The synoptic teaching deals with the Messianic kingdom. For Jesus the central point of interest certainly lay in this kingdom as eseen-3. New tially supernatural and essentially Testament future. Just what was the precise Teaching. relation between these two aspects in his own consciousness is hard to as certain. He at any rate never surrendered him self to the enthusiastic extravagances of contem porary apocalyptic hope; he laid sovereign stress on the ethical and spiritual principles of his king dom. His teaching concerning the kingdom centers in the parusia, the resurrection, and the judgment. In the parusia, in which naturally his own resurrection is presupposed, his advent was to be sudden and unexpected, although no one knew the exact hour, not even the Son, but the Father alone. At one time he appears to look for his return shortly, again only after long delay. Then follows the resurrection through which the right eous enter the Messianic kingdom. The resurrec tion of the wicked is given as a part of the teaching of Jesus, but in only two passages (
Day of The Lord) in the Old Testament (see
now as present and continuous;
the principle of it is the light one has received, and
one's humane or inhumane treatment of others in
whom Christ is immanent. Eternal felicity and
communion with God are assured to his followers
in the future kingdom. Paul's ddctrine of the
future, which bears many traces of his former
Pharisaic beliefs, with reminders of the Book of
Daniel (chap. vii.), centers in the second advent
Eschatological hopes have profoundly affected the Christian Church in nearly all periods of her history. As 8chleiermacher pointed
;. Signifi- out, these hopes are a witness to the cance of Es-principle of teleology implanted in thechatology. nature of man; the influence of this has been to bind men to an ultimately spiritual interpretation of human life and of the world as subordinate to it. Immanent in the Chris tian hope itself is the indestructible pledge of its complete realization. The Scriptures had em phasized one point of greatest significance: the essential unity of the possession and the fulfilment of redemption. So far as the ethical content of redemption was progressively apprehended, the
necessity that it be ethically (historically) rather than apocalyptically (magically) realized compelled a new point of view for the whole subject. And if now one still uses the apocalyptic phraseology of the Scriptures, it will be permitted only when one has replaced its external cosmological reference with an ethical and spiritual content. In no case may form and content be identified. That this principle has been violated, the history of the belief will show. In Christian belief, the chief eschatological events are: the second coming, the resurrection, and the final judgment.
The second coming has been conceived of under two general forms: either a visible, glorious appearing of Christ at a moment fixed in the g. The divine purpose, or a silent, gradualSecond penetration of all social forces by his Coming. spirit, to be either perpetual or con tinued until the consummation. There will thus be such a disclosure of Christ as will render the divinity of his kingdom unmistakable; this will meet, with either a completely sympathetic or partly hostile reception. Preceding or associated with the advent have been several distinctive features. (1) The millennium (see Millennium, Millenarianism). The Chiliastic hopes of the early Chris tians, based on
of the Fathers was the abode of the Old Testament
saints to whom Christ after his death and before his
ascension appeared for their liberation when he took
them with himself in his ascent to heaven (Pa. xvi.
According to Schleiermacher, since Christianity is a historical religion and its progress is historically conditioned, those who die without having been reached by the divine call, will, in a future existence, become subjects of a divine influence which will create for them the possibility of entering the society of the redeemed.
Most of the early Christians held to a resurrection of the same bodies that died--"the flesh," "this flesh "--in every respect identical with the earthly body. Origen sought to give the doctrine an idealistic interpretation; others would relieve it of its grosser features; while the Gnostics, following the Greek conception of matter in relation to spirit, denied the physical resurrection. The early Protestant view was that the same body laid down at death shall be raised, with the same form as the earthly body and reunited to the soul, so as to be glorious, powerful, spiritual, celestial--the same body but of different quality. Two other conceptions of the resurrection have been suggested. One, that this occurs for each one at death when he enters at once into another sphere of life; the other, that it is a resurrection from the dead, that it therefore stands for the ethical completion of life in union with Christ, uninterrupted by death, and after death carried to perfection. (See Heaven.)
In the early Church judgment was presented in many forms. The Son or the Father was the judge. Some souls--those, e.g., of martyrs-- went at once to the felicity of heaven (Tertullian and Gregory Nazianzen); the Gnostics affirmed this only of the most spiritual persons. The judgment was to be accompanied by alarming physical signs together with a conflagration, in which the world shall be destroyed. The punishment of hell was depicted in bold and sensuous imagery-some regarding the fire as material (Lactantius, De SPedachdis). Others conceived of punishment as a sense of separation from God. Restorationism was advocated by Origen, but was overcome until long afterward, the opposite view being general-the eternal duration of punishment. By the scholastics heaven was divided into the firmament of the visible heaven, the spiritual heaven as the abode of saints and angels, and the intellectual heaven as the sphere of the beatific vision. Hell was also partitioned off: the place of devils and the damned; and the various subterranean regions, as Purgatory, Limbos Infantum, and Limbos Patrum. Here and there a voice was heard in favor of Origen's view, but the prevailing doctrine was that of unrelieved eternity of penalty for those dying in mortal sin (cf. Dente's inscription over the gate of hell; "Leave all hope, all who enter," Inferno, canto iii., v. 9). Origen's conception woke to life again in John Scotus Erigena. In the sixteenth century the question suggested by some of the Fathers (Justin, Tatian), whether the soul was naturally mortal or immortal, was once more rained in connection with the doctrine of punishment. Protestant writers, especially those of mystical temperament, pictured the joys of heaven and the pains of the lost with elaborate and either glowing or harrowing particulars of time and place and inner experience, addressed to the feverish imagination and appealing to hope or fear. In more recent times the entire question of eschatology has entered upon a further development. In addition to the doctrine of the endless punishment of those who die impenitent, there are offered two other solutions of this prob- lem which take their rise in the Scriptures, having already appeared in both ancient and modern thought-universal restoration (see Urrlvraserlsz's) and conditional immortality (see Annihilation lanrt). The theory of evolution has set all former questions in a new light and demanded a reconsideration of them in the light of its principle. In addition to this, the doctrine of universal restoration grounds its hope on the absoluteness of God, the indefeasible continuity of grace, and the indestructible confidence that finally the better self in every man will yield to the divine persuasion and God will succeed in his eternal purpose of redemption. Conditional immortality argues either from an annihilating fiat of God at the judgment or from the well-known biological law that function determines organism. Since already many living forms which once flourished on the earth, having gradually ceased to adapt themselves to their environment, have perished, the same fate will overtake all souls who refuse response to the ethical and spiritual environment of life. Thus man is "immortable" (S. D. McConnell, Evolution of Immor tality, New York, 1901).
Bibliography: The titles of the older literature, covering the non-Christian religions, are collected in E. Abbot's Literature of the Doctrine of a Future Life (appended to W. R. Alger, Dealing of the Soul; Critical Hist. of the Doctrine of a Future Life, Boston, many editions, e.g., 1880, reprinted separately), New York, 1871. The reader should consult the literature under the articles mentioned in the text-e.g., A Annihilationism; Future punishment; Hades; Immortality; Judgment; Millennium, Millenarianism; Probation, Future. The literature on the eschatology of non-Christian religions should be sought under the articles on those faiths and under Comparative Religion. The most important literature on the Christian doctrine is mentioned in the text. Con sult further: F. Richter, Die Lehre con den Zetzten Dingen, 2 vols., Breslau, 1843-44; S. Lee, Eaclwtology, Boston, 1858; W. F15;ke. Die lettten Dinpe, Rostock, 1868; 8. Davidson, Doctrine of Last Things Contained in the N. T., London, 1882 (affirms that no consistent doctrine is taught in the N. T.); sections 151-154 of Dorner'e " System of Christian Doctrine " is translated by N. Smyth in Dorner on the Future State, New York 1883; H. Karsten, Die Letzten Dinpe, Hamburg, 1885; C. E. Luthardt, Die Lehra eon den letzten Dingen, Leipsic, 1885; F. Kliefoth, Christ liche Eschatologie, 1887 ; J. A. Spencer, Five Last Things, New York, 1887; J. M. Greens, The Blessed Dead, Boston, 1888; J. Fyfe, The Hereafter, Edinburgh 1890; F. G. Hibbard, Eschatology, New York, 1890 (deals with the doctrine as set forth in the Book of Revelation); H. M. Luekoek, After Death, London, 1890; J. Strong, The Doo trine of a Future Life, New York 1891; J. Croce, Coming Eaclaatologiral Events as Repealed in Holy Writ, London, 1893: K. Rohr, Die kteten Dinpe, Basel, 1895; G. S. Bar rett, The Intermediate State and the Last Things, London, 1898; 8. D. F. Sslmond, Christian Doctrine of Immortality, Edinburgh, 1898; J. T. Beck, Die Yollendung des Reichsa (iottes, Gütersloh, 1897; R. H. Charles, Critical Hist. of as Doctrine of a Future Life, London, 1899 (for Jewish and early Christian eschatology); W. B. Brown, Problem of Final Destiny, New York, 1900; M. v. Coehem, The Pow Lad Things, ib. 1900; J. Make, Life Everlasting, Boston, 1901; G. Delanne, Evidences for a Future Life, New York, 1904; H. A. A. Kennedy, Bt. Paul's Conceptions of the Last Things, ib. 1904; C. A. Beckwith, Realities of Chris tian Theology, Boston, 1908; L Elbe, Future Life do the Light of Ancient and Modern Science, Chicago, 1908;
G. T. Feehner. On Life after Death, ib. 1908; L. A. Muirhead, The Eedeatology of Jesus, Lodon, 1908: 8. Baring_ Gould, The Restitution q/ AR Things, New York, 1907. Besides these works, the reader may consult also the various treatises on systematic theology, more or lees space being always devoted to the subject; the works on the history of doctrine will guide to the historical study of the topic.
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