|Digital List Price:||$19.99|
|Print List Price:||$19.99|
Save $8.66 (43%)
From Eden to the New Jerusalem Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Customers who bought this item also bought
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Alexander’s approach is to begin at the end with Revelation 21-22. Although this treatment is not exhaustive, the author introduces the reader to several key themes that help to understand the whole of the biblical meta-narrative. As Alexander unpacks these themes, he does so with the understanding that there is not a book of the Bible that can be interpreted in isolation from the rest. Because each book of Scripture develops further the meta-narrative, every text is seen as the context for every other text.
As Alexander looks into the brackets of the beginning chapters of Genesis and the final chapters of Revelation, he traces the presence of God throughout Scripture. In chapter 2, the largest chapter in the book, Alexander unpacks the theme of the temple as God’s dwelling place.
In the beginning, God establishes the earth as His dwelling place with the intention that that Garden of Eden would be His temple, with Adam and Eve his vice-regents. The imagery is similar to that of a temple. The language of the initial chapters of Genesis is Levitical, clearly temple language. The Garden is identified as a sanctuary, a special place where God dwells. In Eden, God established a blueprint for this temple-garden to be expanded over all the earth. This expectation was shattered when Adam and Eve disobeyed and were expelled from God’s presence. While humans continue to live on the earth, God’s presence is identified as being in heaven. The blueprint would not be completed until the final chapters of Revelation.
In the exodus account, another major development occurs. After delivering enslaved Israel from bondage in Egypt, God brings them to Mount Sinai and enters into a special covenant with his people. Alexander labels this a major advancement of what began in the beginning. God’s presence now resides with a particular nation exclusively, as indicated by the glory of God that filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness.
The thematic treatment of God’s presence continues in the book of Joshua. Soon after the conquest of Canaan, a tabernacle is built at Shiloh. This is understood as the precursor to Solomon’s temple – God’s dwelling place. God now resides not only with the nation of Israel exclusively, but also with the citizens of Jerusalem particularly.
The tabernacle in the wilderness and at Shiloh continued the motif that the earth should become God’s dwelling place. God prescribes the manufacture of a special tent, features of which would later be used in the Temple at Jerusalem. In the Holy of Holies, the Ark of the Covenant is seen as a footstool that extends the heavenly throne to earth.
In Ezra and Nehemiah, a major reversal occurs when Israel is carried away to captivity in Babylon. This temporary captivity is overturned in a second exodus. Ezra and Nehemiah return to the land to build the Second Temple and rebuild the walls. Alexander notes here, “While the evidence is ambiguous, God was probably perceived as once more dwelling within the city of Jerusalem” (16-17).
The next major progression Alexander proposes in the understanding of God’s presence in the meta-narrative of Scripture is the coming of Jesus Christ. The Word becomes flesh and “tabernacles” among men. This is further development of the concept of God dwelling among humans on the earth. No longer does God dwell among men in temples and tabernacles. He dwells among men in the incarnate Christ. The incarnation unites the concepts of “body” and “temple.”
The author further develops this thought with the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes upon the church. The incarnation (body and temple) provided the theological foundation for understanding the church – the body of Christ – as the temple of God. Now the Holy Spirit fills this “temple” and God’s presence is linked to the church. Wherever the followers of Jesus meet, God dwells in them and among them. And as the church expands through mission and persecution, God’s dwelling place on earth expands. Alexander skillfully points out that this was God’s original blueprint for which He commissioned Adam. And where Adam failed, the Lord’s church succeeds, though not perfectly, through the preaching of the gospel.
The theme of God’s presence finds its perfect fulfillment in the consummation of all things in Revelation 21-22. Protology finds is completion in eschatology. Evil is removed fully from the earth. God makes all things new and dwells on the earth with His people. The New Jerusalem that John sees descending to the earth is similar in many ways to the temple-garden in Eden, with one notable difference. God’s intention for the Edenic temple was only unrealized potential. The New Jerusalem temple is actual – the certain fulfillment of the progression of Scripture. The bud that was in Genesis fully blooms in Revelation.
Alexander also unpacks the theme of God’s sovereignty as seen flowing in the meta-narrative of Scripture. The reader’s attention is drawn to references of the throne found in Revelation 21-22. By highlighting the throne John shows that the New Jerusalem confirms and establishes God’s absolute authority and kingship over everything that exists upon the earth.
If the Garden of Eden was a temple, Alexander argues, then Adam and Eve were given a priestly status that allowed them direct access to God. In addition, God appointed them deputies to govern the earth and expand the temple on His behalf. This view is backed up with two propositions: 1) they are directly instructed by God to exercise dominion over all the creatures, and 2) the concept of royalty underlies the expression “the image of God,” as seen in ancient near East sources. Kingship and the divine image go hand in hand (76-77). Adam and Eve were to populate the earth with God’s image-bearers. This was part of God’s blueprint.
A major conflict occurs almost immediately in Scripture. God’s kingly image-bearers side with the enemy. And by submitting to the serpent, Adam and Eve not only subject themselves to the serpent, but also surrender control of the earth to him. Against this background, the rest of the meta-story develops, giving special attention to how God’s sovereignty will be restored and extended throughout all the earth.
The motif of God’s sovereignty is traced through Scripture. Abraham is identified as a priest-king after his encounter with Melchizedek. In Exodus 19:3-6, Israel is declared a kingdom of priests with the intention that they are to fulfill the role allocated to Adam and Eve. In the New Testament, the theocracy of Israel transitions to the kingdom of God, which is inaugurated through the coming of Jesus. 1 Peter 2:9 applies the motif of priest-kings to those who acknowledge the reign of Christ.
“One day the present age will give way to another, when the earth will be rejuvenated and the sovereignty of God will finally become an undisputed reality in the New Jerusalem” (97).
In “Dealing with the Devil,” Alexander points out that while the devil has authority over this earth because of Adam and Eve’s sin (1 Jn. 5:18-19; Jn. 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; Matt. 4:8-10), his head had been crushed by the seed of the woman in fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. His reign as the god of this world will end permanently in Revelation 21-22.
Also prominent in Revelation 21-22 is the theme of Christ as the Lamb. These references point back to the Passover, identifying Christ as our Passover Lamb. The Lamb of Revelation further develops God’s creation blueprint in that He accomplishes the redemption of creation. The Lamb of Revelation delivers people from every nation, echoing the promise made to Abraham in the initial chapters of Genesis. He sets them free to function as priest-kings and to expand God’s kingdom on the earth until the hope of reigning with Christ in the New Jerusalem is accomplished.
Analysis and Conclusion
By tracing several key themes from Creation through Redemption to Consummation, Alexander concludes that the New Jerusalem is “an extension of all that has been revealed in the rest of the Bible” (172). Far from being impractical, the truths Alexander unpacks help the reader to understand his or her own story. “Good theology has pastoral implications” (11). Nothing makes sense or has true meaning outside of the one story that stands out from all the rest.
[The only thing that kept me from giving it 5 stars was the pot shots he takes at capitalism in the final chapter. Really unfitting with the rest of the book.]
Biblical theology is a discipline of theology that brings together the best of a biblically faithful hermeneutic while looking at the overarching story in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. Often, especially in covenant theological circles, the overwhelming emphasis is on the covenant structure of the Bible and how these covenants ultimately lead towards the new covenant, culminating in Christ. While this approach is very good, often other themes in Scripture fall by the wayside, such as throne, garden, city, and the restoration of all things in Christ. T. Desmond Alexander, in his book, From Eden to the New Jerusalem, in his succinct and pointed manner draws our attention to the big ideas of Scripture that form the basis of biblical theology from the sacred garden to the holy city, and the throne of God to the establishment of the living God’s dwelling with men in the final chapter.
Early on in the first chapter, Alexander points out that the Garden of Eden is portrayed as a sanctuary in which, “The Lord God walks in Eden as he later does in the tabernacle and the river flowing from Eden is reminiscent of Ezekiel 47:1-12, which envisages a a river flowing from a future Jerusalem temple and bringing life to the Dead Sea” (23). From these points Alexander makes the conclusion that Adam and Eve acted in a priestly manner because they met God in a holy place, a place endued with grandeur and glory that reflected all the wonderful attributes of God’s character. Further, the parameters of Eden were to be extended over all the Earth, so that the sanctuary was to be enlarged as the nation of Israel was formed, thereby encompassing and making the average Israelite a royal priest in the service of God. This service was not just to be a Levitical priest’s duty but was to fall under the task of subduing the earth.
Desmond rightfully points to the fall of Adam and Eve as having deleterious consequences for the face of humanity. Not least of these consequential sins was the promotion of violence. He writes, “The divine ordering of creation is rejected by the human couple, with disastrous consequences for all involved. Harmony gives way to chaos. As the early chapters of Genesis go on to reveal, people exercise dominion in the cruelest of ways. Violence towards other creatures, both human and animal, is the hallmark of fallen humanity” (79). The shedding of blood from Cain on towards the ways in which God’s heart was grieved that he made man all point to escalation of violence. On this fifteenth anniversary of 9/11, we still feel the costliness of violence and the terror that ensues from such egregious acts.
Alexander’s emphasis on the throne of God, the restoration of all creation, and his helpful work in the last two chapters of Revelation go a long way in giving the reader a better grasp of a narrative biblical theology.
Thanks to Kregel Academic for the copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Most recent customer reviews
T. Desmond Alexander has authored for the Church a resource that shows the unity of the entire Bible.Read more