08 July 2009

Fulfilling and Transcending the Ancient Covenant

This captures the heart of something I've been seeing more and more clearly the past six months:

The Kingdom of God is at work, not in general but at a precise point, in a person, in Jesus, in his words and sovereign deeds. . . . As divine Man and true Adam he is engaged in reversing the whole course of the history of Adam. He has conquered Satan in the desert; he has bound the strong man and is beginning to pillage his domain. By his healing miracles, by his stilling the storm and raising the dead, he stands forth as King of creation. When he says 'But I say unto you . . .' he places himself above Moses as the Lord of the Torah, who is both fulfilling and transcending all that the ancient covenant promised. A greater than Solomon is here: the wisdom of God embodied in a Person; more than Jonah: here is the true prophet who has been speaking in all previous prophets. He can forgive sins, a privilege which belongs only to God. In a word, in him the new world of the resurrection makes an irruption into the old.

--Theo Preiss, 'The Vision of History in the New Testament,' in Life in Christ (trans Harold Knight; SBT 13; London: SCM, 1957), 68

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