Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel's King Hardcover – 1 Jan 2012
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"The authors provide a masterful synthesis of the teaching of the Messiah in the Old Testament, the context of Judaism, and in the New Testament. By intentionally addressing the contextual, canonical, messianic, and christological readings of all the key texts, and asserting how these grew and developed in their interpretation into the Christian era, these three scholars, each with expertise in expounding the message of the relevant texts, provide the reader with a clear path for understanding the fulfillment of the messianic expectaion in Jesus Christ as more than just a collection of diverse prophecies. This is the most useful work to date on the subject."--Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages"Denver Seminary" (12/01/2012)
"Resisting the impulse to impose later visions of the Messiah upon earlier texts, they have offered a fair and balanced picture of a gradually revealed but vibrant and persistent thread of biblical belief. Thoroughly researched, logically organized, and lavishly illustrated, this volume represents the finest full length treatment of the subject available."--Daniel Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament"Wheaton College" (12/01/2012)
"I like the authors' distinction between a text's original, contextual meaning and the canonical significance ultimately given to it, and their progression from Old Testament to New via second temple Jewish literature."--Leslie C. Allen, Senior Professor of Old Testament"Fuller Theological Seminary" (12/01/2012)
"Bateman, Bock, and Johnston have definitely filled a gaping hole in this crucial area with their new work and done so artfully while specializing in their respective fields--Old Testament, second temple literature, and New Testament. It is about time we have a detailed discussion on this important area from evangelical scholars bridging this whole time period. Their discussions are nuanced and carefully worded, avoiding many pitfalls of either extremes and yet providing a very readable and clear work. Especially helpful is their progressive development in which they have highlighted crucial themes related to the Messiah throughout the biblical and non-canonical works. Whether one agrees or disagrees with all of their conclusions, there is no doubt that they have provided a workable, clear foundation in this area that will spawn many lively discussions into the future."--Paul D. Wegner, Professor of Old Testament"Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary" (12/01/2012)
About the Author
Herbert W. Bateman IV (PhD, Dallas Th eological Seminary) has taught Greek language and exegesis for more than twenty years. He is the Author or editor of many works on the General Epistles, including Charts on the Book of Hebrews, Four Views on the Warning Passages in Hebrews, and a forthcoming commentary on Jude and 2 Peter.
Gordon H. Johnston (ThD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is associate professor of Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has spent a number of years sifting through archaeological digs. In addi- tion to his work in the field, Dr. John- ston has published numerous articles and essays in scholarly journals.
Darrell L. Bock is Executive Director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. A former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, he is the author of the best-selling Breaking the Da Vinci Code and numerous works in New Testament studies, including Jesus According to Scripture.
Top Customer Reviews
There are many positives to Jesus the Messiah, particularly in the authors' methodology and careful and fair treatment of individual texts. The proliferation of color maps and diagrams is very welcome and attractive. The authors are also to be commended for attempting to allow the texts to speak for themselves. There is much excellent exegetical work on display, particularly in Johnston’s OT chapters.
However, I note two weaknesses to Jesus the Messiah. First, the authors are not in complete alignment with their intended audience, methods or goals. The benefit of having three specialists devoted to their fields is sadly counterbalanced by the occasional whiplash one experiences when moving from one section to the next. The book would have been strengthened by better harmonizing the flow of the sections and allowing them to interact more with each other.
The second weakness is more foundational to their approach. The authors restrict themselves to “kingship and covenant texts” (p32), which I think is a misstep. First, by only looking at these texts, the authors are putting together the messianic puzzle with too few pieces. Second, despite the authors’ quote above, I see little to no impact of the covenants in their work. Attention to the covenants would have helped frame the puzzle, showing that messianic hope is not merely found in individual texts scattered throughout a long narrative, but rather in a faithful covenant mediator. He would be the second Adam, the Noahic bringer of new creation, the true seed of Abraham, the faithful Israel, and the greater David.Read more ›
Answering who Jesus, the Messiah is, Johnston broke dawn by trace messianic trajectories from the Old Testament, Bateman captured anticipations of this messianic figure and Bock capture the twilight of coming messiah, living no stone unturned.
Jesus the Messiah is divided into three parts. In part one, Johnston went in a great detail through the Old Testament tracing the royal dynasty of the Israel King. Part two, Bateman pick up the expectation of the of this Israel eschatological King. Part three, Bock contended show how Jesus is the Israel eschatological King.
In addition, Johnston delves into Proto-Evangelion (The promise in Genesis 3:15) in appendix. Johnston exposited Genesis 3:15, as he answered what the author of Genesis intended his original audience to understand. Although he agree that Genesis 3:1 has messianic potential, Johnston argued: "The conscious object of the faith of ancient Israel was not the expectation of the coming "head-crusher," but Yahweh alone as their Deliverer and Lord"(p. 460)
Jesus the Messiah is filled with wonder colored charts, maps, graphs, figures et cetera making this work informative and catching. The authors' main aim,
[I]s intended to help those who fail to see any connection between promise in the First Testament and fulfillment in the Second Testament about messiah, as well as to nudge others to consider moving beyond the notion that all First Testament readings about "messiah" were fixed and only spoke directly about Jesus.(p.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I was, I am honestly glad to say, wrong on each count. This volume is excellently written and sensitively done with an acute eye directed both at the Old Testament context of the texts in question and one at the Reception History which those texts evoked (and yes, it seems everyone is doing Reception History these days, even if they don't call it by its proper name).
This volume is comprised of three major sections: Part I: Promises of a King in which Gordon Johnston discusses `messianic trajectories' in various books of the Old Testament (including Genesis, Amos, the Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah among others). Surprisingly, in his discussion of Isaiah, Johnston skips Chapter 7, which I confess to finding singularly odd. Otherwise his treatment is nicely done, as he examines first the Old Testament context of the passages in question and then their `canonical' meaning.
Part II: Expectations of a King by Herbert Bateman IV deals with the thorniest of questions. As he remarks at the opening of the segment:
The intent of Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel's King is to make sense of Jesus' and the early church's messianic claim (p. 211).
No small task but Bateman does as good a job as any in addressing the how and why. This segment of the book is simply stellar and even if the other parts weren't of much use, the volume would still be worthwhile because of it.
Part III: The Coming of a King is Darrell Bock's contribution to the work and Bock does a good job of detailing the New Testament's appropriation of the Old Testament's messianic trajectories. I remain, still, amazed that the work of Mogens Müller was not consulted whilst Köstenberger's was. This, frankly, simply makes no sense to me. Further, Bock's methodology is a bit different than one might expect- for he begins not with the Gospels but with the Catholic Epistles and Revelation from which he moves to Paul and then and only then to John and the Synoptics. This `backwards' approach strikes me as a bit strange. He does offer an attempted justification for this procedure, suggesting that it allows him to work from the least controversial messianic statements to the more controversial (p. 333) but, in my view, it just doesn't work that way. There's certainly little reason to suggest that Christological/messianic texts in Revelation are `less controversial' than those in Matthew. Perhaps I'm missing it- but frankly I just don't agree.
The volume concludes with an appendix on Genesis 3:15 (which causes me to wonder why Genesis 3 wasn't discussed in its proper place early on in the volume). Never mind, though, as the discussion is relevant and articulate.
One other observation on the volume is worth making and should be made: it is beautifully and lushly illustrated with charts, graphs, graphics, and tables. Nearly every page or two or three has some very, very well done graphic which leads readers to a better understanding of the material at hand.
The shortcomings of the volume (its lack of reference to some of the most important materials on the subject and its at times idiosyncratic organizing principles) do not outweigh its positive contributions. Readers at all stages of experience will enjoy it, I imagine. Indeed, I would be very surprised if anyone picking it up failed to learn something from it that they had never noticed or known.
Quartz Hill School of Theology
Divided into three sections, the authors look at the themes of the Messiah in the promises of the Old Testament, reflections and expectations drawn from Intertestamental literature, and the arrival of Jesus recorded in the New Testament.
What makes this book different from other books about the Messiah? The authors' approach to surveying the three divisions of Messianic testimony. Rather than committing the hermeneutical error of "eisegesis" (reading Jesus back into messianic prophecies), the authors contend the Old Testament authors were divinely inspired to use "open" language that would be later fulfilled by Christ.
So-called "messianic" texts are not to be understood as exclusively Messianic - but intended to point to representative royal leaders of the Davidic line, of which Jesus Christ is the ultimately fulfillment. Basically, rather than reading into the text something that isn't there, the authors emphasize the progressive nature of the identity of the ideal Davidic king as seen in the OT & NT and reflective literature from the Intertestamental period.
What I loved about the book:
1. Overall, this is a beautiful book with full-color charts, indexes, maps, etc.., and a very impressive epilogue dedicated to interpreting Gen. 3:15.
2. The authors incorporate insight from literature of the Second Temple era (the time that spans the two testaments). Why is this a big deal since these texts are not inspired? Previously, I was under the impression that Messianic expectations were at a feverish pitch at the dawn of the NT. But the author's research demonstrates the complexity of the cultural situation in which Jesus was born. Messianic hope was not as monolithic as I believed.
3. Gordon Johnston's chapters on Messianic promises in Psalms and Isaiah are worth the price of the book alone. He includes how each Messianic promise was partially fulfilled in the Davidic line or the historical events - which is extremely helpful in understanding the author's original intent in writing his prophetic statements.
What I didn't love about the book:
1. The authors' overall position that there is no exclusive messianic interpretation to many OT passages. Instead, they prefer to view prophetic language as "open-ended" with both an immediate and ultimate fulfillment. Their scholarship is solid and the scope of their research impressive. They are well-respected conservative scholars - but I simply enjoy the approach of scholars like John Sailhamer who sees a more `realized' eschatology in the OT (meaning OT authors and later inspired editors purposefully comprised their texts to highlight the promise of a coming Messiah).
Author Darrell Bock gave me literary whiplash by approaching New Testament texts concerning the Messiah backwards! He begins his studies with Revelation and works through the NT to the Gospels. Bock said his purpose was to let the easier passages interpret the more difficult ones, but I was unconvinced. Although no less inspired than the Gospel accounts, I simply prefer starting with Jesus' personal interpretations of prophecies concerning himself.
2. With so much emphasis on the `progressive' nature of Messianic revelations, I had hoped the authors would have written more on `how' NT authors came to interpret OT texts from an ultimate fulfillment perspective. For instance, if there was no exclusive Messianic interpretation in OT texts, then how would NT authors come to interpret them as such? Outside of divine inspiration, were there clues in the OT texts that must be considered? Instead the bulk of their time is used to outline patterns of "escalated realization."
Jesus the Messiah signifies what I love about great theology books. If written with a commitment to the inspiration of Scripture, you can agree with the author's basic conclusions even if you don't necessarily agree with `how' they got there. While that's not always true, in the case of this book, we all agree that Jesus Christ is the promised Messianic King.
Special thanks to Kregel Academic for sending a copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Herbert W. Bateman IV, Darrell L. Bock, Gordon H Johnson
Kregel Academic, Grand Rapids, Michigan 2012, 527 pages
Just looking at this book is impressive. The Publisher has done an outstanding job in layout and printing. Normally such books as this are not printed in color. This is an exception. Not only this, but the graphic charts, sidebars, and maps are remarkable, and really aid the reader in understanding the concepts. Even the headings are also printed in color. This is done all at a reasonable price.
The content is likewise impressive. It traces the idea of messiahship throughout the Bible. The book is divided into three sections, with a different author writing the section.
Gordon Johnson writes section one: “The Promise of a King,” which consists of the first seven chapters of the book. It centers upon the contextual and canonical trajectories through the Old Testament. He carefully deals with the progressive stages of revelation of the Messiah. He follows the trail through the major sections of the Old Testament from the patriarchs to the prophets. He sees the concept of messiah as rooted, not with the fall of man, but with the promises given to Abraham and the patriarchs. He sees both far and near elements (fulfillments) to the promises, with the ultimate fulfillment as messianic. He deals with the major messiah passages in a fair and balanced way, yet completely evangelical in his approach. He treats Genesis 3:15 under an appendix of its own which he sees as not an explicit messianic text. To me this is one of the most interesting chapters in the book, and worthwhile whether you agree or disagree with his view.
Herbert Batemen is the author of section two: “Expectation of a King.” In this section he deals with the concepts of messiah during the second Temple period. This period is from 515 BC to 70 AD. He starts with obstacles needed to be overcome to get a clear understanding of the concept during this period; such as limited resources, our blurred vision of the period, and the lack of historical and social sensitivities. However, in spite of the obstacles, there is a clear line of anticipation of a coming messiah inherent in this period. This period enriches our understanding of the concept of messiah, and the life of Jesus.
Darrell Bock takes on the messianic concept in the New Testament under the last section “The Coming King.” Interestingly he starts with Revelation and works backwards, describing his reasoning on pages 333-334. He points out that the New Testament clearly points out that Jesus is the Messiah who came and is coming again.
This book is a must read for anyone studying the subject of messiahship. It is reader friendly and understandable not only for the scholar, but for the laymen. The value of the approach is that it is exegetical as well as theological. The authors have done an excellent job and a great service in such a presentation without becoming overly technical. It should be in every Bible students and teachers library.
Thanks to Kregel publishers for a copy of this book for my unbiased review.
I love it when authors actually fulfill their thesis and promises in their promotional statements. Here is the promo statement for this book.
"Few books have sought to exhaustively trace the theme of Messiah through all of Scripture, but this book does so with the expert analysis of three leading evangelical scholars. For the Bible student and pastor, Jesus the Messiah presents a comprehensive picture of both scriptural and cultural expectations surrounding the Messiah, from an examination of the Old Testament promises to their unique and perfect fulfillment in Jesus life."
I found this to be an exceptionally well-written and documented book. It is not for the faint at heart. It is requires diligence as you follow the depth of argument made by the authors in each chapter. Line upon line, precept upon precept this book lays out the argument for the progressive revelation of Jesus as Messiah as it is revealed within each book of the Bible.
When you are done reading you may say wow or you may say that the thesis makes complete sense. I have always believed the thesis but have never pursued the lengths of study involved in this book in such a complete and compact study.
I would highly recommend this as a text for an advanced Gospels class, exegetical elective or for anyone seeking a well written argument concerning Jesus as revealed throughout scripture as the promised King of God of God's Kingdom.
Acknowledgments / 9 Abbreviations / 11
Introduction (Herbert W. Bateman IV)
PART 1: PROMISES OF A KING
Gordon H. Johnston/ 17
Chapter One: Messianic Trajectories in Genesis and Numbers
Chapter Two: Messianic Trajectories in God's Covenant Promise to David / 59 Chapter Three: Messianic Trajectories in the Royal Psalms / 75
Chapter Four: Messianic Trajectories in Amos, Hosea, and Micah / 107 Chapter Five: Messianic Trajectories in Isaiah / 133
Chapter Six: Messianic Trajectories in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel /
Chapter Seven: Messianic Trajectories in Zechariah / 191
PART 2: EXPECTATIONS OF A KING
Herbert W. Bateman IV
Chapter Eight: Three Obstacles to Overcome, and Then One / 211 Chapter Nine: Anticipations of the One Called Messiah / 253 Chapter Ten: Anticipations of the One Called Branch and Prince / 275 Chapter Eleven: Anticipations of the One Called Son / 303
PART 3: THE COMING OF A KING
Darrell L. Bock
Chapter Twelve: Messiah Confessed: Revelation and the Catholic Epistles / 331 Chapter Thirteen: Messiah Confessed: Pauline Epistles / 357
Chapter Fourteen: The Messiah Preached and Veiled /
Chapter Fifteen: The Identity of Jesus as the Christ in His Ministry
Appendix: Messiah and Genesis 3:15 (Gordon H. Johnston) / 459 Index of Charts, Illustrations, Maps, and Sidebars / 473
Person and Subject Index / 475
Ancient Sources Index / 485
Scripture Index / 495
In Part 1, Johnston traces messianic trajectories through the OT. He avoids the dueling extremes of a strict prediction-fulfillment approach and an equally strict immediate-context-only approach. Rather, he explains the contextual interpretation of each passage followed by a canonical interpretation of the same passage. He argues relentlessly for a both-and rather than an either-or approach. He emphasizes the intentional openness of many OT passages, an approach which emphasizes the immediate meaning understood by the original audience while allowing for a more developed meaning in light of subsequent revelation. This blend of contextual and canonical interpretation highlights the inner biblical developments and honors both the immediate historical context and the ultimate messianic trajectory.
In Part 2, Bateman categorizes the diverse ideas about the identity and function of the anticipated messiah strewn throughout this volatile period. He explains three main obstacles we face in trying to discern the make-up of the messiah in this bridge period. First, we have limited intertestamental sources addressing a royal messiah figure. Second, we have anachronistic assumptions about what the intertestamental literature means because we read our NT understanding back into these earlier writings. Third, we lack historical sensitivity to the social, political, and religious climates of the intertestamental period. After laying out these obstacles, Bateman puts together an admittedly disjointed mosaic highlighting the coming messiah's various identities and roles in intertestamental literature.
In Part 3, Darrell Bock traces the word "Christ" (÷ñéóôïò) from the end of the New Testament (where the term is more clear) back into the gospels (where the term is used more broadly). He begins with Revelation and the general letters, moves into Paul's letters, and concludes with Acts and the gospels. Bock skillfully shows that Jesus intentionally avoided verbalizing his messianic identity (in so many words) because of the slew of diverse and disproportionate expectations centered on the concept. Rather, he focused on demonstrating his messianic identity through his actions while teaching his disciples about his unexpected and wildly misunderstood call to suffer.
The greatest strength of the book is its blended contextual and canonical approach. Johnston provides rich insights as he explains the initial historical meaning of each OT passage alongside the eventual ultimate fulfillment of the same passages. He shows exegetically that many OT passages are "open" to additional layers of interpretation which are unfurled through later revelation.
Additionally, the intertestamental section categorizes the smorgasbord of intertestamental information about the royal messiah figure to come. Bateman writes this section, but Bock later shows how this mishmash of messianic expectation influenced Jesus to focus more on his powerful messianic work than direct messianic declarations. Had Jesus walked around saying, "I am the Messiah," the expectation and confusion surrounding his ministry would have been wildly worse than they already were.
One limitation of the book is the narrow word-study approach taken in the NT section. While I appreciate this simple, organized, text-centered method (focused on the word "Christ"), other expressions of messianic fulfillment could have been explored if the NT study were expanded beyond this single word.
Overall, Johnston, Bateman, and Bock have provided a well-conceived, helpfully structured, thoroughly researched, and clearly written book that traces the intricate messianic threads running through the rich tapestry of the biblical story. They show how God has intentionally layered OT texts so that when the Holy Spirit blows on them through later revelation, the texts unfurl with expanded meaning.
See full review at http://rawchristianity.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/jesus-the-messiah-tracing-the-promises-expectations-and-coming-of-israels-king-review/
* Thanks to Kregel for providing a free copy of Jesus the Messiah in exchange for an unbiased review.