Heaven, Earth, Temple

In his contribution to The Reader Must Understand, Crispin Fletcher-Louis argues convincingly that “heaven and earth” in Jesus’ eschatological discourses doesn’t refer to “a collapse of the space-time universe . . . but as a collapse of a mythical space-time universe which is embodied in the Jerusalem temple” (162).

He goes on to argue that this is also the referent in Jesus’ statement that the Torah would stand until “heaven and earth” pass away (Matthew 5:18). That refers, he suggests, to the end of “heaven and earth” that occurred in Jesus’ death and resurrection, a destruction evident in the rending of the temple veil at the death of Jesus, a symbol of the temple’s destruction (164).

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