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ThinkTank Assignment: Eschatology – the doctrine of end times or last things. The Church has a Mission Versus The Mission has a Church.

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thinktank assignment eschatology the doctrine of end times or last things
ThinkTank Assignment:

Eschatology – the doctrine of end times or last things

the church has a mission versus the mission has a church
The Church has a Mission


The Mission has a Church


The point of this lesson is to connect our Eschatology with the practical mission of the church and God’s program so that we can align our priorities as a church with what God is doing.

a new testament biblical theology by g k beale baker december 1 st 2011
A New Testament Biblical Theology

by G. K. Beale, Baker, December 1st, 2011



The missional church has often been accused of having a half-baked theology. Of course this is not true given that the missional conversation has been going on for 60 years.


Beale’s new New Testament Biblical Theology is another well-written expression of the missional theology that Gospel Life Church was built on. Gospel Life Church has always sought to base its practice on a deep understanding of the Bible and the Church’s place in the mission of God.


The Story of the Eden Sanctuary, Israel’s Temple, and Christ and the Church as the Ongoing Transformed Eschatological Temple of the Spirit in the New-Creational Kingdom


Temple Theology as a way to put your Bible together:


Noah & the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc.)

Israel’s Tabernacle (tent) and Temple

Jesus and the Church

New Jerusalem

“Temple” is defined as a building for religious practice but the Biblical idea of temple would be a place of God’s presence.

1. The temple later in the OT was the unique place of God’s presence, where Israel had to go to experience that presence. Israel’s temple was the place where the priest experienced God’s unique presence, and Eden was the place where Adam walked and talked with God.


Compare Genesis 3:8

 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

with 2 Samuel 6:6

I have not dwelt in a house from the day I brought the Israelites up out of Egypt to this day. I have been moving from place to place with a tent as my dwelling.


Leviticus 26:12

I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.

Deuteronomy 23:14

For the LORD your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.

Same Hebrew verb form, Hithpael, used in each of these texts.


2.Genesis 2:15 says God placed Adam in the garden to “cultivate it and to keep it” or “serve and guard it.”

When we see these words occur together later in the OT they most often refer to priests who serve God in the temple and guard the temple from unclean things entering it.


Numbers 3:7-8

7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle.


Numbers 8:25-2625 but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the tent of meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites.”


Nehemiah 12:45

They performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did also the musicians and gatekeepers, according to the commands of David and his son Solomon.


This use of language serves to import the idea of Eden and God’s presence into the Mosaic Temple structure.

So we should not merely see forgiveness of sin happening in the Israelite’s temple but rather that forgiveness of sins was necessary for the bigger goal of God’s presence returning to the earth through Israel after God’s departure after the fall of Adam.


Beale further contends that Adam also is portrayed as wearing priestly attire in Ezekiel 28:14 while some identify this figure as Satan (p. 618).


Ezekiel 28:13-14

13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.


The jewels that are said to be his “covering” in Ezekiel 28:13 are uniquely listed in Exodus 28:17-21, which describes the jewels on the ephod of Israel’s high priest, who is a human and not an angel.


Exodus 28:17-21

17 Then mount four rows of precious stones on it. The first row shall be carnelian, chrysolite and beryl; 18 the second row shall be turquoise, lapis lazuli and emerald; 19 the third row shall be jacinth, agate and amethyst; 20 the fourth row shall be topaz, onyx and jasper. Mount them in gold filigree settings. 21 There are to be twelve stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes.


*Compare to the Septuagint which lists agate and amethyst.






lapis lazuli













lapis lazuli






Beale sees Ezekiel 28:14 as a metaphor.


NIV- You were anointed as a guardian cherub,

Beale- You were anointed like a guardian cherub,

KJV, NASB- You were anointed the guardian cherub,

HCSB- You were anointed an annointed guardian cherub,

NET I placed you there with an anointed guardian cherub;


Ezekiel 28:13-14

13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. 14 You were anointed like a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.


Beale makes another point that Ezekiel 28:18 states that the sin of the glorious figure in Eden profaned Eden. The only account that we have that Eden became unclean because of sin is the narrative about Adam in Genesis 2-3.


Here is Beale’s point regarding Adam:

Adam was to be the first priest to serve in and guard God’s temple. When Adam fails to guard the temple, by sinning and admitting an unclean serpent to defile the temple, he loses his priestly role, and the two cherubim take over the responsibility of guarding the garden temple.

Hence the metaphor in Ezekiel 28:14 about being “like a guardian cherub.”


God stationed the cherubim to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). Their role became memorialized in Israel’s later temple when God commanded Moses to make two statues of angelic figures and station them on either side of the ark of the covenant in the holy of holies in the temple.


Like the cherubim, Israel’s priests were to “guard” or “keep watch over” the temple.

Genesis 2:15

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work (serve) it and take care of (guard) it.


3. The Tree-of-Life itself was probably the model for the lampstand placed outside of the holy of holies in Israel’s temple. It looked like a small tree trunk with seven protruding branches, three on one side and three on the other and one up the middle.


The Lampstand

 31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Hammer out its base and shaft, and make its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms of one piece with them. 32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand—three on one side and three on the other. 33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand. 34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms.


35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all. 36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.  37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it. 38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold. 39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories. 40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.


4. That the Garden of Eden was the first temple is also suggested by the fact that Israel’s later temple had wood carvings that gave it a garden-like atmosphere and likely were intentional reflections of Eden.


According to 1 Kings, there was “cedar…carved in the shape of gourds and open flowers” (6:18); “on the walls of the temple round about” and on the wood doors of the inner sanctuary were “carvings of cherubim, palm trees, and open flowers” (6:29-35); beneath the heads of the two pillars placed at the entrance of the holy place were carved “pomegranates” (7:18-20).


1 Kings 6:18

The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers. Everything was cedar; no stone was to be seen.

1 Kings 6:29

 On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. 30 He also covered the floors of both the inner and outer rooms of the temple with gold.


5. Just as the entrance to Israel’s later temple was to face east and be on a mountain, and just as the end-time temple of Ezekiel was to face east (Ezekiel 40:6) and be on a mountain (Ezekiel 40:2), so the entrance to Eden faced east (Genesis 3:24) and was situated on a mountain (Ezekiel 28:14, 16).


6. The ark in the holy of holies, which contained the law (which led to wisdom), echoes the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (which too led to wisdom). The touching of both the ark and the tree resulted in death.


7. Just as a river flowed out from Eden (Genesis 2:10), so the postexilic temple and the eschatological temple in both Ezekiel 47:1-12 has rivers flowing out from the center (likewise Revelation 7:15-17 and probably Zechariah 14:8-9).


Ezekiel depicts latter-day Mount Zion (and its temple) with descriptions of Eden in an attempt to show that the promises originally inherent in Eden would be realized in the fulfillment of his vision.


Psalm 36:8-9

8 They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights [literally the “river of your Edens”]. 9 For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.

The writer here describes worship in Edenic terms.


Jeremiah 17:7-8

7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”


Psalm 1:2-3

2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.


8. Like Israel’s later temple, the garden of Eden may be discerned to be part of a tripartite (3-part) sacred structure. In this respect, also in connection with the presence of water, it may even be discernible that there was a sanctuary and a holy place in Eden corresponding roughly to that in Israel’s later temple.


The garden should be viewed as not itself the source of water but rather as adjoining Eden since Genesis 2:10 says “a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden.


Therefore in the same manner that ancient palaces where adjoined by gardens, “Eden is the source of the waters and [is the palatial] residence of God, and the garden adjoins God’s residence.


Ezekiel 47:1 says that water would flow out from under the holy of holies in the future eschatological temple and would water the earth around.

In the end time temple of Revelation 22:1-2 there is portrayed “a river of the water of life…coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb” and flowing into a garden-like grove modeled on the first paradise in Genesis 2.


If Ezekiel and Revelation are developments of the first garden-temple then Eden, the area where the source of water is located, may be comparable to the inner sanctuary of Israel’s later temple and the garden adjoining the holy place.

Eden → Garden & Tree of Life→ Ends of the Earth

Holy-of-Holies → Holy Place→ Outer Court


The land and seas to be subdued by Adam outside the garden were a third distinct region roughly equivalent to the outer court of Israel’s subsequent temple.

→ Ends of the Earth

→ Outer Court


9. Thus, it should not be unexpected that Ezekiel 28 refers to “Eden, the garden of God…the holy mountain of God” (vv. 13-14, 16) and also alludes to it as containing “sanctuaries” (v. 18), which elsewhere is a plural way of referring to Israel’s tabernacle.

“sanctuaries”= “holy-of-holies, holy place, outer court”


Ezekiel 7:24

I will bring the most wicked of nations to take possession of their houses. I will put an end to the pride of the mighty, and their sanctuaries will be desecrated.

Jeremiah 51:51

“We are disgraced, for we have been insulted and shame covers our faces, because foreigners have entered the holy places of the LORD’s house.”


Conclusion to 9 Reasons Why Eden was Seen as a Temple:

Not only was Adam to “guard” this sanctuary, but also he was to subdue the earth according to Genesis 1:28.


Genesis 1:28

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

God’s glory through image-bearers was to eventually fill the earth.


Adam was to extend the geographical boundaries of the garden until Eden extended throughout and covered the whole earth. That meant that the presence of God limited to Eden was to be extended throughout the whole earth.


Adam and his offspring where not intended to stay in the garden in a static situation. Yet moving out of the garden would appear a hardship since the land outside the garden was not as hospitable as that inside the garden. Adam was gradually supposed to extend the garden as they went about subduing and ruling. Extending the garden would increase the food supply as well as extend sacred space (since that is what the garden represented).


This is why Revelation 21:1-22:5 equates the new heaven and new earth with the garden-like temple: that was the original universal design of the Eden sanctuary. For Revelation to view the new cosmos as a garden means that God’s presence has finally filled the whole earth.


It is possible that God started building another temple for his people to dwell in and to experience his presence during Noah’s time. Noah and his sons however were not obedient so that if God had started another temple-building-process it was immediately stopped because of the sins of Noah and his sons.


Noah’s fall is reminiscent of Adam’s since both sinned in the context of a garden. According to Genesis 9:20-21, “Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine and became drunk,” and this led to further sin by his sons. After Noah sinned God started over again and chose Abraham and his descendants, Israel, to reestablish his temple.


Compare Genesis 1:28

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”


…to Genesis 22:17-18

17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”


Israel’s tabernacle and temple were a miniature model of God’s huge cosmic temple that was to dominate the heavens and earth at the end of time. That is, the temple was a symbolic model pointing not merely to the present cosmos but also to the new heaven and earth that would be perfectly filled with God’s presence.

Psalm 78:69

He built his sanctuary like the heights, like the earth that he established forever.


The holy of holies represented the invisible heavenly dimension, the holy place represented the visible heavens, and the outer courtyard represented the visible sea and the earth, where humans lived.


Israel was repeatedly called the Garden of Eden:

Isaiah 51:3

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.


Isaiah 42:6 & 49:6

“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness;    I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you    to be a covenant for the people    and a light for the Gentiles,



Exodus 19:6 teaches that Israel was to be to God a kingdom of priests and a holy nation going out to the nations and being mediators between God and the nations by bearing God’s light of revelation. Instead of seeing the temple as a symbol of their task to expand God’s presence to all the nations, the Israelites wrongly viewed it as symbolic of their election as God’s only true people and as an indication that God’s presence was to be restricted to them as an ethnic nation.


They believed the Gentiles would experience God’s presence mainly through judgment.

Thus, God sends Israel to Babylon, but then declares his plans to expand his presence to fill not only Israel but the entire earth.


Christ is the epitome of God’s presence on earth as God incarnate.

Jesus’ teaching that forgiveness of sin now comes through him instead of the Temple suggests strongly that he was taking over the function of the Temple.


This is the context for Jesus’ teaching that he is the cornerstone of the temple:

Mark 12:10

Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

   “‘The stone the builders rejected    has become the cornerstone;


John 1:14 says that he became God’s “tabernacle” in the world.

Thus to focus on a future architectural temple is to miss that at Christ’s first coming he began to fulfill the prophecies in himself of a coming temple.


It would be like hugging a picture of your wife that she gave to you while dating long after you had gotten married.

1 Corinthians 3:16:

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?


1 Corinthians 6:19

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;


Not just analogical (like, as) fulfillment but Jesus and the Church are literal fulfillments, although currently partial fulfillments, of OT prophecy of a future temple.


2 Corinthians 6:16

16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

   “I will live with them    and walk among them, and I will be their God,    and they will be my people.”

Paul here quotes OT texts.


Significance of New Jerusalem:

1 Kings 6:20-22

20 The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty wide and twenty high. He overlaid the inside with pure gold, and he also overlaid the altar of cedar. 21 Solomon covered the inside of the temple with pure gold, and he extended gold chains across the front of the inner sanctuary, which was overlaid with gold. 22 So he overlaid the whole interior with gold. He also overlaid with gold the altar that belonged to the inner sanctuary.


Revelation 21:16

16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long.


Revelation 22:4

4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

So now it is not only the priests but everyone in the kingdom has access to God.


Matthew 27:51

51 At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Mark 15:38

38 And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Luke 23:45

45 The light from the sun was gone. And suddenly, the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn down the middle.


Key Point:

So the curtain being torn is not so much about our having a way back into God’s presence so much as it is about God’s presence breaking out into all the Earth as was God’s original intention in Eden.


The task of the church in being God’s temple, so filled with his presence, is to expand the temple of his presence and fill the earth with that glorious presence until God finally accomplishes this goal completely at the end of time. This is the church’s common, unified mission (p. 648).