I appreciate what Richard Beck did in his series of posts, calling on progressive Christians to recover the biblical language of spiritual warfare. But, as I noted yesterday, I think there are a couple of weaknesses with that line of reasoning. One is that, while spiritual warfare language is biblical, it does not emanate from Jesus.
So I’d like to offer an alternative, and highly related, corrective to Richard’s.
I think that progressive Christians need to reclaim the biblical language of the apocalyptic.
For one thing, apocalyptic language begins in the Hebrew Scripture. It’s rife in the prophets, especially the later prophets, and most notably in Daniel. (Spiritual warfare language is almost completely absent from the Hebrew Scripture; in fact, in Job, it seems that YHWH and Satan are card-playing buddies.)
Secondly, Jesus is an apocalyptic preacher. From the oldest and probably most reliable Gospel, Mark, comes the “Little Apocalypse.” Therein, Jesus says,