In my previous posts I’ve given some of the arguments for thinking Jesus delivered an apocalyptic message that the end was coming soon with a divine intervention in which all the forces of evil would be destroyed and all people judged. I’ve actually saved what I consider to be the strongest argument for last, a final coup d’grâce. The argument is both simple and compelling. I wish I had thought of it myself.
In a nutshell, the argument is that we know beyond any reasonable doubt what happened at the very beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and we know what happened in its aftermath. The continuity between the two is Jesus’ public ministry itself. This ministry began on a decidedly apocalyptic note; its aftermath continued apocalyptically. Since Jesus is the link between the two, his message and mission, his words and deeds, must also have been apocalyptic. That is to say, the beginning and end are the keys to the middle.
Here is how I explain it