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The Lord God Omnipotent Reigns: The Telos of Christian Eschatology
Tony Richie, D. Min., Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Theology
The Greek word telos conveys the idea of an ultimate objective or aim. In other words, it has to do with purposeful goal. Telos (τέλος) literally signifies “end, ‘purpose’ or ‘goal’). Aristotle used telos to refer to the full potential or inherent purpose or objective of a person or thing, similar to the notion of an “end goal” or “raison d’être”. Moreover, it can be understood as the “supreme end of man’s endeavor.” Telos is the root of the modern term “teleology”, the study of purposiveness or of objects with a view to their aims, purposes, or intentions. Teleology is central in Aristotle’s work on biology and in his theory of causes. Aristotle’s notion that everything has a telos also gave rise to the philosophical field of epistemology. It is also central to some philosophical theories of history, such as those of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. The telos of Christian eschatology moves beyond history in the sense of what has happened or when to why or perhaps, where. In other words, when we inquire about the “telos of Christian eschatology” we are asking where God is taking history and why. Not only the what and when of the eschaton but the why and the where are important.
Eschatological Realization of God’s Reign
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! (Revelation 19:6 NKJV)
Resounding praise comes from a multiplicity of voices probably representing every creature in the universe and certainly the redeemed of all the ages. In short, there is an “explosive intensification of praise”. The reason for this universal praise is God’s reign. The word “reigns” (ebasileuson) is aorist past tense (actually an ingressive aorist), indicating that “at some point in the past God’s reign has become and is now recognizably present.” In Revelation 11:15, 17 this verb is used in both the future and aorist forms, indicating the “trans-temporal nature of this divine reign.” This declaration may likely reference the beginning of this reign in connection with the judgment of the Great Whore in the previous chapters. “The Lord God Almighty/Omnipotent (pantokrator) underscores the idea of God’s unrivaled power and immense greatness. In sum, the great God, whose current reign has already begun, is victorious over the Great Whore and is worthy of the praise of all.
Revelation 11:15-18 is explicit as well.
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying:
“We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth.”
In John’s Gospel, Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world (18:36). This world rather has its own dark ruler (14:30) which has already been judged (16:11). However, this passage describes a transfer of power, really a transformation of loyalty, to our Lord and his Christ. This kingdom has no temporal limitations—i. e. it is eternal.
Compare also to Revelation 12:10: Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
This hymn of praise celebrates the casting down/defeat of the Great Red Dragon/the Devil/Satan. With its emphasis on salvation and divine strength and power, it further celebrates the priestly kingdom, as it were, of those who reign with God and with Christ (1:6; 5:10). In short, the reign of God and of Christ together with the kingdom of priests is announced immediately subsequent to the critical defeat of the Evil One.
God’s Reign as the Eschatological Goal
These passages, as well as others, indicate that the goal of history, and therefore of eschatology, is the universal establishment of God’s righteous reign/rule or kingdom. It further indicates that God’s reign will be established in the context of two concomitant themes: salvation and judgment. Humanly speaking, salvation promises hope and help to those who will accept it through Jesus Christ and judgment promises warning to those who reject it. Beyond humanity, the spiritual powers of God’s creation, including the devil and his followers, judgment declares their appropriate fate as insurrectionists against God’s holy and righteous reign.
- Why does God’s kingdom/reign require establishing?
- How will God’s kingdom/reign be established?
- What will be outcome of God’s kingdom/reign established?
First, why does God’s kingdom/reign require establishing? Of course, this indicates the reality of opposition to God’s reign. Note that opposition to God’s reign separates from God and brings chaos, darkness, and death. It brings evil and sin as well as destruction and suffering, even damnation. Second, how will God’s kingdom/reign be established? Opposition to God’s reign is vanquished through the coming of Jesus Christ, first in the Incarnation, especially his atoning death, bodily resurrection, and ascension, and Pentecost outpouring, and second in his parousia and subsequent events.
Third, what will be outcome of God’s kingdom/reign being established? The establishment of God’s reign brings restoration. However, restoration must be understood in a specific fashion. When describing restoration in political terms it often means something like the return of a hereditary monarch to a throne, a head of state to government, or a regime to power. Of course, God has never been dethroned! Yet the challenge has been real and has been repulsed. In anthropological and cosmological terms restoration means something like the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. Yet it is clear that the new creation will not be simply a return to the past but an advance into eternity. Yet “restoration” is still the best term. Peter describes “the times of restoration of all things” in Acts 3:21. This description can be associated with the Jewish concept of Tikkun Olam (תיקון עולם, lit. “repair of the world”). The Greek word for “restoration” ἀποκατάστασις (apokatastasis) basically means “to restore to an earlier condition”. It also means “reestablishment” “reconstitution” “restitution”. We might say that God will put everything back as it belongs. Or God will make everything right again.
Perhaps one of the best/broadest descriptive terms is Shalom. A contemporary Jewish author puts it this way:
Jewish history has seen the circumstances of a people bound to their ancient book, to their land, and to surrounding nations in a way that no other people has experienced. Like a long running dance, the back-and-forth between the Jewish people, their land, and other nations has spanned millenia. Their ancient book (Tanakh or Bible) claims that this dance is directed by the Creator of the universe, and that it will have a conclusion – that there will finally be shalom for not only the Jews but for the [sic] all other nations as well.
Shalom includes peace and harmony. It includes blessing. Shalom encompasses all human flourishing. It includes the flourishing of all creation. We might well say that shalom includes everything that is worth anything. Of course, we look for righteousness and holiness (which are part and parcel of the same reality). Righteousness and holiness come with shalom. We long for freedom/liberty. Freedom/liberty comes with shalom. The same is true of life. It is true of fullness. And it is true of glory. All will be filled with God’s glory (cp. Shekinah). In short, God will be all in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).
My granddaughter Elizabeth ran relay races in elementary school. They ran on a circular track. In high school the coaches tried to get her to continue but she wouldn’t do it. Elizabeth said she was tired of running around in circles. She chose instead to play soccer! Well, at least they had a goal to run toward. She became a starting player all four years of high school. Many religions have a cyclical concept of time. They basically run around in circles. Abrahamic religions have a linear time view of time. There is a telos—a goal. Life has a purposeful goal. History has a purposeful goal. Eschatology has a goal—a telos. God’s righteous reign is the telos of eschatology and the prerequisite for eternity. We simply cannot enter eternity without God’s righteous reign being established once and for all. And it will be.
 This exposition draws from Chris Thomas, The Apocalypse, 560-61.
 This exposition draws from Chris Thomas, The Apocalypse, 343-45.
 This exposition draws from Chris Thomas, The Apocalypse, 369-71.
 The concept of Tikkun Olam developed systematically later (10-220 CE) but its early forms may be discerned in the OT and in earlier Jewish thought.
 Shalom from G-D: https://en.shalomfromg-d.net/welcome/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA9P__BRC0ARIsAEZ6irgooIAd3NPOn7U8uryFL7r_ZyNud3j8-UNPkym-cs7dEZ2AzLD01y8aArcNEALw_wcB.
a wonderful start of the week by Tony Richie for all seekers of true Pentecostal eschatology Neil Steven Lawrence Brett Dobbs Oscar Valdez Michael Chauncey Philip Williams Peter Vandever another one published by Terry Wiles about the same time here – his Rev4 will be coming out with our thursday’s email later this week THANK YOU https://www.pentecostaltheology.com/jesus-taught-a-gathering-away/
I also saw this post by Link Hudson referring to cog eschatology – – – seems appropriate to post in this discussion position on COG eschatology by Tony Richie who currently teaches a class on COG eschatology @ the COG school and compare both approaches Neil Steven Lawrence John Mushenhouse Peter Vandever Ricky Grimsley Dale M. Coulter Terry Wiles Jim Price James Philemon Bowers
Church of God on the Second Coming?
I seem to recall a request for the COG’s position on end-times.
From the COG Declaration of Faith
“In the premillennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years.”
Does this mean that the COG teaches two second comings one ‘first’, and the other ‘second’? Does it teach two more comings which it both labels the ‘second coming? Or does it mean that there is one second coming, and that the resurrection of the righteous dead and catching away of the living saints is ‘first’ in that it is more important and that the thousand year reign is of secondary importance.
Is it possible that this statement was intentionally ambiguously worded?
Where is scripture for this two-step view of the second coming if that is indeed the intent, or for the idea that the resurrection and rapture of the living is more important than the thousand year reign?”
I also notice that the catching up of the righteous dead along with the living saints is omitted from the statement.Church of God on the Second Coming? From the COG Declaration of Faith “In the premillennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years.” Does this mean that the COG teaches two second comings one ‘first’, and the other ‘second.’ Does it teach two more comings which it both labels the ‘second coming? Or does it mean that there is one second coming, and that the resurrection of the righteous dead and catching away of the living saints is ‘first’ in that it is more important and that the thousand year reign is of secondary importance. Is it possible that this statement was intentionally ambiguously worded? Where is scripture for this two-step view of the second coming if that is indeed the intent, or for the idea that the resurrection and rapture of the living is more important than the thousand year reign?” I also notice that the catching up of the righteous dead along with the living saints is omitted from the statement.
AND I would like to put this one here to rest Ricky Grimsley Link Hudson THAT weVe observed here through the years of discussion that you claim being cog or at least being pastored by cog pastors HOWEVER you do not adhere neither to their teaching and preaching nor to the Church of God doctrinal positions which is probably required for cog membership…
Troy Day if that is the case so what?
Btw my views on eschatology depart a little from COG (Cleveland) norms on the timing of the rapture. But the doctrinal statement is unclearly word so that it could nearly include my viewpoint. I cannot really say I think the resurrection and rapture are more important than the thousand year reign but I am looking forward to it.
And I believe the resurrection and rapture precedes or starts the thousand years at the Second Coming. So there is that.
The wording is also odd if one were a pretribber IMO.
Troy Day Btw, I see a post trib scenario in the statement. But IMO it should specify that the ‘dead in Christ’ are resurrected.
Link Hudson I was please to see absolutely NO post-mil scenario in what Dr Tony Richie wrote here
Link Hudson so nothing – you are simply not a cog member
cog membership requires adherence to their practical commitments WHICH includes DOCTRINAL and if I have to ask you if you know these you probably have to google them like you do with other things
you dont believe their entire sanctification needed for baptistm
initial evidence of the baptism
and pre-trib commitment
So I am not sure in what universe you are cog or a Pentecostal
Troy Day The depends on the local church as to whether they require individuals to agree to more than top line items.
The COG declaration on sanctification is rather non-controversial.
In sanctification subsequent to the new birth, through faith in the blood of Christ; through the Word, and by the Holy Ghost.
An A/G finished work person could agree to that. The A/G has more of a pre-trib statement.
Link Hudson I dont think so – doctrinal commitments are required upon membership, class and so on. Neil Steven Lawrence may tell us more but all local churches and ministers are required to adhere An A/G finished work person could NOT agree to that just like Peter Vandever is not agreeing. I am not pretty sure Link that you are not a cog member as I’ve suspected many times before when you’ve made non-cog statements
Troy Day Required by whom?
Link Hudson if you have to ask this, you are not Church of God and Neil Steven Lawrence can give you more inside on how to become one Also Melvin Harter has spoken about COG practical commitments a bunch
Troy Day If the local church doesn’t require people to agree to a doctrinal statement (and does depend on the church) or the pastor says he doesn’t care except on trinity, death and resurrection of Christ, etc., then how can you say it is required. It does vary among churches in real life, and a lot of churches aren’t really into ‘brand names’ much and you don’t know they are in a denomination unless you ask around.
How many people in Free Chapel know it’s CH, for example?
Link Hudson I am more than certain that is not the case. Seems like youVE never gone through the membership process in cog. Every member is to adhere to their doctrinal and practical commitments. I am no expert but Neil Steven Lawrence Melvin Harter can tell you more
Troy Day I can tell that you are no expert.
and I can tell that you are no cog member 🙂
Not all COGs give out those statements. What web site are they from btw.
Link Hudson They are from the Practical Commitments from the Minutes of the church of God which every cog around the world subscribe to Upon receiving NEW members via right hand of fellowship the new members undergo a class which informs of their rights and duties as members. The duties specifically as per their praxis and teachings are strictly listed in their minutes. Link, you should really inquire from Neil Steven Lawrence Melvin Harter Tony Edwards or another cog pastor for more details. I was under the impression you were a long standing cog member since GBI and knew all this to being with #expressedSuspicion
Troy Day Your view of how things work in real life is somewhat limited. I have sat in on a new believers class. The degree to which pastors enforce denominational norms, requirements and expectations does not always conform to your expectations.
Link Hudson well, you see it written on paper and still argue against it 🙂 Irrelevant to this FINE eschatological text by Tony Richie
Troy Day What’s on the Internet and what is shown in a church member’s orientation isn’t necessarily the same thing. You should know that not all Pentecostals are not that doctrinally focused.
There are Pentecostal churches where they don’t let members speak in tongues in the congregation, even if followed by an interpretation. I know that exists in the COG and in the Foursquare denominations. I suspect there are A/Gs like that, too.
Link Hudson naaah most cog preachers Tony Edwards Neil Steven Lawrence will tell you they are required to ADHERE to their church teaching just like we are THEY can be kicked out for not adhering as members nowadays can be excommunicated BACK in the DAY in relevance to the actual OP here by Tony Richie the general overseer of the church of GOD came on Twitter to correct someone saying cog was post-trib or something like that and Boy h Boy did he set the records straight in about 160 symbols or less
Troy Day Declaration of faith is odd for pre-trib, unless the rapture is considered part of the second coming, and the second coming means two comings. It’s odd wording for other premil positions as well.
STILL Philip Williams Brett Dobbs Jared G. Cheshire DR Tony prescribes an eschatological model that is rock solid Pentecostal
Troy Day I’ll have to check this out later I am driving home on ice after working 12 hours and going straight to bed.
Jared G. Cheshire texas ice?
Yes sir. Had an ice storm all night long.
here we go Duane L Burgess Link Hudson Robert Cox Michael Chauncey Brett Dobbs Gary Micheal Epping another wonderful lecture by Tony Richie just mailed to +6K subscribers this morning KEEP THEM COMING – pm me if there is a new part needed to go online and viral https://us13.campaign-archive.com/?e=3e3c98c0b2&u=5952e06caf9a99534c9f4e217&id=c361e35779
Brett Dobbs yes indeed WHAT did you gather from Tony Richie
Troy Day nothing that I already didn’t know. But I did like his emphasis on reminding us there is a goal and purpose to all of this.
Regardless of our views of the process of how the end will come about, we all have or need to have the same kingdom come mindset. That is what we all look forward too. That kingdom coming. And the eternal state.
Brett Dobbs well we all have to learn one way or another …