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Last Things First: Unlocking Genesis with the Christ of Eschatology Paperback – January 20, 2007
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This rigourous application of a Christ centered interpretative method should be emulated in all of our studies of Scripture. (New Horizons Magazine)
"The book is an informative, instructive and enlightening read for anyone interested in God's work of salvation. It is stimulating and pregnant with ideas for those engaged in preaching the good news. I would recommend the book highly." (Scottish Bulletin of Theology)
The eschatological is an older strand in revelation than the soteric (Geerhardus Vos). Last Things First explores this insight, fundamental for a sound overall understanding of Scripture, with valuable insights of its own. With an extensive awareness of and reference to relevant literature, it addresses in a stimulating fashion issues that bear on such basic biblical themes as God's purposes in creation, the relationship between creation and redemption, and the work of Christ. While there is room to disagree at points, anyone interested in the biblical basis for covenant theology will read Fesko with great profit. (Richard Gaffin ~ Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
About the Author
J. V. Fesko is Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary in California.
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As a confessional credo-baptist I disagree with his view that the Covenant of Grace is one covenant under multiple administrations. Still, there is so much of his work with which I can and do agree.
While the whole work is very fine, the arguments he presents for Eden as a type of the temple are superb. Having listened to one of his Systematics lectures, I could tell even from that brief experience that Fesko knows his typology, and I hope to read more from him along this vein in the future.
My only negative is the author's effort to distance himself from the traditional view of creation--that God created the universe is six literal 24-hour days. Science is based on imperical evidence, which disqualifies it from ever arriving at the truth of creation. It makes theories and throws them out only to make better ones, but can never prove first cause.
Otherwise, I highly recommend the read.
1. Man in the Image of God
2. The Garden-Temple of Eden
3. The Covenant of Works
4. Shadows and Types of the Second Adam
5. The Work of the Second Adam
6. The Sabbath
The thesis of the book is that Genesis 1-3 not about science or world history, but about the failed work of the first Adam, a fact which points the reader to the person and work of the second or eschatalogical Adam. Fesko laments the fact that all too often, studies in Genesis focus on science and how God created, when we should instead be focusing on the entry point of the Last Adam. Throughout the book, he shows the important connections between the first and last Adam. Adam was to function as God's image-bearer as a prophet, priest, and king. He was to be a priest in Eden, which he argues convincingly (following Beale) was a Temple, not a farm. Fesko is a covenant theologian through and through (in the tradition of Vos), taking John Murray to task (or attempts anyway) in chapter 3. Fesko walks through the covenants in the OT in chapter 4 showing the continuity throughout. Chapter 5 was worth the price of the book. Chapter 6 shows that Christ is the fulfillment of the Sabbath, and we find Sabbath rest by resting in him.
Overall this book was helpful. Fesko seems to ignore the Davidic Covenant throughout the book though. I am not sure why, but you just don't read much about it. He considers "the three major covenants" the Noahic, Abrahamic, and Mosaic. Also, I am not a covenant theologian. I think the terms covenant of works, and covenant of grace are unhelpful. I bought the book knowing he would be arguing for the validity of both. I still enjoyed it very much though, despite these disagreements.
"Christ will fulfill the dominion mandate--he will produce offspring that bear his image, the image of God, and fill the new creation to the ends of the earth." 177
"Eschatology, therefore, is not merely the final locus at the end of systematic theology. Rather, it is the lens through which all other loci must be understood." 200