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2659[XTalk] Re: Who was apocalyptic?

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  • Antonio Jerez
    Oct 5, 1999
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      Bill Arnal wrote:

      > At 09:07 PM 10/4/99 +0200, Antonio Jerez wrote:
      >
      > >Well Mahlon, we obviously read the relevant verses in GJohn in very
      > >different ways. I wouldn't say that a verse like 5:29 does not envision
      > >an endtime catastrophe. I don't think that those who are destined to
      > >be judged because of their wickedness would agree with you that their
      > >unfortunate end is not catastrophic.

      Bill Arnal:
      > Well, it seems to me that Mahlon here is reading this text in terms of its
      > Johannine context.

      I don't think so. And neither are you.

      > There is definitely some older and traditional futuristic
      > notion lurking BEHIND the text (esp 5:27-29), but John has incorporated this
      > older language into a larger block of speech which redirects this material
      > toward his more specific concerns. This is most obvious in v.25: "the time
      > is coming" (more traditional usage) "and is NOW HERE" (Johannine usage)
      > "when the dead will hear the voice of the son of God," etc. In the Lazarus
      > story we have a very clear indication that John is congnizant of a theory of
      > the general resurrection of the dead at some future point (leaving aside
      > whether or not to call this "apocalyptic"), and sees the need to correct
      > this.

      I don't read the text and the context at all as the author of GJohn correcting
      or contradicting an earlier eschatological notion. In what way is the author
      saying that there isn't going to be a future general resurrection? Let's take
      a look first at verse v.25 that you mentioned: "Truly I assure you that he who
      listens to my message and believes Him who has sent me will have eternal life...
      Truly I assure you the hour IS COMING -AND IT IS HERE - when the dead will
      hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live."
      Notice the words I have put in bold script. "The hour is coming"
      appears to be a reference to the future general resurrection. "And it is here"
      points forward to the raising of Lazarus. He is the one who will hear the voice
      of the Son of God here and now. Verse 24 even point forward to Marthas belief in
      Jesus as the Messiah in verses 11:25-27.
      I short - your reading of the author correcting other Christians who believe in
      a future resurrection has no grounding whatsoever in the text. The author is
      not correcting but COMPLEMENTING.

      >As is standard Johannine usage, in this instance Jesus says something
      > (11:23 -- Lazarus will rise again), his interlocutors MISUNDERSTAND him
      > (v.24: Martha says, Sure, he'll rise on the last day), and this gives Jesus
      > the opportunity to "correct" their views, in this case with an "I am"
      > statement. In general, my impression is that John deploys traditional
      > future-oriented language because he is aware that others hold to these
      > views, but suggests that a greater or higher understanding of them will see
      > such expectations already realized in the present.

      Again you are reading things into the text that are not actually there. Jesus
      does not tell Martha that there isn't going to be a future general resurrection.
      The only thing Jesus "corrects", and quite promptly, is Marthas misunderstanding
      of his words in v.23, "Your brother will rise again". Martha naturally believes that
      this refers to the general resurrection. Whereby Jesus promptly shows her that
      his Father has already given him the necessary powers to raise the dead already
      in the here and now. The author is not correcting a faulty view about the general
      resurrection - just complementing it again.

      Best wishes

      Antonio Jerez
      Göteborg, Sweden
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