Over the years scholars have adduced lots of reasons for thinking that Jesus – like many others in his day – was a Jewish apocalypticist, one who thought that the world was controlled by forces of evil but that God was very soon going to intervene to overthrow everything and everyone opposed to him in order to set up a good kingdom here on earth. As I pointed out in my previous post, this is the view found in Jesus’ teachings in Mark (e.g., ch. 13), in Q (the source used by Matthew and Luke for many of their sayings), in M (Matthew’s special source[s]), and in L (Luke’s special source[s]).
There is another very good argument for thinking that Jesus must have subscribed to some kind of apocalyptic view (I’ll lay out what his exact views apparently were in a future post). In fact, this argument is so good that I wish I had thought of it myself! But alas, credit goes to others. The argument, as I usually phrase it, is that “the beginning and the end are the keys to the middle.”
Here’s the argument. We know with relative certainty…
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