Biblical Theology: Cruciform Apocalypticism

Notes Outline


A. Linear History

Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands… 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation… 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead. (NASB Acts 17:23-31)


A. The Two Ages

1. This Age vs. the Age to Come

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come36 I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. (NIV Matthew 12:32-36)

The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection. (ESV Luke 20:34-36)

God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. (NRSV Ephesians 1:20-21)

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (NKJV 1 Timothy 6:17-19)

2. “Present Age,” “This World,” “This Body,” “This Life,” Etc.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV Romans 8:18)

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. (ESV Galatians 1:3-5)

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (NIV 2 Corinthians 4:4)

It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ… (NIV Titus 2:12-13)

But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. (ESV Luke 21:34)

Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. (ESV John 12:25)

Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! (ESV 1 Corinthians 6:3)

If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. (ESV 1 Corinthians 15:19)

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (NIV 1 Tim. 4:8)

A. Eternity: The “Unending Ages”[1]

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats… 46 Then they will go away to eternal [Gk. aiōnios] punishment, but the righteous to eternal [Gk. aiōnios] life. (NIV Matthew 25:31-46)

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal [Gk. aiōnios] glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal [Gk. aiōnios]. (NIV 2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity [Gk. aion]. Amen. (ESV 2 Peter 3:17-18)


[1] “The word used to express eternity, αἰών (‘age’), is the same word that is also applied to a limited division of time; otherwise expressed, between what we call eternity and what we call time, that is between everlasting continuing time and limited time, the New Testament makes absolutely no difference in terminology. Eternity is the endless succession of the ages (αἰώνες).” (Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Conception of Time and History [Westminster, 1950], 62)


A. The Day of the Lord (cf. Is. 13:6, 9; Ez. 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Am. 5:18; Ob. 1:15; Zeph. 1:7, 14; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5; Mt. 7:22; 26:29; Lk. 10:12; 21:34; Jn. 6:39f, 44, 54; 11:24; 12:48; Acts 2:20; Rom. 2:16; 13:12; 1 Cor. 1:8; 3:13; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Eph. 4:30; Phil. 1:6, 10; 2:16; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2:3; 2 Tim. 1:12, 18; 4:8; Heb. 10:25; 1 Pe. 2:12; 2 Pe. 1:19; 3:10, 18; Rev. 16:14)

Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. 7 Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man’s heart will melt… 9 See, the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. 10 The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. 11 I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless… 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger. (NIV Isaiah 13:6-13)

See, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch… 5 Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. (NRSV Malachi 4:1-5)



Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV 1 Corinthians 1:7-8)

If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. (NIV 1 Corinthians 3:12-13)

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy… 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV Philippians 1:4-6)

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word… 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (NIV 2 Timothy 4:1-8)

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (NIV Hebrews 10:25)

But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men… 10 the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up… 13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (NASB 2 Peter 3:7-13)

B. The Day of Wrath (cf. Ps. 2:5; 21:9; 79:6; 110:5; Prov. 11:4; Is. 13:9, 13; 30:30; 34:2; 63:6; 66:15; Lam. 1:12; 2:22; Hab. 3:12; Mic. 5:15; Zeph. 1:15, 18; 2:2f; Mt. 3:7; Lk. 3:7; Rom. 2:5-8; 5:9; Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:16; 5:9; Rev. 6:17; 11:18; 16:14; 19:15)

The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. (NIV Psalm 110:5-6)

The great day of the LORD is near— near and coming quickly… 15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin… 18 Neither their silver nor their gold will be able to save them on the day of the LORD’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth. (NIV Zephaniah 1:14-18)

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. (NIV Romans 2:5)

Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand? (ESV Revelation 6:16-17)

C. The Day of Judgment (cf. Ps. 9:19; 82:8; 83:18; 96:10ff; 98:9; 110:6; Is. 10:3; 26:9f; 41:1; 66:16; Jer. 50:27; Joel 3:2, 12; Mt. 10:15; 11:22, 24; 12:36, 41f; Lk. 10:14; 11:31f; Acts 24:25; Rom. 2:16; Heb. 6:2; 9:27; 1 Pe. 2:12; 2 Pe. 2:4, 9; 3:7; 1 Jn. 4:17; Jude 1:6, 15; Rev. 11:8)

The earth reels like a drunkard, it sways like a hut in the wind; so heavy upon it is the guilt of its rebellion that it falls– never to rise again. 21 In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. 22 They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. 23 The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously. (NIV Isaiah 24:20-23)

The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD3:2 I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them12 Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. (NIV Joel 2:31-3:12)

But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. (NIV Matthew 12:36)

And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home– these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. (NIV Jude 1:6)

D. The Day of Recompense (cf. Ps. 28:4; 94:2; 103:10; 137:8; Is. 3:11; 34:8; 35:4; 59:18; 61:2; 63:4; 66:6; Jer. 46:10; 51:6; Lam. 3:64; Joel 3:7; Ob. 1:15; Mt. 12:36; 16:27; Lk. 16:2; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:6; 12:19; 14:12; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 4:12; 10:30; 1 Pe. 1:17; 4:5; 2 Pe. 2:13; Rev. 2:23; 20:12f; 22:12)

Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” (NIV Isaiah 35:3-4)

The LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice… 17 He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head; he put on the garments of vengeance and wrapped himself in zeal as in a cloak. 18 According to what they have done, so will he repay wrath to his enemies and retribution to his foes; he will repay the islands their due. (NIV Isaiah 59:15-18)

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (ESV Matthew 16:27)

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you 7 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. (NIV 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)

Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (ESV Revelation 22:12-13)


A. The Nature and Character of God

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. 21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. (NIV Colossians 1:19-23)

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NIV Philippians 2:5-11)

But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. (ESV 1 Corinthians 1:27-29)

B. The Demonstration of Love and Mercy

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! (NIV Romans 5:6-9)

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV 1 John 4:9-10)


C. Mercy as the Standard of This Age

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. (NIV 1 Timothy 1:15-16)

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (ESV Titus 3:3-7)

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous… 25 Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in30 Just as you were at one time disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may now receive mercy. 32 For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. (ESV Romans 11:11-32)

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him… 10:12 But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. 13 Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, 14 because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (NIV Hebrews 9:27-10:14)

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV 2 Peter 3:7-9)