T. Desmond Alexander explores the Bible’s story by beginning in the final chapters of the book of Revelation. Anticipating the creation of a new earth and a new heaven, these chapters bring to fulfilment a process that began with the creation of the earth, as described in the opening chapters of Genesis. These passages frame the entire biblical “meta-story.”
This stimulating study outlines some of the central themes that run through the Bible, with broad brush strokes designed to show the general shape of the meta-story. Seeing the big picture helps us appreciate the details more clearly; and since the themes were an integral part of the biblical authors’ world, appreciating may significantly alter our reading of individual books.
For further study in biblical theology check out the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology.
“The symmetrical dimensions of the New Jerusalem are most unusual for a city. It is as high as it is long or wide. Interestingly, however, the proportions of the city match those of the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the temple, the only other cube specifically mentioned in the Bible. As 1 Kings 6:20 states, ‘The inner sanctuary was twenty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and twenty cubits high.’ The New Jerusalem also resembles the Holy of Holies in that both are made of gold. While, according to 1 Kings 6:20, the inner sanctuary was overlaid with gold, Revelation 21:18 records that ‘the city was pure gold’” (Page 20)
“Thirdly, the tabernacle was probably also viewed as a model of the cosmos” (Page 37)
“With the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost God’s presence, previously associated with the Jerusalem temple, is now linked to the newly created church. The church, which quickly comes to include Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles, becomes the new temple of God. Wherever the followers of Jesus meet, God is present with them by his Spirit. Consequently, as the church expands throughout the earth, God’s dwelling place is also extended.” (Page 18)
“Secondly, the tabernacle becomes the dwelling place of God on earth” (Page 34)
This is thematic biblical theology at its best. Dr Alexander has done us all a great service in providing this succinct, inspirational and compelling examination of some of the great themes of the Bible. In doing so he gathers up many different threads in the biblical story and shows with skill their inter-relatedness, their fulfilment in Christ, and their consummation in the New Jerusalem. Rich pickings in a short space!
—Graeme Goldsworthy, former lecturer, Moore Theological College, Sydney, Australia
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