Many Old Testament messianic prophecies, like Isaiah’s promise of the virgin birth of Immanuel, are well known to Christians and even to the general public, whether through New Testament allusions to these promises, or great oratorios like Handel’s Messiah, or hymns, works of art, literary references, etc. When these prophesies are studied more carefully in their original context, however, whether by critical scholars or thoughtful honest readers, suddenly many of them seem disturbingly unconvincing! For example, why would God bother to inform king Ahaz about a birth, whether by a virginal mother or not, that would not take place for another 700 years? How could this be of any relevance to a man who was one of the worst and least spiritual of all Judah’s kings?
When these prophesies are studied more carefully in their original context … suddenly many of them seem disturbingly unconvincing…”
In this course, which is open to all students and has no prerequisites, we intend to show that, while these initially disappointing impressions seem justified, if we are willing to study those prophesies with even greater care, they invariably become more relevant in their original contexts and intelligible by their original readers. They also become far more compelling as prophesies of Christ than we ever thought possible! In fact, they are so convincing that, in the end, the only explanation that we are driven to is a recognition that these Old Testament texts truly must be the divinely inspired Word of God, and that Jesus is truly the prophesied Lord and Savior of the world.
(Please consult the in-class syllabus for a final reading list.)
“One of my fondest memories of seminary is a few cold weeks in the January term taking Christ in the Old Testament with Gordon Hugenberger. Day after day, I found my eyes opened and heart warmed to the beauties and riches of God’s Word as Dr. Hugenberger passionately showed us the treasures therein. His humble and heartfelt prayers, pastoral wisdom, and theological insights deeply influenced the way I read the Bible and think about ministry today.”
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