More Moore

God’s cosmic purposes are also intensely personal and particular, seen in the way God has chosen to bring about these purposes through covenant promise and fulfillment, mediated through the line of Abraham. After demonstrating God’s creational origin of the whole universe – and his salvation of all animal and human life through the Noahic flood, God builds a vision of the end of all things through covenant promises with a chosen people, beginning with Abraham. The Abrahamic covenant promised material land, a name of great renown, and a multitude of offspring (Genesis. 12:1-7; 17:1-14).

Thus, faith itself is defined as forward-looking and eschatological from the beginning – as Abraham offered up the promised son, knowing God could raise him from the dead (Gen. 22:1-19; Heb. 11:17-19) and as Joseph pleaded with his brothers to carry his bones into the promised land, knowing that his death could not annul God’s covenant purposes for Israel (Gen. 50:25; Josh. 24:32; Heb. 11:22).

With the foundation of the Abrahamic promise, God further reveals the contours of biblical hope. Through the Mosaic covenant he outlines the blessings of an obedient nation and the curse of a disobedient people. In the Davidic covenant he promises a son to David who will build a dwelling place for God, defeat God’s enemies, and rule the people in the wisdom of the Spirit (2 Sam. 7; Pss. 2; 73; 89). In the prophesied new covenant God promises to unite the fractured nations of Israel and Judah into one people, a people who all know Yahweh, are forgiven of their sins, and are restored as a nation in the promised land (Jer. 31:31-40).

The covenants look forward – past Israel’s then-present disobedience – to the day when the vine of God bears fruit (Ps. 80:8-19; Isa. 5:1-7; 27:6; Ezek. 15:1-8; 17:1-24; 19:10-14; Hos. 10:1-2), the harlot of God’s people is a faithful bride washed of all uncleanness (Isa. 54:5-6; Jer. 3:20; Ezek. 16:1-63; Hos. 2:1-23), the exiled refugees are returned to a secure homeland, and the flock of God is united under one Davidic shepherd who will feed them and divide them from the goats (Jer. 3:15-19; 23:1-8; Ezek. 34:1-31; Micah 5:2-4;7:14-17). In this coming future Israel will be what she is called to be, the light of the world, a light that the darkness cannot overcome (Isa. 60:1-3). In this future God’s favor on Israel is clear to the nations because he is present with his people. The repeated promise of the covenants is: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” As Joel prophesies: “You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, that I am the LORD your God and there is none else” (Joel 2:27).

With this in view, the covenants picture their fulfillment not just in terms of inheritance blessings but also in terms of a restoration of Eden (Ezek. 36:33-36; 37:22-23), the building of a glorious temple (2 Sam. 7:13; Ezek. 40:1-47:12), the return of a remnant from exile (Isa. 11:12-16), and the construction of a holy city of Zion in which Yahweh dwells with his people in splendor (Pss. 48:1-14; 74:2; Isa. 18:7; Lam. 5:17-22; Ezek. 48:30-35). The covenants will come to their goal when Israel is judged for sin, raised from the dead, and anointed with the Spirit of Yahweh – a public act in the face of hostile nations (Ezek. 20:21, 35-49; 37:1-27). These eschatological covenant promises are then inherently eschatological and messianic – a truth seen in the fact that the patriarchs themselves died and rotted away without seeing the realization of the promises (Heb. 11:13-16).

Russel Moore in A Theology for the Church.


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