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“Jesus’s life, trials, death for sinners, and especially resurrection by the Spirit have launched the fulfillment of the eschatological already-not yet new-creational reign, bestowed by grace through faith and resulting in worldwide commission to the faithful to advance this new-creational reign and resulting in judgment for the unbelieving, unto the triune God’s glory.”
G. K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, 958.
This session provides a brief overview of the themes, method, and goals of this course. Key themes include inaugurated eschatology, the kingdom of God, and the new creation. The central method will be through consideration of the way the New Testament writers read the Old Testament in light of eschatology and the fulfillment of God’s new covenant promises. It also includes a discussion of key supplemental readings to help with this course.
Rev. Dr. Gregory K. Beale (PhD, Cambridge) holds the J. Gresham Machen Chair of New Testament and is professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary.
Dr. Beale’s academic interests include the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, the book of Revelation, the biblical-theological theme of temple as the dwelling place of God, and the topic of inerrancy, among others. For those who are new to Dr. Beale’s writing and teaching on these interests, he recommends several resources as places to start. On the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament, he would suggest starting with his course A New Testament Biblical Theology, available free online from Westminster, or reading A New Testament Biblical Theology: The Unfolding of the Old Testament in the New. On Revelation, he would recommend his commentary Book of Revelation (New International Greek Text Commentary) or the newly-released Revelation: A Shorter Commentary. On the biblical-theological use of temple, consider “Eden, the Temple, and the Church’s Mission in the New Creation,” or his book on the topic. On inerrancy, he would suggest starting with The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Text?, or his article “Can the Bible be Completely Inspired by God and Yet Still Contain Errors?”.
Reading to see the overall story of the Bible:
For a focus on the Old Testament, see (ordered by increasing levels of difficulty):
For a focus on the New Testament, see:
For a whole-Bible theology books, see:
For special attention to seeing Christ in the Old Testament, note in particular:
This provides an overview of eschatology in the OT, specifically the phrase "latter days." The OT looks forward to the day when some Gentiles will both be judged and some included in the eschatological people of God. It is also looks speaks of coming apostasy within the covenant community before the final and decisive restoration of the creation.
This lecture is an introduction to the application of the "latter days" concept and inaugurated eschatology in the NT. In order to properly understand the fulfillment of OT promises, we must recognize that Jesus, as the true Israel, is the primary recipient of God's end-of-time promises. The coming of the Messiah, the establishment of the new temple, and the coming of the anti-Christ, Beale argues, were all launched in the first century but have a culminating fulfillment yet to come.
This section begins with an overview of the "latter day" concept in Paul's letters. After his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul's entire outlook was "eschatologically charged." In summary, the New Testament affirms that the Messiah has come, God and the Davidic king are reigning now, the tribulation has begun, the restoration of Israel started with the resurrection of Jesus so that the end time promises of the new creation, the giving of the Spirit, the temple, and resurrection are underway. The lecture ends with an introduction to the present reality of the Great Tribulation.
This lecture continues the practical application of the present reality of the Great Tribulation. In short, our battles against sin are not simply private struggles but instead are a part of the great cosmic conflict at the end of the ages. The second part of this section highlights the role of the Son of Man in Daniel 7, who overcomes the beasts to win the kingdom. Beale argues that those who are united to the Son of Man share this kingdom; those who do not make decisions reflecting God and his Word we are identifying with the beasts.
This section wraps up the discussion of Daniel 7, continuing to make practical application. Beale then considers the makes suffering in the NT different from suffering in the OT. Drawing a parallel to the kingdom of God, there is an escalation and intensification of suffering in the last days.
The “Great Tribulation” and the Eschatological Character of Suffering: The Inaugurated End-Time Tribulation as an Ironic Aspect of the Beginning Kingdom
While the New Testament sees a future fulfillment yet to come, the latter days have begun now with the resurrection and reign of Jesus as the Davidic king.
There is a sense in which the tribulation began with the death of the Messiah, Jesus. However, there will also be a final culmination of this period at the end of history.
This section serves an introduction to a biblical theology of the Gospels. Moving back into Genesis, Beale traces the failures of Adam and Eve, Noah, and Israel in the commission that God gave to them. These failures all point forward to the life of Jesus as framed in the Gospels. Each of the Gospels include significant new creational themes and Matthew's Gospel in particular casts Jesus as the new and better Israel.
This lecture continues to trace Jesus’ recapitulation of Israel’s history in the Gospel of Matthew. It considers his baptism and subsequent temptation a parallel to Israel passing through the waters and entering the wilderness. However, in light of Jesus’ victory where Adam, Noah, and Israel failed, his ministry launches the final new creation. His parables are then acted out end-time parables and the Lord’s Prayer is an end-time prayer.
This section continues to focus on the Gospel of Matthew as the primary lens for a biblical theology of the Gospels. By considering the way that Matthew recapitulates the first creation and subsequent "new creations" (the flood, the exodus, and the return from exile), Beale continues to argue that Jesus embodies the history of God's people and is their perfect representative. This is followed by an excursus on Jesus as son of God and son of man. The combination of these roles in Jesus demonstrate both his ontological status as divine who is also the perfect representative of God's human people.
This lecture continues to focus on a biblical theology of the Gospels through the lens of Matthew. The theme of Jesus' role as the Son of God and the Son of Man takes on increasing importance as the kingdom is established. Beale also establishes Jesus' healings indicate that "the kingdom is near" refers to the present reality of the kingdom, not an exclusively future kingdom. Finally, he considers the role of the Sabbath in this time of eschatological fulfillment.
In this section Beale continues to demonstrate the present reality of the kingdom of God in the Gospels, particularly Matthew, through Jesus' victory over demons and unclean spiritual powers. This is further evidence of Jesus' new creational work and his reconstitution of the people God. He then considers Jesus' parables as the way that Jesus introduces his unexpected kingdom. Finally, Beale argues that the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is a final and decisive rejection of Jesus as Israel's Messiah and the one who gives the Spirit.
The first part of this lecture is a short biblical theology of idolatry. Beale demonstrates how Israel's idolatry was transformed but not eradicated in the New Testament. Idol worshippers become like those things they worship: "You resemble what you revere, for restoration or ruin." He then considers the confession of Peter as a prelude to the kingdom coming and the key marks of faith, repentance, and forgiveness for citizens of God's kingdom. The lecture concludes with a consideration of divorce and remarriage in the light of the presence of the new creation.
Introduction: Overview of biblical theology leading up to Jesus
Lecture: Biblical Theology of the Gospels
Jesus sums up everything that Israel was intended to do and be, so that he fulfills God’s covenant purposes for his people and subsequently he and all who are united to him receive all of God’s covenant promises for his people.
This lecture traces the temple theme throughout the Bible. Beale argues that the Garden of Eden was the first temple, noting unique God's presence and other distinctive parallels with the later temple in Israel. Building on this, he observes that Noah's ark, Israel's temple, and the final temple in heaven share similar characteristics. The presence of God is currently uniquely present in the church, which is now the dwelling place of God's presence until the new creation comes in its fullness.
This section compares and contrasts different proposals for the center of biblical theology. Beale's proposal is that the OT is the story of God who progressively and teleologically reestablishes his new creational rule over people by his Word and Spirit through promise, covenant, and judgment for God's glory. The NT adds that this end time rule is established by God's Word, Son, and Spirit through the already and not-yet fulfillment of promise, covenant, and judgment at Christ's death and resurrection for God's glory.
Proposed Centers for Biblical Theology
The temple is the place where God dwells with his people. Therefore, Eden, the ark, the tabernacle, and temple all point to Jesus himself, who is the very presence of God embodied. As he dwells with his church, it then becomes the current manifestation of the temple.
Building on the center of biblical theology in the previous lecture, Beale argues in this section that Paul’s vision of Christ on the Damascus Road was paradigmatic for the rest of his ministry. Paul then stands in the line of the OT prophets who received the revelation of the Lord and Jesus is the Lord himself bringing the covenant promises to fulfilment through his end-time reign. Because of this fulfillment, all who are in Christ share this reign.
In this lecture, Beale continues to address the fundamental way that the Damascus Road Christophany shaped Paul’s life and ministry. At the conversion/call, Paul received a commission that echoes OT prophetic commission. Beale argues that there are allusions to this event throughout Paul’s remaining ministry. The lecture ends with an introduction to Paul’s theology of the image of God, which Beale reads through the lens of subduing and ruling.
The Damascus Road Christophany and Paul’s Conversion/Call
When Paul met Jesus on the Damascus Road, he was both converted from his wrong understanding of the Old Testament and the Messiah and called to proclaim the good news of God’s new creational reign to the Gentiles.
This section continues to explain the nature of the image of God, its meaning, its fulfillment in Christ, and the subsequent ability of believers to reflect God's image because they are united to Christ. The second part of the lecture interacts with early Jewish perspectives through the work of Seyoon Kim to argue that the image of God is closely connected to Adam's representation of the human race.
The section continues to trace the theme of new creation, demonstrating the close relationship between new creation and the reconciliation of God, his people, and his creation. Special attention is given to the fruit of the Spirit as the end time, new-creational gift of God to his people, and the understanding of new creation as being set apart to the new creation.
Part 1: After summarizing and concluding the previous discussion on sanctification and the new creation, this lecture begins considers the role of the law in light of the new creation and its current application to the church. The law is filtered through Christ, and its stipulations that divide Jew from Gentile are no longer in force.
Part 2: This lecture concludes the discussion of the role of the law in the light of the new creation. Beale then begins to considers the connection between justification and the new creation. Justification is a declaration of righteousness applied by grace and accomplished through redemption and propitiation in order to demonstrate God's righteousness, and this redemption is synonymous with the inauguration of the new creation.
Beale argues that the Messiah is the filter for all of the stipulations of the law that divide according to the ethnicity.
This section concludes the previous discussion on the relationship between justification and the new creation, including an argument that a right understanding of this relationship helps us better understanding sanctification. It also helps us better understand Paul's use of "old man" and the "new man" as a reference to eschatological realities. Therefore, our battle is not between the old man and the new man but instead between the old fallen creation and its affects and the new creation. The lecture concludes by introducing a discussion of the church and Israel.
This lecture continues the discussion Part 2: This lecture continues the discussion between Israel and the Church. In a survey of the Gospels and Paul's letters, Beale argues that the Abrahamic promises are fulfilled in the new community of the new creation, the Church. The nation Israel failed to fulfill her corporate priesthood by representing God to the nations; this role is fulfilled in Christ and his Church. Moreover, the gift of the Holy Spirit is the guarantee or down payment of Israel's end-time promises.
This lecture continues the discussion of the end-time gift of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3. The mystery here is a reference to the role of the Gentiles as full-fledged people of God who have the Spirit without becoming citizens of Israel. Beale gives extended attention to debated NT texts that indicate the role of the Gentiles as members of God's new covenant community. In particular, he argues that Romans 11:26 refers to the salvation of Jews and Gentiles together (and not a future salvation of ethnic Israel). He then begins to discuss the eschatological role of the Holy Spirit.
Part 2: This section continues the discussion of the role of the Spirit in the new creation, giving attention to the fulfillment of Joel 2 in Acts 2 as a demonstration of this reality. The lecture concludes with a reflection on the role of marriage as a picture of the relationship between Christ and the Church, followed by brief comments on baptism and the Sabbath in light of the new creation.
The Eschatological Dimension of Marriage