The Kingdom is Now
“I am deeply grateful to my Old Testament professor. Though I was young and foolish while in seminary, I have, by God’s grace, been growing less young and less foolish over time. I used to argue with him about as often as I now look back with thanks in my heart. He not only taught me how to understand the Old Testament, but at the same time how to understand the Bible. He taught me that the Bible is one book.
There are two key elements I learned from him that touch directly on the issue of the relationship of Israel and the church. First, he taught that if we want to understand what a text means to us, we first have to understand what the text must have meant to its original audience. The second element could be understood as a corollary to the first—never assume the Bible practices mortar-shell prophecy. This is the notion that God sends a prophet to a particular people, equipped with a particular message. When that message is given, however, it has no meaning to the original audience, but like a mortar shell crossing high above a battlefield to eventually land on the enemy, the prophecy only takes on meaning hundreds or even thousands of years after it is given.”
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