Resurrection as the Goal of the Old Testament

I just read through the last few chapters of Acts this morning (catching up on a bit of tardy Bible reading), and found it interesting that Paul repeatedly identifies his hope in the resurrection from the dead as the reason he is on trial.

23:6: “It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.”

24:21: “It is with respect to the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial before you this day.”

26:7-8: “I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

Its interesting that in this last passage he refers to the resurrection as “the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain.”  Evidently Paul sees the resurrection as the fulfillment and goal of the Old Testament.  And from one more statement it appears this was not Christ’s resurrection alone, but the more general resurrection inaugurated and typified in Christ’s resurrection:

26:22-23: “I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.”

I wonder if this is also why Paul says in 13:32-33 that “what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus” before quoting a number of Old Testament texts.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s