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The early church's near expectation of the Parousia

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Chapter Summary

The perspective of 1 Thess. 4, I3f. (cf. 1 Cor. IS, SI) is that of watchful expectancy, not of certainty that the Parousia will not occur for centuries or millennia. The understanding of the person and work of Jesus Christ, and the understanding of the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, are the basis of the early church's insistence upon the nearness of the Parousia. In post-New Testament times (up to, and including, the present) such errors continue, often involving a temporal delimitation of the end. But the New Testament writers maintain a thoroughly Christological eschatology and therefore consistently oppose such misunderstandings. It only remains now to pose the question whether this Christological eschatology was maintained by the New Testament writers on their own initiative, or whether they have followed (in principle at least) Jesus' own understanding and teaching.

Keywords: Christological eschatology; early church; Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ; New Testament; Parousia

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