Monday, April 28, 2014

Progressive Revelation

On March 27, Peter Cockrell, an associate pastor in a rural church not far from Greater London who is also the UK National Director of OC International, a global missions agency committed to fulfilling the Great Commission by encouraging local churches in discipling the nations, published an excerpt from pages 12-13 of my book, Biblical Eschatology, on his blog, "Already Not Yet." 

The portion he published was a section from chapter two entitled "Progressive Revelation." Here it is:biblical-eschatology-jonathan-menn-paperback-cover-art

Graeme Goldsworthy states an important hermeneutical point, “It is impossible from the Old Testament alone to understand the full measure of God’s acts and promises that it records.” The reason why the OT alone does not convey its full, underlying meaning is the doctrine of progressive revelation, i.e., the truths of the Bible were not revealed all at once but were progressively revealed over time. Thus, the OT is the preparation of the gospel; the Gospels are the manifestation of the gospel; Acts is the expansion of the gospel; the Epistles are the explanation of the gospel; and Revelation is the consummation of the gospel.

Jesus and the NT authors understood this. They saw the entire OT as in some way a book about Jesus. He is its central person and integrating theme and is “the final and the fullest revelation of what the promises are really about.” Because the Bible ultimately is the story about Jesus Christ, who is explicitly revealed only in the NT, the NT writers generally look at the OT in a “typological” way. The NT reveals that OT Israel as a nation, and all of its laws, ceremonies, and institutions, and the OT prophecies concerning it, were “types,” “symbols,” “shadows,” “copies,” or “examples” of NT realities that were fulfilled and superseded in Christ and his church. Willem VanGemeren points out, “The coming of our Lord radically altered the understanding of the Old Testament. The apostles understood the canon in the light of Jesus’ ministry, message, and exaltation. The traditional understanding of Moses’ words and the Prophets had to undergo a radical transformation in view of the coming of our Lord.”

Edward Young describes the transformative significance of Christ’s coming with respect to the issue of how to approach OT prophecies hermeneutically: “The revelations granted to the prophets had somewhat of the obscure about them. They are characterized as dreams and visions, and probably, enigmatic sayings. . . . Since the revelation granted to the prophets was less clear than that given to Moses; indeed, since it contained elements of obscurity, we must take these facts into consideration when interpreting prophecy. We must therefore abandon once and for all the erroneous and non-Scriptural rule of ‘literal if possible.’ The prophetic language belonged to the Mosaic economy and hence, was typical. Only in the light of the New Testament fulfillment can it properly be interpreted.” How the NT fulfills the OT “types” and promises is not self-evident. Goldsworthy points out, “It was not self-evident that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament promises. Those Jews who looked for a literal fulfillment of the Old Testament promises failed to recognize Jesus as the fulfillment.”

Menn, Jonathan (2013-09-04). Biblical Eschatology (Kindle Locations 624-648). Resource Publications – An Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A comment from the other side of the world

Steve Zane hails from Perth, Australia. I learned from FB that he had purchased the Kindle version of my book. He recently posted this comment on FB:

"This is definitely one of my favourite books on eschatology and one that I would highly recommend, a must read no matter what your position is. There comes a point when everyone who loves the word of God should test their theological position because after all we want a biblical theology and not a man made system. If you want to know the flaws of your own position then it is a must that you read the opposing arguments. Jonathan Menn's book is definitely a worthy component to any theological library."

Thank you, Steve, for your comments and your thoughtfulness. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Testimony of the impact of ECLEA

Barnabas Mpekethi
Just before I left for Kenya 3 1/2 weeks ago, I received the following email from Barnabas Mpekethi of Kenya:

Praise Jesus my brother Jonathan. Tomorrow I will be teaching the book of 1st Timothy the fifth time in our Church. Now am in chapter 1 verse 6. Sure your teachings and commentary on expository preaching have really changed my way of doing things, and I thank God who sent you to East Africa.

Last Sunday I preached about the goal of our preaching which is love, which comes from the following: 1.Pure heart; 2.Good conscience; 3.Sincere Faith. Tomorrow I will continue with verse 6 downwards. The word has become sweet and the flow of thought is noticed by my church and the people they share with in the course of the week.

It has become my habit to spend hours on ECLEA's website studying six courses although I saw that [now] we have nine of them. To cut a long story short, God bless you and Karibu Sana Kenya.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Five star review!

I am happy to say that my book, Biblical Eschatology (Wipf & Stock, 2013), recently received its third five star review on Amazon. Jordan Fowler called it a "tour de force" and wrote that the book is, "perhaps the most comprehensive amillennial perspective on eschatology produced. I highly recommend this work both for amil's who want solid evidence that their view holds weight, and premillennialists who want to take a hard look at their position."

Monday, April 21, 2014

This blog vs. ECLEA's website

Although I formerly posted all my reports from East Africa on this blog, henceforth I will post all such reports on the "News" page of ECLEA's website,, not this blog. The reports I receive of all-African conferences and TOTs from ECLEA's excellent national teachers also will be posted on the "News" page of ECLEA's website, not here.

On this blog I will posts material relating to my book, Biblical Eschatology, my preaching schedule, and other material. Much of the material may be related to ECLEA, but will not include the reports of my trips and the all-African conference reports.

Please check both ECLEA's website and this blog regularly, since new material will be added to both sites often.

A first-time event in Kenya

I just returned from three weeks in Kenya. While I was in Nairobi I spent a night at a small hotel in downtown Nairobi where I had stayed a couple of times before. I met with ECLEA-Kenya national coordinator Ernest Mwilitsa there. After he left, I went out to dinner. My room was locked and my two bags were also locked. While I was gone, someone opened my room and unlocked my bags. They stole my camera from one bag, a laptop I was bringing to a Ugandan I know from the other bag, and my phone charger I had plugged into the wall.

It had to have been an inside job. I told the receptionist, and she seemed completely uninterested (I suspect she is the one who alerted her confederate when I had left, since I had told the receptionist I was going to dinner). I told the security guard on duty, and he agreed that it was an inside job but did nothing else.

I thank God that it was nothing worse than that and everything else of particular value (except my books which were of no interest to the thief) were on my person. I was, of course, targeted because I was the only Mzungu in the place. All of which means that there will be no photos from this trip. But, as I say, I have much to be thankful for. I am safe and this theft helps keep things in proper perspective for me. The work of this ministry continues productively and unabated.