To begin, the authors of this study either presently teach at Dallas Theological Seminary (Bock, Johnston) and/or received their training there (Bateman IV). It is also critical for the reader to know that the introduction is crucial to understanding the hermeneutical approach of this work and therefore, it must be absorbed. What is the approach? Bateman defines it as a “three-fold” approach: 1) Contextual-canonical; 2) Messianic and 3) Christological. Furthermore, within this template there is a purposeful effort to show the element of progressive revelation. Understanding this approach and then tying in the thread of progressive revelation cannot be overstated.
The book is broken up into three parts, Part #1—Promise of the King; Part #2—Expectations of the King and Part #3—The coming of the King. Also, the reader must be aware that each part correlates to a key phase of biblical history (Part one—Johnston interacts with the Old (or first) Testament; Part two—Dr. Bateman examines the Second temple literature and Part three—Dr. Bock explores the New (or second) Testament). To this reviewer, the section on Second Temple Judaism was supremely fundamental to the overall conclusion of this work and brought clarity and color to my understanding of the New Testament.
One of the standout elements of the book was the author’s use of the charts. These visual helps are spread liberally throughout the book and provide moments of rest and clarity, especially for novice Christian reader. Concepts such as progressive revelation (p. 33); Kings of Israel and Judah (p.71); different genres of Second Temple literature (p.317) and the reigns and influence of Roman emperors (pgs. 337, 343) are brought to life with these charts.
A surprise to this reviewer was the absence of any explicit dispensational language, especially since all the authors (to my knowledge) hold to some form of dispensationalism. The closest reference was found on page 182 in dealing with the Messianic trajectories found in Ezekiel 44-48. Johnston states,
“According to a popular approach, Ezekiel provided an architectural blueprint for the construction of the future millennial temple, whose cultic worship will be directed by the glorious Messiah, who Himself will offer regular animal sacrifices in memorial of His once-for-all atoning sacrifices. Despite the widespread acceptance of this view, it is beset with obstacles, although there is a key element of truth in it.”