Chapter 3 speaks to the concept of Messiah and Apocalyptic.
Messiah: N.T. Wright states that there is a school of thought that Paul was a ‘political’ thinker rather than a ‘religious/theological’ thinker. That the concept of Jesus as the Messiah would have had no meaning to the Gentile audience that Paul evangelized so that Paul’s concept of Messiah was a political category rather than a religious one. Wright argues than Paul, in his writings was very clear that Paul saw Jesus as the true royal Messiah that was promised to Israel. That Jesus was a descendent of the royal house of David (that Jesus came from “the seed of David”). That Jesus fought the ultimate battle against evil and death, and won. That had built, in himself, the promised new Temple; and has done all of this as both Israel and God’s representative. Bringing to a culmination the promised Old Testament covenants. Which leads into party two of Wrights chapter…
Apocalyptic: Wright states that over the last few generations the word apocalyptic has been interrupted in a variety of ways. Many believe this to be a reference to the ‘end times’, or as Wright states God’s abolishing “the space time universe forever, in a cosmic conflagration”. Most recently in popular culture, is the concept of the righteous being ‘taken’ to God’s eternal glory and those deemed unworthy ‘left behind’. Wright argues that Paul believed that the apocalypse has already come about! For Paul, the apocalypse was the “sudden, dramatic, and shocking unveiling of secret truths, the sudden shining of bright heavenly light on a dark and unsuspecting world”. That Jesus Christ the Messiah, through his death on the cross and resurrection has fulfilled the Old Testament covenant plan “through which the whole creation would be liberated from corruption, evil and death.
Regarding Messiah, I completely agree with Wright. Regarding Apocalyptic, I had never considered the perspective of Paul presented by Wright – that the apocalypse has already occurred. In reading this chapter and contemplating on it, I can see and understand the perspective presented. As presented it makes complete sense. That said, I am not certain that I fully agree with Wright on this. I will have to consider this more.