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Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel's King

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  • Posted March 4, 2013

    Review: Jesus the Messiah ¿ Tracing the Promises, Expectations a

    Review: Jesus the Messiah – Tracing the Promises, Expectations and Coming of Israel’s King

    Summary: Divided into three section, scholars and theologians Bateman, Bock and Johnston piece together the pieces of the messianic puzzle as they were revealed progressively in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. The first section of the book explores the messianic promises found in the Hebrew Bible, the second section explores the messianic expectations before the coming of Jesus, and the final section explores the fulfillment of the messianic promises in the person of Jesus.

    Review: My criticisms of the book are few so I will voice them up front. First, there are no indications outside of the table of contents, where each of the three sections begins and ends. I found myself moving into a new chapter and only realizing the section had changed because of the shift in writing voice. Second, while this is a scholarly and academic work, the middle section (written by Bateman) is not as readily accessible to the educated layperson as are the sections written by Johnston and Bock.

    The first section, written by Gordon H. Johnston, is a nearly exhaustive look at the messianic promises in the “First Testament” (the Old Testament). Moving through the prophecies and promises chronologically, he discusses the original historical meaning of each text, any near-fulfillments, messianic implications, early interpretations, and overall significance in the Bible as a whole (both testaments). This is an amazing and helpful method because it takes the reader on the narrative journey of how God progressively revealed his ultimate plan in the coming Messiah.

    The second section, written by Herbert Bateman IV, is filled with extensive work from the inter-testamental period and focuses on the various expectations of the coming Messiah. He dives into the apocryphal writings and pseudepigraphal texts, as well as other historical documents, to give the reader a picture of the pre-Jesus expectations for Messiah’s coming.

    The third and final section, written by (the amazing) Darrell L. Bock, looks at the Messiah as revealed in the Second Testament (the New Testament). What Bock does in this section, though, is start from the end of the Second Testament and works his way backwards towards the gospels. By doing this, he is able to effectively demonstrate the continuity of the messianic promises between the First and Second Testament. This method is nothing short of brilliant.

    All three authors speak of the “Messianic Puzzle” being revealed with new pieces over the course of time until Jesus arrives and the Scriptures are written. This work is both an invaluable tool as a reference work, as well as a sort of devotional encouragement to see the magnificent revelation and work of the Messiah, Jesus.

    Jesus the Messiah is critical reading for those trying to understand the Bible as a whole and the continuity between the testaments.

    Rating: 5/5 (I loved it)

    Note: I received a physical copy of this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review.

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