Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Chronology of Kaiser

By Jason Strange

Kaiser is king when he gives us the history of the Bible. He helps us understand the historical
events as they happened and he carries us from one book to the next showing us the data points of OT and NT history. He moves us in a longitudinal, diachronic way, in lateral motion, fact upon fact. Unfortunately, what we are left with is merely a historical textbook of lateral facts. The messianic consciousness has in a sense vanished and left the building. History has become king and the theological understanding of the text has been raptured away.
When man fell into sin the immediate result was that they saw that they were naked and ashamed and they hid, likewise this is what happens when we read the Bible purely for its historical content devoid of its theological understanding; the history of the Bible becomes naked and ashamed without having Christ at the center of its chronology. Christ is hid among the fig leaves. Kaiser gives us the historical value but leaves us out to dry. He leaves us standing on the historical terra firma, but we are never shown the hot-iron core of Christ at the center of it all.
The history of the Bible is a theological history; it is God working through the timeline of redemptive history. The history is loaded and weighed down with theology. This is the burden of Biblical history that it ought to be read theologically. Kaiser does not allow theology to carry the day, but pure historical information. And as a result he does not see the Bible in Christological color but in historic black and white.
Another result is that this perspective blocks the hermeneutical highway. Kaiser does not allow for additional meaning or further development of any given text, so that typology and eschatology are not given their exegetical freedom, but are dammed up on the shoreline with historical sandbags. I call this historical sandbagging. Jesus is not just another bullet point in the story line, a key component in Israel’s history and future. He’s not a big historical blip on the screen . Jesus demands that we read him (Luke 24; John 5:39). He commands the text of Old and New. He commands the history of it; and just as Ezekiel and John ate the scrolls that became sweet like honey, so too Biblical history is made sweet when Jesus is seen at the exegetical level of all of scripture. History is bitter without Jesus. He makes the text organic, living and active. Chronology is not king, Jesus is King. This is his book, his story; let us not defrock the Lord of glory in all his typological, eschatological, and exegetical awareness. All history began with him and will end in him. He fills up all the data points and all the data points to him and finds their full expression in Him.

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