I am not going to belabor the point much longer, that Jesus is best understood as a Jewish apocalypticist who anticipated that God was soon to enter into history to destroy the forces of evil and bring in his good kingdom; he was not a lestes, one who supported a military uprising against the Roman forces.  Rather than subscribing to the idea of military violence, Jesus believed that the Son of Man was coming in judgment and that he would destroy all that was aligned against God.   I’ll be giving more evidence for why Jesus was not a lestes later.  For now, it is enough to stress that an alternative understanding accounts much better for the evidence that survives. I have already given fairly compelling reasons for thinking that Jesus was an apocalypticist.  In this post I’ll give another kind of argument, which to me has always seemed like a slam dunk. 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. I lay out the argument in the following terms in my book on Jesus, modified a bit for this post.


2020-04-03T17:36:52-04:00December 31st, 2013|Historical Jesus|

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