Importance of the Old Testament in Understanding Eschatology
Those who follow the teachings of Christ and the message of the apostles should be well aware that the basis of all they taught was the Old Covenant.
Jesus promised that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill. He also said, "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled." See Matthew 5:17, 18.
Thus, to put it in English terms, every dotting of the "i" and crossing of the "t" of the prophecies in the Old Testament had to be fulfilled before the law could pass. Jesus even promised that the Old Covenant would remain until "heaven and earth" (Judaism) passed away. See also (Matthew 34:35; Hebrews 12:26, 27; Hag. 2:6)
Since God's word had promised the end of heaven and earth in the Old Covenant (Haggai 2:6), the law could not pass until it was fulfilled. This is why the Lord said it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail. (Luke 16:17)
Jesus promised that heaven and earth would pass at Jerusalem's fall before his very own generation (the people living in his day) passed away. (Matthew 24:35) In fact, not only did he predict the end of heaven and earth, he also said all yet unfulfilled prophecies would be fulfilled at the Roman destruction of Israel in A.D. 70. "When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…these are the days of vengeance that all things written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-22, 32)
Jesus drew all of his teachings on eschatology and the endtime from the Old Covenant Scriptures. "He showed the apostles that all things concerning him found their origin in the message of the Law of Moses, the Psalms and the Prophets, (Luke 24:44-47). Thus, there is no teaching of Christ from his suffering and death by crucifixion to the proclamation of the gospel and judgment which is not rooted and grounded in the message of the Old Covenant.
Likewise the apostles saw themselves as living in the terminal generation of Judaism. Hence Paul wrote, "The end of the ages have come upon us," 1 Corinthians 10:11), i.e. the first century disciples. John saw the world of Judaism passing away and in its last hour. (1 John 2:17, 18). Peter wrote that the message of the prophets were being fulfilled in his generation, (1 Peter 1:10-12) and that the end of all things had drawn near. (1 Peter 4:17). James echoes the refrain of the prophets announcing that the Lord's Parousia (coming) had drawn near and the Judge was standing at the door. (James 5:7,8).
Thus, there is no eschatology or endtime message of Scripture that is not rooted and grounded in the Old Covenant. When Paul was accused by unbelieving Jews of teaching a gospel contrary to the message found in the Law and the Prophets, he told Felix that the Jews could not prove their claim. He went on public record saying, "Nor can they prove the things of which they now accuse me. But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have hope in God which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:13-15).
Hence, what Paul believed and taught concerning resurrection and judgment found its origin in the Old Covenant scriptures. Therefore, a last days, end of the world message which is not according to the message of the Old Covenant, is a message which Jesus nor the apostles preached or condoned, (Galatians 1:6-9).
Until we are grounded in the message, meaning and chronological framework of the Old Covenant, the end time message will remain a mystery to the masses as evident from the confusion which exists among the futurists who see in every newsworthy disaster, an imminent end of our present world. Eschatology was not about ending our world, but about the end of the ancient Jewish world as prophesied in the Old Covenant.
Copyright (c) 2007 by William Bell, Jr. All rights reserved.
Related Tags: resurrection, rapture, antichrist, armageddon, judgment, last days, second coming, old testament
William Bell, Jr. is a speaker on Covenant Eschatology and the author of the "Re-Examination," and other studies of Christ's return at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Visit his websites: http://www.allthingsfulfilled.com and http://rapture-rap.comYour Article Search Directory : Find in Articles
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