Dedicated to the writings of Saint Luke.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Delay of the Parousia?

A number of scholars have indicated that Luke seems to discourage near-future eschatological expectations. In the first century there were many changes occurring in how judgment was viewed. For instance, there would be a judgment of the just as well as the unjust, a notion that must have been unsetting to the Jewish followers of Jesus who believed that it was sufficient to be a son of Abraham. However, John the Baptist said: “Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.”

Luke also indicated that individuals would be judged, not as member of a group but as individuals. Luke informed the “Good Thief” that “today” he would be in Paradise suggesting that each one of us could likewise enjoy Paradise the day we die. This radical idea eliminates a need for an end time when for each of us the world will end the day we die.

The solemn affirmation of Jesus to the request of entry into the kingdom clearly indicates that the death of Jesus and the coming of the kingdom are events in immediate succession. While the criminal expects life at the Parousia, Jesus grants entry “today.” What Jesus promised is clear. The kingdom is either present or immediately follows the death of Jesus. This final prayer on the cross is a firm declaration that the kingdom of God has been established by the completion of the ministry of Jesus.

Luke did not have to explain the delay of the Parousia. It arrived for the Good Thief on Good Friday when he entered into Paradise. This is my theology of paradise, one in which the delay need not be explained.

Copyrighted 2006


Blogger Michael F. Bird said...

Richard, have you read Hengel's take on Luke and the so-called delay of the Parousia.

11:28 AM

Blogger Kevin Beck said...

Well said. Are you familiar with the workd of Max King and Presence Ministries?

5:22 PM

Blogger Richard H. Anderson said...

michael and kevin, no I have not and I am not familiar with Max King. My views are based on the words of Jesus to the the Good Thief, "Today, you will be with me in Paradise", as recorded by Luke.

8:03 PM


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