Q&A: Hope for the Coming Kingdom

Hope for the Coming Kingdom

How did hope for the coming kingdom of God develop through the Old Testament prophets?

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Answer

The Old Testament narrative as a whole is dominated by the theme of exile. It goes back to the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, and that's just recapitulated in Israel's own history. And so, this sort of depressing turn of events, which looms so large in the Old Testament narrative, naturally calls forth a desire for some hope beyond exile. So, we have plenty of near-term prophecies, particularly in Isaiah, that God will restore his people, but when you tie that back into the creation narrative, you realize that mere restoration to land is never going to be enough to undo the primal damage done in the beginning, or shortly after the beginning… And so, it's quite natural to find in the Old Testament prophets a yearning for near-term deliverance for Israel perhaps at the hand of a particularly gifted king, but also ultimate deliverance from some ultimate kingly representative of God's people.

Answer by Dr. Sean McDonough

Dr. McDonough teaches New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.