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God's Messiah in the Old Testament

Expectations of a Coming King

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Christians who open the Old Testament expecting to find promises of a royal Messiah on every page often end up perplexed. Where is the Messiah and how does he fit within the wider vision of the Old Testament and its books?

Addressing a topic of perennial interest and foundational significance, this volume offers a fresh, comprehensive treatment of the messiah theme throughout the entire Old Testament and examines its relevance for New Testament interpretation. Andrew Abernethy and Gregory Goswell explore what the Old Testament actually says about the Messiah, divine kingship, and the kingdom of God. They also offer a nuanced understanding of how New Testament authors make use of Old Testament messianic texts in explaining who Jesus is and what he came to do. The result is a multifaceted, panoramic view of God's intention to involve a royal Messiah in the establishment of his kingdom.

1. The Seed, the Star, and the Template in the Pentateuch
2. The Need for a King in Judges
3. The Book of Ruth and the House of David
4. The Heart of Kingship in 1-2 Samuel
5. Failure and the Royal Ideal in 1-2 Kings
6. Royal Messianic Expectations in Isaiah
7. The Death and Rebirth of Kingship in Jeremiah
8. The Prince Forecast in Ezekiel
9. Kingship for a United Nation in Hosea
10. David's Booth in Amos
11. Davidic Rule in Micah
12. The Sprout, the Divine Shepherd, and the Messenger in Zechariah and Malachi
13. The Portrait of David in the Psalter
14. Where Is David in the Book of Daniel?
15. Kingship and the Temple in 1-2 Chronicles
16. Looking Forward to the New Testament


"In this epic exploration, Abernethy and Goswell have revealed the rich contours of conceptions of the royal messiah in the Old Testament. Those interested in hearing the unique voice of the Old Testament speaking about the royal messiah will be pleased to hear its varied tones throughout the book. Meanwhile, Abernethy and Goswell remind readers how this Old Testament voice provides deeper insight into what the early followers of Jesus saw in him: their long-awaited royal messiah. Students and pastors alike will find this book to be a treasure trove of deep knowledge and powerful reflection."

Beth M. Stovell, associate professor of Old Testament, Ambrose University

"For centuries Christians have debated how to relate Old Testament messianic passages to the New Testament's announcement of fulfillment. This volume wisely chooses to read forward, from the Old Testament to the New, to illumine those connections. Abernethy and Goswell focus on the complex mosaic of royal expectations, judiciously working through the entire Old Testament to explain how Jesus is both a Davidic and a divine king. A fresh approach that offers much food for thought!"

M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"Abernethy and Goswell provide a thoughtful, contextual, and canonical study, revealing an interplay of messianic expectation and God's divine kingship that at times surprises and challenges popular assumptions. A thorough yet accessible engagement, it traces a finely nuanced messianic expectation into the New Testament to reveal Jesus the Messiah and Divine King. The volume's scholarly contribution is significant, yet it does not leave aside wonder and worship of the God who rules. This is a volume I'll return to many times and urge my students to read as well."

Lissa M. Wray Beal, professor of Old Testament, Providence Theological Seminary

"With care and patience, Abernethy and Goswell trace the royal messianic theme through the Old Testament to its reception in the New. The picture that emerges is like a mosaic that is best appreciated when we see it as a whole, because it shows the richness of the Old Testament's witness to this theme. This book will be essential for anyone interested in messianic hope in Scripture."

David G. Firth, Trinity College Bristol

"Andrew Abernethy and Gregory Goswell have written an important and timely volume that is sure to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the Messiah in the Old Testament. Grounded in careful exegesis and shaped by theological and canonical concerns, the authors make a compelling case for a patient and hermeneutically sensitive reading of the Hebrew canon that appreciates the themes of both divine and human kingship. This, in turn, accentuates the redemptive-historical threads of the Bible, culminating with Christ as the resplendent and glorious Divine King and Messiah. This is a thought-provoking book what will enrich students, professors, and pastors--anyone who is interested in studying the Scriptures."

Seulgi L. Byun, chair and associate professor of biblical and religious studies, Grove City College

"Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the King. So what happens when you look back into the Old Testament for passages that might foreshadow him? If you wonder about the kind of passages that could have fed into an understanding of Jesus as King, then this book will examine them for you and with you."

John Goldingay, professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

"In a world of would-be potentates and disappointing presidents, we have a worthy fascination with the dominant personality of Scripture. He is God's Messiah. In these pages, Abernethy and Goswell open new vistas for a fresh consideration of the only King to ever satisfy. Read this book and rejoice."

Charlie Dates, senior pastor, Progressive Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois; affiliate professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"I heartily recommend this canonical reading of Scripture by Abernethy and Goswell. They read the Old Testament as part of a Two-Testament Bible and as a canonical witness to the providential purposes of God in Jesus Christ. They follow the canonical order of the Hebrew text (Torah, Prophets, Writings) and display the pieces of the puzzle with humility. They offer a potential interpretation of the parts in light of Scripture's theological and eschatological design. While the patterns are clear, the figurations are open to a potentiality of connections. In the meantime, God's people wait for the placement of the last pieces of the puzzle--God's final act in Jesus Christ."

Willem A. VanGemeren, professor emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The Authors

  1. Andrew T. Abernethy

    Andrew T. Abernethy

    Andrew T. Abernethy (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of Old Testament and degree coordinator of the MA in Biblical Exegesis at Wheaton College. He has written or edited several books, including The Book of Isaiah and...

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  2. Gregory Goswell
    © Sheryl Sarkoezy

    Gregory Goswell

    Gregory Goswell (PhD, University of Sydney) is academic dean and lecturer in Old Testament at Christ College, Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth and a commentary on Ezra-Nehemiah.

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