Old Testament Prophecy is Not About the Future (Mostly)
This post is adapted from The Message of the Prophets online course, taught by J. Daniel Hays.
When many people think about prophecy, they think about predictions about the future. For modern Christians, this usually means predictions about how the world will end.
But this wasn’t what the prophets in the Old Testament thought—or how they were heard.
Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart write:
“Less than 2 percent of Old Testament prophecy is messianic. Less than 5 percent specifically describes the new-covenant age. Less than 1 percent concerns events yet to come in our time.” 1
So if the prophets aren’t talking about the future, what are they talking about?
Most of the material in the prophetic books relates to the indictment of Israel and Judah for breaking the Mosaic…
“When They Approach the Old Testament, They Think It’s Boring”
We recently sat down with Gary Schnittjer to talk about why the Pentateuch is often read less frequently than other parts of the Bible, as well as some ways to encourage and deepen your study of the Pentateuch. Take a look:
One of the problems Christians have when they approach the Old Testament is they think it’s boring.
I think especially a book like Leviticus or Numbers or Deuteronomy—they’re not often read and studied carefully by Christians. They seem irrelevant and get sort of stirred up together. People say, “Well luckily Jesus…
Tremper Longman, III on Studying Genesis
We recently sat down with Tremper Longman to discuss some of the challenges in studying the book of Genesis. Take a look at what he had to say:
Genesis, like the rest of the Old Testament is a difficult book for us as twenty-first Christians to understand. After all, we’re distant from this book in many ways.
For one thing, it’s an ancient book. This is a book that was written three thousand five hundred years ago and has many strange and ancient customs.
The book of Genesis is also distant from us in terms of culture. It was…
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?
The birth narratives in both Matthew and Luke help answer the question, “Who is Jesus and where did he come from?” One of the ways each book does this is by recounting Jesus’ genealogy.
The problem is: the genealogies are different.
The Old Testament predicted that the Messiah would come from the line of David. Both Matthew and Luke provide genealogies of Jesus that confirm he was a descendent of David—therefore, a legitimate Messiah. He was a legitimate claimant to the throne of Israel.
But they differ in an important way: Matthew follows the line of David’s son Solomon, while Luke follows the line of Nathan, another Son of David. The end result is two distinct genealogies.
How do we account for this?
Some argue that either Matthew or Luke got it wrong. They created or borrowed a genealogy in…
Black Friday Sale Starts Now! 25% Off All Online Courses
New! 5 Online Courses Open for Enrollment Starting Today
Today we’re announcing five new online courses, covering a variety of subjects, and taught by first-rate scholars.
Whether you want to learn more about the life of Paul for a Bible study, improve your preaching, or understand the most difficult moral dilemmas of our time, these course are the perfect place to start.
To celebrate, all new courses are $20 off! Take advantage of this introductory pricing to jump-start your learning.
Thinking Through Paul: A Survey of His Life, Letters, and Theology
taught by Todd Still and Bruce W. Longenecker
How should Christians think about politics?
Today’s post is adapted from Irving Hexham’s “Christian Faith and Practice in Christian Politics,” found in unit 13 of his new Understanding World Religions online course, available later this month. Sign up to be notified when the course will be available.
Anyone wishing to understand modern Christianity in North America needs to begin by recognizing that since the 1980s evangelical Christians have undergone a remarkable political transformation.
Until about 1970 the majority of evangelicals were convinced that religion and politics did not mix and should not be mixed. Today, however, many believe that Christianity and politics cannot be separated.
What is surprising about this development is that some leaders on both left and right trace their political thought to the work of the Dutch theologian…
Reaching Muslims: The Case for the Gospel
I was raised a Muslim, and it was through a friendship that I was able to see that perhaps Christianity was true.
A friend of mine over the course of three and a half years made the case for Christianity for me. He told me that it wasn’t a religion of polytheism and falsehood, but actually a religion of hope and faith, and in fact, a relationship with our Father, God himself.
In the course of doing that, he also showed me that perhaps Islam wasn’t what I had always thought it was.
Relationships and Apologetics
So it was through relationships and…
Who was Paul? His early life, and why it matters
When you think of Paul, what comes to mind?
For as much as Paul wrote, and as influential as he was, there is still much we don’t know about Paul.
Paul describes his own life in Philippians 3:5–6, where he lists seven things ascribed to him or achieved by him:
He states that he was “circumcised on the eighth day.” He calls himself “of the people of Israel.” He says he is “of the tribe of Benjamin.” He tells his readers that he is “a Hebrew of Hebrews.” When he thinks of his life relative to the law, he calls himself “a Pharisee.” When he speaks of his zeal, he talks of “persecuting the church.” Lastly, he says that with respect to the…
What people are saying about Zondervan Academic Online Courses
Nearly a year ago, we set out on an ambitious project to make online theological education more accessible and more affordable for more people.
The response has been amazing. This is what a few people have said:
“The course I signed up for . . . is equal in quality to a university online course. I like the videos, and the self-paced aspect of the course. I recommend it for anyone that wants a quality course, and who wants to be able to take the course on a self-paced basis.”
“The courses offer a real education with practical and useful information. I am highly impressed with the online resources and the textbook and workbook. I am learning a lot and from authors who know what they are talking about…
Last Chance! Biblical Languages Certificate Introductory Discounts End Soon
Maybe you’ve always dreamed of learning the biblical languages, but going to seminary has never been an option. Or perhaps you once knew Greek and Hebrew well, but over time, you’ve lost some of your proficiency.
When you complete the new Biblical Languages Certificate Program, you’ll be able to work with the languages the Bible was originally written in.
You’ll discover meanings you might not see in an English translation. You’ll be able to see the kinds of rhetorical devices that get lost in translation. And you’ll be prepared for advanced language study.
Understanding Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic will transform how you understand and interpret the text of God’s Word.
Introductory discounts end this coming Friday, September 30.
If you were to sign up for each course separately,…
Miles Van Pelt on Learning Biblical Hebrew Online
We recently sat down with Miles Van Pelt to discuss learning biblical Hebrew online.
Here is what he said:
One of the things that is difficult about studying the Old Testament is it represents a culture that is far away in terms of its time and in terms of its practices.
77.3% of our Bible appears in Hebrew. So if we want to know what the Bible says, and if we want to know how to accurately communicate what the Bible says, then we will learn the language in which the vast majority of the Bible was written.
Hebrew has this way of connecting us back to that culture, connecting us back to their idiom, connecting us back to their way of thinking.
One of the great things about our day and age is that if you are in…