Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review for Jesus The Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel's King by Herbert W. Bateman, Darrell L. Bock, and Gordon H. Johnston.

            This new work by Bateman, Bock, and Johnston takes a slightly new tack in examining the prophecies of the Old Testament that point to Israel's Messiah. The book is divided into three different sections, each one written by a different author, and each one with a slightly different purpose. In the first section, Johnston traces Messianic trajectories throughout the Old Testament, examining pertinent texts in their original (contextual) and canonical understandings. He does a nice job of looking at prophecies as they would have been understood by the Israelites of the Old Testament, and then how they would have begun to be seen as pointing to the Messiah who would come. Johnston, I think, does a very good job of refuting those who force Old Testament prophecies to have only one single fulfillment, either in the immediate context, or strictly in the future. 

            The second section was written by Herbert Bateman, and begins by identifying some major obstacles in tracing the expectations of a Messiah through the Intertestamental period. He then traces through some of the material written during that time period what the Jews were looking for as far as their Messiah. References to the "Messiah," the "Branch and Prince," and the "Son" are all found within the Dead Sea Scrolls, and other literature. Bateman looks at the expectations of various sects of Judaism, demonstrating the different emphases that various manuscripts had. 

            In the concluding section, Darrell Bock goes into the New Testament and looks at Jesus and how He fills the role of the Christ, the expected Messiah. The book, when put together, is a very neat work and reflects some of the best research on the subject available today among Evangelicals. The work is lengthy, but an interesting read, written in language that most Christians would be able to grasp, and the continuity really ties the line of redemptive history together. This will be a reference work that I will go back to every time I preach through prophetic portions of scripture, or simply want to remind myself of the glorious story of redemption that threads its way through the entirety of our Bible.

 I would give Jesus the Messiah 5 out of 5 stars. 

I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Academic in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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