Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 20:1 (Fall 2002)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

The Eschatology of the Old Testament. By Geerhardus Vos. Edited by James T. Dennison, Jr. Phillipsburg, NJ: P. & R. Publishing, 2001. Pp. 176.

Geerhardus Vos was born in the Netherlands and emigrated to the United States in 1881. He earned degrees from Calvin Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from the University of Strasbourg in Arabic Studies. The present volume is the result of efforts of family members and former students to publish Vos’s lectures and personal notes. No complete version of his lecture notes or finished manuscript is extant.

In the first chapter to the book (which functions like a lengthy introduction), a general introduction to the phenomenon of eschatology is presented, along with a comprehensive study on the intermediate state from the standpoint of Old Testament Scripture.

Vos begins his treatment with statements regarding the relationship of creation to eschatology. Eschatology is not possible without a God who creates. Otherwise God could be competing with something outside Himself that could interfere with His execution of a set purpose and goal. Even the intrusion of sin does not undermine God’s ability to bring all things to consummation (chapter 4). On the contrary, the existence of sin imparts a religious sense as eschatology becomes the crown of redemption. Vos argues that there is an absolute end for the universe before and apart from sin. The goal of eschatology is not restoration but rather consummation. The same cannot be said of alleged eschatological views in pagan ancient Near Eastern religions (chapter 2). Eschatology is not found in pure nature religions because these rest on the unending round of natural processes knowing no development or goal. It is world after world, cycle after cycle, with no perceptible termination.

Four Psalms (16, 17, 49, 73) are important to the discussion of the intermediate state which occurs after death. In Psalm 16, the state of death has not been removed but transfigured to become a prophecy of praise (Acts 2:25–28). But Psalm 73:23, 25 represents the high-water mark of the confession of faith in regard to the intermediate state within the Old Testament. With regard to resurrection in the Old Testament, Vos has helpful discussions of such texts as Job 19:25–27,

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