The Land as Covenant Backdrop, Part 6

January 28, 2011

The Land: Covenant “Backdrop,” Yes, But Part of the Picture

For the purposes of this paper, it should be underscored that the land was again seen in the last section to function as a sort of “backdrop” to the fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10/Revelation 1:7b in Revelation 11.  Without question, the central aspect of what is taking place in Zechariah 12:10 is that the Lord’s “spirit of grace” comes upon “the house of David” (i.e., the Jews).  However, it is still very much part of the overall picture that this amazing God-directed repentant mourning happens in Jerusalem (i.e., in the promised land).

To come full circle: I believe that a reasonable exegetical probability has been established above for Revelation 11:1-13 being “one New Testament passage that pictures the resettlement of national Israel in the land,” to restate Waltke’s challenge.  I should point out, however, that, though he may have assumed it, Dr. Waltke did not state that the Jews had to be in control of the land.  In my studied opinion, Revelation 11 does not depict that to be the case, only that a significant proportion of the Jewish people will be in the land when the long-awaited prophecies concerning Israel discussed above in Isaiah 59, Jeremiah 31, Zechariah 12, Romans 11 and Revelation 1:7b are fulfilled in Revelation 11:13.

In regard to Burge’s wider perspective in Jesus and the Land, it is heartening that, in regard to Romans 11, he understands that “Paul thus anticipates a future redemption in the plan of God that will include the Jewish people who originally rejected Christ.”[1]  However, his inability to perceive in the New Testament the ongoing assuming of the land aspect of the Lord’s promise to Israel appears to reflect more his passionate bias[2] in favor of the Palestinian Christian community than the most careful exegesis of key New Testament passages and the Old Testament texts/contexts cited there.  In other words, though his eyes are open to the most important part of the portrait—the people framed there (i.e., the future salvation of Israel), he effectively chooses to ignore the existence of the pictorial backdrop (i.e., the land). 


[1] Burge, Jesus and the Land, 89.

[2] I elaborate on my basis for this concern in my forthcoming JETS review of Jesus and the Land.

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