An Urzeit-Endzeit framework of eschatology in Hebrews 3:7-4:11 and 12:18-29

  • Jihye Lee

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (PhD)


Many scholars argue that the author of Hebrews envisions the transcendent, heavenly world as the eschatological inheritance of God’s people. This view is derived from the understanding that Hebrews’ cosmology reflects a dualism between the spiritual/heavenly and the material/earthly. According to some of these scholars, the author quotes Gen 2:2 in Heb 3:7-4:11 in order to highlight the transcendence of the eschatological rest. Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan in the passage simply functions to symbolize or foreshadow the true, heavenly inheritance. These scholars also claim that, in Heb 12:18-29, the author envisages the immaterial, heavenly world which will come after the destruction of the shakable creation. This view, however, does not properly explain the author’s emphasis on Jesus’ role in creation and his inheritance of all creation, and on the continuity between Israel’s rest in the promised land and the eschatological rest for his readers that the author presents in Heb 3:7-4:11.

I argue that a version of an Urzeit-Endzeit eschatological framework, as observed in some Jewish apocalyptic texts, provides a plausible background against which the arguments of Hebrews are most comprehensively explained. These texts share the hope that the primordial bliss that Adam enjoyed in Eden, which God allowed Israel to experience in their history albeit temporarily and partially, will be fully restored at the eschaton. In Heb 3:7-4:11, the author argues that God’s rest, which the wilderness generation of Israel forfeited remains open for his readers because it shares the core elements of the eschatological rest, i.e. God’s presence (in the temple) and the renewal of creation (of which the changed heart is a core element). In Heb 12:18-29, the author envisions the  unshakable kingdom that consists of the revealed heavenly world and the renewed creation as the eschatological venue of God’s dwelling place with his people.
Date of Award24 Jun 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorDavid M. Moffitt (Supervisor)

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