The Old Testament and Christian Faith: A Theological Discussion

By Bernhard W. Anderson | Go to book overview

Within this drama of the end time, apocalyptic also contains salvation-portrayal. It is, however, precisely at this point that a clear correspondence of promise in the Old Testament and fulfillment in the New is no longer to be discerned. In the Revelation of John the decisively new element in the portrayal of the final stage of the time of salvation is only the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. All graphic delineations of this final stage have been taken from the Old Testament or at least do not contain anything basically new or different from Old Testament apocalyptic. The message proper of the Revelation of John is only that at the end of God's work with the whole Creation stands Jesus Christ.


Conclusion

It has only been possible to give a preliminary, rough sketch of the way of the promise through the Old Testament. The purpose has been to show that the promises or salvation-oracles in the Old Testament represent a "way"; if its entire course is to be seen, then one must sketch a history which reaches from the deliverance from Egypt--the event upon which the history of God with his people is founded--to the apocalyptic of the late Israelite period. This history, however, is not unilinear. There is no such thing as the promise which had only to be defined from time to time according to its content. We found three basic forms of the promise: the salvation-assurance, the salvation-announcement, and the salvation-portrayal. These three, each for itself, would have to be investigated through the whole Old Testament with reference to the three realms to which they are addressed: the people, the individual, the world; and, in addition, with reference to the manner of mediation. We have also found that the two most important points along the way of the promise through the Old Testament are, first, the Yahwist's incorporation of the blessing into the promise ( Gen. 12:1-3); and second, the refraction, in the prophets' message of judgment, of the promise of salvation into the announcement of a fundamentally new saving act of God which points beyond the Old Testament.

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