Royal Expectations In Genesis To Kings: Their Importance For Biblical Theology -- By: T. Desmond Alexander

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 49:2 (NA 1998)
Article: Royal Expectations In Genesis To Kings: Their Importance For Biblical Theology
Author: T. Desmond Alexander

Royal Expectations In Genesis To Kings:
Their Importance For Biblical Theology

T. Desmond Alexander


This article explores two related issues in Biblical Theology: (a) the relationship between the testaments, and (b) the New Testament belief that Jesus Christ fulfils Old Testament expectations concerning a divinely appointed royal saviour or messiah. These issues are discussed from the perspective of the books of Genesis to Kings which, as a continuous narrative, form the backbone of the Old Testament. While many contemporary writers view these books as providing an account of Israel’s history (the reality of which is debated), a careful reading reveals that they are equally interested, if not more so, in the fulfilment of divine promises centred on a future king through whom all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. According to the New Testament, the realisation of these promises, foreshadowed in the Genesis-Kings narrative, comes through Jesus Christ.

I. Introduction

As an academic discipline Biblical Theology is especially interested in the organic unity of the writings which comprise the Old and New Testaments. This raises two important and closely related issues. First, there is the question of the relationship between the two testaments. David L. Baker outlines well the nature of this problem:

Christianity has the New Testament as the record and testimony of the life, death and resurrection of its founder, Jesus Christ, and of the formation of the Christian church. One of the most fundamental questions which has faced theology and the church in every age and still demands an answer today is whether or not Christianity also needs an Old Testament. Is the Old Testament to

be thrown away as obsolete, or preserved as a relic from days of yore, or treasured as a classic and read by scholars, or used occasionally as a change from the New Testament, or kept in a box in case it should be needed some day? Or is the Old Testament an essential part of the Christian Bible, with continuing validity and authority alongside the New Testament?1

Such questions highlight well the important and unresolved issue of the relationship of the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Second, fundamental to the New Testament understanding of Jesus of Nazareth is the idea that he fulfils Old Testament expectations regarding a divinely-appointed royal saviour or messiah. While Christians, by definition, are those who believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the messiah predicted in the Old Testament, there has been a growing tendency since the eighteenth century to challenge the...

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