One of the problems with blogs on the New Testament, and in fact in understanding the New Testament at all, is that it is very difficult to explain what’s happening in the New Testament without assuming a lot of knowledge about the Old Testament, but even devoted students of the New Testament don’t know much at all about the Old Testament. So where do you begin?
I wanted to have a couple of posts on the differences between the understandings about the very basic question of “salvation” in Jesus and Paul; then I realized to explain either one I’d have to go over the basic ideas of Jewish apocalypticism; then it occurred to me that it would be useful to address the historical roots and development of apocalypticism; then I realized I couldn’t really do that without talking about the classical prophets of the Old Testament (Isaiah, Jeremiah, etc.). But then it occurred to me that to do that I’d have to explain what “prophecy” even was in the OT, before the classical prophets.
I had a friend who went down a rabbit hole like this in his dissertation (it was on sexual ethics in Paul, as it turns out), and he almost never came out!
I’ve decided I’ve got all the time in the world. And it’s all interesting. And little known. And highly important. So why not start more or less at the beginning?
OK, the beginning is Genesis 1:1. So I ain’t goin’ that far back. But I am going to start with what prophecy is in the Bible because most people really and truly don’t know, even, often, when they assume they do because it’s obvious: prophets predict the future, right?
Let’s look into that.
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