Q&A: Inaugurated Eschatology

Inaugurated Eschatology

What is inaugurated eschatology?

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Answer

Inaugurated eschatology is the belief that God's kingdom has been inaugurated in the first coming of Jesus Christ, but has not yet been fully consummated or realized, and won't be until his second coming to bring in the eternal state. We look at biblical texts like Luke 17:20, 21 to get at the "already" side of this inauguration. Jesus says that he has brought the kingdom of God into our midst, or he has brought it near. So, it's already here. In his person and ministry and speech, the kingdom of God has come, and this explains certain realities in the New Testament such as its appeal to Old Testament types and promises already being fulfilled in some sense, the New Testament frequently speaking of us being in the "last days," and so forth. These realities suggest that the kingdom of God is already inaugurated. But there's another set of texts that suggest that it's not yet fully consummated. Jesus tells us in the Lord's Prayer to pray, "Thy kingdom come" and gives us a sense of what it would mean for that kingdom to come when he has us pray, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." That's something we pray for because it's not yet here. Hebrews, quoting a Psalm, acknowledges we do not yet see all things subjected under his feet. That's something we still wait for when Jesus will deliver the kingdom over to God the Father and God will be all in all. That's not yet fully the case. And so, inaugurated eschatology gets at the two-sidedness of this reality of the already and the not yet… In the meantime, the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit has been poured out upon us as a guarantee of our future hope being fully realized and as an enablement for us to live between the times in the here and now, between Christ's first and second comings.

Answer by Dr. Daniel Treier