The Apostle Paul’s understanding of eschatology
Eschatology is the doctrine about the end of the earth’s history and the second coming of Christ. “Eschatology means “doctrine about the final reality” (Hayes 11).
This teaching has a great a value, which can hardly be overestimated. According to the popular belief of biblical scholars, 1 and 2 Col. are the earliest messages of the Apostle Paul. There is some controversy in the scientific world about 2 Col. There is no doubt that the 1 Col.
was written in the late 50’s or early ’51 from Corinth. The main theme of 1 Col. is 1 Thess. 4: 13 – 17. It is the argument about the “fate of the Christians who understands death until the coming of Christ”.
Paul comforts them that all who are in Christ will not be lost in the resurrection. The fate of those who died before Christ’s return will not be different from those who will find Christ’s return while still alive. The dead will be raised, in that we are certified the resurrection of Christ, and in it we have the hope of resurrection, and should not grieve like the Gentiles who do not know about the resurrection of the dead. Living will see him surrounded by the dead. This phenomenon will happen on the earth, where they will meet together.
Afterthat, all will be caught up together in the air space to meet the Lord, with Whom they will be forever. Then the Apostle Paul turns to the question of the date of the appearing. It is found that the timing of the resurrection cannot be identified. The date is hidden. That day will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess.
5: 1 – 2).The Apostle Paul’s answers opened new questions. Some certain external signs (apparently persecution of the synagogue on Christian community had critical shade) accompanied it. The main reason was that someone sent a forged letter to the Thessalonians, allegedly on behalf of Paul, alleging that the coming of Christ had already come, or coming (2 Thess. 2: 1 – 2). This prompted Paul to write his second letter, which established the doctrine, which he described in 1 Thess.
, with the explanation of some theses of 1 Thess., and to refute the false rumors. The aim of the second message was the same as the first: to inform about the teaching of revelation of the Second Coming of Christ and the events preceding it, and in particular, to calm people that could make wrong conclusions from his first message. The Apostle writes to the Thessaloniaans not to become discouraged in their oppression that they suffer from the Jews. At the Second Coming the righteous judgment of God will be and the oppressed will be justified, and people, who do not believe in the Lord, will expect eternal destruction (Chapter 1). 1 – 12 verses of Chapter 2 are the main core of the 2 Col.
, where raises the issue of time of the second coming of Christ and speaks of the Antichrist, which should appear before the coming of the Lord. The Apostle insists on appearing of the man of sin. At the time when the Apostle wrote 2 Thess., he could firmly say that he had not appeared yet, although a breeding ground for this already existed, because a mystery of iniquity was already at work. The Apostle Paul lists the following set of features:Before the coming of Christ a retreat will be and it will open to the man of sin. Potentially its coming is possible, because this is facilitated by the mystery of iniquity.
Something prevents of this. Then the man of sin will come, who will be under the influence of Satan, with all sorts of false signs and wonders to seduce men. The coming of Christ will come.