Category Archives: Messiah in the OT

Sermons on Nehemiah

In God’s kindness we made our way through both Ezra and Nehemiah at Kenwood Baptist Church. The sermons on Ezra can be found here.

May the Lord bless his word.

September 12, 2010, Nehemiah 1–2, “Pray and Act”

September 19, 2010, Nehemiah 3–4, “Building While the Nations Rage”

October 3, 2010, Nehemiah 5, “A Wartime Lifestyle on a Millionaire’s Budget”

October 10, 2010, Nehemiah 6–7, “Press On”

October 24, 2010, Technical difficulty – Nehemiah 8, “God’s Word Forms God’s People” was not recorded

October 31, 2010, Nehemiah 9, “Repentance”

November 14, 2010, Nehemiah 10, “Making a Covenant to Keep the Covenant”

November 28, 2010, Nehemiah 11–12, “Repopulating the City and Dedicating the Wall”

December 5, 2010, Nehemiah 13, “The Ongoing Need for Correction and Repentance”

December 26, 2010, “The Messianic Hope in Ezra–Nehemiah”

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“Son of Man” or “Human Beings” in the NIV 2011: What Difference Does It Make?

In answer to the question: What makes a translation [of the Bible] accurate?

I said: “Its ability to preserve the way that later biblical authors evoke earlier Scripture.”

You can read my explanation at the BibleGateway Perspectives in Translation forum.

The NIV 2011 provides a perfect illustration of my point. Hebrews 2:6–8 is quoting Psalm 8:5–7, but the NIV 2011 has a problem with the text.

Here is Psalm 8:4 in the NIV 2011:

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

Here is the quotation of Psalm 8:4 in Hebrews 2:6 in the NIV 2011:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?

The problem here is not that Psalm 8:4 says “human beings” rather than “son of man.” Psalm 8:4 says “son of man.” You can come to your own conclusions as to why the NIV 2011 prefers to render the phrase “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 as “human beings.”

I would argue that in Psalm 8 David is describing his role as a new Adam exercising dominion over God’s creation (cf. Ps 8:6–8 and Gen 1:26–28) so that God’s name/glory will cover the dry lands as the waters cover the sea (cf. Ps 8:1, 9). This is in keeping with the promises that God has made to David in 2 Samuel 7, which are restated in Psalm 2.

So in Psalm 8 David refers to himself as “son of man,” then talks about how God made him ruler over the beasts of the field. In Daniel 7, in the context of a vision of various beasts who have taken over the rule God’s world, Daniel sees “one like a son of man” approach the Ancient of Days and receive everlasting dominion. Then Jesus refers to himself as “son of man” all over the place in the gospels, and the author of Hebrews, discussing Jesus, quotes Psalm 8 in Hebrews 2.

So is it important to render Psalm 8:4 “son of man”? Or can we render it “human beings”?

The answer depends on what you prioritize.

Apparently the Committee on Bible Translation prioritizes something that causes them to change the words “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 to “human beings.”

If the highest priority is to translate what the text says so that the interconnectedness of Scripture can be maintained, so that people can understand the whole Bible and see how everything fits together “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth” (Eph 1:9–10, ESV), then simple phrases like “son of man” should be translated simply “son of man.”

No small theological matter is at stake here. Does it matter whether Psalm 8 can be seen to be pointing forward to Christ, who fulfills the Davidic pattern as the new Adam who will exercise dominion and make the name of the LORD majestic in all the earth?

Postscript: I hope that this post is rendered irrelevant by the Committee on Bible Translation changing the phrase in Psalm 8:4 from “human beings” to “son of man.” I know they have “son of man” in a footnote, but “son of man” should be in the text not in a footnote.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, OT in the OT

Couldn’t Disagree More!

Joseph Fitzmyer writes regarding Genesis 3:15:

“Moreover, this verse does not mention משיח [Messiah], or even have a hidden reference to a coming Messiah, despite the later interpretations often given to it in both the Jewish and Christian tradition” (Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The One Who Is to Come [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007], 28).

The language and imagery of Genesis 3:15 is reused all across the Old Testament and into the New. Further, the blessings of Genesis 12:1-3 are the direct answer to the curses of Genesis 3:14-19, and the Balaam oracles in Numbers 22-24 connect Genesis 3:15 to Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 49:8-12, so that we see that within the Pentateuch itself Genesis 3:15 exercises a profound influence on the gathering lines of promise. This is picked up in the Prophets and the Writings and rightly understood by, among others, the Apostle Paul, who explains that the blessing of Abraham has come to the Gentiles in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:14, cf. 3:16).

For more detail, see these two essays:

The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman: Inner-Biblical Interpretation of Genesis 3:15,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 10.2 (2006), 30–54.

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,” Tyndale Bulletin 58.2 (2007), 253–73.


Filed under Biblical Theology, Gospel, Messiah in the OT

Review of Joel Kennedy’s The Recapitulation of Israel

Joel Kennedy. The Recapitulation of Israel: Use of Israel’s History in Matthew 1:1–4:11. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.257. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. 264pp. 9783161498251. $105.00 (paper). Published in Bulletin for Biblical Research 20.2 (2010): 268-69.

This book is a revision of a dissertation supervised by Francis Watson at Aberdeen. The subject of the book is “the Christological use of Israel’s history in Matthew 1:1–4:11” (3), and its “primary focus . . . is examining Israel’s history and the recapitulation of it in Matthew” (17). Though Kennedy defines “recapitulation as a particular subset of typology,” he thinks “at this point in the discussion, it appears best to step aside from trying to defend typology as a legitimate label for Matthew’s work” (21). He states that typology needs “further refinement,” and therefore his study avoids “the term typology and seek[s] to strictly examine Matthew’s text itself in regard to recapitulation” (22). Kennedy states, “The term most apt in describing [the] utilization of Israel’s history in Matthew is recapitulation, which includes repetition, summing up, representation, and embodiment” (23).

After the Introduction, Chapter 2 looks at Matthew’s Genealogy (Matt 1:1–17). Kennedy passes over Matthew 1:18–25, moving directly to what he refers to as the “Passive Recapitulation of Israel’s History” in Chapter 3 (Matt 2:1–23). Chapter 4 then treats the “Active Recapitulation of Israel’s History” (Matt 3:1–4:11).

Kennedy’s treatment of Matthew’s genealogy first discusses the multilinear and unilinear genealogies in the Old Testament, then proposes that unilinear genealogies can also be teleological when they aim to highlight a key figure at the climactic end of the genealogy, such as the genealogy in Ruth that concludes with David. He then shows that genealogies are compressed narrative summaries. All this sets up a useful discussion of the way Matthew uses the genealogy to present Jesus as the recapitulation of Israel. The sense in which Israel’s history is “passively” recapitulated is that Jesus relives and repeats it in the events that happen to him as a child. Kennedy reads Matthew 2 from the perspective that it is narrating the new exodus. Chapter 4 then discusses the baptism and testing of Jesus.

This book makes an important contribution to the discussion of the use of the OT in the New. More work like this needs to be done, looking at the larger patterns and frameworks in the OT and then examining how these are used in the New. This goes far beyond citation formulas, verbal quotations and allusions, and other connections that are established at lexical levels. The kind of work that needs to be done, like Kennedy’s, is only possible from reading the texts in their original languages, gaining a thorough knowledge of the stories and patterns, and then engaging in slow reflection on textual connections. Too much work on the use of the OT in the New has been done without respect for OT context. Too many assertions have been made by NT scholars (and OT scholars too) whose conclusions betray simple failure to understand what either the OT or NT author was doing.

My only complaints about the present volume have to do with the way it tries to avoid the issue of typology. The attempt to circumvent the issue fails because though the word “typology” is avoided, the term that is used, “recapitulation,” is presented as a subset of typology. I cannot find a statement that differentiates between the two, nor do I see appreciable distinctions between what Kennedy calls “recapitulation” and what Allison, for instance, calls “typology” (Kennedy briefly summarizes Allison, with approbation, on p. 21). Connected to this is Kennedy’s dissatisfying decision to pass right over Matthew 1:18–25. The thesis of my essay (“The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18–23,” in Built upon the Rock, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner [Eerdmans, 2008], 228–47) fits perfectly, it seems to me, with Kennedy’s thesis, and he cites other essays from Built upon the Rock, so he had access to the volume. Perhaps the sticking point was the word “typology,” but in the absence of clear discrimination between that term and “recapitulation,” it seems that one word is merely standing in for the other. Many people have reservations about typology as a method of interpretation, but I do not think that using a different term for the same thing will alleviate those concerns. These complaints registered, let me say that this is an enjoyable and insightful volume that moves in a productive direction. Kennedy models an interpretive approach that will yield sound conclusions regarding how the New Testament authors understood the Old and presented their work as its fulfillment.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, OT in the NT, Typology

What Is the Old Testament?

Over on the MCTS blog there’s an answer with which I heartily agree!


Filed under Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, Messianism

Peter Gentry on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

The next issue of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 14.1 (2010) is soon to be released. The issue is on eschatology, and you can see the Table of Contents here.

SBJT has generously made available what looks to be the most important essay in this issue: Peter J. Gentry, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the New Exodus,” SBJT 14.1 (2010): 26–45.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT

That the Generations to Come Might Praise the Lord

On January 31 it was my privilege to preach at Kemp Road Baptist Church in Dayton, Ohio.

I attempted to set the role of the family in the wider context of God’s purposes in Old Testament theology, moving from the father’s role in Deuteronomy 6 to the king’s role as a father to his people in Deuteronomy 17 to some brief thoughts on Proverbs 3, where we see Solomon acting as a father obediently teaching his son (and by extension the nation) as he teaches Torah in the book of Proverbs.

Have a listen and let me know what you think.

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SBC Messianic Fellowship

For those coming in early for the SBC this summer, it would be great to have you join me on Saturday, June 20 from 1:25pm to 4:30 for two sessions at the SBC Messianic Fellowship Meeting. Come ready to study the Twelve Prophets! (some of them, anyway).

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“Arise, O Star” at Songs of Southern Friday Night

Last summer I posted the lyrics to “Arise, O Star,” which is my attempt to put the Messiah in the Old Testament to music.

This spring there was an invitation here at SBTS for folks to submit songs they had written, so I turned this one in along with another (an attempt to put the ESV text of Psalm 67 to music, more on that later). Anyway, this Friday night some of the songs submitted, including “Arise, O Star,” will be sung in Dillard Chapel. Here are the details:

The School of Church Music and Worship School Council and the Hymn Society are sponsoring a worship service presenting new songs and hymns written by members of the Southern Seminary community.  The service will held in Dillard Chapel on Friday, April 17th at 7:30 pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

If you’re in the Louisville area, it would be great to see you at this event Friday night.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of Chris Fenner, a “lead sheet” replete with musical notations and guitar chords now exists for “Arise, O Star.” If you are interested, you can download that here. You have my permission to sing this anytime you like with anyone who will join you.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Spiritual Discipline

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham

I have just been alerted that my Tyndale Bulletin essay, “The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,” is now online:

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,Tyndale Bulletin 58.2 (2007), 253-73.

Here’s the abstract:

Might the blessing of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 be a direct answer to the curses of Genesis 3:14-19? The curses of Genesis 3 introduce con­flict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, con­flict between the man and the woman, with difficulty in childbearing, and conflict between the man and the ground, which is cursed for man’s sin. God promises land, seed, and blessing to Abraham. The nations will be blessed through the seed of the woman, seed of Ab­raham, who crushes the serpent’s head. The birth of this seed means that the conflict between the man and his wife is not final, nor will the dif­ficulty in childbearing be fatal. And God promises land to Abraham and his seed, land that hints of a return to Eden.

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Review of Chester, Messiah and Exaltation


Andrew Chester, Messiah and Exaltation: Jewish Messianic and Visionary Traditions and New Testament Christology, WUNT 207. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007. 716pp. ISBN: 978-3-16-149091-0. $215.00. Cloth.

Published in BBR 18.2 (2008), 348-50. 

Encouraged to do so by Martin Hengel, Andrew Chester has revised or expanded several published essays, written three substantial new ones, and given them to us as Messiah and Exaltation. Chapter 1 sets forth the purpose of publishing these essays, which Chester states do not “form a single sustained argument” (2). These essays focus on key ideas regarding Jewish messianism and early Christology. In many ways all of the essays develop ideas first presented in what appears as chapter 5 of this volume. 

In chapter 2, Chester takes up arguments made by Maurice Casey, Richard Bauckham, and Timo Eskola. Casey argues that the Jewish prophet Jesus was only later turned into a Gentile God. Chester gives much more attention to Bauckham and Eskola. Bauckham posits a hard and fast line between the divine identity and other supernatural beings who do not, for instance, receive worship. Chester argues that Bauckham’s explanation of Logos and Wisdom as being included within the divine identity fails, bringing forth and discussing at length evidence that appears to overturn aspects of Bauckham’s argument. Eskola, according to Chester, recapitulates many themes already present in the work of others, such as Hengel, in his presentation of an intriguing Merkabah throne mysticism, which he argues is reflected in such texts as Psalms 110, 16, and 132, 2 Samuel 7, and Acts 2:22–36. For Chester, Eskola begs too many questions (a favorite charge of Chester’s) and insufficiently defines both “Messianism” and “Merkabah mysticism.” Chester summarizes, critiques, and seeks to go beyond these arguments in order to base early Christology primarily on the extraordinary visions experienced both by Christ himself and by his followers. These visions, Chester argues, were the central and shaping forces operating in early Christological thinking. Only once the importance of the visions is established would Chester bring in both the citation of Old Testament Yahweh texts with reference to Christ and the worship of Jesus, but he concedes that the process of theological development cannot be neatly demarcated. 

Chapter 3 examines the themes of “Resurrection, Transformation and Christology” in the OT, extra-biblical, and NT texts. Chester argues that “resurrection can be used to portray individual, national and cosmic transformation.” The NT presents the resurrected Christ as “transformed to take on the divine glory and image” (189), and believers anticipating transformation into the image of Christ. 

Chapter 4 turns to “The Nature and Scope of Messianism.” Chester first discusses the various definitions of messianism before turning to the primary evidence. His treatment of the Hebrew Bible is mainly a review of the works of minimalists such as Pomykala and Karrer and maximalists such as Laato and Horbury. Chester is not overly impressed with the minimalists, and his summaries of Laato and Horbury are nothing short of fascinating, though in Chester’s estimation, Laato begs too many questions and Horbury’s understanding of the messiah is too broad. Chester then undertakes a comprehensive discussion of evidence for messianism in the Qumran texts. He suggests that the evidence for two messiahs at Qumran is limited and “cannot simply be assumed to underlie all of Qumran messianism” (269). Chester then considers Messianism as it relates to the temple and the Torah and concludes with the NT evidence. 

Chapter five is the heart of the volume. This earliest essay contains the main lines of the arguments Chester develops, revises, and even changes through the subsequent essays. The essay is introduced with discussion of the various positions scholars take, followed by treatment of Jewish messianic expectation reflected in second temple writings, which leads into consideration of Jewish mediatorial figures (with which Bauckham took issue in God Crucified, an argument Chester challenges in chapter 2 of the present volume), and Chester concludes this essay looking at Pauline Christology as it relates to Jewish messianic expectation and mediatorial figures. 

Chapter six will be particularly interesting to pre-millennial interpreters. Chester provides a thorough discussion of Eschatology and Messianic Hope. The Jewish evidence of a messianic “golden age” is treated, as are Christian texts, focusing on Revelation, chiliasts and non-chiliasts, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, 1 and 2 Clement, Ignatius and Polycarp, and the Epistle to Diognetus. Chapter seven treats “Messiah and Temple in the Sibylline Oracles,” chapter eight discusses “Messiah and Torah,” and chapter nine concludes the volume with “The ‘Law of Christ’ and the ‘Law of the Spirit’.” 

These essays are the work of a mature scholar who is thoroughly conversant with the primary and secondary evidence. Chester fairly presents the views of other scholars, summarizing them at length before moving into discussion and critique of the positions with which he agrees or disagrees. This aspect of the volume will benefit anyone interested in messianism. 

The detailed character of the arguments, the wide-ranging scope of the collection, and the massive scholarship involved make it difficult to take issue with particular points in a short review such as this. I submit a few general observations, more in the form of impressions than critiques. The long discussions sometimes yield little payoff or are so technical as to be mainly of interest to those working specifically on, say, “the law of Christ” (chapter 9), yet holding much less interest for those working on primary evidence for messianism in the Hebrew Bible (chapter 4). But, that is the nature of both the vast question of messianism and this particular volume—a collection of essays, which, as the author states at the outset, do not comprise a sustained argument for a thesis. The sometimes unremarkable conclusions to these long discussions reflect Chester’s caution, which is perhaps overly resistant to synthetic summaries. For some, this aspect of Chester’s work will be a mark of the quality of his scholarship, and there can be no disputing its quality. Others, though, will feel that the pendulum has swung too far from the synthesis of messianism presented in Schürer to an overemphasis on its diversity as seen in the minimalists. Chester’s work is moving the pendulum back toward the middle, but it is perhaps only a short step from Chester to Horbury (in spite of Chester’s claim that his view is “altogether different” 283 n. 293), which might make that middle look more and more like Schürer’s synthesis. If Schürer goes too far, it nevertheless seems that there is a core of messianism that holds together its various expressions (as Craig Evans has recently noted in The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, Eerdmans 2007, 239). 

Chester, in spite of all the qualifications, reservations, and nuances, is no minimalist and helpfully argues that the messianic expectations attested in extra-biblical Jewish literature and the NT can be described as at least “latent” in the Old Testament itself (282–84). Further, he acknowledges Horbury’s point that bringing the various writings of the Old Testament together into the beginnings of the OT canon resulted in them being presented side by side, creating a dynamic interaction between the diverse OT indications of an expected deliverer (279–80). Minimalists may appreciate Chester’s ever present caution, insistence on the value of the texts in their own right, and attempts to qualify the conclusions drawn by maximalists, who may feel that the massive evidence Chester presents, in spite of his attempts to stem its tide with nuance and qualification, inexorably reinforces their position. No one will be convinced by everything here, but the thorough summaries of scholarship and the thoughtful discussion of primary evidence make this volume a valuable contribution.

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The Messiah in the Old Testament: A Rap

As promised, in the last day of my class on the Messiah in the Old Testament, I delivered this rap that I wrote as I was preparing for the forum on Christ in the OT that was held earlier this semester here at SBTS. I think one of the students got the audio, so if it becomes available to me, I’ll link it here.


The Messiah in the Old Testament in Seven Minutes

One of my brother’s room-mates left some clothes that somehow I inherited. My brother makes fun of me for wearing some of the shorts because they are of the FUBU brand—FUBU means “For Us By Us,” and my brother tells me I’m not included in either of those references to “us.”

So with apologies to those who do belong in the “us” of “For Us By Us,” inspired by Jim Orrick’s Philosophy rap, here is my tribute to The Messiah in the Old Testament (imitation is the highest form of compliment).


God promised a seed, who would crush the serpent’s head
Adam and Eve hoped in what God said
This can be seen from the naming of the wife
Whereas death was promised, the promised seed means life

What Eve said when Cain and Seth were born
Shows she thought that the seed had been born
The line is traced to Noah, through ten generations
And at his birth his dad thinks its time for vacations

For the land had been cursed because of Adam’s sin
The toil was painful since the loss of Eden
But at the birth of Noah, Lamech hopes for relief
Return to Eden would mean the end of grief

After the flood another geneology
Takes us down to Abram on the family tree
In the blessing of Abram, God did promise
That by this man’s seed he would overcome the curse

So kings will come from Abram, and his seed take the land
The ruler’s staff will never leave Judah’s hand
At the Exodus from Egypt the nation is God’s son
We see a tension ‘tween the many and the one

On the way to the land, Balaam tried to curse
But all he did was bless, verse after verse
Out of Jacob he beheld, but as from afar
Seen but not now, the rising star

A scepter too, like the one that won’t leave Judah
The skull crushing seed of the woman, Yeshua
And then Moses promised, a prophet like himself
Who would match the pattern seen in Moses himself

Rejected by the people, afflicted and opposed
Feeds the hungry with the manna, heaven knows
That the one like Moses leads a new Exodus
From our sins, he will deliver us

Jesus said, “These testify of me”
You search the law, in it you should see
That though Moses left Egypt in haste and stealth
The reproach of Christ was better than its wealth

As the years go on, the people need a king
Who will keep the law and God’s praises sing
David was raised up by the Lord
And to him God did give his word

That his seed would sit forever on the throne
All the ends of the earth he would own
Serpents head crushed, enemies defeated
God’s son on the throne in Zion will be seated

Seed of the woman, seed of Abraham
Seed of Judah, possessor of the land
Crusher of the serpent, savior of the sheep
If you are his enemy you will weep

But David was a sinner, and so were his sons
So the nation’s sad story to exile runs
But on the way the prophets, called for repentance
Pointing to a day, when there would be a difference

For a shoot would arise from the stock of Jesse’s roots
To reign in righteousness and bear good fruits
Justice and peace in the power of the Spirit
And the lamb will lie down with the wolf and not fear it

In this new Eden the child will play
By the serpent’s hole and the lion eat hay
When the new David reigns in the restored land
God will pour out the Spirit on woman and man

And with his people make a new covenant
And they will understand what is meant
With the law on their hearts and their sins forgiven
Never again into exile driven

Much in the Book says the King will conquer
But the strain is also strong that says he will suffer
On behalf of his people, their sins he will bear
Like a lamb to the slaughter while the nations stare

As the one who stands next to the Lord,
The Shepherd, is struck by the wakened sword
And all the sheep flee, scattered on the hills,
While the nations rage, and the cup of wrath spills

Fulfilling all the types and prophecies
The King becomes the curse and dies on the tree
All this was hidden, as in a mystery,
Which God made known to Apostles, you see?

I could go on and on, so much I haven’t mentioned
Melchizedek hasn’t gotten any attention
Nor has his status as both king and priest
Which Jesus took up, never to cease

Interceding for his people as their covenant Lord
On the throne of David to fulfill the word
As the seed of the woman and of his father David
When God makes a promise you know he will keep it

So if you want to know what Jesus said
On the road to Emmaus from the law and prophets
Beginning from Moses, in all that was written
Opening their minds, explaining what was hidden

Look to the writings of the New Testament
Where the men taught by Jesus tell us what he meant
They show us how to read the OT
And Jesus sent the Spirit to help you and me

So spread the good news that the battle is won
The curse is reversed, the new age begun
We long for the day when he returns
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come, Lord, come.”


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT

How Much Christ in the Old Testament?

That was the topic of discussion yesterday. It was my privilege to participate in a panel discussion here at SBTS, and the audio file is here (HT: Awilum). 

My views have been shaped by the preaching, teaching, and writings of Drs. Thomas R. Schreiner, John Sailhamer, T. Desmond Alexander, Stephen G. Dempster, E. Earle Ellis, and N. T. Wright, among others. 

Here are my attemps to articulate my views that have found their way into print: 

“The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18-23,” in Built upon the Rock: Studies in the Gospel of Matthew, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner, 228-47. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008 (for the presentation version, click the cover of the book on the right side of the page).

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,” Tyndale Bulletin 58.2 (2007), 253-73.

The Messianic Music of the Song of Songs: A Non-Allegorical Interpretation,” Westminster Theological Journal 68 (2006) 331-45.

The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman: Inner-Biblical Interpretation of Genesis 3:15,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 10.2 (2006), 30-54.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT

Arise, O Star

[I wrote this some time back, and we have sung it a number of times at Redeemer. I’m only posting it now because I’ve only now figured out how to make things single spaced on the blog–press shift then enter.]

Arise, O Star

Verse 1
Seed of the woman
Promised long ago
Sworn to crush the serpent’s head
That to Eden we might go

All nations will be blessed
In the seed of Abraham
And the scepter is to Judah
The land belongs to him


Arise, O Star
Jacob longs for you
Keep your word, Lord
Your promises all true

Your people wait
For that Day when you will come
Take your power and reign
Heaven’s highest Son

Verse 2
The branch will come from Jesse
Great David’s greater Son
As a Son to God comes He
To the throne in Zion

The prophet like Moses
Priest like Melchizedek
Anointed with the Spirit
Messiah, he shall reign

to chorus

Verse 3
So the Man of Sorrows came
Acquainted with his grief
Smitten for our sins
Raised to set us free

And he shall come again
With all his holy ones
For that day we watch
Come soon, Lord Jesus

to chorus

James Merrill Hamilton Jr.
March 31, 2006


Here are the biblical texts that give rise to these lyrics:

Continue reading


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Worship

The Tie: Understanding Scripture in Light of Christ

The spring issue of the Southern Seminary magazine, The Tie, has just appeared online, and it takes up the question of reading the Bible Christologically. You can subscribe to the magazine for free, and I think you ought to do so and ask them to send you a copy of the current issue.

The current issue is now online, and it has essays from Stephen Wellum, Russell Fuller, and myself on how the whole Bible preaches Christ, David Powlison writes on how to center counseling on Christ, Russ Moore shows us how to go beyond the Veggie Tales Gospel (you have to read this) to preach Christ ourselves, and David Prince gives us an example of preaching Christ from Judges. And there’s more. Check it out online, subscribe right away, and may the Lord use this magazine to help us fix our eyes on Jesus!

–my short piece deals with how the authors of the New Testament understand the Old Testament.

Here is the text:

The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New

One sometimes hears people express a desire to know exactly what Jesus said to the two men on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection. But if one wants to know how Jesus interpreted the Old Testament on the road to Emmaus, the easiest way to find out is to read the New Testament. This point is so important that its central implication needs to be made explicit: the New Testament indicates that its authors understand themselves to be reading the Old Testament the way that Jesus read the Old Testament. Continue reading


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Bulletin for Biblical Research Articles Online

I am delighted to see that the Institute for Biblical Research has put back issues of the Bulletin for Biblical Research online for free. All the essays in BBR are peer reviewed, and they are all quality pieces of work. Among the articles published through 2005, the ones below are some of my favorites. Happy Reading!

JACOB NEUSNER, Mr. Sanders’s Pharisees and Mine Bulletin for Biblical Research 2 (1992) 143-169 [© 1992 Institute for Biblical Research]

E. EARLE ELLIS, Jesus’ Use of the Old Testament and the Genesis of New Testament Theology Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 59-75 [© 1993 Institute for Biblical Research]

THOMAS R. SCHREINER, Did Paul Believe in Justification by Works? Another Look at Romans 2 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 131-158 [© 1993 Institute for Biblical Research]

D. A. CARSON Current Issues in Biblical Theology: A New Testament Perspective Bulletin for Biblical Research 5 (1995) 17-41 [© 1995 Institute for Biblical Research]

MARTIN HENGEL Tasks of New Testament Scholarship Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996) 67-86 [© 1996 Institute for Biblical Research]

JOHN SAILHAMER Creation, Genesis 1-11, and the Canon Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.1 (2000) 89-106 [© 2000 Institute for Biblical Research]

JAY E. SMITH 1 Thessalonians 4:4: Breaking the Impasse Bulletin for Biblical Research 11.1 (2001) 65-105 [© 2001 Institute for Biblical Research]

V. PHILIPS LONG Renewing Conversations: Doing Scholarship in an Age of Skepticism, Accommodation, and Specialization Bulletin for Biblical Research 13.2 (2003) 227-249 [© 2003 Institute for Biblical Research]


Filed under Bible and Theology, Gospel, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT

Let Athanasius Spur You to Study the Psalms

In his fascinating lecture on “Reading the Psalms Messianically,” Gordon Wenham recommends The Letter of St. Athanasius to Marcellinus on the Interpretation of the Psalms.

Having followed that recommendation, I am now passing it on, and I would also recommend having a listen (or multiple listens) to Wenham’s lecture. The most striking thing, for me, about Athanasius’s letter is his absolutely thorough knowledge of the Psalms! What a gift to be spurred on to a closer and more comprehensive knowledge of the Psalms!


By the way, if you have the SVS Press edition of Athanasius’s On the Incarnation (the one with the brilliant introduction by C. S. Lewis), the letter to Marcellinus on the interpretation of the Psalms is included as an appendix.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, History, Messiah in the OT, Messianism

Review of Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, ed. Stanley E. Porter

Stanley E. Porter, ed., The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007. ix + 268pp. $29.00, paper.

These essays were presented at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 2004. The collection is preceded by an introduction written by Stanley Porter and concluded with a response, in which each paper is briefly considered, written by Craig Evans. The book is presented in two parts: Part 1: Old Testament and Related Perspective, containing essays that deal with the OT, the Qumran documents, and the literature of early Judaism; and Part 2: New Testament Perspective, containing essays that deal with most of the New Testament (Revelation seems to receive no treatment).

The first essay after Porter’s introduction comes from Tremper Longman, who explores the Law and the Continue reading


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Messiah in the OT, Messianism

Audio of “The Typology of David’s Rise to Power”

Dr. Moore has just posted the links to the text of Graeme Goldsworthy’s addresses on Biblical Theology given this week at SBTS, and he has also linked to the newly posted audio of the Julius Brown Gay Lecture I gave last week, The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel (right click, save as).


Filed under Messiah in the OT, Messianism, Sermon Audio, Typology