Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 6: Answering Questions about the New Creation Model (2)

Question #4: Why is the New Creation Model concept important?

I think discussion of the models of eschatology including the New Creation Model and Spiritual Vision Model challenge us to make sure that our assumptions and beliefs about God’s purposes are biblical and not tainted with unbiblical beliefs and ideas.

Many over-spiritualize God’s purposes and in doing so do not see what the Bible has to say about important areas—including eschatology. Many people incorrectly believe some of the following:

--The physical realm is bad and must be annihilated.
--God’s kingdom is spiritual not material.
--Our eternal home is out there in a mystical heaven that is totally divorced from the earth.
--Our primary activity in eternity is mostly passive and contemplative
--There will be no diversity in the future. There is one generic people of God but no national or ethnic diversity.
--There will be no work or anything to do.

People who think these things have had their thinking tainted by a worldview that they may think is biblical but is not. These ideas are more in line with Platonism than the Bible. Randy Alcorn is right when he states that mixing Christianity with Platonism leads to what he calls “Christoplatonism” which is not a good thing.

A New Creation Model approach, though, shakes off the remnants of Platonism and embraces what the Bible has to say about God’s purposes. Yes, spiritual salvation is the basis of all blessings but the blessings God pours out on His people include spiritual and physical blessings. There is nothing unspiritual about land or the earth. There is nothing unspiritual about God working with nations, even the nation Israel. There is nothing unspiritual in realizing that our resurrected bodies will inhabit a resurrected, restored earth.

So in my view, the New Creation approach is not an outside grid imposed on the Bible but a recognition that God’s purposes for His creation are holistic—they include all aspects including the spiritual and physical.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 5: Answering Questions about the New Creation Model (1)

Those who know me already realize that I spend a lot of time discussing and emphasizing the New Creation Model for understanding God’s purposes. Plus, I have already offered some blogs on this topic.

What I would like to do now is address some issues regarding the NCM so that you may better understand why this concept is important. I will do this in the form of Question and Answer:

Question 1: Where does the designation “New Creation Model” come from?

Answer: I found this title in Craig Blaising’s defense of Premillennialism in the book, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Zondervan, 1999). Here Blaising introduced and contrasted two models of eschatology that have been held in church history—the Spiritual Vision Model and the New Creation Model. Russell Moore uses these designations in his book, The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004, pp. 49-52).

These models are simply two broad approaches that Christians have had when it comes to understanding God’s purposes. Even within these two models there can be variations.

Question 2: What is a simple explanation of the New Creation Model?

Answer: In a previous blog I offer how Blaising defines it and I agree with his explanation of this concept. Here is what I believe are the main elements of the New Creation Model:

1.       God created both the immaterial realm and the physical realm as “very good” (Gen 1:31; Col 1:15-20).
2.       The Fall of Man in Genesis 3 marred God’s creation but this does not mean that physical things in themselves are now evil or need to annihilated.
3.       God’s covenants promises foretell of both spiritual and physical blessings with spiritual salvation being the basis for experiencing spiritual blessings and physical blessings (see Deut 30:1-10; Gen 12; 13; 15; Jer 31–33; 2 Sam 7).
4.       God plans to restore all things (Acts 3:21; Col 1:20) which includes every aspect of our environment, both spiritual and physical. This includes glorification for believers in real resurrected bodies and the planet itself (Rom 8:18-25). God will restore every aspect of existence including the spiritual, social, political, economic, and agricultural realms. Also, in the midst of spiritual harmony among all believers, nations and ethnic diversity will exist (Rev 21:24, 26).
5.       The final form of this restoration will take place in the Eternal State (Rev 21–22).

Question 3: What the New Creation Model Is Not?

Answer:  The New Creation Model is NOT:
1.       An elevation of physical and national matters over spiritual matters. This is a ‘both/and’ not an ‘either/or situation.’
2.       A claim that the Eternal State has no differences from the present form of the heavens and earth.
3.       An assertion that there will not be singing or worship in the Eternal State or that direct worship and praise to God are not essential. What I am claiming is that our existence will be multi-dimensional and that we will be serving and glorifying God in many ways. Singing is one of these ways but not the only way.

I’ll be addressing more questions regarding the New Creation Model in upcoming blogs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 4: The Relationship to Millennial Views

How does discussion concerning models of Christian eschatology relate to the millennial views of premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism? Is premillennialism inherently in accord with a new creation model while amillennialism and postmillennialism are intrinsically linked to the spiritual vision model?

These issues were directly brought up by Craig Blaising in his section, “Premillennialism” in the book, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond.[i] Here Blaising specifically argued that non-premillennial views influenced by Augustine are reliant on the spiritual vision model while premillennialism is more consistent with the new creation model. Blaising argues that a Platonic, spiritual vision model approach led to a rejection of the idea of an earthly kingdom:

Ancient Christian premillennialism weakened to the point of disappearance when the spiritual vision model of eternity became dominant in the church. A future kingdom on earth simply did not fit well in an eschatology that stressed personal ascent to a spiritual realm.[ii]

Blaising claims that spiritual vision model presuppositions were behind Augustine’s turning from premillennialism to amillennialism and the view that the millennium of Revelation 20:1-10 is being fulfilled spiritually through the institutional church in the present age.[iii] On the other hand, premillennialism thrives in an environment in which the new creation model and a more literal approach to Scripture are emphasized. As a result, kingdom promises are taken more literally and the physical dimensions of the kingdom are emphasized.

Robert E. Strimple, a representative of amillennialism in the same book, Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, disagrees with Blaising that amillennialism is inherently linked to the spiritual vision model. He also challenges Blaising’s idea that premillennialism is necessarily linked to the new creation model. In his response to Blaising, Strimple asks, “What evidence does he [Blaising] offer, for example, to support the alleged link between early amillennial thought and Greek philosophical dualism?”[iv] Strimple says, “no evidence is offered to support the idea that such a bias is present in modern amillennialism.”[v] He also declares: “When we read modern amillennialists themselves, do we find them expressing a purely ‘spiritual’ (i.e. nonphysical) eschatological hope? Not at all.”[vi] He then lists a series of amillennial theologians who believe in a “more earth-oriented vision” of eschatology including Herman Bavnick, Geerhardus Vos, Anthony Hoekema, and Greg K. Beale.[vii]

Strimple then offers a second response to Blaising in claiming that earlier dispensational premillennialists like Darby, Scofield, and Chafer often drew heavily upon the spiritual vision model, as even Blaising admits. Thus, “the fact remains that historically the link between the new creation model and premillennialism has not been as clear and strong as his thesis implies.”[viii] As the above quotations show, the issue of the millennium and models of Christian eschatology is one in which there is some disagreement. I will comment more on this in an upcoming blog entry.

[i] Blaising, “Premillennialism” in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 170–74.
[ii] Ibid., 170.
[iii] Ibid., 172-74.
[iv] Strimple, “An Amillennial Response to Craig A. Blaising,” in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, 257.
[v] Ibid., 258-59.
[vi] Ibid., 259.
[vii] Ibid., 259–60.
[viii] Ibid., 261.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 3: The Dangers of Christoplatonism

As we discuss models of eschatology it is necessary to discuss how Platonism has affected Christian views on eschatology. To do so I want to mention some ideas from Randy Alcorn who has specifically addressed the impact of Platonism on Christian eschatology. He has coined the term, Christoplatonism. As the title suggests, Christoplatonism is a philosophy that “has blended elements of Platonism with Christianity.”[i]

But as Alcorn points out, this merger is not a good thing since this mixture of Platonism with Christianity “has poisoned Christianity and blunted its distinct differences from Eastern religions.”[ii] Christoplatonism’s pervasive influence has caused many Christians to resist the following biblical truths: bodily resurrection of the dead; life on the New Earth; eating and drinking in Heaven; walking and talking in Heaven; living in dwelling places; traveling down streets; going through gates from one place to another; ruling; working; playing; and engaging in earthly culture.[iii] Christoplatonism is also evident when the following beliefs are held:

  1. Belief that our eternal dwelling place is in a spiritual dimension and not on earth.
  2. Belief that planet earth is basically evil and is beyond restoration.
  3. Belief that heaven is entirely beyond human comprehension.
  4. Belief that our experience in eternity will be mostly that of spiritual contemplation and inactivity.
  5. Belief that there is no time or linear progression of history.
  6. Belief that there will be no nations or governments.

Alcorn believes that Christoplatonism has had “a devastating effect on our ability to understand what Scripture says about Heaven, particularly about the eternal Heaven, the New Earth.”[iv] He cites a statistic from Time to support this in which two-thirds of Americans who believe in resurrection of the dead do not believe they will have resurrected bodies.[v]

Prevailing ideas of Platonism that have been adopted rob Christians of their hope. “The human heart cries out for answers about the afterlife,” but the answers are not being given, he claims.[vi] Many Christians are led to believe, as one author has pointed out, that “eternity is an unending church service,” a “never-ending sing-along in the sky.”[vii] But trying to long for an eternity that is primarily spiritual does not offer real hope. Alcorn states, “Trying to develop an appetite for a disembodied existence in a non-physical Heaven is like trying to develop an appetite for gravel. No matter how sincere we are, and no matter how hard we try, it’s not going to work. Nor should it.”[viii]

Alcorn claims that this misunderstanding about the nature of Heaven has its roots in Satan: “Satan need not convince us that Heaven doesn’t exist. He need only convince us that Heaven is a place of boring, unearthly existence. If we believe that lie, we’ll be robbed of our joy and anticipation.”[ix] Alcorn mentions that in his research he collected more than 150 books on Heaven, both old and new. “One thing I’ve found is that books about Heaven are notorious for saying we can’t know what Heaven is like, but it will be more wonderful than we can imagine,” he says.[x] “However, the moment we say that we can’t imagine Heaven, we dump cold water on all that God has revealed to us about our eternal home. If we can’t envision it, we can’t look forward to it. If Heaven is unimaginable, why even try?”[xi]

[i] Randy Alcorn, Heaven, 475.
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Alcorn, Heaven, 476.
[iv] Ibid., 52.
[v] Ibid., 112.
[vi] Ibid., xiii.
[vii] John Eldredge, The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life We’ve Only Dreamed of (Nashville: Nelson, 2000), 111.
[viii] Alcorn, Heaven, 7.
[ix] Ibid., 11.
[x] Alcorn, Heaven, 17.
[xi] Ibid., 17. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 2: The New Creation Model

In contrast to the spiritual vision model, the second model of eschatology I want to discuss now is the “new creation model.” This model is contrary to Platonism and the spiritual vision model and emphasizes the physical, social, political, and geographical aspects of eternal life. It emphasizes a coming new earth, the renewal of life on this new earth, bodily resurrection, and social and political interactions among the redeemed.[1]

As Craig Blaising states, “The new creation model expects that the ontological order and scope of eternal life is essentially continuous with that of present earthly life except for the absence of sin and death.”[2] Thus, eternal life is embodied life on earth. This approach “does not reject physicality or materiality, but affirms them as essential both to a holistic anthropology and to the biblical idea of a redeemed creation.”[3]

This approach follows the language of passages like Isaiah 25, 65, 66; Revelation 21; and Romans 8 which speak of a regenerated earth. A new creation model emphasizes the future relevance of matters such as renewal of the world and universe, nations, kings, economics, agriculture, and social-political issues. In sum, a new creation model operates on the belief that life in the future kingdom of God is largely similar to God’s purposes for the creation before the fall of Adam, which certainly involved more than just a spiritual element. Thus, the final Heaven is not an ethereal spiritual presence in the sky. As Russell D. Moore points out, “The point of the gospel is not that we would go to heaven when we die. Instead, it is that heaven will come down, transforming and renewing the earth and the entire universe.”[4] Far from being only a spiritual entity, the eternal destiny of the redeemed includes a holistic renewal of human existence and our environment:

The picture then is not of an eschatological flight from creation but the restoration and redemption of creation with all that entails: table fellowship, community, culture, economics, agriculture and animal husbandry, art, architecture, worship—in short, life and that abundantly.[5]

The new creation model appears to have been the primary approach of the church of the late first and early second centuries A.D. It was found in apocalyptic and rabbinic Judaism and in second century Christian writers such as Irenaeus of Lyons.[6] But, as Blaising asserts, the spiritual vision model would take over and become “the dominant view of eternal life from roughly the third century to the early modern period.”[7]

[1] Craig A. Blaising, “Premillennialism” in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, ed. Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 162.
[2] Ibid. 
[3] Ibid., 162.
[4] Russell D. Moore, “Personal and Cosmic Eschatology,” in A Theology for the Church, ed. Daniel L. Akin (Nashville: B&H, 2007), 912.
[5] Ibid., 859.
[6] Blaising, 164.
[7] Ibid.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Models of Eschatology Part 1: The Spiritual Vision Model

I want to offer some discussion on models of eschatology. Understanding the two major models can be very helpful in making sure our views on eschatology are based on the Bible and not the ideas of Plato.

According to Craig Blaising, there have been two broad models of eternal life that have held by Christians since the time of the early church. The first he calls, the “spiritual vision model.”[i] This model is influenced by Platonism.[ii] With this model, heaven is viewed primarily as a spiritual entity. Heaven is the highest level of ontological reality—the realm of spirit as opposed to base matter. “This is the destiny of the saved, who will exist in that nonearthly, spiritual place as spiritual beings engaged eternally in spiritual activity.”[iii] The spiritual vision model, Blaising argues, is a combination of biblical themes and cultural ideas that were common to the classical philosophical tradition. The biblical themes the spiritual vision model draws upon include:

1.      the promise that  believers will see God.
2.      the promise that believers will receive full knowledge.
3.      the description of heaven as the dwelling place of God.
4.      the description of heaven as the destiny of the believing dead prior to the resurrection.[iv]

In addition to the biblical themes, the spiritual vision model also drew upon cultural (Greek) ideas that were common to the classical philosophical tradition:

1.      a basic contrast between spirit and matter.
2.      an identification of spirit with mind or intellect.
3.      a belief that eternal perfection entails the absence of change.[v]

According to Blaising, “Central to all three of these is the classical tradition’s notion of an ontological hierarchy in which spirit is located at the top of a descending order of being. Elemental matter occupies the lowest place.”[vi] Heaven is realm of spirit as opposed to matter. Heaven is a nonearthly spiritual place for spiritual beings who are engaged only in spiritual activity. This heaven is also free from all change. Eternal life, therefore, is viewed primarily as “cognitive, meditative, or contemplative.”[vii] The spiritual vision model has led many Christians to view eternal life “as the beatific vision of God—an unbroken, unchanging contemplation of the infinite reality of God.”[viii]

In his book, Models of the Kingdom, Howard A. Snyder points out that a purely spiritual view of the kingdom, which he calls “the kingdom as inner spiritual experience model,” “may be traced to the influence of Platonist and Neoplatonist ideas on Christian thinking. . . .”[ix] According to Snyder this model “draws to some degree on Greek philosophical roots.”[x] He also states that “One can sense the Platonism lying behind this model.”[xi] Snyder says: “Historically this model has often been tainted with a sort of Platonic disdain for things material, perhaps seeing the body or matter as evil or at least imperfect and imperfectible. It is thus dualistic, viewing the ‘higher’ spiritual world as essentially separate from the material world.”[xii]

The spiritual vision model was inherently linked to allegorical and spiritual methods of interpretation that were opposed to literal interpretation based on historical-grammatical contexts. Blaising also notes that the spiritual vision model “was intimately connected with practices of ‘spiritual interpretation’ that were openly acknowledged to be contrary to the literal meaning of the words being interpreted.”[xiii] “The long term practice of reading Scripture in this way so conditioned the Christian mind that by the late Middle Ages, the spiritual vision model had become an accepted fact of the Christian worldview.”[xiv]

With my next blog I will introduce the other model of eschatology—the New Creation Model.

[i] Craig A. Blaising, “Premillennialism” in Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond, ed. Darrell L. Bock (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 161.

[ii] Ibid., 162. Snyder calls this approach “the kingdom as inner spiritual experience model.” “As a distinct model it may be traced to the influence of Platonist and Neoplatonist ideas on Christian thinking and especially to Origen” Howard A. Snyder, Models of the Kingdom (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1991), 42.

[iii] Blaising, “Premillennialism,” 161.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Blaising, “Premillennialism,” 162.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Snyder, Models of the Kingdom, 42.

[x] Ibid., 52.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Ibid., 54.

[xiii] Blaising, “Premillennialism,” 165.

[xiv] Ibid.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 20: Acts 13:47 and Isa 49:6

Is Acts 13:47 a case of non-contextual usage of the OT? With Acts 13:46–47, Paul and Barnabas quote Isa 49:6 in reference to their ministry to the Gentiles:

Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you [Jews] first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
‘For so the Lord has commanded us,

Isaiah 49:6 is a strategic OT passage that is used not only here but also in reference to Jesus in Luke 2:32 and Acts 26:23. The Isaiah passage itself states that the coming “Servant” would restore Israel and be a light of the nations. What is somewhat controversial here is that Paul and Barnabas say Isa 49:6 referenced them (“us”) and not Jesus.

So is this a case of non-contextual use of an OT passage? Not at all. This is an instance where the message of Jesus, the Servant, is also the message of His followers—in this case Paul and Barnabas. Paul viewed himself as an ambassador for Christ (see 2 Cor 5:20), so why wouldn’t Christ’s message of salvation going to the Gentiles in addition to Israel also be that of Paul and Barnabas. As Klyne Snodgrass states:

Often words that find their climax in Jesus find further correspondence in his followers. If Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 49:6 as the light to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32), the words can still be applied to Paul (Acts 13:47).[1]

G. K. Beale rightly links Paul’s connection with Jesus to that of “corporate representation”:

And it is this same idea of corporate representation which allows Paul in his own mind to understand how the very context of the Isaiah 49 servant could apply to himself without distorting the way in which he thought it may have been intended originally. Furthermore, in that he was continuing the mission of Jesus, the Servant, he could easily apply this Servant prophecy to himself.[2]

I seriously doubt that if we were able to ask the apostle Paul that he would say that Isa 49:6 only referred to him and Barnabas. He, of course, viewed Isaiah 49:6 as being ultimately fulfilled with Jesus. In fact, in Acts 26:23 Paul argued that the prophets and Moses declared that “the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” Paul probably had Isa 49:6 in mind when he stated this. Thus, Paul viewed Isaiah 49:6 as being fulfilled with Christ.

Acts 13:47, therefore, is another case of contextual usage of the OT by a NT person.

[1] Klyne Snodgrass, “The Use of the Old Testament in the New,” in The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts: Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, ed. G. K. Beale (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 38.
[2] G. K. Beale, “The Old Testament Background of Reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5–7,” in The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts, 230–31.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Church: Definition, Purpose, and Destiny

While one might think that it is easy to give a biblical definition of the Church, there is no consensus on what the Church is and how it fits within God’s overall plans in history. Generic statements that “the Church is the people of God united to Christ through faith,” while accurate, do not address some important questions such as: (1) When did the Church begin? (2) What is the Church’s role both now and in the future? and (3) How does the Church specifically relate to Israel?  

With this blog I want to offer some specific statements concerning how I understand the Church, and in doing so address some issues that often are not addressed. Be aware that this is more of a statement of how I understand the Church and not a full-blown defense of my views. Since I am addressing some issues that are rarely addressed I offer my thoughts with the caveat that I may modify my wording later based on further reflection and interaction with others. So let me know what you think.

Definition: The Church is the New Covenant community of God as it exists in this dispensation between the events of Acts 2 (Day of Pentecost) through the rapture of the Church prior to the Day of the Lord.

Constituents: The Church consists of the believing remnant of Israel and believing Gentiles in this era between the events of Acts 2 and the Rapture. The emphasis of this era is on Gentiles coming to faith although a remnant of believing Israel—the “Israel of God”--continues to exist (see Gal 6:16).

The Church only consists of true believers in Jesus Christ. In this sense there is a “universal” Church which consists of all true Christians of this era regardless of geography or time period in which they live. The actual manifestation of the universal church is found in local churches where Christians meet together.

Purpose:  In this dispensation while the nation Israel is experiencing a temporary judgment of God and the nation as a whole is characterized by unbelief, God has sovereignly established His Church as His instrument for Gospel and kingdom proclamation. The Church’s purpose is to take the Gospel to the world so that people from every people group can be saved and be qualified to enter Christ’s kingdom when it is established on earth at His second coming. This mission of the Church is to bring glory to God through reaching the lost for Christ, preaching the Word of God, and edifying Christians. The Church is a strategic part of God’s plans as it becomes the instrument for His truth during this era before the kingdom is established.

Relationship to Israel: The Church is not Israel but it is in a close historical and redemptive relationship with Israel. Those in the Church participate in Israel’s covenants which even in the Old Testament were given for the purpose of one day including Gentiles (see Gen 12:2–3). Both the believing remnant of Israel in this age and believing Gentiles participate together in the “one new man” concept (Eph 2:15) in which they participate equally in salvation and spiritual blessings by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Yet they still retain their ethnic identities (see Eph. 3:6). Believing Gentiles are not incorporated into Israel but they participate together with believing Jews in salvation. The Church is a strategic part of God’s plans but in itself is not the final completion of God’s plans. When the “fullness of the Gentiles” has been completed then “all Israel will be saved” and there will be an increase in blessings to the Gentiles (see Rom 11:12).  

The Future of the Church: When Israel is saved and restored in connection with Jesus Christ’s second coming and the establishment of His millennial kingdom on earth, those who comprised Jesus’ Church will have positions of authority over the nations which is part of the Church’s reward for faithful service. These are real positions of authority with specific functions to the various nations of the earth. Thus, the Church goes from persecution to positions of authority in the kingdom (see Rev. 2:26–27).

How do members of the Church relate to Israel and the nations in the Millennium and eternal state? I am not dogmatic on this, but it is my belief that members of the Church will forever be identified with the Church and the important role that Christians had in this era between the two comings of Christ. Yet it is also possible that individual members of the Church may integrate into the nations, perhaps identifying with their ethnic group or nation they were associated with during the present era.

I believe this is the case with the remnant of Israel during this present era. I see no reason why a believing Jew in the Church cannot be identified with the nation Israel when Israel experiences the full blessings of the eternal covenants in the Millennium and Eternal State. Thus, in the case of Christian Jews, they can be both part of the Church in this dispensation and part of national Israel when Israel is saved and restored. Thus a dual identity with both the Church and Israel is possible.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

What I Am Reading These Days

Most of the time I find myself working through several books at a time. Here are some of the books I have currently been reading and studying:
1.       The Reagan Diaries by Ronald Reagan (edited by Douglas Brinkley) (Harper Perennial, 2009). Did you realize that Ronald Reagan kept a journal entry for almost every day of his presidency? What a treasure! I have been slowly reading this book for the last year and a half. I’m in June 1988 with only half a year left in Reagan’s presidency. Approaching the end makes me sad. As an American I miss Reagan and the leadership he brought to our country.

2.       Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by Walter Kaiser, Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns. (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde) (Zondervan, 2010). I find myself going to this book over and over again lately to see how different men approach the more difficult uses of the OT in the NT. Kaiser and Bock do a good job. Enns’ view concerns me since he argues that there is often a “disconnect” between what the OT authors meant and how the NT uses the OT.

3.       Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament by G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Baker, 2007). This book does not deal with any theory of how the NT authors used the OT but there is a ton of helpful information in it. This is not a book to be read cover to cover but it does help when you are looking at a specific use of the OT in the NT. I find myself using this book several times a week.

4.       Three Views on the Rapture: Pretribulation, Prewrath, or Posttribulation by Craig Blaising, Alan Hultberg, and Douglas J. Moo (ed. Alan Hultberg) (Zondervan, 2010)  I am only about a third done with the book but there is a lot of information in this book. It is very dense with specific and often complicated arguments. This not for the faint of heart and is a book mostly for theologians who have a love for this topic. We are reading this for my Eschatology seminar.