Chair: Desi Alexander, email@example.com
'A Biblical Theology Perspective on the Tabernacle/Temple and its priesthood’
From the concluding chapters of Exodus to the letter of the Hebrews, the tabernacle/temple and its priesthood occupies an important place in Scripture. As God’s earthly residence among the Israelites, the tabernacle/temple plays a vital role in enabling the Israelites to have a special relationship with God. Closely linked to the creation of the tabernacle/temple is the appointment of a high priest who supports the covenant relationship between God and the Israelites. According to the author of Hebrews, the earthly tabernacle constructed at Mount Sinai is modelled upon a heavenly sanctuary, where the ascended Christ serves as our great high priest.
Tyndale Lecture: David Moffitt - Entering God’s House: The Directionality of Temple Sacrifice and the Dynamics of the Incarnation
Joel White - The Temple as Template? A Critical Assessment of Recent Proposals Regarding the Temple as a Central Motif in Biblical Theology
The last two decades have seen the emergence of what amounts to a new thesis regarding the purported “Mitte” around which a biblical theology might be constructed: the temple. While appreciation for the importance of the temple as an important Biblical motif is not new, the idea that it represents the coherent center of Biblical theology rather is. This thesis has generated creative new approaches to many topics as evidenced by the recent works of Greg Beale, Desmond Alexander, Benjamin Gladd, and others who in various ways and to varying degrees view the temple as a sort of template for Eden, the ark, Pentecost and much more. This paper offers a critical assessment of this development by comparing it with similar tendencies in early Jewish literature and identifying both areas of promise and pitfalls inherent to the approach.
Justin M. Young - Moses’ Tent of Meeting and the Role of the High Priest: Reassessing the Two Structures called אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד (“Tent of Meeting”) in Exodus 25-40
The second half of Exodus focuses on the construction of YHWH’s ornate portable sanctuary (Exod 25-31; 35-40). A primary designation of this sanctuary is אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד (“Tent of Meeting”). Yet, in Exodus 33:7-11, a different structure is called by the same name. Since the rise of historical criticism, the dominant explanation for the presence of two tent structures in Exodus 25-40 called אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד has proceeded largely from the assignment of Exodus 33:7-11 and Exodus 25-31; 35-40 to disparate sources, leading to the corollary that Moses’ Tent of Meeting in Exodus 33:7-11 is out of place within its present context. The present study presents an alternative approach to the relationship between these two tent structures. When Exodus 33:7-11 is regarded as an integral part of Exodus 25-40, the account of Moses’ Tent of Meeting contributes significantly to understanding the function of the high priest.
Andrew Malone - Judah Became His Sanctuary: Psalm 114:2 as an Old Testament Precursor to New Testament Imagery
The NT describes Christian believers as the temple in which God dwells. Especially when some passages cite OT texts, it’s acknowledged that the old covenant anticipates such an appropriation. Biblical theology typically traces this development and its turning point thus: ‘Whereas under the old covenant, God filled the literal temple with his presence … under the new covenant he fills the corporate body of believers with his presence.’ What does Psalm 114:2 (and a few similar allusions) contribute when already it declares, under the old covenant, that ‘Judah became his sanctuary’? A small number of recent NT commentators identify its probable contribution. If the psalm already applies architectural language to the people of God, we need to amplify its influence and backdate or abandon the chronological turning point. But the psalm’s imagery is highly ambiguous, and perhaps we need to curtail commentators’ growing interest in these three Hebrew words.
Nick Moore - An Entrance to the Most Holy Place: Heavenly Temple in the New Testament
The notion of heaven as temple has roots in the ancient Near East and in the Old Testament, and is reflected and developed in a number of Second Temple texts, from Philo to Josephus and several of the apocalypses. In the New Testament it is of instrumental significance to Revelation and Hebrews, and plays a lesser but still notable role in the Gospels and Acts. This paper offers a brief overview of the function of heavenly temple in these texts, highlighting the importance of motifs of revelation and judgment as well as atonement, intercession, and mediation. It then asks what a biblical theology of the heavenly temple in the New Testament might look like – what distinctive changes (if any) does this notion undergo in and following the Christ event? I will argue that alongside the (perhaps more immediately evident) christological impact on cultic personnel and ritual, there is also a transformation in the portrayal of the heavenly temple’s space and structure.
Paul Joseph Hocking - The Leviticus Tapestry: A Biblical Theology of Nearness and Holiness
This paper argues that the significance of the biblical tabernacle and cult in Leviticus, may be illuminated by an alternative writing-and-reading paradigm, using a special form of parallelism. Building on the innovative work of a Jewish scholar, Moshe Kline, and on recent doctoral studies, the construct for the book can be viewed as a two-dimensional parallelism or weave, like warp and weft threads set out on a literary loom. Similar literary structures have been proposed by scholars for the Creation, the “Plagues” and the Offerings. Leviticus can then be viewed as a weave or tapestry taking the reader into and out of the three divisions of the tabernacle—inwardly, focusing on nearness to YHWH as a kingdom of priests, and outwardly, on the holiness of YHWH being lived out in a holy nation. The writer of Hebrews reflects on this journey in the life of Christ and his people.
Petra Krisztina Ratkovics - Presence without a place
The prophet Jeremiah was called to serve the Lord during a highly troubled time period during which even the foundational blocks of the Lord’s covenant with Israel were challenged: like the significance of the Temple. Jeremiah has a drastically different relationship with God’s Temple than any other prophet. The Temple was dismissed, and even in the visions of restoration there is no mention of it – how can God be approached then? The proposed solution is that for Jeremiah, the Temple as a building fades to the background and in the new covenant it is the Lord who builds a ‘place’ of worship for Himself – out of His own people. This idea influences the New Testament, where Paul sees Christians as “the temple of the Holy Spirit” and the priesthood of God through whom the Lord is present.
Philip Jenson - Cosmic Temple? A Sceptical Assessment
Since the 1980s there has been a significant shift in the interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. Many scholars now see in these texts a description of the building of a cosmic temple. Various arguments are presented for this proposal, especially the parallels between these texts and that of the construction of the Tabernacle and the Solomonic Temple. The paper argues that none of these are fully persuasive, and significant features of a sanctuary are missing from Genesis 1-2. There are better ways of understanding the cosmic references in the Tabernacle and Temple that take seriously the narrative arc that links creation and sanctuary.
Albert Johannes Coetsee - The uniqueness of God’s revelation and redemption: An intertextual study of Deuteronomy and Hebrews
Deuteronomy claims that God’s revelation and redemption are utterly unique. The climax and conclusion of Moses’ first speech guides the people of Israel in historical reflection to reach the conclusion that no god has revealed himself as YHWH did at Horeb, and no god has redeemed his people as YHWH did in Egypt (Deut 4:32-40). Special emphasis is given to the personal nature of YHWH’s unique revelation and redemption, its assurance for their future and its implications for their proper response. The book of Hebrews has very similar claims, but goes further on all accounts: God’s revelation and redemption in his Son are said to be even more unique and personal (Heb 1:1-4); it assures the faithful of an even greater (eschatological) future; and it calls the addressees to a more urgent response. This paper will explore the uniqueness of God’s revelation and redemption from the book of Deuteronomy and the book of Hebrews, focusing on their similarities, differences and special emphases. The paper concludes by reflecting on the implications of some of these findings for the church today.
Carl T. Martin - The Promise of Divine Presence in John 14:15-31
In the Upper Room Discourse, John records the declaration of Jesus to his disciples that he is the way, truth and life, the only way to God the Father. He calls them to loving obedience to his requirements and promises that his disciples will be loved by the Father. In a context of addressing the role of the Holy Spirit, Jesus promises that the Father and he would come and dwell with those disciples who lovingly obey him. The purpose of this paper is to explore what he promises his first disciples and to consider whether implications may flow from his promise to those who follow after them.