Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The seed and serpent in Thessalonians

One of the things that I appreciate about Jim Hamilton's biblical theology God's Glory in Salvation Through Judgment is the manner in which Hamilton ties together different strands that occur throughout the biblical narrative. He regularly retrieves ideas, themes, symbols, and images from the Old Testament and shows how they have been woven into the new Testament. In this excerpt he discusses the serpent/seed of woman motif that runs throughout the Bible:
As the seed of the serpent makes war on the seed of the woman (cf. 1 Thess. 2:14-16), the response of the seed of the woman testifies to the past, present, and future realities of the glory of God in salvation through judgment. The past reality is the triumph of God in Christ, on which the faith of the Thessalonians is based (1:3; 3:5-6). What God has done in Christ frees the Thessalonians to live by faith and enact the present reality of God's glory in salvation through judgment, which is evident in their love for one another and even in their persecutors (1:3; 2:12; 3:6; 4:2-8, 9-12, 13-18; 5:8, 12-28). This love exposes and overcomes the hatred and brutality and shameful conduct of Satan and his seed. The future reality of the glory of God in salvation through judgment is focused on the future visitation of God's wrath (1:10). The rebel seed of the serpent are filling up the full measure of their iniquity for that great day of God's wrath (2:16). Jesus will execute this wrath on "the day of the Lord" (5:2), when he will bring sudden destruction on his enemies who have troubled his people (5:3), simultaneously-at his coming-delivering those who believe the gospel and imitate his patient endurance in faithfulness to God (1:10; 2:19; 4:13, 16-17; 5:9, 23).

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