Below are excerpts from Dr. McKinney’s doctoral Thesis .. ‘The Apocalyptic Ministry of Jesus Christ’.
The Apocalyptic Prophet
The Apocalyptic Prophet … The “revealing”.
The term “apocalypticism” comes from the Greek word apocalypses, which means a “revealing” or an “unveiling”.
The only way to know what Jesus himself actually taught is through the sources that survive from antiquity. Principally, these sources are our four Gospels. These books must be examined critically. Historians and religious scholars give preference to sources that are closest to the times of the events that they narrate. In the case of Jesus there is a clear and consistent trend when it comes to the apocalyptic material. Our earliest sources of evidence are the Gospel’s of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. All three of these Gospel’s portray Jesus apocalyptically. Our later sources, John and Thomas, do not.
In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus says that the Son of Man will come like the lightning, and light up the sky from one end to the other. Mark says that the Son of Man is soon coming in judgement on the evil forces of Earth, and people need to repent in preparation. This is what we find in our earliest sources. What is striking is that most of the clearly apocalyptic traditions in these sources appear to be toned down as we move further away from Jesus life through the end of the first century.
Apocalyptic tradition was toned down toward the middle and later part of the first century. To see an example of this downsizing of apocalyptic traditions we only need to compare Jesus words as recorded in Mark, to the same phrase recorded in Luke’s Gospel. Even though Mark is the second book of the New Testament it was the first Gospel to be written. By the time the Gospel of Luke was written there was a softening of the emphases on earlier apocalyptic traditions
~~ UntilHeReturns ~~
The Kingdom of Heaven
The Kingdom of Heaven … What did Jesus teach?
Was Jesus a Apocalypticist? What did he teach about the ‘End Times’.
On Saturday afternoon, March 11, Jesus preached his last sermon at Pella. His teachings that afternoon included a complete discussion on the Kingdom of Heaven. He was aware of the confusion that existed about the meaning of the term ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. He understood the religious leaders and the people were expecting a earthly kingdom with a temporal king and a government that would rid them from the bondage of Roman rule and bring a new world of prosperity to all Israel.
Given the fact that statements pertaining to the kingdom are found more than one hundred times in the Synoptic Gospels it can be determined that one of the specific elements of the historical mission on Jesus was to prepare the people for the coming of the Kingdom of God. But Jesus stated numerous times that the timing of when the Kingdom would appear would be determined by his Father, not him. Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom, not the imminent end of the present age.
Before the advent of Jesus on earth, the Jews confused the ideas of the kingdom into their apocalyptic concept of the Messiah’s appearance. The people looked for the Messiah to establish the eternal age of God’s rule here on earth. They were looking for the new world where all would live in peace and worship Yahweh. Was Jesus teaching this event was imminent and he expects the cataclysmic end of the world. Or was he planting the image that when the current age ends, the expected Kingdom and mankind’s end are imminent and will come at the twinkling of an eye.
We cannot escape history any more than we can escape the air we breathe. The New Testament traces Jesus ministry from his very first words, to his last. The historical records bare the truth of Jesus apocalyptic ministry. Jesus begins his ministry teaching about the Kingdom of God and continued throughout his entire ministry, death and beyond.
The ministry of Jesus Christ was apocalyptic and he carried his message to the minds and hearts of his First Century listeners so their witness would be recorded and passed down through the ages until the end of the Church Age. There is no doubt that the main theme in Jesus teachings and mission was to prepare his hearers for the coming Kingdom, but more important, to prepare his children for the end of the current age. For at days end of the last day of the Church Age, times up.
We have had 2000 years to prepare. Are we out of time?