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Imagining the Apocalypse. The genre of apocalypse Influential genre c.250BC – 200AD –Maccabees Different literary forms –Visionary experiences –Symbolism.

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Presentation on theme: "Imagining the Apocalypse. The genre of apocalypse Influential genre c.250BC – 200AD –Maccabees Different literary forms –Visionary experiences –Symbolism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Imagining the Apocalypse

2 The genre of apocalypse Influential genre c.250BC – 200AD –Maccabees Different literary forms –Visionary experiences –Symbolism –Political application Can be ‘vertical’ (gnostic) Or ‘horizontal’ (historical)

3 Distinct themes History coming to an end Cosmic cataclysm Consummation and re-creation Roots in prophecy

4 Tom Wright “Within the mainline Jewish writings of this period, covering a wide range of styles, genres, political persuasions and theological perspectives, there is virtually no evidence that Jews were expecting the end of the space-time universe. There is abundant evidence that they knew a good metaphor when they saw one, and used cosmic imagery to bring out the full theological significance of cataclysmic socio-political events.”

5 Contemporary parallels TEOTWAWKI Peak Oil Global Warming Grey goo (nanotechnology) Y2K etc Rooted in hatred of present system –(We know that there is something wrong)

6 Common shape The world is wicked God’s wrath will destroy the world The righteous will be redeemed The wicked will be punished A new creation EG Left Behind sequence

7 But is this Christianity? "The commonly held understanding of hell remains trapped within the apocalyptic imagination, that is, it is the result of a violent separation between the good and the evil worked by a vengeful god. It seems to me that if hell is understood thus, we have quite simply not understood the Christian faith..." (James Alison, Living in the End Times)

8 Last time we met was a low-lit room We were as close together as a bride and groom We ate the food, we drank the wine Everybody having a good time Except you… You were talking about the end of the world

9 What is Jesus’ perspective? Apocalyptic was popular at the time Runs to dualisms –Between now and the future –Between the righteous and the damned –Between the realm of heaven and the realm of earth Jesus undermines these dualisms

10 Apocalypse and wrath From apocalyptic to eschatology Living in the end-times Like a thief in the night ‘realised eschatology’ Living in the Kingdom

11 Imagining a different future

12 Nature of Christian imagination Temptation to (gnostic) apocalypse Desire for judgement “Judge not… Be perfect…” Settled acceptance of Father’s will Obedience in the interim An imagination shaped by Christ

13 The nature of Christian hope That the kingdom has begun (the evangel) The kingdom is entering in to the world God is in charge His purposes will be accomplished We are resident aliens – subjects of another kingdom A decision, not a feeling

14 John

15 A Christian imagination Not about wrath but love The revelation is of truth –“It doesn’t have to be this way” –Truth sets us free –Profoundly political in implication It is breaking in now We can share in it now Metanoia

16 A pause.. The time has come. The Kingdom of God is near. Repent, and believe the Good News!

17 Half-time review Jeremiah as oracle for today World problems Theological resources –1. Idolatry as blindness –2. Wrath as consequence –3. Apocalypse as truth and life

18 In the second half Green Bible – God’s commands about living in the world The Second commandment – God’s command about human relations Islam, Terrorism etc – God’s commands about foreign relations The New Covenant – God’s commands about right worship

19 The final run Contention – the Church’s responsibility for failure Discipleship – the Church’s core mission Let us be Human - summary


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