maandag 3 februari 2014

From Eden to the New Jerusalem

Desmond T. Alexander, From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2008. Pp. 208. Paper. $19,99. ISBN 978-0-8254-2015-3.

T. Desmond Alexander, senior lecturer in biblical studies at Union Theological College, Belfast, wrote an introduction to biblical theology in which he outlines the central theme of the Bible from the viewpoint that the earth was and is destined as God’s dwelling place. God’s aim was and is that the earth will be filled with his glory.
The starting point of Alexander is the final vision of the New Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. The New Jeru­salem is, as Alexander makes clear, the final and ultimate fulfilment of God’s purpose for the earth; a purpose that first became manifest in the creating of the earth and in the existence of the paradise. More than Alexander does I would underline that the final realisation of God’s purpose surpasses the situation in the paradise before the fall.
In Genesis the paradise is portrayed as a temple and man had the role as priest and king before the fall as the verbs ‘keep’ (rmv) and ‘dress/do the service’ (db[) make clear. Outside Gen. 2 these verbs only occur in close connection to each other in Num. 3 when the service of priests in the sanctuary is described.
The fall of man meant that instead that the temple of God was extended throughout the earth the earth was filled with sin and unrighteousness. Alexander takes the fall of man seriously as a historical fact. More that Alexander does I would stress that is a real amazing thing that God came with his promises to man after the fall.
The tabernacle and the theocracy of Israel must be seen as a provisional realisation of God’s ultimate purpose, namely that God will dwell with his gracious presence in the midst of man. That purpose can only become a reality when the sin of man is atoned. That was done by Jesus Christ as the fulfilment of the service of the tabernacle and temple and as the real Pass­over Lamb. The blood of Christ is not only the means of atonement but also of purifica­tion and sanctification.
In the New Jerusalem we find the final fulfilment of the promises both of the Old and New Testament. The spiritual reality of the New Jerusalem is a material reality and the material reality of the New Jerusalem is a spiritual reality. From Eden to the New Jerusalem is worth reading and gives a good insight into the great meta-story of the Scrip­tures.