The NSBT series marches on with this interesting look at the significance and theology of Ezra and Nehemiah. The NSBT series is truly a random series, but the volumes are often fascinating. We never know what is coming next in the series, but we’d be remiss not to find out. Dean Ulrich does good work here.
The title Now and Not Yet suggests the track the book will run. That thought that is found in many prophetic writings here tells of a new chapter for God’s people that will more fully climax in Christ. Many are reluctant to develop that line of thinking in the scholarly world, so we appreciate the openness here to embrace it.
Throughout this book we are confronted with Ezra-Nehemiah as if it were one book rather than two. He makes a good case and at the least it does no harm to study with that design. Though I enjoyed what he gave us, I wish he had developed the structure even more.
Chapter two well explained the big picture of biblical theology. Chapter three explained the history of the return from exile but the nuggets were all in the theology developed.
In a creative turn, the next three chapters address rebuilding the temple, rebuilding the people, and rebuilding the wall. That told the story in a framework that allowed the theology to bud. Chapter 7 shows what worked and what fell short. There his now-and-not-yet theme fully bloomed.
Isn’t it wonderful that these NSBT volumes keep coming along? I want them all, don’t you? This one is a sample of why.
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