Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9:25-26 -- By: John A. Battle, Jr.
GTJ 2:1 (Spr 81) p. 115
Paul’s Use of the Old Testament
in Romans 9:25-26
A number of premillennial writers are now agreeing with amillennialists that a literal interpretation of OT prophecies concerning Israel is not justifted. They claim that the NT interprets these prophecies in a “spiritualized” sense, applying them to the present church, and conclude that the 0T provides no proof of a future national conversion of Israel or of a future millennial kingdom. The quotations of Hosea in Rom 9:25–26 are cited as a primary example. Most who hold to the literal interpretation of prophecy assume that Paul quotes Hosea by way of analogy only, without denying a future fulfilment for Israel; others believe that Paul quotes Hosea literally and has specifically in mind Israel’s present unbelief and future conversion. The author prefers the second alternative and sees evidence for this interpretation not only in the context of Hosea, but also in the context of Romans 9. The background and contexts of the other OT passages cited in Romans 9 confirm the suggested interpretation. It is concluded that the literal interpretation of OT prophecy not only agrees with Paul’s normal hermeneutics but helps greatly in the exegesis of this particular passage.
Today it is recognized more than ever that one’s theology as a whole is closely related to one’s hermeneutics. This fact especially comes to the fore in the study of eschatology. For decades the dictum has held true that amillennialism requires an allegorical or “spiritual” interpretation of biblical prophecy (especially in the OT), while premillennialism springs from a more literal interpretation of those prophecies.
Therefore, it comes as a surprise that a premillennial writer would favor a spiritualized interpretation of OT prophecy. Yet, several premillennialists have done this, the most prominent being George Eldon Ladd of Fuller Theological Seminary. In an interesting
GTJ 2:1 (Spr 81) p. 116
book on the millennium, in which four theologians debate each other,1 Ladd declares himself to be a premillennialist, but on the basis of only two NT passages, Rev 20:1–6, and to a lesser extent, 1 Cor 15:23–26.2 Similarly, his belief in the future national conversion of Israel is founded on a single NT passage, Rom 11:26.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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