Friday, August 05, 2005

Present Experience Interpreted in Light of the Future

Tabernacle in the Sky"The New Testament...tends to...find the age to come anticipated in the Present...the eschatological state has arrived and the one great incision in history has already been made (Hebrews 2:3, 5; 9:11; 10:1; 12:22-24)...Believers live in the 'last days,' upon them 'the ends of the ages are come,' but 'the last day,' 'the consummation of the age,' still lies in the future (Matthew 13:39, 40, 49; 24:3; 28:20; John 6:39, 44, 54; 12:48; 1 Corinthians 10:11; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 1:2; 9:26; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5, 20; 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18; Jude 1:18).

"The eschatological interest of early believers was no mere fringe to their religious experience, but the very heart of its inspiration. It expressed and embodied the profound supernaturalism and soteriological character of the New Testament faith. The coming world was not to be the product of natural development but of a Divine interposition arresting the process of history. And the deepest motive of the longing for this world was a conviction of the abnormal character of the present world, a strong sense of sin and evil. This explains why the New Testament doctrine of salvation has grown up to a large extent in the closest interaction with its eschatological teaching. The present experience was interpreted in the light of the future." -- Geerhardus Vos, The Eschatology of the New Testament