An Examination of Holy Space in Psalm 73: Is Wisdom’s Path Infused with an Eschatologically Oriented Hope? -- By: J. Nathan Clayton

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 27:1 (Spring 2006)
Article: An Examination of Holy Space in Psalm 73: Is Wisdom’s Path Infused with an Eschatologically Oriented Hope?
Author: J. Nathan Clayton


An Examination of Holy Space in Psalm 73: Is Wisdom’s Path Infused with an Eschatologically Oriented Hope?

J. Nathan Clayton

J. Nathan Clayton is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. in Old Testament Theology and Exegesis at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

The canonical and theological progression of the OT tabernacle and temple themes display a prism of theological motifs that coalesce with one another to exhibit a brilliant picture of God’s abiding presence with his people.1 In his recent study, for example, Gregory Beale has fleshed out these themes throughout both Testaments.2 Beale strengthens the associations between God’s presence and the symbolic nature of holy space in relationship to the tabernacle and temple concepts. In this biblical theology of the dwelling place of God, the changing realities of the divine presence are interwoven—as they are established at creation, throughout the fall and redemptive history, and finally at the new creation. In this light, the eschatological connections become inescapable since in the biblical trajectory of the temple theme, “eschatology not only recapitulates the protology of Eden but escalates it.”3

In this essay, we propose to explore the potential relationship between this broad eschatological subject of God’s dwelling place

and the function of the temple as holy space in Psalm 73, where the מִקְדְּי־ל (“sanctuary of God”) theme enables a weighty transition in the spiritual disposition of the Asaphite psalmist.4 Yet, how should we understand this notion of holy space? We may, in a preliminary fashion, hypothesize that this concept is characterized by at least the three following aspects: (1) In OT literature, God’s intensified presence at the tabernacle/temple is yearned for or celebrated in the trajectory of the tabernacle and temple themes; (2) this relationship between divine presence and physical space demonstrates that the tabernacle and temple themes represent crucial places of worship which are set apart from the profane as consecrated areas; (3) these themes thus serve an important role in OT thought, as they communicate both something of the history of Israel’s religious practice and the relationship between God and his people.5

From the outset, the question may then ar...

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