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Eschatology in the first epistle of John: koinwnia in the familia Dei

D G van der Merwe

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 27, No 3 (2006), 1045-1076. doi: 10.4102/ve.v27i3.204

Submitted: 30 September 2006
Published:  30 September 2006


The schism that occurred in the Johannine community has been reinterpreted by the author of the first Epistle of John. In his opinion, the incident involving the schismatics could be interpreted as the coming of the antichrist(s), which marks the ‘final hour’  and describes an eschatological moment. This eschatological moment heightens the community’ s awareness of the fact that they live in an eschatological time, which will, at some time in the future, have an eschatological consummation, regardless of the form it takes. This present eschatological life is described by the author as continuous koinwniva within the family of God, the familia Dei, and as long as this family abides in the light, they will progressively experience divine life and fellowship. The consummation of this new existence will be experienced in the future, when the Son of God ‘is revealed’. In this context one can label  the eschatology of 1 John a progressively realizing eschato-logy that embraces a future eschatological consummation.  A transitional eschatological event, which will end the present eschatological time and start a new one, is referred to by the author as ‘when he (the Son of God) is revealed’  (ejan fanerwqh`/, 2:28; 3:2), ‘his parousia’  (parousia/ aujtou), 2:28), and ‘the day of judgment’  (th`/ hmevra/ th"krivsew", 4:17). Both present and future eschatology have to be interpreted and understood from the perspective of koinwnia in the familia Dei.

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Author affiliations

D G van der Merwe, University of South Africa, South Africa



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1. 1 John: ‘Effects’ in biblical texts that constitute ‘lived experiences’ in the contemplative reading of those texts
Dirk Van der Merwe
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi  vol: 49  issue: 2  year: 2015  
doi: 10.4102/ids.v49i2.1930

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