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Series: New Testament Eschatology

From time to time, I hear a lot about the early church’s understanding of the “end of the world” or their belief that the “Second Coming of Jesus” would take place within their generation. And it’s usually not in a very good light. “They were obviously mistaken,” is often the remark I hear most. I know it’s hard to imagine but what if we’re mistaken? What if we’ve misunderstood what they meant? I’m hoping that this series on some of the major statements from the New Testament about the “end of the world” will show that they weren’t mistaken in their understanding of the “signs of the times.”
Before we begin, however, let’s look at some terms that will have to be used. As most of you know, I try to refrain from using big “church” words. My reason for this is because those words are like suitcases where ideas and thoughts and understandings are packed into them. To explain the words would mean a long time spent unpacking the suitcases and explaining their contents. While such a pilgrimag…

Proper 27 (Ordinary 32) (Year C)

Luke 20.27-38 (CEB; adapted):[1] 27Some Sadducees, who deny that there’s a resurrection, came to Jesus and asked, 28“Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies leaving a widow but no children, the brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother. 29Now there were seven brothers. The first man married a woman and then died childless. 30The second 31and then the third brother married her. Eventually all seven married her, and they all died without leaving any children. 32Finally, the woman died too. 33In the resurrection, whose wife will she be? All seven were married to her.”
34Jesus said to them, “People who belong to this age marry and are given in marriage. 35But those who are considered worthy to participate in that age, that is, in the age of the resurrection from the dead, won’t marry nor will they be given in marriage. 36They can no longer die, because they’re like angels and are God’s children since they share in the resurrection. 37Even Moses demo…

Proper 26 (Ordinary 31) (Year C)

The Prayer Omnipotent and merciful God, it’s only by your Grace that people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus the Christ, our Rescuer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Lessons Habakkuk 1.1-4; 2.1-4 (CEB; adapted):[1] 1The oracle that Habakkuk the prophet saw.
2YHWH, how long will I call for help and you not listen? I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you don’t deliver us. 3Why do you show me injustice and look at anguish so that devastation and violence are before me? There is strife, and conflict abounds. 4The Instruction is ineffective. Justice doesn’t endure because the wicked surround the righteous. Justice becomes warped.

Proper 25 (30) (Year C)

The Prayer All-Loving and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and love; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus the Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.

The Lessons Joel 2.23-32 (CEB; adapted):[1] 23Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in Yahweh your God, because Yahweh will give you the early rain as a sign of righteousness; and will pour down abundant rain for you, the early and the late rain, as before. 24The threshing floors will be full of grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil. 25I’ll repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten — my great army, which I sent against you.