Extract from Doctoral Thesis The Obedience of the Church as a Prelude to the Parousia:
Ecclesial and Temporal Factors in New Testament Eschatology.
Concerning issues of unimaginable global significance!
Supervisor: Prof. C. Wethmar;
Co-supervisor: Dr K. Roy.
Submitted by Paul Bruce Hartwig in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Philosophae Doctor in the Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, May 2002.

The Thomas Pages homepage
In this thesis we have attempted to demonstrate the determinative role of the ecclesial mission in understanding the nature and duration of the interadventual period, either expediting the Parousia or alternatively impeding it.
With the Darbyite teaching as backdrop, we have alternatively shown that the church's glorious historical destiny is a major motif of the New Testament, one that provided the apostle Paul with inspiration for his Gentile mission.
Narrow Dispensationalism
John Nelson Darby
Tracking this anticipated ecclesial hope, we discovered a key for integrating the preterist, historicist and futurist aspects of New Testament eschatology into a synoptic and comprehensive picture. There we saw that the first century was a witness to an actualisation of the 'great commission' (preterist), that the church was responsible for the process of universalising this gospel further (historicist), and that there was an anticipated final future period which would witness the optimum intensification and actualisation of all the features characteristic of the entire interadventual period (futurist).
All this is contained in an understanding of the last-days epoch, the hermeneutics of typology, and of how the church mission is determinative for the period's nature and duration.
Understanding Scripture
We have attempted to demonstrate that the church's mission is not undefined or uncertain, but has been predetermined through the witness of Christ in the midpoint period. The church is to take that gospel and bear witness to it in all the nations before the end. As she does this, the church is buil[t] up both extensively and intensively.
Although the Scripture reveals that God's purposes through the church will be accomplished, the variable of human contingency is built into this picture. God has sovereignly set the parameters of the interadventual period, yet the church has latitude within that framework to either obediently hasten or disobediently retard that inevitable Day. Taking both these aspects into account provides us with a balanced approach in understanding the duration of the interadventual period.
the church is obedient to its mandate, we believe that she will effect and fulfill what is predicted of her in the New Testament. These promises are not fulfilled automatically but are contingent upon the active faith and obedience of believers. As each part of the body grows up into the fullness of Christ, so the church will progressively attain to her ultimate destiny.
When Will Jesus Come?
Yet as we have stressed, such an attainment is not grounded in any human factor but only in the power of Christ in His people, who is the only 'hope of glory', the one who will complete the good work he began.
May the persistent and gracious Holy Spirit, who is lord in the church, infuse all His servants with that obedience that comes from knowing the love of Christ, so that 'we all may attain to the maturity of the measure of the full stature of Christ', thus hastening the glorious day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
See: AA Biblical Structure of History Biblical
Structure of History
With thanks
to a favourite friend, the Revd Dr. Paul Bruce Hartwig, for permission to publish. He had served as Senior Pastor of the Strand Baptist Church, Strand, Western Cape, South Africa, and is currently senior lecturer at the Baptist Theological Seminary.

The Mystery of the Kingdom The Hidden Time of God The Terminal Sequence