Friday, February 19, 2016

The Reign of God 5: A Basic Biblical Constant

Continuing with the excerpt, which ended in Part 4 with Israel as the experimental nation to show others God's salvation.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
That, or something like it, is the description one must give of the meaning of Israel's election, looking back especially at the stories of the patriarchs in Genesis but also at any number of other key biblical texts such as Exodus 19:5-6 or Isaiah 2:1-5. At any rate, this election and its function for the world form a basic constant in the Old Testament. According to the Old Testament, salvation and the reign of God cannot otherwise exist in the world.

But then the question arises: is this basic constant of the Old Testament abandoned in the New Testament? Is it no longer valid there? has it given way to a vague and placeless universalism? Anyone who says or even hints at such a thing will have to prove it. He or she will have to prove that for Jesus, Israel was indeed no longer the sign of blessing (or of judgment) for all nations but that he had separated himself internally from Israel and preached an absolute salvation, that is, one divorced from Israel-- with "people in general" as the immediate audience for his message.
Jesus of Nazareth by Gerhard Lohfink
Next Part 6: Jesus, Israel, and the World

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