Salvation in the Old Testament Essay

Salvation in the Old Testament Essay

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From the definition of apocalyptic literate, which states that such literature is “a revelatory form which pertains to the end of reality and describes a new divine world with salvation for the few,” it might be easy to assume that apocalyptic texts can be pretty homogenous. Certainly there are many similarities in apocalyptic texts-- prophets employ common motifs and themes and use similar language patterns, and of course, the central subject always involves some sort of end to the world. Nevertheless, there is an astounding amount of room for variation within apocalyptic texts. The Old Testament apocalyptic prophets Joel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel all offer different answers to the questions surrounding salvation at the end of the world, with their answers reflecting different worldviews and even different perceptions of the same God.
The prophet Joel believed that everyone would have the opportunity for salvation. “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophecy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit” (Joel, 2:28-29). Factors which might have limited some forms of religious participation in the past, such as gender and social class, are no longer relevant—the spirit of the Lord will touch everyone. According to Joel, however, the fact that all will receive God’s sprit does not necessarily mean that all will be saved from destruction. Salvation depends on how one reacts to the Lord’s spirit: those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. It can be assumed that most of those who do not call upon the Lord’s name will be destroyed in the chaos. Nevertheless, Joel’s prophecy also cont...

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...sheep than with the punishment of the shepherds.
Despite the fact that the prophecies of Joel, Isaiah, and Ezekiel can all be classified as apocalyptic literature, each of their prophecies puts forth a different idea about the end of the world. Both Joel and Isaiah portray a vengeful God, who seeks to punish his followers, although they would dispute about exactly which followers would receive divine punishment. Ezekiel takes up an entirely different view, suggesting that God is not so vengeful and destructive to those with whom he is angry as he is merciful to those he believes have been oppressed. Although apocalyptic literature shares a few central characteristics, it is a genre which allows for much variety, allowing its authors to express many diverse worldviews.

Works Cited

The Bible: New Revised Standard Version. San Francisco: Harper One, 1989. Print.

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