Which Are The New Covenant Passages in the Old Testament?: Part One -- By: David Fredrickson

Journal: Journal of Ministry and Theology
Volume: JMAT 14:1 (Spring 2010)
Article: Which Are The New Covenant Passages in the Old Testament?: Part One
Author: David Fredrickson

Which Are The New Covenant Passages in the Old Testament?: Part One

Dr. David Fredrickson

Site Director and Academic Coordinator
Assistant Professor of Theology
Western Seminary Sacramento
Sacramento, California

Brief Models For Identifying The Old Testament, New Covenant Passages

Evangelical scholarship has done little to develop working models for systematically identifying the New Covenant (NC) passages in the Old Testament (OT). The result has been predictable—consensus regarding the precise elements of the NC has eluded evangelical students of the NC, partially because the discussion has been plagued with differing, briefly justified enumerations of the relevant OT passages to begin with.1

The few models offered for methodically surfacing NC passages in the OT have been generally ignored by other

students of the NC, at least in print. Part one of this article summarizes and critiques five brief models published in the last fifty years, part two summarizes and critiques two extended models, and part three proposes a new model for surfacing the NC passages in the OT.

The “Formative Model” of Walter C. Kaiser Jr

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. effectively surfaced for modern evangelicalism the issue of the make-up of the NC according to the OT by cataloging in 1972 and again in 1978 “the sixteen or seventeen major” OT passages referencing the NC.2 Perhaps it is a measure of Kaiser’s stature among evangelical scholars that his words nearly ended that discussion before it began— subsequent writings regarding the NC elements and passages in the OT have most often simply accepted Kaiser’s enumeration.3

As well, they have generally followed without discussion Kaiser’s lead in limiting OT, NC passages to the writing prophets.4

Kaiser’s classic enumeration of OT passages is as follows:

The only place in the Old Testament where the expression “new covenant” occurs is Jeremiah 31:31. However it would appear that the idea is much more widespread. Based on similar content and contexts, the following expressions can be equated with the new covenant: the “everlasting covenant” in seven passages [Jer. 32:40; 50:5; Ezek. 16:60

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