The eschatology of the Areopagus Speech (Acts 17:22-31)
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The eschatology of the Areopagus Speech is unique in the New Testament not only in its avoidance of the idea of catastrophe that we find in the synoptic tradition (Mk. 13:5-27; Mt. 23:3—31; Lk. 21:7-28), but also in its adoption of elements from Deutero-Isaiah, according to which the eschaton is not the end of the world, nor the time when God punishes sinners; on the contrary, the Areopagus Speech follows the teaching of Deutero-Isaiah, that by the creation and providence of the universal God the people are attracted to turn to Him. As the eschatology is "based on Deutero-Isaiah, the eschaton is not the time of the return of Christ nor of the coming of the Son of Man, but indicates this present time as the time when God wants all people to repent and turn to Him. It is further shown that the belief in the coming judgement by Jesus is also based on the idea of the Righteous God in Deutero-Isaiah, in which God saves His people through judgement. Since Jesus is confessed as "the Lord", which is the name of God in Deutero-Isaiah, so the judgement by Jesus on the day God has fixed is also to he understood as a saving act in the same way as Deutero-Isaiah understands judgement. To support the above finding, we firstly show that Paul in Acts is the suffering Servant of God, who carries the message of God to the Gentiles. Secondly we show that the missionary speeches in Acts are regarded as the eschatological message of God which the people are to obey as the Israelites obeyed the word of God which the prophets proclaimed. Thirdly, in order to prove that the eschatology of the Areopagus Speech is unique because it is based on Deutero-Isaiah, this thesis examines some contemporary theologians’ approaches to the theology of Luke-Acts, and then demonstrates that the eschatology of the Areopagus Speech lies beyond the scope of their arguments as to whether the coming of the Son of "an is immediate or delayed. The meaning of the eschaton is that God has raised Jesus from the dead, and appointed him as Lord and Christ, and that through him God establishes a new age of salvation.
Thesis, BPhil Bachelor of Philosophy
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