Christianity in its origin appealed to a great Messianic expectancy, the source and spring of which must be sought not in the post-exilian period, but is found in the Old Testament itself. The whole Old Testament is prophetic. Its special predictions form only a part, although an organic part, of the prophetic Scriptures; and all prophecy points to the Kingdom of God and to the Messiah as its King. The narrow boundaries of Judah and Israel were to be enlarged so as to embrace all men, and one King would reign in righteousness over a ransomed world that would offer to Him its homage of praise and service. All that had marred the moral harmony of earth would be removed; the universal Fatherhood of God would become the birthright of redeemed, pardoned, regenerated humanity; and all this blessing would centre in, and flow from, the Person of the Messiah.
The heart-felt goal of Alfred Edersheim’s books was to help the average Christian gain a better understanding of the Jewish customs and the historical significance behind Scripture.
This work, which chronicles Edersheim’s Barburton Lectures from 1880-1884, discusses the prophetic history of the Messiah from the time of Garden of Eden to the coming of John the Baptist. Unlike Edersheim’s other works, this volume involves a much higher degree of criticism on the topic of prophesy, and other sub-topics such as prophetic and heathen divination, the moral element in prophecy, true and false prophets, the progressive character of prophecy, and its spiritual element.
Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889) was born in Vienna, Austria to Jewish parents, and was brought up in the Talmudic traditions and customs of the Jewish faith. He was converted to Christianity in Budapest through the ministry of a Scottish missionary, John Duncan. When Duncan was appointed professor of Hebrew in New College, Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1843, Edersheim accompanied him and enrolled as a student. After studying at the University of Berlin, Edersheim became a minister and also a missionary to Jews in Romania.
Edersheim’s unique position as a scholar trained in both the Jewish and the Christian traditions including all the biblical languages and his extensive knowledge and understanding of the culture and religious beliefs in early first century Roman-ruled Judea made him quite an authority on all things biblical.
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