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Introduction

OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY OF
REDEMPTION.

INTRODUCTION.

§ 1. Name.

THE fundamental Biblical part of the entire theological system is throughout historic. The Old Testament half is divided into the history of the Old Testament literature; into the history of the contents of revelation as laid down in the Old Testament Scriptures, with its presuppositions; and into the history of the preparation for redemption up to the point where, after the foundation of redemption had been essentially laid, the old dispensation separates from the new, "We shall devote our attention to this history of the preparation for redemption, or, what is the same, to the Old Testament history of redemption. We can also call it History of the Old Covenant, for it is a covenant which forms the basis and sphere of the preparatory history of Christianity, namely the Sinaitic; but we do not call it History of Israel, because the preparation for redemption had begun long before there

was an Israelitish people, and because it runs through the history of the people of Israel, without standing in necessary connection with all its externals and details. Eemark 1.—The earliest treatment of the Biblical history is the Historia Sacra by the Gallic jurist Sulpicius Severus (d. after 406 A.D.). It is likewise a history of the church until the time of that author. It was customary up to the last century to make the history of the Old and New Testament the propylsea of church history; but Biblical history and church history must be kept separate, since they are severally the history of a foundation and of a development. Even the special treatment of Old Testament history for a long time retained the designation of ecclesiastical history {historia ecclesiastical), for example, the Historia Ecelesiastica Veteris Testamenti, by J. F. Buddeus (b. 166 7, d. 1729), Halae 1715, and in many editions. Augustine (b. 354, d. 430 A.D.) has the broader conception of civitas dei for ecclesia. He wrote the City of God (Be Civitate Dei, begun about 413, and not finished before 426), in twenty-two books. His conception of the city of God coincides with the idea of the kingdom of God. Hengstenberg (b. 1802, d. 1869), following his example, entitled his Old Testament history, Geschichte des Beiches Gottes unter dem Alten Bunde, 2 Bde., Berlin 1869-1871, "History of the Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant,"1 etc. But the

1 This work has been published by T. & T. Clark, in two volumes, with the title, History of the Kingdom of Ood under the Old Testament, Edinburgh 1871-1872.—C.

NAME. 3

subject of Old Testament history is first of all the coming salvation,—compare John iv. 22, last clause: "For salvation is from the Jews,"—and then subsequently the form of that community, which it took on and which is its goal.

Eemark 2.—Eoman Catholic theologians have given their text-books of Biblical history the title, History of the Biblical or Divine Eevelation.1 The idea of redemption could be easily combined with this designation, and then the title would be, History of the Old Testament Eevelation of Eedemption. But we do not adopt it; because (1) this name corresponds too little to the human as well as divine side of our task; and (2) this designation is contrary to New Testament usage, according to which the revelation (airoicaXvtyi.'i) of salvation is characteristic of the New Testament.

Eemark 3.—The name, History of the Old Covenant, would be just as fitting as the one chosen by us;2 for the Sinaitic covenant is really the basis and periphery of the history of Israel to the point where, through the Eisen One, the national barriers were broken down. The federal theology, founded by John Cocceius (b. 1603, d. 1669) in 1648 in Franecker, uses for this the expression historic/, ceconomice ante legem et sub lege; but the conception of the covenant which contains law and promise relieves us of this twofold division, which is rather dogmatic than historic.

1 Thus, e.g., Haneberg, Oeschichte der biblischen Offenbarung, 3d ed., Regensburg 1863 ; and Danko, Historic/. Revelationis Divince Veteris et Novi Testamenti, "Wien 1862-1867.

3 This designation, Oeschichte des Alten Bundes, has been adopted by Kurtz in bis work, which still remains incomplete, Berlin 1848; and in the text-books of Hasse, Leipzig 1863; and of August Kbhler, Erlangen 1875-1881, which has been finished as far as the time of David. The full title of this last work is, Lehrbuch der biblischen Oeschichte Alien Testaments.

Remark 4.—Old Testament history has been treated under the title, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, " History of the People of Israel," by Ewald1 (b. 1803, d. 1875), by Hitzig2 (b. 1807, d. 1875), and by Wellhausen3 (b. 1844). But we reject this title, for Israel is not the goal and proper object of our historiography, but the salvation which existed before Israel had a being, and the covenant which gave Israel more than a national significance.

§ 2. Presuppositions.

Without claiming to be destitute of presuppositions, we acknowledge at the very start, that in our future narrative of the Old Testament preparation for the essential salvation we set out with three presuppositions. We presuppose (1), in general, that we have in the Old Testament Scriptures an authentic monument, a sufficient and an essentially harmonious document, of the course of Old Testament history. (2) That this history is not merely a part of the history of the civilisation of mankind by means of an absolute selfdevelopment, but a history going forth from God and

1 This work, which has been published in several editions in Gottingen, first began to appear in 1843, and was finally completed in 1859. The second edition of the English translation was issued in London, 1871.

2 In two parts, Leipzig 1869. 3 Vol. i., Berlin 1878. .

PRESUPPOSITIONS. O

man as factors, which aims particularly at the reestablishment of the fellowship which was intended in the creation of man, and which was lost through the corruption of the intellectual and moral nature. (3) Since such a history is not possible unless the free activity of God and of man interpenetrate, we presuppose the reality of miracles, whose general character consists in the interference of the free will in the mechanism of nature as ordered by law, and whose historical pledge is the resurrection of Jesus, with which not only Christianity, but in general revealed religion and the Biblical view of the world, in contradistinction from the modern, stands and falls.

Remark 1.—(1) No miracles occur in the natural world in itself considered. It is a miracle of almighty power, but after it has once been created, all in it is natural

(2) History is the realm of the miraculous. The relation of God to free beings involves interferences in the course of nature, which make it serviceable for definite ends.

(3) The essence of the miracle is the impulse, and the chief thing is the result. The medium between impulse and result is the subjugated process of nature. The laws of nature are not set aside, but their working, in order that that which has been willed may be attained, is forced in certain directions, and is either checked or hastened.

(4) The course of the natural order of the world suffers a change, because the workings of another worldsystem, namely of the historical, ethical, and spiritual, interfere with its course. These two world-systems are equally divine, and God has placed them in a reciprocal relation, from the time when there was not only a natural world, but also free beings, that is, from the beginning of history.

Remark 2.—The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the fact by which the standpoint for the comprehension of the course of Biblical history is decided. If this one miracle is granted, it must at the same time be granted that it is the conclusion of miraculous premises, and that it has miraculous consequences in its train. Hence all the more honourable is the confession of H. Lang (b. 1826, d. 1876): "As soon as I can persuade myself of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, I shall tear in pieces the modern view of the world."1 And Alexander Schweizer raises the question with respect to the resurrection of Jesus Christ: "Ought, then, really, under the presupposition of this one fact, the entire modern view of the world to be given up ?"2

§ 3. Aim.

If we set out from these presuppositions, we are certain that we shall not represent the materials of the Old Testament history as they may appear to our accidental subjectivity, but in accordance with the

1 Zeitslimmen aus der re/ormirten Kirche der Schweiz, Winterthur 1861, p. 349.

2 Prolestantische Kirchenzeitung, Berlin 1862, p. 275.

sense and spirit of the Holy Scriptures, and of the sacred history itself; and only as we begin with these presuppositions will it be possible to reproduce the materials of the Old Testament history in such an inward, living, and harmonious way as is, according to Gervinus1 and Droysen,2 the highest aim of all historiography. For since we are certain that the Old Testament progress in the appearance of Jesus the Christ, and in the relation of God to man mediated through Him, has reached its goal, we also know, by putting ourselves back in this progress towards the goal, to which everything tends, what is of integral religious significance in it. We penetrate the idea which works through this progress to its accomplishment.

Eemark.—It must be acknowledged from every standpoint that Jesus is the Israelite in whom the religion of Israel has come to the realization of its world - wide calling. Hochstadter3 (Eabbi in Eras) says that the merit of Jesus consists in His having denationalized the knowledge of the true God, and in His having made it the common property of the entire human race. If this be admitted, then He is throughout the entire Old Testament the One who is to come. He is the conclusion of all Old Testament premises.

1 Grundziige dor Historik, Leipzig 1837.

2 Orundriss der Historik, Leipzig 1868 ; 2d ed. 1875.

3 See his Religionsphilosophischen, Erlduterungen, Bad-Ems 1864.

§ 4. Arrangement.

If, now, we observe how the Old Testament history articulates itself, so far as we extend it to the Sabbath between the burial and resurrection of Jesus, as the exact end of the Old Covenant, we discover six steps, with which they tend toward the goal attained in the seventh.

(1) The primitive period before and after the flood, with the dawning of the light in the darkness, which began before the flood and was renewed after it.

(2) The period of the patriarchs, or the separation in the tumultuous sea of nations.

(3) The period of Israel's development, and its transplantation to the promised land.

(4) The period of David and Solomon, or the rising and setting of the royal glory over Israel.

(5) The period of Israel's conflicts with the worldempires, and the elevation of prophecy, which poises over both states until their fall.

(6) The period of the recognition, which breaks through in prophecy and chochma, of the Mediator and of the Logos, and the historical appearance of the Messiah, who is no longer conceived of in a one-sided way as national, but as human and spiritual.

(7) The death and burial of the One who has appeared, and with Him of the Old Covenant: the concluding Sabbath of Old Testament history.

The protevangelium marks the beginning of the first period; the call of Abram, the commencement of the

SOURCES. 9

second; the passage through the Bed Sea, the commencement of the third; the anointing of David, the commencement of the fourth; the dissolution of the kingdom, the commencement of the fifth; the beginning of the prophecy of the passion, the commencement of the sixth; and the entrance of the great Sabbath of the passion-week, the commencement of the seventh.

Eemark.—The apparently poetical expressions used in the designation of the periods indicate the parallelism in •which the hexahemeron stands to the six steps of Old Testament history, for this parallelism is probably something more than accidental. Both of the apostolic gospels presuppose this parallelism, since Matthew places the beginning of his gospel (i. 1), " The book of the generation of Jesus Christ" (BiffKoi yeviaem<i 'itjo-ov Xpiarov), side by side with Gen. v. 1 (according to the Septuagint), "This is the^book of the generation of Adam;" and John begins his history of the redemption with the words (i. 1), "In the beginning was the Word," which is evidently a variation of Gen. i. 1; and the old ecclesiastical eschatology presupposes it, since it indicates the closing period of the world's history as a seventh day (17 efi86fj.r)).

§ 5. Sources.

Our first and chief source is comprised in the twenty-four canonical books of the Old Testament. They all serve in a manifold way the design of God, which was directed to these Scriptures in their entirety, as a true and serviceable monument of the anterior history of Christianity. The literature of the Egyptian, Babylonio-Assyrian, and Persian monuments render a subsidiary service; the Phoenician is of less importance. The Old Testament Scriptures, with whose historical portions Josephus' Antiquities run parallel until xi. 7, break off at the point where the collision between Judaism and Hellenism begins, which, so far as it was external and hostile, is represented in a credible manner by the first book of the Maccabees. The reciprocal relation of religion and civilisation, whicb was the result of this collision, is indicated by such books as the Wisdom of Solomon, which appeared before the time of Philo, and in general by the Hellenistic literature, especially of the Jewish Alexandrianism. The preparation for Christianity did not come to a stand-still with the period of Ezra and Nehemiah. In the literature of the following age also, which forms the bridge between the last books of the Old Testament and the New, both in the Palestinian and the foreign literature, the footsteps of the coming Christ may be recognised.