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The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy- an excellent tool

The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy (Moody Press, 2019).

General Editors: Michael Rydelnik, Professor of Jewish Studies, Moody Bible Institute, and Edwin Blum, Dallas Theological Seminary

Introduction

Later in the day of the first Easter Jesus met Cleopas and his companion on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. He talked about his Messianic sufferings from the entire Hebrew Scriptures. (Luke 24:13-35)

Jesus clearly saw himself and his ministry taught in the Old Testament

The editors of this handbook give the following definition of Messiah.

            The Messiah is the eschatological, royal, Servant of the Lord, springing from the Davidic dynasty, who is consecrated by God to provide redemption from sin, bring deliverance for Israel, rule the world, and establish a kingdom of peace, justice, and righteousness. Therefore, when speaking of OT messianic prophecy, it is this King that the Hebrew Bible foretells, through both prophetic prediction and pattern. (page 32-33)

Intertexuality

Intertexuality occurs when the meaning of a text is influenced by another text. This includes quotations and allusions. 

There are many instances of this in the Bible and preaching or teaching a passage must include these links.

Good commentaries discuss these influences but this excellent tool does the Messianic passages and the index links other passages of Scripture to these Messianic prophecies.

Biblical Intertexuality includes the use of the Old Testament (OT) (Hebrew Scriptures) in the OT as well as the use of the OT in the New Testament (NT), and the fewer instances of the use of the NT in the NT.

There are many examples of this. An obvious one is “in the beginning” in John 1 which clearly points back to Genesis 1.

The Problem

Many modern interpreters minimize or entirely disbelieve in the supernatural. This includes inspired predictive prophecy, miracles, and the Messiah.

Commenting on this nearly a century ago, A. T. Robertson remarked, “Jesus found himself in the Old Testament, a thing that some modern scholars do not seem to be able to do.” (p25)

The editors summarize the problem and the rationale for this handbook.

“Although some evangelical scholars may recognize direct messianic prophecies in the OT, it is becoming increasingly popular for many to assert that there are virtually no Hebrew Scripture predictions of the Messiah at all. Some evangelical scholars even insist that not one passage in the Hebrew Bible should be understood as directly predicting the Messiah.” (p 25)  

To be candid, this reviewer doubts the claim of these interpreters to be evangelical. Luke 4:14-30 records Jesus teaching in the synagogue in Nazareth. He said that Isaiah 61:1-2 was being fulfilled in the sight of the congregation.  

Jesus rejects interpretations that deny Messianic prophecy. 

Introductory Essays

The handbook begins with introductory essays including:

            The Messiah and His Titles 

            Messiah and the Hebrew Bible 

            The Old Testament in the New Testament  

            Messiah: Prophet, Priest, and King 

            Typology in the Old Testament 

            Sacrifice in the Old Testament 

            Messiah in Intertestamental Literature 

            Messiah in Rabbinic Literature Targums, the New    Testament, and 

            Biblical Theology of the Messiah 

            Messiah in Medieval Jewish Literature 

The following essays are particularly helpful:

            The Old Testament in the Old Testament

            The Deity of Messiah in the Old Testament 

Basic structure

Following the introductory essays there are sections on Messianic passages in canonical order from Genesis 3:15 through Malachi 3:1, 4:1-5. They are written by various scholars and are clear and concise. 

The essays cover whether the passage was interpreted as messianic by Jewish and Christian teachers over the ages. They also give an analysis of the passage in its context and discusses specific interpretive challenges in the passage. They also cover the  translation of the passage in the Greek Old Testament and various other languages. Next, the influence of other passages on the passage and its influence on other texts are discussed. Finally, a conclusion addresses the place of the passage in the larger issues of messianic prophecy and theology.

Scripture Index

Following the sections on the passages is the Scripture Index. This is an important tool to see if a passage is mentioned as being influenced by a messianic text. The following chart give some examples

            Passage                       Number of citations in the messianic text essays      

            Ex 1                             7

            Judges 1-5                  15

            Esther                          7

            Obadiah                      3

            John 15                       7

Conclusion

This is an excellent tool for those who teach the Bible regularly. I am reading through it and have seen many insights that I had not noticed before.

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