" (Matthew 12:32; 13:22; Luke 16:8; Romans 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:20; 2:6, 8; 3:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 1:21; 2:2; 6:12; 1 Timothy 6:17; 2 Timothy 4:10; Titus 2:12), and ho aion ekeinos, ho aion mellon, ho aion erchomenos, "that age," "the future age" (Matthew 12:32; Luke 18:30; 20:35; Ephesians 2:7; Hebrews 6:5). In Jewish literature before the New Testament, no instances of the developed antithesis between these two ages seem to be found, but from the way in which it occurs in the teaching of Jesus and Paul it appears to have been current at that time. (The oldest undisputed occurrence is a saying of Johanan ben Zaqqay, about 80 AD.) The contrast between these two ages is (especially with Paul) that between the evil and transitory, and the perfect and abiding. Thus, to each age belongs its own characteristic order of things, and so the distinction passes over into that of two "worlds" in the sense of two systems (in Hebrew and Aramaic the same word 'olam, 'olam, does service for both, in Greek aion usually renders the meaning "age," occasionally "world" (Hebrews 1:2; 11:3), kosmos meaning "world"; the latter, however, is never used of the future world). Compare Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, 1:132–146. Broadly speaking, the development of New Testament eschatology consists in this, that the two ages are increasingly recognized as answering to two spheres of being which coexist from of old, so that the coming of the new age assumes the character of a revelation and extension of the supernal order of things, rather than that of its first entrance into existence. Inasmuch as the coming world stood for the perfect and eternal, and in the realm of heaven such a perfect, eternal order of things already existed, the reflection inevitably arose that these two were in some sense identical. But the new significance which the antithesis assumes does not supersede the older historico-dramatic form. The higher world so interposes in the course of the lower as to bring the conflict to a crisis.
The passing over of the one contrast into the other, therefore, does not mark, as has frequently been asserted, a recession of the eschatological wave, as if the interest had been shifted from the future to the present life. Especially in the Fourth Gospel this "de-eschatologizing" process has been found, but without real warrant. The apparent basis for such a conclusion is that the realities of the future life are so vividly and intensely felt to be existent in heaven and from there operative in the believer's life, that the distinction between what is now and what will be hereafter enjoyed becomes less sharp. Instead of the supersedure of the eschatological, this means the very opposite, namely, its most real anticipation. It should further be observed that the development in question is intimately connected and keeps equal pace with the disclosure of the preexistence of Christ, because this fact and the descent of Christ from heaven furnished the clearest witness to the reality of the heavenly order of things. Hence, it is especially observable, not in the earlier epistles of Paul, where the structure of eschatological thought is still in the main historico-dramatic, but in the epistles of the first captivity (Ephesians 1:3, 10–22; 2:6; 3:9, 10; 4:9, 10; 6:12; Philippians 2:5–11; 3:20; Colossians 1:15, 17; 3:2; further, in Hebrews 1:2, 3; 2:5; 3:4; 6:5, 11; 7:13, 16; 9:14; 11:10, 16; 12:22, 23). The Fourth Gospel marks the culmination of this line of teaching, and it is unnecessary to point out how here the contrast between heaven and earth in its Christological consequences determines the entire structure of thought. But here it also appears how the last outcome of the New Testament progress of doctrine had been anticipated in the highest teaching of our Lord. This can be accounted for by the inherent fitness that the supreme disclosures which touch the personal life of the Savior should come not through any third person, but from His own lips.
IV. General and Individual Eschatology
In the Old Testament the destiny of the nation of Israel to such an extent overshadows that of the individual, that only the first rudiments of an individual eschatology are found. The individualism of the later prophets, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel, bore fruit in the thought of the intermediate period. In the apocalyptic writings considerable concern is shown for the ultimate destiny of the individual. But not until the New Testament thoroughly spiritualized the conceptions of the last things could these two aspects be perfectly harmonized. Through the centering of the eschatological hope in the Messiah, and the suspending of the individual's share in it on his personal relation to the Messiah, an individual significance is necessarily imparted to the great final crisis. This also tends to give greater prominence to the intermediate state. Here, also, apocalyptic thought had pointed the way. None the less the Old Testament point of view continues to assert itself in that even in the New Testament the main interest still attaches to the collective, historical development of events. Many questions in regard to the intermediate period are passed by in silence. The Old Testament prophetic foreshortening of the perspective, immediately connecting each present crisis with the ultimate goal, is reproduced in New Testament eschatology on an individual scale in so far as the believer's life here is linked, not so much with his state after death, but rather with the consummate state after the final judgment. The present life in the body and the future life in the body are the two outstanding illumined heights between which the disembodied state remains largely in the shadow. But the same foreshortening of the perspective is also carried over from the Old Testament into the New Testament delineation of general eschatology. The New Testament method of depicting the future is not chronological. Things lying widely apart to our chronologically informed experience are by it drawn closely together. This law is adhered to doubtless not from mere limitation of subjective human knowledge, but by reason of adjustment to the general method of prophetic revelation in Old Testament and New Testament alike.
V. The Parousia
The word denotes "coming," "arrival." It is never applied to the incarnation of Christ, and could be applied to His second coming only, partly because it had already become a fixed Messianic term, partly because there was a point of view from which the future appearance of Jesus appeared the sole adequate expression of His Messianic dignity and glory. The explicit distinction between "first advent" and "second advent" is not found in the New Testament. It occurs in Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Testament of Abraham 92:16. In the New Testament it is approached in Hebrews 9:28 and in the use of epiphaneia for both the past appearance of Christ and His future manifestation (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; 4:1; Titus 2:11, 13). The Christian use of the word parousia is more or less colored by the consciousness of the present bodily absence of Jesus from His own, and consequently suggests the thought of His future abiding presence, without, however, formally coming to mean the state of the Savior's presence with believers (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Parousia occurs in Matthew 24:3, 17, 39; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 1:16; 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28. A synonymous term is apokalupsis, "revelation," probably also of pre-Christian origin, presupposing the pre-existence of the Messiah in hidden form previous to His manifestation, either in heaven or on earth (compare Apocrypha Baruch 3:29; 1:20; Ezra 4; 2 Esdras 7:28; Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Testament of Levi 18; John 7:27; 1 Peter 1:20). It could be adopted by Christians because Christ had been withdrawn into heaven and would be publicly demonstrated the Christ on His return, hence used with special reference to enemies and unbelievers (Luke 17:30; Acts 3:21; 1 Corinthians 16; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8; 1 Peter 1:13, 20; 5:4). Another synonymous term is "the day of the (Our) Lord," "the day," "that day," "the day of Jesus Christ." This is the rendering of the well-known Old Testament phrase. Though there is no reason in any particular passage why "the Lord" should not be Christ, the possibility exists that in some cases it may refer to God (compare "day of God" in 2 Peter 3:12). On the other hand, what the Old Testament with the use of this phrase predicates of God is sometimes in the New Testament purposely transferred to Christ. "Day," while employed of the parousia generally, is, as in the Old Testament, mostly associated with the judgment, so as to become a synonym for judgment (compare Acts 19:38; 1 Corinthians 4:3). The phrase is found in Matthew 7:22; 24:36; Mark 13:32; Luke 10:12; 17:24; 21:34; Acts 2:20; Romans 13:12; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 3:13; 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4 (compare 5:5, 8); 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Timothy 1:12, 18; 4:8; Hebrews 10:25; 2 Peter 3:10.
2. Signs Preceding the Parousia:
The parousia is preceded by certain signs heralding its approach. Judaism, on the basis of the Old Testament, had worked out the doctrine of "the woes of the Messiah," chebhele ha-mashiach, the calamities and afflictions attendant upon the close of the present and the beginning of the coming age being interpreted as birth pains of the latter. This is transferred in the New Testament to the parousia of Christ. The phrase occurs only in Matthew 24:8; Mark 13:8, the idea, in Romans 8:22, and allusions to it occur probably in 1 Corinthians 7:26; 1 Thessalonians 3:3; 5:3. Besides these general "woes," and also in accord with Jewish doctrine, the appearance of the Antichrist is made to precede the final crisis. Without Jewish precedent, the New Testament links with the parousia as preparatory to it, the pouring out of the Spirit, the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the conversion of Israel and the preaching of the gospel to all the nations. The problem of the sequence and interrelation of these several precursors of the end is a most difficult and complicated one and, as would seem, at the present not ripe for solution. The "woes" which in our Lord's eschatological discourse (Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) are mentioned in more or less close accord with Jewish teaching are:
(1) wars, earthquakes and famines, "the beginning of travail";
(2) the great tribulation;
(3) commotions among the heavenly bodies; compare Revelation 6:2–17.
For Jewish parallels to these, compare Charles, Eschatology, 326, 327. Because of this element which the discourse has in common with Jewish apocalypses, it has been assumed by Colani, Weiffenbach, Weizsacker, Wendt, et al., that here two sources have been welded together, an actual prophecy of Jesus, and a Jewish or Jewish-Christian apocalypse from the time of the Jewish War 68–70 (Historia Ecclesiastica, 3.5.3). In the text of Mark this so-called "small apocalypse" is believed to consist of 13:7, 8, 14–20, 24–27, 30, 31. But this hypothesis mainly springs from the disinclination to ascribe to Jesus realistic eschatological expectations, and the entirely unwarranted assumption that He must have spoken of the end in purely ethical and religious terms only. That the typically Jewish "woes" bear no direct relation to the disciples and their faith is not a sufficient reason for declaring the prediction of them unworthy of Jesus. A contradiction is pointed out between the two representations, that the parousia will come suddenly, unexpectedly, and that it will come heralded by these signs. Especially in Mark 13:30, 32 the contradiction is said to be pointed. To this it may be replied that even after the removal of the assumed apocalypse the same twofold representation remains present in what is recognized as genuine discourse of Jesus, namely, in Mark 13:28, 29 as compared with 13:32, 33–37 and other similar admonitions to watchfulness. A real contradiction between 13:30 and 13:32 does not exist. Our Lord could consistently affirm both:
"This generation shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished," and "of that day or that hour knoweth no one." To be sure, the solution should not be sought by understanding "this generation" of the Jewish race or of the human race. It must mean, according to ordinary usage, then living generation. Nor does it help matters to distinguish between the prediction of the parousia within certain wide limits and the denial of knowledge as to the precise day and hour. In point of fact the two statements do not refer to the same matter at all. "That day or that hour" in 13:32 does not have "these things" of 13:30 for its antecedent. Both by the demonstrative pronoun "that" and by "but" it is marked as an absolute self-explanatory conception. It simply signifies as elsewhere the day of the Lord, the day of judgment. Of "these things," the exact meaning of which phrase must be determined from the foregoing, Jesus declares that they will come to pass within that generation; but concerning the parousia, "that (great) day," He declares that no one but God knows the time of its occurrence. The correctness of this view is confirmed by the preceding parable, Mark 13:28, 29, where in precisely the same way "these things" and the parousia are distinguished. The question remains how much "these things" (verse 29; Luke 21:31), "all these things" (Matthew 24:33, 24; Mark 13:30), "all things" (Luke 21:32) is intended to cover of what is described in the preceding discourse. The answer will depend on what is there represented as belonging to the precursors of the end, and what as strictly constituting part of the end itself; and on the other question whether Jesus predicts one end with its premonitory signs, or refers to two crises each of which will be heralded by its own series of signs. Here two views deserve consideration. According to the one (advocated by Zahn in his Commentary on Matthew, 652–66) the signs cover only Matthew 24:4–14.
What is related afterward, namely, "the abomination of desolation," great tribulation, false prophets and Christs, commotions in the heavens, the sign of the Son of Man, all this belongs to "the end" itself, in the absolute sense, and is therefore comprehended in the parousia and excepted from the prediction that it will happen in that generation, while included in the declaration that only God knows the time of its coming. The destruction of the temple and the holy city, though not explicitly mentioned in Matthew 24:4–14, would be included in what is there said of wars and tribulation. The prediction thus interpreted would have been literally fulfilled. The objections to this view are:
(1) It is unnatural thus to subsume what is related in 24:15–29 under "the end." From a formal point of view it does not differ from the phenomena of 24:4–14 which are "signs."
(2) It creates the difficulty, that the existence of the temple and the temple-worship in Jerusalem are presupposed in the last days immediately before the parousia.
The "abomination of desolation" taken from Daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11; compare Sirach 49:2—according to some, the destruction of the city and temple, better a desecration of the temple-site by the setting up of something idolatrous, as a result of which it becomes desolate—and the flight from Judea, are put among events which, together with the parousia, constitute the end of the world. This would seem to involve chiliasm of a very pronounced sort. The difficulty recurs in the strictly eschatological interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 1, where "the man of sin" (see "Sin, Man of") is represented as sitting in "the temple of God" and in Revelation 11:1, 2, where "the temple of God" and "the altar," and "the court which is without the temple" and "the holy city" figure in an episode inserted between the sounding of the trumpet of the sixth angel and that of the seventh. On the other hand it ought to be remembered that eschatological prophecy makes use of ancient traditional imagery and stereotyped formulas, which, precisely because they are fixed and applied to all situations, cannot always bear a literal sense, but must be subject to a certain degree of symbolical and spiritualizing interpretation. In the present case the profanation of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes may have furnished the imagery in which, by Jesus, Paul and John, anti-Christian developments are described of a nature which has nothing to do with Israel, Jerusalem or the temple, literally understood.
(3) It is not easy to conceive of the preaching of the gospel to all the nations as falling within the lifetime of that generation. It is true Romans 1:13; 10:18; 15:19–24; Colossians 1:6; 1 Timothy 3:16; 2 Timothy 4:17 might be quoted in support of such a view. In the statement of Jesus, however, it is definitely predicted that the preaching of the gospel to all the nations not only must happen before the end, but that it straightway precedes the end:
"Then shall the end come" (Matthew 24:14). To distinguish between the preaching of the gospel to all the nations and the completion of the Gentile mission, as Zahn proposes, is artificial. As over against these objections, however, it must be admitted that the grouping of all these later phenomena before the end proper avoids the difficulty arising from "immediately" in Matthew 24:29 and from "in those days" in Mark 13:24.
The other view has been most lucidly set forth by Briggs, Messiah of the Gospels, 132–165. It makes Jesus' discourse relate to two things:
(1) the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple;
(2) the end of the world.
He further assumes that the disciples are informed with respect to two points:
(1) the time;
(2) the signs.
In the answer to the time, however, the two things are not sharply distinguished, but united into one prophetic perspective, the parousia standing out more conspicuously. The definition of the time of this complex development is:
(a) negative (Mark 13:5–8); (b) positive (Mark 13:9–13). On the other hand in describing the signs Jesus discriminates between (a) the signs of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (Mark 13:14–20); (b) the signs of the parousia (Mark 13:24–27). This view has in its favor that the destruction of the temple and the city, which in the question of the disciples figured as an eschatological event, is recognized as such in the answer of Jesus, and not alluded to after a mere incidental fashion, as among the signs. Especially the version of Luke 21:20–24 proves that it figures as an event. This view also renders easier the restriction of Mark 13:30 to the first event and its signs. It places "the abomination of desolation" in the period preceding the national catastrophe. The view that the two events are successively discussed is further favored by the movement of thought in Mark 13:32. Here, after the Apocalypse has been brought to a close, the application to the disciples is made, and, in the same order as was observed in the prophecy, first, the true attitude toward the national crisis is defined in the parable of the Fig Tree and the solemn assurance appended that it will happen in this generation (13:28–31); secondly, the true attitude toward the parousia is defined (13:32–37).
The only serious objection that may be urged against this view arises from the close concatenation of the section relating to the national crisis with the section relating to the parousia (Matthew 24:29: "immediately after … those days"; Mark 13:24: "in those days"). The question is whether this mode of speaking can be explained on the principle of the well-known foreshortening of the perspective of prophecy. It cannot be a priori denied that this peculiarity of prophetic vision may have here characterized also the outlook of Jesus into the future which, as Mark 13:32 shows, was the prophetic outlook of His human nature as distinct from the Divine omniscience. The possibility of misinterpreting this feature and confounding sequence in perspective with chronological succession is in the present case guarded against by the statement that the gospel must first be preached to all the nations (compare Acts 3:19, 25, 26; Romans 11:25; Revelation 6:2) before the end can come, that no one knows the time of the parousia except God, that there must be a period of desolation after the city shall have been destroyed, and that the final coming of Jesus to the people of Israel will be a coming not of judgment, but one in which they shall hail Him as blessed (Matthew 23:38, 39; Luke 13:34, 35), which presupposes an interval to account for this changed attitude (compare Luke 21:24: "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled"). It is not necessary to carry the distinction between the two crises joined together here into the question as put by the disciples in Matthew 24:3, as if "when shall these things be?" related to the destruction of the temple exclusively, as the other half of the question speaks of the coming of Jesus and the end of the world. Evidently here not the two events, but the events (complexly considered) and the signs are distinguished. "These things" has its antecedent not exclusively in 24:2, but even more in 23:38, 39.
The disciples desired to know not so much when the calamitous national catastrophe would come, but rather when that subsequent coming of the Lord would take place, which would put a limit to the distressing results of this catastrophe, and bring with it the reacceptance of Israel into favor. This explains also why Jesus does not begin His discourse with the national crisis, but first takes up the question of the parousia, to define negatively and positively the time of the latter, and that for the purpose of warning the disciples who in their eagerness for the ultimate issue were inclined to foreshorten the preceding calamitous developments. That Jesus could actually join together the national and the cosmical crises appears from other passages, such as Matthew 10:23, where His interposition for the deliverance of the fugitive disciples is called a "coming" of the Son of Man (Matthew 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27, where a coming of the Son of Man in His kingdom (Matthew), or a coming of the kingdom of God with power (Mark), or a seeing of the kingdom of God (Luke) is promised to some of that generation). It is true these passages are frequently referred to the parousia, because in the immediately preceding context the latter is spoken of. The connection of thought, however, is not that the parousia and this promised coming are identical. The proximate coming is referred to as an encouragement toward faithfulness and self-sacrifice, just as the reward at the parousia is mentioned for the same purpose. The conception of an earlier coming also receives light from the confession of Jesus at His trial (Matthew 26:64; where the "henceforth" refers equally to the coming on the clouds of heaven and to the sitting at the right hand of God; compare Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69). The point of the declaration is, that He who now is condemned will in the near future appear in theophany for judgment upon His judges. The closing discourses of John also have the conception of the coming of Jesus to His disciples in the near future for an abiding presence, although here this is associated with the advent of the Spirit (John 14:18, 19, 21, 23; 16:16, 19, 22, 23). Finally the same idea recurs in Rev, where it is equally clear that a preliminary visitation of Christ and not the parousia for final judgment can be meant (John 2:5, 16; 3:3, 10; compare also the plural "one of the days of the Son of man" in Luke 17:22).
3. Events Preceding the Parousia:
(1) The Conversion of Israel:
To the events preceding the parousia belongs, according to the uniform teaching of Jesus, Peter and Paul, the conversion of Israel (Matthew 23:39; Luke 13:35; Acts 1:6, 7; 3:19, 21; where the arrival of "seasons of refreshing" and "the times of restoration of all things" is made dependent on the (eschatological) sending of the Christ to Israel), and this again is said to depend on the repentance and conversion and the blotting out of the sins of Israel; Romans 11, where the problem of the unbelief of Israel is solved by the twofold proposition:
(1) that there is even now among Israel an election according to grace; (2) that in the future there will be a comprehensive conversion of Israel (Romans 11:5, 25–32).
(2) The Coming of the Antichrist:
Among the precursors of the parousia appears further the Antichrist. The word is found in the New Testament in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7 only, but the conception occurs also in the Synoptics, in Paul and in Revelation. There is no instance of its earlier occurrence in Jewish literature. Anti may mean "in place of" and "against"; the former includes the latter. In John it is not clear that the heretical tendencies or hostile powers connected with the anti-Christian movement make false claim to the Messianic dignity. In the Synoptics the coming of false Christs and false prophets is predicted, and that not merely as among the nearer signs (Mark 13:6), but also in the remote eschatological period (Mark 13:22). With Paul, who does not employ the word, the conception is clearly the developed one of the counter-Christ. Paul ascribes to him an apokalupsis as he does to Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:6, 8); his manner of working and its pernicious effect are set over against the manner in which the gospel of the true Christ works (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12). Paul does not treat the idea as a new one; it must have come down from the Old Testament and Jewish eschatology and have been more fully developed by New Testament prophecy; compare in Daniel 7:8, 20; 8:10, 11 the supernaturally magnified figure of the great enemy. According to Gunkel (Schöpfung und Chaos, 1895) and Bousset (Der Antichrist in der überlieferung des Judenthums, des New Testament und der allen Kirche, 1875) the origin of the conception of a final struggle between God and the supreme enemy must be sought in the ancient myth of Chaos conquered by Marduk; what had happened at the beginning of the world was transferred to the end. Then this was anthropomorphized, first in the form of a false Messiah, later in that of a political tyrant or oppressor. But there is no need to assume any other source for the idea of a last enemy than Old Testament eschatological prophecy (Ezekiel and Daniel and Zechariah). And no evidence has so far been adduced that the Pauline idea of a counter-Messiah is of pre-Christian origin. This can only be maintained by carrying back into the older period the Antichrist tradition as found later among Jews and Christians. It is reasonable to assume in the present state of the evidence that the combination of the two ideas, that of the great eschatological enemy and that of the counter-Messiah, is a product of Christian prophecy. In fact even the conception of a single last enemy does not occur in pre-Christian Jewish literature; it is found for the first time in Apocrypha Baruch 40:1, 2, which changes the general conception of 4 Ezra to this effect. Even in the eschatological discourse of Jesus the idea is not yet unified, for false Christs and false prophets in the plural are spoken of, and the instigator of "the abomination of desolation," if any is presupposed, remains in the background. In the Epistle of John the same plural representation occurs (1 John 2:18, 22; 2 John 7), although the idea of a personal Antichrist in whom the movement culminates is not only familiar to the author and the reader (1 John 2:18, "as ye heard that antichrist cometh"), but is also accepted by the writer (1 John 4:3, "This is the spirit of the antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it cometh; and now it is in the world already"; compare 2 Thessalonians 2:7, "The mystery of lawlessness doth already work").
Various views have been proposed to explain the concrete features of the Pauline representation in 2 Thessalonians 2 and that of Revelation 13 and 17. According to Schneckenburger, Jahrb. f. deut. Theol., 1859, and Weiss, Stud. u. Kritik, 1869, Paul has in mind the person whom the Jews will acclaim as their Messiah. The idea would then be the precipitate of Paul's experience of hostility and persecution from the part of the Jews. He expected that this Jewish Messianic pretender would, helped by Satanic influence, overthrow the Roman power. The continuance of the Roman power is "that which restraineth," or as embodied in the emperor, "one that restraineth now" (2 Thessalonians 2:6, 7). (For an interesting view in which the roles played by these two powers are reversed, compare Warfield in The Expositor, 3rd series, 4:30–44.) The objection to this is that "the lawless one," not merely from Paul's or the Christian point of view, but in his own avowed intent, opposes and exalts himself against all that is called God or worshipped. This no Jewish pretender to the Messiahship could possibly do:
His very Messianic position would preclude it. And the conception of a counter-Christ does not necessarily point to a Jewish environment, for the idea of Messiahship had in Paul's mind been raised far above its original national plane and assumed a universalistic character (compare Zahn, Einleitung in das NT 1:171). Nor does the feature that according to 2 Thessalonians 2:4, "the lawless one" will take his seat in the temple favor the view in question, for the desecration of the temple by Antiochus Epiphanes and later similar experiences may well have contributed to the figure of the great enemy the attribute of desecrator of the temple. It is not necessary to assume that by Paul this was understood literally; it need mean no more than that the Antichrist will usurp for himself Divine honor and worship. Patristic and later writers gave to this feature a chiliastic interpretation, referring it to the temple which was to be rebuilt in the future. Also the allegorical exegesis which understands "the temple" of the Christian church has found advocates. But the terms in which "the lawless one" is described exclude his voluntary identification with the Christian church. According to a second view the figure is not a Jewish but a pagan one. Kern, Baur, Hilgenfeld and many others, assuming that 2 Thessalonians is post-Pauline, connect the prophecy with the at-one-time current expectation that Nero, the great persecutor, would return from the East or from the dead, and, with the help of Satan, set up an anti-Christian kingdom. The same expectation is assumed to underlie Revelation 13:3, 12, 14 (one of the heads of the beast smitten unto death and his death stroke healed); 17:8, 10, 11 (the beast that was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss; the eighth king, who is one of the seven preceding kings). As to Paul's description, there is nothing in it to make us think of a Nero reappearing or redivivus. The parousia predicated of the lawless one does not imply it, for parousia as an eschatological term means not "return" but "advent." The Antichrist is not depicted as a persecutor, and Nero was the persecutor par excellence. Nor does what is said about the "hindering" or the "hinderer" suit the case of Nero, for the later Roman emperors could not be said to hold back Nero's reappearance. As to Revelation, it must be admitted that the role here ascribed to the beast would be more in keeping with the character of Nero. But, as Zahn has well pointed out (Einleitung in das NT 2:617–626), this interpretation is incompatible with the date of Revelation. This book must have been written at a date when the earlier form of the expectation that Nero would reappear still prevailed, namely, that he would return from the East to which he had fled. Only when too long an interval had elapsed to permit of further belief in Nero's still being alive, was this changed into the superstition that he would return from the dead. But this change in the form of the belief did not take place until after Revelation must have been written. Consequently, if the returning Nero did figure in Revelation, it would have to be in the form of one reappearing from the East. As a matter of fact, however, the beast or the king in which Nero is found is said by Revelation 13:1; 17:8 to have been smitten unto death and healed of the death stroke, to come up out of the sea or the abyss, which would only suit the later form of the expectation. It is therefore necessary to dissociate the description of the beast and its heads and horns entirely from the details of the succession of the Roman empire; the prophecy is more grandly staged; the description of the beast as partaking of several animal forms in Revelation 13:2 refers back to Daniel, and here as there must be understood of the one world-power in its successive national manifestations, which already excludes the possibility that a mere succession of kings in one and the same empire can be thought of. The one of the heads smitten unto death and the death stroke healed must refer to the world-power to be made powerless in one of its phases, but afterward to revive in a new phase. Hence, here already the healing of the death stroke is predicated, not merely of one of the heads, but also of the beast itself (compare Revelation 13:3 with 13:12). And the same interpretation seems to be required by the mysterious statements of Revelation 17, where the woman sitting upon the beast is the metropolis of the world-power, changing its seat together with the latter, yet so as to retain, like the latter in all its transformations, the same character whence she bears the same name of Babylon (17:5). Here as in Revelation 13 the beast has seven heads, i.e. passes through seven phases, which idea is also expressed by the representation that these seven heads are seven kings (17:10), for, as in Daniel 7, the kings stand not for individual rulers, but for kingdoms, phases of the world-power. This explains why in Revelation 17:11 the beast is identified with one of the kings. When here the further explanation, going beyond Revelation 13, is added, that the beast was and is not and is about to come up out of the abyss (13:8), and in 13:10, 11 that of the seven kings five are fallen, one is, the other is not yet come, and when he comes must continue a little while, to be followed by the eighth, who is identical with the beast that was and is not, and with one of the seven, the only way to reconcile these statements lies in assuming that "the beast," while in one sense a comprehensive figure for the world-power in all its phases, can also in another sense designate the supreme embodiment and most typical manifestation of the world-power in the past; in respect to this acute phase the beast was and is not and is to appear again, and this acute phase was one of seven successive forms of manifestation, and in its reappearance will add to this number the eighth. Although a certain double sense in the employment of the figures thus results, this is no greater than when on the other view Nero is depicted both as "the beast" and as one of the heads of "the beast." Which concrete monarchies are meant by these seven phases is a matter of minor importance. For a suggestion compare Zahn, op. cit., 2:624: (1) Egypt; (2) Assyria; (3) Babylon; (4) the Medo-Persian power; (5) the Greco-Alexandrian power; (6) the Roman power; (7) a short-lived empire to succeed Rome; (8) the eighth and last phase, which will reproduce in its acute character the fifth, and will bring on the scene the Antichrist, the counterpart and, as it were, reincarnation of Antiochus Epiphanes. The seer evidently has his present in the Roman phase of the power of the beast, and this renders it possible for him to give in Revelation 17:9 another turn to the figure of the seven heads, interpreting it of the seven mountains on which the woman sits, but this apocalyptic looseness of handling of the imagery can furnish no objection to the view just outlined, since on any view the two incongruous explanations of the seven heads as seven mountains and seven kings stand side by side in Revelation 17:9 and 10. Nor should the mysterious number of 666 in 13:18 be appealed to in favor of the reference of the beast to Nero, for on the one hand quite a number of other equally plausible or implausible solutions of this riddle have been proposed, and on the other hand the interpretation of Nero is open to the serious objection, that in order to make out the required number from the letters of Nero's name this name has to be written in Hebrew characters and that with scriptio defectiva of Kesar (Neron Kesar) instead of Keisar, the former of which two peculiarities is out of keeping with the usage of the book elsewhere (compare Zahn, op. cit., 2:622, 624, 625, where the chief proposed explanations of the number 666 are recorded). Under the circumstances the interpretation of the figure of the beast and its heads must be allowed to pursue its course independently of the mystery of the number 666 in regard to which no certain conclusion appears attainable.
The following indicates the degree of definiteness to which, in the opinion of the writer, it is possible to go in the interpretation of the prophecy. The terms in which, Paul speaks remind of Daniel's description of the "little horn." Similarly Re attaches itself to the imagery of the beasts in Daniel. Both Paul and Re also seem to allude to the self-deification of rulers in the Hellenistic and Roman world (compare Zeitschrift fur neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1904, 335). Both, therefore, appear to have in mind a politically organized world-power under a supreme head. Still in both cases this power is not viewed as the climax of enmity against God on account of its political activity as such, but distinctly on account of its self-assertion in the religious sphere, so that the whole conception is lifted to a higher plane, purely spiritual standards being applied in the judgment expressed. Paul so thoroughly applies this principle that in his picture the seductive, deceptive aspect of the movement in the sphere of false teaching is directly connected with the person of "the lawless one" himself (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12), and not with a separate organ of false prophecy, as in Revelation 13:11–17 (the second beast). In Revelation, as shown above, the final and acute phase of anti-Christian hostility is clearly distinguished from its embodiment in the Roman empire and separated from the latter by an intermediate stage. In Paul, who stands at a somewhat earlier point in the development of New Testament prophecy, this is not so clearly apparent. Paul teaches that the "mystery of lawlessness" is already at work in his day, but this does not necessarily involve that the person of "the lawless one," subsequently to appear, must be connected with the same phase of the world-power, with which Paul associates this mystery already at work, since the succeeding phases being continuous, this will also insure the continuity between the general principle and its personal representative, even though the latter should appear at a later stage. It is impossible to determine how far Paul consciously looked beyond the power of the Roman empire to a later organization as the vehicle for the last anti-Christian effort. On the other hand, that Paul must have thought of "the lawless one" as already in existence at that time cannot be proven. It does not follow from the parallelism between his "revelation" and the parousia of Christ, for this "revelation" has for its correlate simply a previous hidden presence for some time somewhere, not an existence necessarily extending to Paul's time or the time of the Roman empire, far less a pre-existence, like unto Christ's, in the supernatural world. Nor is present existence implied in what Paul says of "the hindering power." This, to be sure, is represented as asserting itself at that very time, but the restraint is not exerted directly upon "the lawless one"; it relates to the power of which he will be the ultimate exponent; when this power, through the removal of the restraint, develops freely, his revelation follows. According to 13:9 his "parousia is according to the working of Satan," but whether this puts a supernatural aspect upon the initial act of his appearance or relates more to his subsequent presence and activity in the world, which will be attended with all powers and signs and lying wonders, cannot be determined with certainty. But the element of the supernatural is certainly there, although it is evidently erroneous to conceive of "the lawless one" as an incarnation of Satan, literally speaking. The phrase "according to the working of Satan" excludes this, and "the lawless one" is a true human figure, "the man of sin" (or "the man of lawlessness," according to another reading; compare the distinction between Satan and "the beast" in Revelation 20:10), Revelation 13:3. The "power" and "signs" and "wonders" are not merely "seeming"; the genitive pseudous is not intended to take them out of the category of the supernatural, but simply means that what they are intended to accredit is a lie, namely, the Divine dignity of "the lawless one." Most difficult of all is the determination of what Paul means by the hindering power or the hinderer in 13:7. The most common view refers this to the Roman authority as the basis of civil order and protection, but there are serious objections to this. If Paul at all associated the Antichrist in any way with the Roman power, he cannot very well have sought the opposite principle in the same quarter. And not only the hindering power but also the hindering person seems to be a unit, which latter does not apply to the Roman empire, which had a succession of rulers. It is further difficult to dismiss the thought that the hindering principle or person must be more or less supernatural, since the supernatural factor in the work of "the lawless one" is so prominent. For this reason there is something attractive in the old view of von Hofmann, who assumed that Paul borrowed from Daniel, besides other features, also this feature that the historical conflict on earth has a supernatural background in the world of spirits (compare Daniel 10). A more precise definition, however, is impossible. Finally it should be noticed that, as in the eschatological discourse of Jesus "the abomination of desolation" appears connected with an apostasy within the church through false teaching (Mark 13:22, 23), so Paul joins to the appearance of "the lawless one" the destructive effect of error among many that are lost (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12). The idea of the Antichrist in general and that of the apostasy in particular reminds us that we may not expect an uninterrupted progress of the Christianization of the world until the parousia. As the reign of the truth will be extended, so the forces of evil will gather strength, especially toward the end. The universal sway of the kingdom of God cannot be expected from missionary effort alone; it requires the eschatological inter-position of God.
4. The Manner of the Parousia:
In regard to the manner and attending circumstances of the parousia we learn that it will be widely visible, like the lightning (Matthew 24:27; Luke 17:24; the point of comparison does not lie in the suddenness); to the unbelieving it will come unexpectedly (Matthew 24:37–42; Luke 17:26–32; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3). A sign will precede, "the sign of the Son of Man," in regard to the nature of which nothing can be determined. Christ will come "on the clouds," "in clouds," "in a cloud," "with great power and glory" (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27); attended by angels (Matthew 24:31 (compare Matthew 13:41; 16:27; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26); Mark 13:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:7).
VI. The Resurrection
The resurrection coincides with the parousia and the arrival of the future aeon (Luke 20:35; John 6:40; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). From 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:16 it has been inferred that the dead rise before the descent of Christ from heaven is completed; the sounds described in the later passage are then interpreted as sounds accompanying the descent (compare Exodus 19:16; Isaiah 27:13; Matthew 24:31; 1 Corinthians 15:52; Hebrews 12:19; Revelation 10:7; 11:15; "the trump of God" = the great eschatological trumpet). The two words for the resurrection are egeirein, "to wake," and anistanai, "to raise," the latter less common in the active than in the intransitive sense.
1. Its Universality:
The New Testament teaches in some passages with sufficient clearness that all the dead will be raised, but the emphasis rests to such an extent on the soteriological aspect of the event, especially in Paul, where it is closely connected with the doctrine of the Spirit, that its reference to non-believers receives little notice. This was already partly so in the Old Testament (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). In the intervening Jewish literature the doctrine varies; sometimes a resurrection of the martyrs alone is taught (Enoch 90); sometimes of all the righteous dead of Israel (Psalms of Solomon 3:10; Enoch 91–94); sometimes of all the righteous and of some wicked Israelites (Enoch 1–36); sometimes of all the righteous and all the wicked (Ezra 4; 2 Esdras 5:45; 7:32). Josephus ascribes to the Pharisees the doctrine that only the righteous will share in the resurrection. It ought to be noticed that these apocalyptic writings which affirm the universality of the resurrection present the same phenomena as the New Testament, namely, that they contain passages which so exclusively reflect upon the resurrection in its bearing upon the destiny of the righteous as to create the appearance that no other resurrection was believed in. Among the Pharisees probably a diversity of opinion prevailed on this question, which Josephus will have obliterated. Our Lord in His argument with the Sadducees proves only the resurrection of the pious, but does not exclude the other (Mark 12:26, 27); "the resurrection of the just" in Luke 14:14 may suggest a twofold resurrection. It has been held that the phrase, he anastasis he ek nekron Luke 20:35; Acts 4:2, always describes the resurrection of a limited number from among the dead, whereas he anastasisis ton nekron would be descriptive of a universal resurrection Plummer, Commentary on Luke 20:35, but such a distinction breaks down before an examination of the passages.
The inference to the universality of the resurrection sometimes drawn from the universality of the judgment is scarcely valid, since the idea of a judgment of disembodied spirits is not inconceivable and actually occurs. On the other hand the punishment of the judged is explicitly affirmed to include the body (Matthew 10:28). It cannot be proven that the term "resurrection" is ever in the New Testament eschatologically employed without reference to the body, of the quickening of the spirit simply (against, Fries, in ZNTW, 1900, 291). The sense of our Lord's argument with the Sadducees does not require that the patriarchs were at the time of Moses in possession of the resurrection, but only that they were enjoying the covenant-life, which would in due time inevitably issue in the resurrection of their bodies. The resemblance (or "equality") to the angels (Mark 12:25) does not consist in the disembodied state, but in the absence of marriage and propagation. It has been suggested that Hebrews contains no direct evidence for a bodily resurrection (Charles, Eschatology, 361), but compare 11:22, 35; 12:2; 13:20. The spiritualism of the epistle points, in connection with its Pauline type of teaching, to the conception of a pneumatic heavenly body, rather than to a disembodied state.
2. The Millennium:
The New Testament confines the event of the resurrection to a single epoch, and nowhere teaches, as chiliasm assumes, a resurrection in two stages, one, at the parousia, of saints or martyrs, and a second one at the close of the millennium. Although the doctrine of a temporary Messianic kingdom, preceding the consummation of the world, is of pre-Christian Jewish origin, it had not been developed in Judaism to the extent of assuming a repeated resurrection; the entire resurrection is always placed at the end. The passages to which this doctrine of a double resurrection appeals are chiefly Acts 3:19–21; 1 Corinthians 15:23–28; Philippians 3:9–11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18; 2 Thessalonians 1:5–12; Revelation 20:1–6. In the first-named passage Peter promises "seasons of refreshing," when Israel shall have repented and turned to God. The arrival of these coincides with the sending of the Christ to the Jews, i.e. with the parousia. It is argued that Peter in Acts 3:21, "whom the heavens must (present tense) receive until the times of restoration of all things," places after this coming of Jesus to His people a renewed withdrawal of the Lord into heaven, to be followed in turn, after a certain interval, by the restoration of all things. The "seasons of refreshing" would then constitute the millennium with Christ present among His people. While this interpretation is not grammatically impossible, there is no room for it in the general scheme of the Petrine eschatology, for the parousia of Christ is elsewhere represented as bringing not a provisional presence, but as bringing in the day of the Lord, the day of judgment (Acts 2:17–21). The correct view is that "the seasons of refreshing" and "the times of restoration of all things" are identical; the latter phrase relates to the prospects of Israel as well as the former, and should not be understood in the later technical sense. The present tense in Acts 3:21 "must receive" does not indicate that the reception of Christ into heaven still lies in the future, but formulates a fixed eschatological principle, namely, that after His first appearance the Christ must be withdrawn into heaven till the hour for the parousia has come.
In 1 Corinthians 15:23–28 two tagmata, "orders," of the resurrection are distinguished, and it is urged that these consist of "believers" and "non-believers." But there is no reflection here upon non-believers at all, the two "orders" are Christ, and they that are Christ's. "The end" in 15:24 is not the final stage in the resurrection, i.e. the resurrection of non-believers, but the end of the series of eschatological events. The kingdom of Christ which comes to a close with the end is not a kingdom beginning with the parousia, but dates from the exaltation of Christ; it is to Paul not future but already in operation.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 the presupposition is not that the readers had worried about a possible exclusion of their dead from the provisional reign of Christ and from a first resurrection, but that they had sorrowed even as the Gentiles who have no hope whatever, i.e. they had doubted the fact of the resurrection as such. Paul accordingly gives them in 4:14 the general assurance that in the resurrection of Jesus that of believers is guaranteed. The verb "precede" in 4:15 does not imply that there was thought of precedence in the enjoyment of glory, but is only an emphatic way of affirming that the dead will not be one moment behind in inheriting with the living the blessedness of the parousia. In 4:17, "so shall we ever be with the Lord," the word "ever" excludes the conception of a provisional kingdom. 2 Thessalonians 1:5–12 contains merely the general thought that sufferings and glory, persecution and the inheritance of the kingdom are linked together. There is nothing to show that this glory and kingdom are aught else but the final state, the kingdom of God (2 Thessalonians 1:5). In Philippians 3:9–11, it is claimed, Paul represents attainment to the resurrection as dependent on special effort on his part, therefore as something not in store for all believers. Since the general resurrection pertains to all, a special grace of resurrection must be meant, i.e. inclusion in the number of those to be raised at the parousia, at the opening of the millennial kingdom. The answer to this is, that it was quite possible to Paul to make the resurrection as such depend on the believer's progress in grace and conformity to Christ, seeing that it is not an event out of all relation to his spiritual development, but the climax of an organic process of transformation begun in this life. And in verse 20 the resurrection of all is joined to the parousia (compare for the Pauline passages Vos, "The Pauline Eschatology and Chiliasm," PTR, 1911, 26–60).
The passage Revelation 20:1–6 at first sight much favors the conception of a millennial reign of Christ, participated in by the martyrs, brought to life in a first resurrection, and marked by a suspension of the activity of Satan. And it is urged that the sequence of visions places this millennium after the parousia of Christ narrated in Revelation 19. The question of historic sequence, however, is in Revelation difficult to decide. In other parts of the book the principle of "recapitulation," i.e. of cotemporaneousness of things successively depicted, seems to underlie the visions, and numbers are elsewhere in the book meant symbolically. These facts leave open the possibility that the thousand years are synchronous with the earlier developments recorded, and symbolically describe the state of glorified life enjoyed with Christ in heaven by the martyrs during the intermediate period preceding the parousia. The terms employed do not suggest an anticipated bodily resurrection. The seer speaks of "souls" which "lived" and "reigned," and finds in this the first resurrection. The scene of this life and reign is in heaven, where also the "souls" of the martyrs are beheld (Revelation 6:9). The words "this is the first resurrection" may be a pointed disavowal of a more realistic (chiliastic) interpretation of the same phrase. The symbolism of the thousand years consists in this, that it contrasts the glorious state of the martyrs on the one hand with the brief season of tribulation passed here on earth, and on the other hand with the eternal life of the consummation. The binding of Satan for this period marks the first eschatological conquest of Christ over the powers of evil, as distinguished from the renewed activity to be displayed by Satan toward the end in bringing up against the church still other forces not hitherto introduced into the conflict. In regard to a book so enigmatical, it were presumptuous to speak with any degree of dogmatism, but the uniform absence of the idea of the millennium from the eschatological teaching of the New Testament elsewhere ought to render the exegete cautious before affirming its presence here (compare Warfield, "The Millennium and the Apocalypse," PTR, 1904, 599–617).
3. The Resurrection of Believers:
The resurrection of believers bears a twofold aspect. On the one hand it belongs to the forensic side of salvation. On the other hand it belongs to the pneumatic transforming side of the saving process. Of the former, traces appear only in the teaching of Jesus (Matthew 5:9; 22:29–32; Luke 20:35, 36). Paul clearly ascribes to the believer's resurrection a somewhat similar forensic significance as to that of Christ (Romans 8:10, 23; 1 Corinthians 15:30–32, 55–58). Far more prominent with him is, however, the other, the pneumatic interpretation. Both the origin of the resurrection life and the continuance of the resurrection state are dependent on the Spirit (Romans 8, 10, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:45–49; Galatians 6:8). The resurrection is the climax of the believer's transformation (Romans 8:11; Galatians 6:8). This part ascribed to the Spirit in the resurrection is not to be explained from what the Old Testament teaches about the Spirit as the source of physical life, for to this the New Testament hardly ever refers; it is rather to be explained as the correlate of the general Pauline principle that the Spirit is the determining factor of the heavenly state in the coming eon. This pneumatic character of the resurrection also links together the resurrection of Christ and that of the believer. This idea is not yet found in the Synoptics; it finds expression in John 5:22–29; 11:25; 14:6, 19. In early apostolic teaching a trace of it may be found in Acts 4:2. With Paul it appears from the beginning as a well-established principle. The continuity between the working of the Spirit here and His part in the resurrection does not, however, lie in the body. The resurrection is not the culmination of a pneumatic change which the body in this life undergoes. There is no preformation of the spiritual body on earth. Romans 8:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2; Philippians 3:12 positively exclude this, and 2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:7–18 do not require it. The glory into which believers are transformed through the beholding (or reflecting) of the glory of Christ as in a mirror is not a bodily but inward glory, produced by illumination of the gospel. And the manifestation of the life of Jesus in the body or in the mortal flesh refers to the preservation of bodily life in the midst of deadly perils. Equally without support is the view that at one time Paul placed the investiture with the new body immediately after death. It has been assumed that this, together with the view just criticized, marks the last stage in a protracted development of Paul's eschatological belief. The initial stage of this process is found in 1 Thessalonians: the resurrection is that of an earthly body. The next stage is represented by 1 Corinthians: the future body is pneumatic in character, although not to be received until the parousia. The third stage removes the inconsistency implied in the preceding position between the character of the body and the time of its reception, by placing the latter at the moment of death (2 Corinthians, Romans, Colossians), and by an extreme flight of faith the view is even approached that the resurrection body is in process of development now (Teichmann, Charles). This scheme has no real basis of fact. 1 Thessalonians does not teach an unpneumatic eschatology (compare 4:14, 16). The second stage given is the only truly Pauline one, nor can it be shown that the apostle ever abandoned it. For the third position named finds no support in 2 Corinthians 5:1–10; Romans 8:19; Colossians 3:4. The exegesis of 2 Corinthians 5:1–10 is difficult and cannot here be given in detail. Our understanding of the main drift of the passage, put into paraphrase, is as follows: we feel assured of the eternal weight of glory (4:17), because we know that we shall receive, after our earthly tent-body shall have been dissolved (aorist subjunctive), a new body, a supernatural house for our spirit, to be possessed eternally in the heavens. A sure proof of this lies in the heightened form which our desire for this future state assumes. For it is not mere desire to obtain a new body, but specifically to obtain it as soon as possible, without an intervening period of nakedness, i.e. of a disembodied state of the spirit. Such would be possible, if it were given us to survive till the parousia, in which case we would be clothed upon with our habitation from heaven (= supernatural body), the old body not having to be put off first before the new can be put on, but the new body being superimposed upon the old, so that no "unclothing" would have to take place first, what is mortal simply being swallowed up of life (5:2, 4). And we are justified in cherishing this supreme aspiration, since the ultimate goal set for us in any case, even if we should have to die first and to unclothe and then to put on the new body over the naked spirit, since the ultimate goal, I say, excludes under all circumstances a state of nakedness at the moment of the parousia (5:3). Since, then, such a new embodied state is our destiny in any event, we justly long for that mode of reaching it which involves least delay and least distress and avoids intermediate nakedness. (This on the reading in 5:3 of ei ge kai endusamenoi ou gumnoi heurethesometha. If the reading ei ge kai ekdusamenoi be adopted the rendering of 5:3 will have to be: "If so be that also having put off (i.e. having died), we shall not at the end be found naked." If eiper kai ekdusamenoi be chosen it will be: "Although even having put off (i.e. having died) we shall not at the end be found naked." These other readings do not materially alter the sense.) The understanding of the passage will be seen to rest on the pointed distinction between being "clothed upon," change at the parousia without death (5:2, 4), to be "unclothed," loss of the body in death with nakedness resulting (5:4), and "being clothed," putting on of the new body after a state of nakedness (5:3). Interpreted as above, the passage expresses indeed the hope of an instantaneous endowment with the spiritual body immediately after this life, but only on the supposition that the end of this life will be at the parousia, not for the case that death should intervene before, which latter possibility is distinctly left open. In Romans 8:19 what will happen at the end to believers is called a "revealing of the sons of God," not because their new body existed previously, but because their status as sons of God existed before, and this status will be revealed through the bestowal upon them of the glorious body. Colossians 3:3 speaks of a "life … hid with Christ in God," and of the "manifestation" of believers with Christ in glory at the parousia, but "life" does not imply bodily existence, and while the "manifestation" at the parousia presupposes the body, it does not imply that this body must have been acquired long before, as is the case with Christ's body. In conclusion it should be noted that there is ample evidence in the later epistles that Paul continued to expect the resurrection body at the parousia (2 Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20, 21).
4. The Resurrection-Body:
The main passage informing us as to the nature of the resurrection body is 1 Corinthians 15:35–58. The difficulty Paul here seeks to relieve does not concern the substance of the future body, but its kind (compare 1 Corinthians 15:35 "With what manner of body do they come?"). Not until 1 Corinthians 15:50 is the deeper question of difference in substance touched upon. The point of the figure of "sowing" is not that of identity of substance, but rather this, that the impossibility of forming a concrete conception of the resurrection body is no proof of its impossibility, because in all vegetable growth there appears a body totally unlike that which is sown, a body the nature and appearance of which are determined by the will of God. We have no right to press the figure in other directions, to solicit from it answers to other questions. That there is to be a real connection between the present and the future body is implied rather than directly affirmed. 1 Corinthians 15:36 shows that the distinction between the earthly body and a germ of life in it, to be entrusted with it to the grave and then quickened at the last day, does not lie in the apostle's mind, for what is sown is the body; it dies and is quickened in its entirety. Especially the turn given to the figure in 15:37—that of a naked grain putting on the plant as a garment—proves that it is neither intended nor adapted to give information on the degree of identity or link of continuity between the two bodies. The "bare grain" is the body, not the spirit, as some would have it (Teichmann), for it is said of the seed that it dies; which does not apply to the Pneuma (compare also 15:44). The fact is that in this entire discussion the subjective spirit of the believer remains entirely out of consideration; the matter is treated entirely from the standpoint of the body. So far as the Pneuma enters into it, it is the objective Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. As to the time of the sowing, some writers take the view that this corresponds to the entire earthly life, not to the moment of burial only (so already Calvin, recently Teichmann and Charles). In 15:42, 43 there are points of contact for this, inasmuch as especially the three last predicates "in dishonor," "in weakness," "a natural body," seem more applicable to the living than to the dead body. At any rate, if the conception is thus widened, the act of burial is certainly included in the sowing. The objection arising from the difficulty of forming a conception of the resurrection body is further met in 15:39–41, where Paul argues from the multitude of bodily forms God has at His disposal. This thought is illustrated from the animal world (15:39); from the difference between the heavenly and the earthly bodies (15:40); from the difference existing among the heavenly bodies themselves (15:41). The structure of the argument is indicated by the interchange of two words for "other," allos and heteros, the former designating difference of species within the genus, the latter difference of genus, a distinction lost in the English version. In all this the reasoning revolves not around the substance of the bodies but around their kind, quality, appearance (sarx in 15:39 = soma, "body," not = "flesh"). The conclusion drawn is that the resurrection body will differ greatly in kind from the present body. It will be heteros, not merely allos. The points of difference are enumerated in 15:42, 43. Four contrasts are named; the first three in each case appear to be the result of the fourth. The dominating antithesis is that between the soma psuchikon and the soma pneumatikon. Still Paul can scarcely mean to teach that "corruption," "dishonor," "weakness" are in the same sense necessary and natural results of the "psychical" character of the earthly body, as the corresponding opposites are necessary and natural concomitants of the pneumatic character of the resurrection body. The sequel shows that the "psychical body" was given man at creation, and according to 15:53 corruption and death go together, whereas death is not the result of creation but of the entrance of sin according to Paul's uniform teaching elsewhere. Hence, also the predicate sarkikos is avoided in 15:46, 47, where the reference is to creation, for this word is always associated in Paul with sin. The connection, therefore, between the "natural (psychical, margin) body" and the abnormal attributes conjoined with it, will have to be so conceived, that in virtue of the former character, the body, though it need not of itself, yet will fall a prey to the latter when sin enters. In this lies also the explanation of the term "psychical body." This means a body in which the psuche, the natural soul, is the vitalizing principle, sufficient to support life, but not sufficient to that supernatural, heavenly plane, where it is forever immune to death and corruption. The question must be asked, however, why Paul goes back to the original state of man's body and does not content himself with contrasting the body in the state of sin and in the state of eternal life. The answer is found in the exigency of the argument. Paul wished to add to the argument for the possibility of a different body drawn from analogy, an argument drawn from the typical character of the original creation-body. The body of creation, on the principle of prefiguration, pointed already forward to a higher body to be received in the second stage of the world-process: "if there exists a psychical body, there exists also a pneumatic body" (15:44). The proof lies in Genesis 2:7. Some think that Paul here adopts the Philonic doctrine of the creation of two men, and means 1 Corinthians 15:45 b as a quotation from Genesis 1:27. But the sequence is against this, for Paul's spiritual man appears on the scene last, not first, as in Philo. Nor can the statement have been meant as a correction of Philo's sequence, for Paul cannot have overlooked that, once a double creation were found in Genesis 1 and 2, then Philo's sequence was the only possible one, to correct which would have amounted to correcting Scripture. If Paul does here correct Philo, it must be in the sense that he rejects the entire Philonic exegesis, which found in Genesis a twofold creation (compare 1 Corinthians 11:7). Evidently for Paul, Genesis 2:7 taken by itself contains the proof of his proposition, that there is both a psychical and a pneumatic body. Paul regarded the creation of the first Adam in a typical light. The first creation gave only the provisional form in which God's purpose with reference to man was embodied, and in so far looked forward to a higher embodiment of the same idea on a higher pneumatic plane (cf. Romans 5:14): "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven" (1 Corinthians 15:47); "of" or "from heaven" does not designate heavenly material, for even here, by not giving the opposite to choikos, "earthly," Paul avoided the question of substantiality. A "pneumatic" body is not, as many assume, a body made out of pneuma as a higher substance, for in that case Paul would have had pneumatikon ready at hand as the contrast to choikon. Only negatively the question of substance is touched upon in 1 Corinthians 15:50: "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," but the apostle does not say what will take their place. Compare further, for the non-substantial meaning of pneumatikos, Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11; 10:3; Ephesians 1:3; 5:19; 6:12; Colossians 1:9. The only positive thing which we learn in this direction is formal, namely, that the resurrection body of the believer will be the image of that of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49).
VII. The Change of Those Living at the Parousia
This is confined to believers. Of a change in the body of non-believers found living or raised at the parousia the New Testament nowhere speaks. The passages referring to this subject are 1 Corinthians 15:51–53; 2 Corinthians 5:1–5; Philippians 3:20, 21. The second of these has already been discussed: It represents the change under the figure of a putting-on of the heavenly body over the earthly body, in result of which what is mortal is swallowed up so as to disappear by life. This representation starts with the new body by which the old body is absorbed. In 1 Corinthians 15 and Philippians 3, on the other hand, the point of departure is from the old body which is changed into a new. The difference between the resurrection and the charge of the living is brought out in 2 Corinthians 5:1–5 in the two figures of "putting on" and "putting on over" endusasthai and ependusasthai. Some exegetes find in 1 Corinthians 15:51–53 the description of a process kept in such general terms as to be equally applicable to those raised and to those transformed alive. If this be adopted it yields new evidence for the continuity between the present body and the resurrection body. Others, however, find here the expectation that Paul and his readers will "all" survive until the parousia, and be changed alive, in which case no light is thrown on the resurrection-process. The more plausible exegesis is that which joins the negative to "all" instead of to the verb, and makes Paul affirm that "not all" will die, but that all, whether dead or surviving, will be changed at the parousia; the difficulty of the exegesis is reflected in the early attempts to change the reading. In Philippians 3:20, 21 there are no data to decide whether the apostle conceives of himself and his readers as living at the moment of the parousia or speaks generally so as to cover both possibilities.
VIII. The Judgment
The judgment takes place on a "day" (Matthew 7:22; 10:15; 24:36; Luke 10:12; 21:34; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 3:13; 2 Timothy 4:8; Revelation 6:17), but this rests on the Old Testament conception of "the day of Yahweh," and is not to be taken literally, whence also "hour" interchanges with "day" (Mark 13:32; Revelation 14:7). While not confined to an astronomical day the judgment is plainly represented as a definitely circumscribed transaction, not as an indefinite process. It coincides with its parousia. Of a judgment immediately after death, the New Testament nowhere speaks, not even in Hebrews 9:27, 28. Its locality is the earth, as would seem to follow from its dependence on the parousia (Matthew 13:41, 42; Mark 13:26, 27), although some infer from 1 Thessalonians 4:17 that, so far as believers are concerned, it will take place in the air. But this passage does not speak of the judgment, only of the parousia and the meeting of believers with Christ. The judge is God (Matthew 6:4, 6, 14, 18; 10:28, 32; Luke 12:8; 21:36; Acts 10:42; 17:30, 31; Romans 2:2, 3, 5, 16; 14:10; 1 Corinthians 4:3–5; 5:13; Hebrews 12:25; 13:4; 1 Peter 1:17; 2:23; Revelation 6:10; 14:7), but also Christ, not only in the great scene depicted in Matthew 25:31–46, but also in Mark 8:38; 13:26; Matthew 7:22; Luke 13:25–27; Acts 17:31; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 19:11, whence also the Old Testament conception of "the day of Yahweh" is changed into "the day of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). In the sense of the final assize the judgment does not in earlier Jewish eschatology belong to the functions of the Messiah, except in Enoch 51:3; 55:4; 61:8; 62:1; 63. Only in the later apocalypses the Messiah appears as judge (4 Ezra [2 Esdras] 13; Apocrypha Baruch 72:2 [cf. Sibylline Oracles 3:286]). In the more realistic, less forensic, sense of an act of destruction, the judgment forms part of the Messiah's work from the outset, and is already assigned to Him by the Baptist and still more by Paul (Matthew 3:10, 11, 12 = Luke 3:16, 17; 2 Thessalonians 2:8, 10, 12). The one representation passes over into the other. Jesus always claims for Himself the judgment in the strictly forensic sense. Already in His present state He exercises the right to forgive sin (Mark 2:5, 10). In the Fourth Gospel, it is true, He denies that His present activity involves the task of judging (John 8:15; 12:47). That this, however, does not exclude His eschatological judgeship appears from John 5:22, 27 (notice the article in 5:22 "the whole judgment," which proves the reference to the last day). But even for the present, though not directly, yet indirectly by His appearance and message, Christ according to John effects a judgment among men (8:16; 9:39), which culminates in His passion and death, the judgment of the world and the Prince of the world (12:31; 14:30; 16:11). A share of the judgment is assigned to angels and to the saints (Matthew 13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 24:31; 25:31; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Jude 1:14). In regard to the angels this is purely ministerial; of believers it is affirmed only in 1 Corinthians 6:1–3 that they will have something to do with the act of judgment itself; passages like Matthew 19:28; 20:23; Luke 22:30; Revelation 3:21 do not refer to the judgment proper, but to judging in the sense of "reigning," and promise certain saints a preeminent position in the kingdom of glory. The judgment extends to all men, Tyre, Sidon, Sodom, as well as the Galilean cities (Matthew 11:22, 24); all nations (Matthew 25:32; John 5:29; Acts 17:30, 31; Romans 2:6, 16; 2 Corinthians 5:10). It also includes the evil spirits (1 Corinthians 6:3; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6). It is a judgment according to works, and that not only in the case of non-believers; of believers also the works will come under consideration (Matthew 25:34; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 22:12). Side by side with this, however, it is taught already in the Synoptics that the decisive factor will be the acknowledgment of individuals by Jesus, which in turn depends upon the attitude assumed by them toward Jesus here, directly or indirectly (Matthew 7:23; 19:28; 25:35–45; Mark 8:38). By Paul the principle of judgment according to works is upheld, not merely hypothetically as a principle preceding and underlying every soteriological treatment of man by God (Romans 2), and therefore applying to non-Christians for whose judgment no other standard is available, but also as remaining in force for Christians, who have already, under the soteriological regime of grace, received absolute, eternal acquittal in justification. This raises a twofold problem: (a) why justification does not render a last judgment superfluous; (b) why the last judgment in case of Christians saved by grace should be based on works. In regard to (a) it ought to be remembered that the last judgment differs from justification in that it is not a private transaction in foro conscientiae, but public, in foro mundi. Hence, Paul emphasizes this element of publicity (Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:10). It is in accordance with this that God the Father is always the author of justification, whereas as a rule Christ is represented as presiding at the assize of the last day. As to (b), because the last judgment is not a mere private but a public transaction, something more must be taken into account than that on which the individual eternal destiny may hinge. There can be disapproval of works and yet salvation (1 Corinthians 3:15). But the trial of works is necessary for the sake of the vindication of God. In order to be a true theodicy the judgment must publicly exhibit and announce the complete overthrow of sin in man, and the complete working out in him of the idea of righteousness, including not merely his acquittal from the guilt, but also his deliverance from the power, of sin, not merely his imputed righteousness, but also his righteousness of life. In order to demonstrate this comprehensively, the judgment will have to take into account three things: faith (Galatians 5:5), works done in the Christian state, sanctification. Besides this the works of the Christian appear as the measure of gracious reward (Matthew 5:12, 46; 6:1; 10:41, 42; 19:28; 20:1–16; 25:14–45; Mark 9:41; Luke 6:23, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:8, 14; 9:17, 18; Colossians 2:18; 3:24; Hebrews 10:35). These works, however, are not mechanically or commercially appraised, as in Judaism, for Paul speaks by preference of "work" in the singular (Romans 2:7, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 9:1; Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 4:12; Philippians 1:6, 22; 1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11). And this one organic product of "work" is traced back to the root of faith (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2 Thessalonians 1:11 where the genitive pisteos is a gen. of origin), and Paul speaks as a rule not of poiein but of prassein, i.e. of the practice, the systematic doing, of that which is good.
The judgment assigns to each individual his eternal destiny, which is absolute in its character either of blessedness or of punishment, though admittedly of degrees within these two states. Only two groups are recognized, those of the condemned and of the saved (Matthew 25:33, 14; John 5:29); no intermediate group with as yet undetermined destiny anywhere appears. The degree of guilt is fixed according to the knowledge of the Divine will possessed in life (Matthew 10:15; 11:20–24; Luke 10:12–15; 12:47, 48; John 15:22, 24; Romans 2:12; 2 Peter 2:20–22). The uniform representation is that the judgment has reference to what has been done in the embodied state of this life; nowhere is there any reflection upon the conduct or product of the intermediate state as contributing to the decision (2 Corinthians 5:10). The state assigned is of endless duration, hence described as aionios, "eternal." While this adjective etymologically need mean no more than "what extends through a certain aeon or period of time," yet its eschatological usage correlates it everywhere with the "coming age," and, this age being endless in duration, every state or destiny connected with it partakes of the same character. It is therefore exegetically impossible to give a relative sense to such phrases as pur aionion, "eternal fire" (Matthew 18:8; 25:41; Jude 1:7), kolasis aionios, "eternal punishment" (Matthew 25:46), olethros aionios, "eternal destruction" (2 Thessalonians 1:9), krisis aionios or krima aionion, "eternal judgment" (Mark 3:29; Hebrews 6:2). This is also shown by the figurative representations which unfold the import of the adjective: The "unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:12), "the never-dying worm" (Mark 9:43–48), "The smoke of their torment goeth up for ever and ever" (Revelation 14:11), "tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). The endless duration of the state of punishment is also required by the absolute eternity of its counterpart, zoe aionios, "eternal life" (Matthew 25:46). In support of the doctrine of conditional immortality it has been urged that other terms descriptive of the fate of the condemned, such as apoleia, "perdition," phthora, "corruption," olethros, "destruction," thanatos, "death," point rather to a cessation of being. This, however, rests on an unscriptural interpretation of these terms, which everywhere in the Old Testament and the New Testament designate a state of existence with an undesirable content, never the pure negation of existence, just as "life" in Scripture describes a positive mode of being, never mere existence as such. Perdition, corruption, destruction, death, are predicated in all such cases of the welfare or the ethical spiritual character of man, without implying the annihilation of his physical existence. No more support can be found in the New Testament for the hypothesis of an apokatastasis panton, "restoration of all things," i.e. absolute universalism implying the ultimate salvation of all men. The phrase occurs only in Acts 3:21, where, however, it has no cosmical reference but relates to the fulfillment of the promises to Israel. Josephus uses it of the restoration of the Jews to their land after the Captivity, Philo of the restoration of inheritances in the year of jubilee (compare Malachi 4:6; Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12; Acts 1:6). Absolute universalism has been found in Romans 5:18; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 28; Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20, but in all these passages only a cosmical or national universalism can be found, not the doctrine of the salvation of all individuals, which latter would bring the statements in question in direct contradiction to the most explicit deliverances of Paul elsewhere on the principle of predestination and the eternity of the destiny of the wicked.
IX. The Consummate State
Side by side with "the future age," and characterizing it from a less formal point of view, the phrase "kingdom of God" designates the consummate state, as it will exist for believers after the judgment. Jesus, while making the kingdom a present reality, yet continues to speak of it in accordance with its original eschatological usage as "the kingdom" which lies in the future (Matthew 13:43; 25:34; 26:29; Mark 9:47; Luke 12:32; 13:28, 29; 21:31). With Paul the phrase bears preponderatingly an eschatological sense, although occasionally he uses it of the present state of believers (Romans 14:17; 1 Corinthians 4:20; 6:9, 10; 15:24, 50; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 1:13; 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 4:1, 18). Elsewhere in the New Testament the eschatological use occurs in Hebrews 12:28; James 2:5; 2 Peter 1:11; Revelation 11:15. The idea is universalistic, unpolitical, which does not exclude that certain privileges are spoken of with special reference to Israel. Although the eschatological kingdom differs from the present kingdom largely in the fact that it will receive an external, visible embodiment, yet this does not hinder that even in it the core is constituted by those spiritual realities and relations which make the present kingdom. Still it will have its outward form as the doctrine of the resurrection and the regenerated earth plainly show. Hence, the figures in which Jesus speaks of it, such as eating, drinking, reclining at table, while not to be taken sensually, should not on the other hand be interpreted allegorically, as if they stood for wholly internal spiritual processes: they evidently point to, or at least include, outward states and activities, of which our life in the senses offers some analogy, but on a higher plane of which it is at present impossible to form any concrete conception or to speak otherwise than in figurative language. Equivalent to "the kingdom" is "life." But, unlike the kingdom, "life" remains in the Synoptics an exclusively eschatological conception. It is objectively conceived: the state of blessedness the saints will exist in; not subjectively as a potency in man or a process of development (Matthew 7:14; 18:8, 9; 19:16, 29; 25:46; Mark 10:30). In John "life" becomes a present state, and in connection with this the idea is subjectivized, it becomes a process of growth and expansion. Points of contact for this in the Synoptics may be found in Matthew 8:22 (Luke 9:60); Luke 15:24; 20:38. When this eschatological life is characterized as aionios, "eternal," the reference is not exclusively to its eternal duration, but the word has, in addition to this, a qualitative connotation; it describes the kind of life that belongs to the consummate state (compare the use of the adjective with other nouns in this sense: 2 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; 9:12, 15; 2 Peter 1:11, and the unfolding of the content of the idea in 1 Peter 1:4). With Paul "life" has sometimes the same eschatological sense (Romans 2:7; 5:17; Titus 1:2; 3:7), but most often it is conceived as already given in the present state, owing to the close association with the Spirit (Romans 6:11; 7:4, 8, 11; 8:2, 6; Galatians 2:19; 6:8; Ephesians 4:18). In its ultimate analysis the Pauline conception of "life," as well as that of Jesus, is that of something dependent on communion with God (Matthew 22:32; Mark 12:27 = Luke 20:38; Romans 8:6, 7; Ephesians 4:18). Another Pauline conception associated with the consummate state is that of doxa, "glory." This glory is everywhere conceived as a reflection of the glory of God, and it is this that to the mind of Paul gives it religious value, not the external radiance in which it may manifest itself as such. Hence, the element of "honor" conjoined to it (Romans 1:23; 2:7; 8:21; 9:23; 1 Corinthians 15:43). It is not confined to the physical sphere (2 Corinthians 3:18; 4:16, 17). The outward doxa is prized by Paul as a vehicle of revelation, an exponent of the inward state of acceptance with God. In general Paul conceives of the final state after a highly theocentric fashion (1 Corinthians 15:28); it is the state of immediate vision of and perfect communion with God and Christ; the future life alone can bring the perfected sonship (Romans 6:10; 8:23, 19; compare Luke 20:36; 2 Corinthians 4:4; 5:6, 7, 8; 13:4; Philippians 1:23; Colossians 2:13; 3:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).
The scene of the consummate state is the new heaven and the new earth, which are called into being by the eschatological palingenesia "regeneration" (Matthew 5:18; 19:28; 24:35; 1 Corinthians 7:31; Hebrews 1:12; 12:26, 27; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 John 2:17; Revelation 21:1, in which last passage, however, some exegetes understand the city to be a symbol of the church, the people of God). An annihilation of the substance of the present world is not taught (compare the comparison of the future world-conflagration with the Deluge in 2 Peter 3:6). The central abode of the redeemed will be in heaven, although the renewed earth will remain accessible to them and a part of the inheritance (Matthew 5:5; John 14:2, 3; Romans 8:18–22; and the closing visions of the Apocalypse).
X. The Intermediate State
In regard to the state of the dead, previously to the parousia and the resurrection, the New Testament is far less explicit than in its treatment of what belongs to general eschatology. The following points may here briefly be noted:
(1) The state of death is frequently represented as a "sleeping," just as the act of dying as a "falling asleep" (Matthew 9:24; John 9:4; 11:11; 1 Corinthians 7:39; 11:30; 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 15; 2 Peter 3:4). This usage, while also purely Greek, rests on the Old Testament. There is this difference, that in the New Testament (already in the apocryphal and pseudepigraphical books) the conception is chiefly used with reference to the righteous dead, and has associated with it the thought of their blessed awaking in the resurrection, whereas in the Old Testament it is indiscriminately applied to all the dead and without such connotation. With Paul the word always occurs of believers. The representation applies not to the "soul" or "spirit," so that a state of unconsciousness until the resurrection would be implied. It is predicated of the person, and the point of comparison is that as one who sleeps is not alive to his surroundings, so the dead are no longer en rapport with this earthly life. Whatever may have been the original implications of the word, it plainly had become long before the New Testament period a figurative mode of speech, just as egeirein, "to wake," was felt to be a figurative designation of the act of the resurrection. Because the dead are asleep to our earthly life, which is mediated through the body, it does not follow that they are asleep in every other relation, asleep to the life of the other world, that their spirits are unconscious. Against the unconsciousness of the dead compare Luke 16:23; 23:43; John 11:25, 26; Acts 7:59; 1 Corinthians 15:8; Philippians 1:23; Revelation 6:9–11; 7:9. Some have held that the sleep was for Paul a euphemism employed in order to avoid the terms "death" and "to die," which the apostle restricted to Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 shows that this is unfounded.
(2) The New Testament speaks of the departed after an anthropomorphic fashion as though they were still possessed of bodily organs (Luke 16:23, 24; Revelation 6:11; 7:9). That no inference can be drawn from this in favor of the hypothesis of an intermediate body appears from the fact that God and angels are spoken of in the same manner, and also from passages which more precisely refer to the dead as "souls," "spirits" (Luke 23:46; Acts 7:59; Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 3:19; Revelation 6:9; 20:4).
(3) The New Testament nowhere encourages the living to seek converse with the dead. Its representation of the dead as "sleeping" with reference to the earthly life distinctly implies that such converse would be abnormal and in so far discountenances it, without explicitly affirming its absolute impossibility. Not even the possibility of the dead for their part taking knowledge of our earthly life is affirmed anywhere. Hebrews 12:1 does not necessarily represent the Old Testament saints as "witnesses" of our race of faith in the sense of spectators in the literal sense, but perhaps in the figurative sense, that we ought to feel, having in memory their example, as if the ages of the past and their historic figures were looking down upon us (Luke 16:29; Acts 8:9; 13:6; 19:13).
(4) As to the departed saints themselves, it is intimated that they have mutual knowledge of one another in the intermediate state, together with memory of facts and conditions of the earthly life (Luke 16:9, 19–31). Nowhere, however, is it intimated that this interest of the departed saints in our earthly affairs normally expresses itself in any act of intercession, not even of intercession spontaneously proffered on their part.
(5) The New Testament does not teach that there is any possibility of a fundamental change in moral or spiritual character in the intermediate state. The doctrine of a so-called "second probation" finds in it no real support. The only passages that can with some semblance of warrant be appealed to in this connection are 1 Peter 3:19–21 and 4:6. For the exegesis of the former passage, which is difficult and much disputed, compare "Spirits in Prison." Here it may simply be noted that the context is not favorable to the view that an extension of the opportunity of conversion beyond death is implied; the purport of the whole passage points in the opposite direction, the salvation of the exceedingly small number of eight of the generation of Noah being emphasized (1 Peter 3:20). Besides this it would be difficult to understand why this exceptional opportunity should have been granted to this peculiar group of the dead, since the contemporaries of Noah figure in Scripture as examples of extreme wickedness. Even if the idea of a gospel-preaching with soteriological purpose were actually found here, it would not furnish an adequate basis for building upon it the broad hypothesis of a second probation for all the dead in general or for those who have not heard the gospel in this life. This latter view the passage is especially ill fitted to support, because the generation of Noah had had the gospel preached to them before death. There is no intimation that the transaction spoken of was repeated or continued indefinitely. As to the second passage (1 Peter 4:6), this must be taken by itself and in connection with its own context. The assumption that the sentence "the gospel (was) preached even to the dead" must have its meaning determined by the earlier passage in 1 Peter 3:19–21, has exercised an unfortunate influence upon the exegesis. Possibly the two passages had no connection in the mind of the author. For explaining the reference to "the dead" the connection with the preceding verse is fully sufficient. It is there stated that Christ is "ready to judge the living and the dead." "The living and the dead" are those who will be alive and dead at the parousia. To both the gospel was preached, that Christ might be the judge of both. But that the gospel was preached to the latter in the state of death is in no way indicated. On the contrary the telic clause, "that they might be judged according to men in the flesh," shows that they heard the gospel during their lifetime, for the judgment according to men in the flesh that has befallen them is the judgment of physical death. If a close connection between the passage in 1 Peter 3 and that in chapter 4 did exist, this could only serve to commend the exegesis which finds in the earlier passage a gospel-preaching to the contemporaries of Noah during their lifetime, since, on that view, it becomes natural to identify the judgment in the flesh with the Deluge.
(6) The New Testament, while representing the state of the dead before the parousia as definitely fixed, nevertheless does not identify it, either in degree of blessedness or punishment, with the final state which follows upon the resurrection. Although there is no warrant for affirming that the state of death is regarded as for believers a positively painful condition, as has been mistakenly inferred from 1 Corinthians 11:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:13, nevertheless Paul shrinks from it as from a relatively undesirable state, since it involves "nakedness" for the soul, which condition, however, does not exclude a relatively high degree of blessedness in fellowship with Christ (2 Corinthians 5:2–4, 6, 8; Philippians 1:23). In the same manner a difference in the degree or mode of punishment between the intermediate state and the age to come is plainly taught. For on the one hand the eternal punishment is related to persons in the body (Matthew 10:28), and on the other hand it is assigned to a distinct place, Gehenna, which is never named in connection with the torment of the intermediate state. This term occurs in Matthew 5:22, 29, 30; 10:28; Luke 12:5; 18:9; 23:33; Mark 9:43, 15, 47; James 3:6. Its opposite is the eschatological kingdom of God (Mark 9:47). The term abussos differs from it in that it is associated with the torment of evil spirits (Luke 8:31; Romans 10:7; Revelation 9:1, 2; 11:7; 20:1), and in regard to it no such clear distinction between a preliminary and final punishment seems to be drawn (compare also the verb Tartaroun, "to bind in Tartarus"; of evil spirits in 2 Peter 2:4). Where the sphere of the intermediate state is locally conceived, this is done by means of the term Hades, which is the equivalent of the Old Testament She'ol. The passages where this occurs are Matthew 11:23; 16:18; Luke 16:23; Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Corinthians 15:55 (where others read "death"); Revelation 1:18; 6:8; 20:13, 14. These passages should not be interpreted on the basis of the Greek classical usage, but in the light of the Old Testament doctrine about She'ol. Some of them plainly employ the word in the non-local sense of the state of death (Matthew 16:18; possibly Acts 2:27, 31; 1 Corinthians 15:55 [personified]; Revelation 1:18; 6:8 [personified]; Revelation 20:13 [personified]). The only passage where the conception is local is Luke 16:23 and this occurs in a parable, where aside from the central point in comparison, no purpose to impart topographical knowledge concerning the world beyond death can be assumed, but the imagery is simply that which was popularly current. But, even if the doctrine of Hades as a place distinct from Gehenna should be found here, the terms in which it is spoken of, as place of torment for Dives, prove that the conception is not that of a general abode of neutral character, where without blessedness or pain the dead as a joint-company await the last judgment, which would first assign them to their separate eternal habitations. The parable plainly teaches, whether Hades be local and distinct from Gehenna or not, that the differentiation between blessedness and punishment in its absolute character (Luke 16:26) is begun in it and does not first originate at the judgment (see further, "Hades").