Question: "What is inaugurated eschatology?"
Answer: Inaugurated eschatology is a certain scheme of eschatology—the study of the latter days or the end times. Inaugurated eschatology basically says that the kingdom of God was begun at the first coming of Jesus and is now here, but it is not yet fully consummated because that does not occur until His second coming. Inaugurated eschatology is also sometimes referred to as a “partially realized eschatology.”
Basically, inaugurated eschatology is the belief that the end times (or latter days) were inaugurated at the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. With the Kingdom of God being inaugurated by Jesus, it has not only a present component, but also a future one. It is sometimes referred to as “already and not yet,” and basically contends that the end is already here, but it has yet to be consummated.
For example, Christians await the final resurrection where they will receive new bodies, yet in a sense, believers are already “raised with Christ” (Colossians 3:1). Or, as believers await the final judgment, in a sense they have already passed through it, for “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1) for believers that are justified by faith in Christ (Romans 3:21-36). What this tension means for Christians is that we faithfully wait for the future day of the Lord when we will dwell with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth (2 Peter 3:10-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).
Scripturally, we see this tension as well. With the coming of Christ, the end has come, and through the gospel of Christ we now receive the promised blessings. At the same time, the consummation of the Kingdom is still in the future awaiting those who follow Christ into heaven and all its glory. It’s only later, in the future, that the ultimate consummation will be fully realized.
Christ taught that as His followers we will live under the shadow of His cross (Matthew 16:24-25). We’re also taught that the promised eschatological blessings are ours not by sight, but by faith (Romans 8:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:7). Because we follow Jesus, we will be hated, we will be persecuted, and we will suffer. But His promises enable us to overcome such persecution and suffering and enable us to endure, to look forward to that future consummation.
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