Notes: Ch. 11 of Ehrman’s Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium
Thesis: Jesus’ actions prior to his execution were apocalyptic
1. Jesus’ baptism and discipleship, and his ringing endorsement of John and his message throughout Jesus’ ministry, indicates that he accepted his apocalyptic message. In fact, Jesus’ message was virtually the same as John’s.
2. Jesus’ calling of twelve disciples is apocalyptic. They represented the twelve tribes of Israel that would be restored with the coming kingdom of God. Jesus said that they would be rulers and judges of the twelve tribes when the kingdom of God came to Earth.
3. Jesus’ base followers were all considered to represent the “bottom” of society in his day: the poor, sinners, prostitutes, outcasts, tax collectors, lepers, and the demon-possessed. This is perfectly in line with the standard apocalyptic doctrine of the reversal of fortunes when the kingdom of God comes: “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first”.
4. Jesus performed many exorcisms, which he claimed marked the inbreaking of the kingdom of God on Earth. They were thus signs of the imminent apocalypse. Satan and his minions were being cast out of power, and God’s power was taking its place.