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Jesus and the Old Testament Paperback – May 1, 1992
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At the time of the publication of the first reprint of Jesus and the Old Testament, R.T. France was Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology. ...
France points out that Jesus "applied Old Testament in a way which was quite unparalleled" (p 223) and further suggests that if we ignore the way the Old Testament is applied in early Christianity, we cannot understand how the early Christians thought, anymore than we can find the truth of Jesus.
Jesus claimed that many passages in the Old Testament were written about him, and that his life would be a completion of various prophecies. For example, in Mark 1:15 "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand."
Again in Mark 14:62 Jesus combines "Daniel 13 with the words 'sitting at the right hand of Power...a clear allusion to Psalm 110:1 'Sit at my right hand'
The old covenant with only one group, the Jews, is fulfilled. A new and expanded covenant will include all the peoples of the earth. Again and again, Jesus drew on the prophecies in Daniel.
He used those prophecies in startling ways. His use of the 'Son of Man' goes far beyond Second Temple Jews expectations about the title. "Jesus used it...as a title with Messianic implications" (p 138), a Messiah without the political import hoped for by Jews.
Every chapter is rich with insight. For example, France points out that typology is an underused element in New Testament scholarship, although it appears to have been basic to early Christianity, starting with Paul. Or better, starting with Jesus.
For example, regarding the Jesus' claims to alter Sabbath rules, the "argument from the authority of David to the greater authority of Jesus is best explained by an underlying typology. If David , the type, had the authority to reinterpret the law, Jesus, the greater antitype, must have have that authority in a higher degree" (p 47).
Typology was not prophecy. Yet seeing elements in the Old Testament as types - types which were fulfilled or completed, or at least very much greater, in the new - proved the truth of early Christian beliefs to Christians.
France actually develops too many lines of argument for me to go into all of them. But here are two that should intrigue you: "These twelve passages...give the lie to any suggestion that the Old Testament quotations in the Synoptic Gospels are drawn entirely from LXX" (p 28) and "In no case is it impossible, or even improbable, that Jesus' use of quotations could be based on the MT or some related Semitic text" (p 36).
France asserts that Daniel 7:13 was one of the most influential OT scriptures on the thinking of Jesus as he reflected on his message and mission. He also says that Isaiah 53 was a very influential chapter in Jesus' life. With these two passages always in mind, France takes us through the four gospels and shows just how much the Old tesament influenced Christ. Not all of his interpretations will satisy: His reference to Mark 13 as a prediction of the Son of Man coming in a first century judgment on Israel rather than a future second coming of the Lord will not command assent amongst all interpreters. In fact, my gut instinct is that not many will follow France's interpretation of Mark 13 at all.
Outside of this lapse, the book was a very strong presentation of Christ's use of the Hebrew Scriptures. Recommended.