« Matthew 16:27-28 - NOT About AD70Hyper Preterism: Dangerous.. or Just Wrong ? »

The Lord Jesus Christ : Telos and Eschaton

04/18/08


The Lord Jesus Christ
Both Telos and Eschaton

Eschatology is a theological term used to describe the study of consummation. Others refer to this area of study as being about "final" or "last things." Two primary Greek root words used in reference to eschatology are eschaton ("last" - Strong's 2078) and telos ("end" / "ending" - Strong's 5056).

Some assume that "the end" that is the focus of eschatology is the end of the world. Hyper Preterists assume that "the end" that is the focus of eschatology is the end of the Mosaic sacrificial system in the year 70. However, recognizing the consummation motif utilized by these words (as well as by sunteleia and others), we can see that these references do not look forward to the chronological end, but look back to the cross as the accomplishment.

Follow up:

Consider Hebrews 9:26:

"For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."

Reading the KJV above, we may have a tendency to read the future into the passage ; however, the NASB gives a better sense of what the Greek is actually conveying:

"Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself."

The cross of Christ is the apex of all history, and is the focal point for the consummation of the ages. The author of Hebrews is not talking about the future (AD70) in this passage ; rather, he is pointing to the past (AD30) and the sacrificially shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The Word of God more explicitly declares this, in that Jesus Christ Himself and His work in us is the "end" (the "telos" and the "eschaton") to which all prophecy ultimately points.

Perhaps the best verse which declares this truth directly is one of those at the very climax of the Bible, in the final chapter of the Apocalypse:

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

In this passage, the Lord Jesus personally identifies himself as the end (telos) and the last (eschatos goal of all things). As a third witness in one verse, He declares Himself to be the Omega .. which is the name of the the final letter of the Greek alphabet. (In the Greek texts, the singular Greek letter is used, not the spelled out form.)

The point being that "in Christ" are fulfilled all the blessings of God to His people. And in the person and work of Jesus are fulfilled all of the judgments upon His enemies, as well as the redemptive acts for His saints. Any other judgments (such as the falls of Jerusalem) point to this individual work of Jesus (cf. Heb. 9:27). There is nothing in the Word which is not pointing to Jesus Christ's work in the natural and spiritual worlds. Paul declares as much in II Corinthians 1:

2 Cor. 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (Weymouth: For all the promises of God, whatever their number, have their confirmation in Him)

To declare otherwise (i.e. looking in the natural realm for a greater telos and eschaton) is to completely miss the entire message of the Word, as well as the redemption revealed consistently throughout history past, present and future ("which is, and which was, and which is to come"). Jesus Christ is everything! And EVERYTHING points to Him.

To take this glory and to give it to another... including to some singular 24-hour day in history -- be it in the past or the future -- it to grossly pervert the Word. This mistake misses the riches of the work He is doing -- making the old new even now. The Bible doesn't say that old is made new on any particular "last day" of history, but that we transition from old to new to the uttermost "in Him."

2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This passage is echoed by the Apostle John at the climax of the Word of God, in the next to last chapter of the Apocalypse -- in a passage that is rightly considered by most to be the ultimate moment of prophetic consummation:

Rev. 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (telos).

In the future, I will post on how this identification of Jesus as Telos and Eschaton figures into passages which speak of the "last days," "latter times," "at that day," "at that time," "unto the end" -- as well as many other words and phrases which are colored by this truth.

Below are Scriptures which identify Jesus Christ as the "telos" and the "eschaton."

Jesus is the Telos

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish (teleioo) his work.

John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish (teleioo), the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished (teleioo)the work which thou gavest me to do.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled (teleioo), saith, I thirst.

Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end (telos) of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher (teleiotes) of our faith.

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending (telos), saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Revelation 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (telos). I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (telos), the first and the last (eschatos.

Jesus is the Eschaton

Mark 12:6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last (eschatos) unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.

John 11:24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last (eschatos) day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last (eschatos) Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last (eschatos): and, What thou seest, write in a book..

Revelation 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last (eschatos)

Revelation 2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last (eschatos), which was dead, and is alive;

Revelation 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (telos), the first and the last (eschatos).

** That is Jesus declaring Himself to be the Telos and the Eschaton seven times in the climactic book of the Bible!

Below will be a growing collection of passages which indirectly teach the same thing, but using different language:

Jesus is the Fulfillment of All Prophecy

2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. (Weymouth: For all the promises of God, whatever their number, have their confirmation in Him)

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

From this point on, the posts will attempt to re-examine the Hyper Preterist "time texts" in light of the fact that the cross of Christ is the focal point for consummation, and not AD70. This is not to say that AD70 is meaningless. The relationship of AD70 to AD30 is akin to Peter's explanation about baptism:

I Peter 3:21 "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"