JETS Article: “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope”

I contributed an article to the latest edition of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, JETS 57.3 (2014): 467-480. The article is called “The Genesis of Resurrection Hope: Exploring its Early Presence and Deep Roots.” Originally it was a paper presentation at the November 2013 meeting of the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR), and I’m grateful JETS accepted a revised version for publication. Here’s the outline of the article:

I. Introduction

II. New Testament Validation of Resurrection Hope in the Torah
1. The Words of Paul in Acts 24
2. The Words of Jesus in Matthew 22

III. Seeds of Resurrection Hope in Genesis
1. The Life-Giving God who Makes the World (Gen 1:9-13; 2:7)
2. The Tree of Life and Immortal Physicality (Gen 2:9; 3:22)
3. The Defeat of the Serpent (Gen 3:15)
4. The Death of Abel and the Birth of Seth (Gen 4:1, 8, 25)
5. The Unusual Departure of Enoch (Gen 5:24)
6. Lamech’s Hope for His Son Noah (Gen 5:29)
7. The Death and Resurrection of the World (Gen 7-8)
8. Life Granted to a Dead Womb (Gen 21:1-2)
9. Abraham’s Trust in God to Preserve the Seed (Gen 22:5)
10. The Burial of Bones in Canaan (Gen 25:9)

From the second paragraph of the Introduction: “By looking at certain passages in Genesis, we will be putting our ear to the ground to hear the faint but discernible rumblings of what will arrive later and louder in the words of the prophets. Even though some scholars insist that ‘there can be no suggestion that belief in resurrection was implicit in the Old Testament before Daniel,’ I will contend otherwise. The roots of resurrection hope go deep, and the seeds were sown early.”

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Richard Hays: “The Gospel of Matthew: Reconfigured Torah”

An insightful article by Richard Hays on Matthew’s Gospel is available as a PDF here.

The article is called “The Gospel of Matthew: Reconfigured Torah.” This is his abstract:

This essay surveys the evangelist Matthew’s reading of Israel’s Scripture. Rather than focusing only on Matthew’s distinctive formula quotations, we must observe the subtler ways that Matthew evokes scriptural images and patterns. The essay highlights four major aspects of Matthew’s reading of Scripture. (1) Matthew reads Israel’s Scripture as a story that highlights election, kingship, exile, and messianic salvation as the end of exile. (2) Matthew reconfigures Torah into a call for radical transformation of the heart. (3) Matthew highlights Scripture’s call for mercy, particularly by emphasizing Hosea 6:6 as the hermeneutical key to Torah. (4) Matthew interprets the mission to the Gentiles as the fulfilment of Israel’s destiny and the active embodiment of the authority of the Son of Man (Dn 7:13-14) over the whole world. Jointly taken, these strategies of interpretation produce a striking reconfiguration of Israel’s Torah.

Logical Importance of the Virginal Conception of Jesus

Al Mohler has a great article reflecting on A. T. Robertson’s arguments for the virginal conception of Jesus. According to Robertson, “The virgin birth is the only intelligible explanation of the Incarnation ever offered.”

This last Sunday morning at Kosmosdale Baptist Church, I preached from Matthew 1:18-25, and I opened the message with a string of seven points that show the logic of the virginal conception. In a series of “if” statements, we can see how the virginal conception is not expendable. It is connected to the primary doctrines of christology and soteriology.

  1. If Jesus had a human biological father in addition to his human mother, then Jesus would be merely human.
  2. If Jesus was merely human, then there was no deity joined to humanity and thus no incarnation.
  3. If Jesus was the product of two humans, then he had a sin nature because his biological parents would be sinners.
  4. If Jesus was a mere human with a sin nature, he could not bear the sins of others on the cross as their Savior–he himself would need a Savior!
  5. If Jesus was not an effective substitute for sinners, then there is no forgiveness granted when people believe in him.
  6. If there is no forgiveness for sinners when they bank their hope on Jesus, then the “Gospel about Jesus” is not Gospel at all, because Gospel means “good news,” and there would be no good news to share.
  7. If the essence of Christianity is the Gospel, then the insistence that Jesus had two biological parents guts the Christian faith.

Do you see the importance of the virginal conception? If there was no virginal conception, then there was no incarnation. And if you lose the incarnation, you lose it all.

Can You Reject the Bible’s Teaching about the Virginal Conception and Be a Christian?

Al Mohler says NO. Here’s an excerpt from his answer:

“Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.”

 

David Allen on Hebrews 6:1-8

David Allen, Dean of the School of Theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, contributed to SBC Today a 10-part series on interpreting and preaching Hebrews 6:1-8.

You can access all parts of the series. Dr Allen argues that the highly disputed passage (Heb 6:1-8) is not about salvation or damnation but rather the gain or loss of rewards

I remain unconvinced by his arguments, but it’s helpful to see a defender of this view. Allen’s interpretation of this tough text is also thoroughly explicated in his commentary on Hebrews in the NAC series. If you’ve never read arguments for the Loss of Rewards view of Hebrews 6:1-8, David Allen writes clearly as an advocate for it.

 

“Every Graveyard a Garden”

The Gospel Coalition was kind to post an article I wrote on the believer’s resurrection hope. An excerpt from “Every Graveyard a Garden”:

The resurrection of Jesus guarantees the same bodily hope for believers. His was “the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20). There will be a harvest of sleepers because resurrection broke into human history with the third-day miracle. The image of sleep captures the temporary captivity of death (cf. 15:51). We sleep to wake and die to rise.

Sowing and reaping, then, is true for death and resurrection: what goes down must come up. Every graveyard is a garden. 

The full article is here.