Saturday, December 7, 2013

The resurgence of Biblical theological studies is enriched by Jason S. DeRouchie’s What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About. Seventeen authors contributed articles to this redemptive-historical survey of the Old Testament. Through numerous charts and illustrations, the kingdom theme is unfolded from the Law to the Prophets.

The Old Testament was the Bible that Jesus read; the Scriptures that He claimed “testify of me.” For too long, this volume of Scripture has been viewed as the Jewish book; the part of the Bible that related to Israel.  In What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About we discover that the Old Testament is a Christian book; it is the book of the coming Messiah.

What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is textbook material. It is rich in photographs, charts, illustrations, and maps. Chapters end with a review of key words and concepts. This is not a survey in the traditional sense of a survey, nor is it an introduction. Critical matters such as authorship are given scant attention.  Rather, it is an overview of each Old Testament author’s contribution to the unfolding story of redemption.

Readers from a dispensational perspective will be less thrilled about this volume. The contributors do not take that approach to the prophetic books in particular. One example of this is found in contributor Gary E. Yates remarks concerning the new covenant prophesied by Jeremiah;

 The new covenant would [provide] spiritual transformation for all who belonged to the covenant: “They shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest…for I will forgive their iniquity” (31:34; cf. Deut. 30:6). Ultimately, it is the work of the Messiah Jesus that makes this possible, “to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The restored remnant of Israel and the nations, with hearts now surrendered to Yahweh and the royal descendent of David (Jer. 23:5; 30:9), would never again have to experience judgment and exile for disobedience to Yahweh’s commands, and they would forever enjoy fullness of blessings in the Promised Land (32:39=41) (p. 256, italics original).
Preston Sprinkle’s comments on Ezekiel are even plainer:
 What are we to make of this future temple? Should we anticipate the future rebuilding of a literal temple, fully equipped with a Levitical priesthood (44:15-31) performing sacrifices for atonement for sin (45:15-17, 20)? This literal interpretation is possible and is suggested by the fact that Ezekiel is shown such detailed measurements of this temple (40:5-42:20) and given such detailed guidelines about how worship should be conducted within it (chs. 44-46). This literal interpretation runs into problems, however, when we look at the book of Hebrews, where the Old Testament sacrificial system is clearly a mere shadow pointing to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ (see esp. Heb. 10). …

Premillennial dispensationalism seems to be the evangelical default position. Many (including the reviewer) were trained in this context. This volume offers an invigorating challenge to this interpretive scheme. At least for some, this book will encourage a rereading of the Old Testament Scriptures in a Christological context.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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