26 February 2009

The 'Christification' of the OT

I continue to learn more about the relation between the testaments in Greg Beale's seminar on the OT in the NT. It is a fascinating topic and this seminar has been very helpful. I'm thankful for the foundation that was laid in biblical theology and the united storyline of the Bible during my five years at Covenant Seminary. Still, this class is taking those conversations to the next level. I am grateful.

One book I read this week was Christopher Stanley's Arguing with Scripture, on Paul's rhetorical use in his quotations of the OT. I found it too frustrating to try to say anything here about it without falling into sin of some kind. I'll just acknowledge it was very disappointing.

On the other hand, Hans LaRondelle's The Israel of God in Prophecy proved much more fruitful this week and I'm happy to quote a few statements from LaRondelle, whose book is meant to be a rebuttal of dispensationalism but which has lots of good stuff even if one has already settled for oneself the legitimacy or illegitimacy of dispensational biblical theology.

As the appointed representative of Israel, Jesus recapitulated--that is, he repeated and consummated--God's plan with Israel, and through Israel, with man. He deliberately went over the same ground in order to conquer where Israel had failed. (64)

And, on the transformation of the land promise to the patriarchs--

An underlying principle seems to govern Christ's applications of Israel's promises: the removal of the old ethnic restriction among the new-covenant people entails the removal of the old geographic Middle East center for Christ's Church. Wherever Christ is, there is the holy space. This is the essence of the New Testament application of Israel's holy territory. For the holiness of old Jerusalem, the New Testament substitutes the holiness of Jesus Christ. It 'christifies' the old territorial holiness and thus transcends its limitations. This should not be regarded as the New Testament rejection of Israel's territorial promise, but rather as its fulfillment and confirmation in Christ. (142)

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