In terms of the eschatology in First Thessalonians, past scholarship has focused on individual motifs found in the discourse. Monographs and articles abound on topics like the parousia of the Lord, judgment (the Day of the Lord) and the resurrection of Christians. But these contributions to scholarship, in general, do not draw together exegetical insights gained from various texts in First Thessalonians. A survey of the literature reveals that three pericopes (I Thess I :9-10, 1 Thess 2:13-16 and 1 Thess 4:13-18) preoccupy the majority of research. While there is a preponderance of literature which concerns the interpolation charge of 2: 13-16, and the problematic apocalyptic details of 4: 13-18, for example, there is hardly any that examines these and other texts in relation to each other, or integrates exegetical results into a systematic picture of the eschatological discourse with attendant purpose(s).
Eschatology is the best hermeneutical key to interpret Paul's pattern of exhortation in First Thessalonians. The systematic concern of the letter is to address a community in conflict. Paul's pattern of exhortation has two aspects which are complementary. First, he provides a way to understand the Thessalonians' current social disintegration. Second, which is in some ways dependent on the first, he provides a means for integration into an eschatologically identifiable existence. Paul effects these two purposes of the letter by employing numerous eschatological motifs, which may be regarded as forming an eschatological discourse in the letter. With eschatology as the hermeneutical key, it is possible to see how Paul is able both to rationalise why the Thessalonians are experiencing conflict and encourage them to a constructive new community identity.
|A completely new commentary on Christ's great eschatological discourse...
Based on a reconstruction of the text from all three synoptic gospels (derived from the UBS-3 Greek New Testament), the author presents an interpretation that takes all of the Olivet Discourse material into account. Also included are thorough discussions of past interpretations, hermeneutics, structure, and theology-all from a dispensational premillennial perspective. Understanding the Olivet Discourse is crucial to understanding subsequent New Testament teachings on such topics as the tribulation, the second coming, and events preparatory to Christ's coming earthly rule. Contrary to popular amillennial, postmillennial, and premillennial interpretations, the author makes the case that Christ's last discourse has much to say about the Church at the end of the present age, and its imminent rapture-a truth long obscured, even by many premillennialists.
This spiritual conception of the Kingdom cannot possibly be combinedwith the thought of a glorious Second Coming, for if Jesus hadheld this latter view He must necessarily have thought of the presentlife as only a kind of prologue to that second existence. Neither theJewish, nor the Jewish-Christian eschatology as represented in theeschatological discourses in the Gospels, can, therefore, in Colani'sopinion, belong to the preaching of Jesus. That He should sometimeshave made use of the imagery associated with the Jewish expectationsof the future is, of course, only natural. But the eschatology occupiesfar too important a place in the tradition of the preaching of Jesus tobe explained as a mere symbolical mode of expression. It forms a substantial element of that preaching. A spiritualisation of it will not meetthe case. Therefore, if the conviction has been arrived at on othergrounds that Jesus' preaching did not follow the lines of Jewish eschatology, there is only one possible way of dealing with it, and that isby excising it from the text on critical grounds.
There are no monographs to date on eschatology in First Thessalonians. This is an amazing state of affairs given the volume of secondary literature on the Thessalonian correspondence, and specifically on aspects of eschatology and apocalyptic. In this dissertation I propose to fill the current lacuna in Thessalonian scholarship by proceeding with an analysis of 1 Thess 1 :9-10, 1 Thess 2:13- 16 and 1 Thess 4:13-18 as fundamental representatives of the eschatological discourse in the letter.