In the Introduction we learned that to think and speak theologically is to think and speak eschatologically.
From Chapter I, aside from the many valuable contributions of the individual commentaries, we learned that a critically sound case can be made out for the existence of a Johannine Parousia and eschatology. We also learned that the rigid, stereotyped apocalyptic schema, which can be
called a type and to which the Johannine "consummation" corresponds as antitype, is far too unwieldly and undiscriminating to express the fine and spiritual meaning of the Second Advent. If it is objected that a "consummation" is vague and meaningless, it is to be answered that under
the Spirit's indwelling tutelage it is, on the contrary, the really meaningful statement of the Parousia, because it is the one that leaves room for the Spirit's explicating what is implicit in the apocalyptic statement. Any [#?#?# #?# #?#?#?] that is too rigid to leave ample room for the Spirit's work of interpreting to the Christian the "future things" (Jo. 16:13) is surely foreign to real Christian eschatology.
We discovered in Chapter II, the survey of John's
eschatological terms, John's conception of the Gegenwārtigekeit of the [#?#?#?#] is such that it must unquestionably give basic guidance to all our attempts to interpret or define the Parousia or Second Advent. that cumulative meaning for human history the Parousia will have and what form or method the Second Advent may assume are surely questions to be answered only in the Christian heart's continuous and ever-enlarging understanding of the Johannine language about the Coming. and Abiding of Christ in the Holy
Spirit. Apocalyptic imagery is the fruit of attempts to understand the meaning to the human order of the final Coming of the Lord. We shall know what to keep of thin fruit if we are living, in the Johannine context because we shall be closer to the True Vine from which all such fruit proceeds.
Surely John has taught us how to find the essential meaning of any and all eschatological events still in the distant future: look within to the heart 's. communion with Christ. Christ will mean in the Parousia basically what He means to me now in my heart.
The study of christology and. eschatology in Chapter III taught us that the Johannine christology demands the Johannine eschatology. °Only He who is from before the foundation of the world, will be with us in the Father's house in the consummation. Only He who is 'Alpha' can be 'Omega'"
(p. 195 above).
In the discussion of °Realized and Unrealized Eschatology" of Chapter IV, we found that "a greater realized eschatology in the present makes a greater-unrealized eschatology for the future" ((p. 224 above). "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall be" (I John 3:2). "Christian eschatoloy must be "now" and "not yet"!. Johanine eschatology is superbly both!" (p. 225 above).
In Chapter V on "The Church and Eschatology" are the following statements: "The Church is at the heart of the eschatological struggle between light and darkness" (p. 230); "The sign of the Parousia is hidden int he midst of the world-wide mission of the Church" (p.236); "... within the basic spirit and message of Christianity and her mission is contained the essential meaning of time, eternity, and human existence" (p. 240); "The humble Church of God holds the key of history. The fact that progress hangs on faith and not on time keeps 'the door of hope open to history as the province of the Divine working'" (p.237)
Finally, John's Gospel and Epistles represents an advanced stage of the Christian understanding of eschatology. "'In Jesus the world is confronted by the End. This does not mean that the eschatology of the earlier tradition has been transmuted into an inner, present, spiritual mysticism: it means that the Evangelist judges the heart of Christian eschatology to lie less in the expectation of a second coming on the clouds of heaven than in the historical fact of Jesus, in His words and actions.... " (p. 71 above).
Surely John has taught us to use the language of eschatoloIogy cautiously, for the [#?#?#?#] confronts man now in the [#?#?#?#].