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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

Theological Characteristics.

There is in this epistle the use of a hortatory technique found elsewhere in the early Christian literature whereby the situation confronting readers is seen as a sign of the catastrophe that is expected at the end of time (v. 18, cf. 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1; 1 Jn 2:18, cf. Mt 24:23 ). Within the NT there is an outlook that invests present people and events with a decisive role in the fulfilment of the Last Things. The present, therefore, becomes a moment of eschatological opportunity (and threat) when history and eschatology become inextricably intertwined. Readers are equipped by the apostolic writings with insight hidden to others. They are privileged to enjoy a role in history denied even to the greatest figures of the past, not to mention the angels. In 1 Pet 1:11–12 the writer emphasizes the privilege of the writer's time, and Christians in Corinth are told that passages in the Bible which seemed to be about Israel of old were in fact addressed directly to them, who were fortunate to be alive when the decisive moment in history came about (1 Cor 10:11 ). The present had become a time of fulfilment (2 Cor 6:2 ) and ultimate significance in which the readers are privileged to share. As well as the eschatological dimension, the behaviour of angels is regarded as both a warning (v. 6 ) and an example (v. 9 ). Readers are shown that their behaviour can match that of heaven, either they can follow the way of the angels who forsook their position of privilege or the example of Michael, guardian of the people of God (Dan. 12:1 ). The Dead Sea scrolls have reminded us of the close affinity between the righteous community of earthly saints and the ‘holy ones’ or angels, and the consequent obligation of those who have fellowship with the angels to maintain that blameless style of life (v. 24 ).

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