Thank you to everyone who's participated in the comments section so far in this series of posts on atonement, grace and other biblical themes. The questions alone have given me enough material to study and write much more sometime. For now, here's a quick look at two more interesting themes that jump out as you read through the Old Testament:
1) The result of obeying God was to be blessed on earth (family wealth, national military strength, eras of peace, etc...). The afterlife is a concept completely absent from the Old Testament.
2) The relationship with God was a national thing, not a personal thing. The consequences of following or not following God (#1) brought consequences that affected everybody.
I purposely tried to phrase those things positively, but I could just as easily state them another way:
1) It wasn't about heaven
2) It wasn't about the individual
And yet in most churches today, what do we hear?
1) It's all about heaven
2) It's all about your personal relationship with Jesus/God
I'm not going to cite lots of scripture for this one, since it's almost impossible to choose. The entire OT is full of these two themes -- divine principles play out right here and now, and we all share in the results.
What do you think?
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