Eschatology of the Old Testament
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The Relation of Manich├Žism to Christianity.
... at a perfectly satisfactory theology, cosmology, anthropology, and eschatology,
and this ... Christianity in its adherence to Old Testament revelation, including ...
/.../chapter viii name relation of.htm

... appeal to the Saviour, as to the Inspiration of the Old Testament, has raised ... modern
interest in this Gregory should be added his eschatology, which occupies a ...
/.../gregory/gregory of nyssa dogmatic treatises etc/preface.htm

Index of Subjects.
... Eclecticism with reference to the Old Testament, attributed by Faustus to the
Catholics, [224]332 sq. ... Eschatology of the Manich├Žans, [238]15. ...
/.../writings in connection with the donatist controversy /index of subjects.htm

... In spite of his rejection of the Old Testament, his teaching had a strong ... We can
best understand Irenaeus' tendency to even a literal eschatology of the ...
// christian fathers/introduction 8.htm

Books not Included in the Hebrew Canon.
... On the eschatology of this literature see Charles, Eschatology, Hebrew, Jewish and ...
O. v. Gebhardt, die Psalmen Salomo's (Leipzig, 1895); Old Testament in Greek ...
/.../chapter iii books not included.htm

The Career of the Antichrist
... the coming Superman, it is impossible to understand the eschatology of either ... of
destruction, and who were the antichrists of the old Testament and remarkable ...
// antichrist/the career of the antichrist.htm

The Consensus and Dissensus of Creeds.
... VIII."ESCHATOLOGY. ... On the authority of the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament,
transubstantiation, Purgatory, and a few other points, the Greek doctrine ...
/.../ 115 the consensus and.htm

... Here we miss the Pauline themes of faith-mysticism, eschatology, and justification ...
antitypes of the Christian order as found in the Old Testament, the finality ...
/.../moffat/the general epistles james peter and judas/introduction 2.htm

The Method of the New Theology, and Some of Its Applications
... Probably in Old Testament criticism there are not ten ... examples of the rejuvenescence
of old truths under ... complete silence on the whole subject of eschatology. ...
/.../berkhof/new evangelism and other papers/the method of the new.htm

The Synod of Jerusalem and the Confession of Dositheus, AD 1672.
... of the Old Testament now delivered, and the Limbus Infantum for unbaptized children;
but it differs much more widely from the Protestant eschatology, which ...
/.../creeds of christendom with a history and critical notes/ 17 the synod of.htm

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Eschatology of the Old Testament



Contents (A) Scope of Article (B) Dr. Charles' Work (C) Individual Religion in Israel


1. Idea of God 2. Idea of Man Body, Soul and Spirit 3. Sin and Death


Had Israel No Belief in a Future Life? 1. Reserve on This Subject: Hopes and Promises Largely Temporal 2. A Future State not Therefore Denied Belief Non-Mythological 3. Survival of Soul, or Conscious Part 4. The Hebrew Sheol


(a) Nature and Grace-Moral Distinctions (b) Religious Hope of Immortality 1. Sheol, Like Death, Connected with Sin 2. Religious Root of Hope of Immortality Not Necessarily Late 3. Hope of Resurrection (1) Not a Late or Foreign Doctrine (2) The Psalms (3) The Book of Job (4) The Prophets (5) Daniel-Resurrection of Wicked


Judgment a Present Reality 1. Day of Yahweh (1) Relation to Israel (2) To the Nations 2. Judgment beyond Death (1) Incompleteness of Moral Administration (2) Prosperity of Wicked (3) Suffering of Righteous with Wicked 3. Retribution beyond Death


1. Sources (1) Apocrypha (2) Apocalyptic Literature (3) Rabbinical Writings 2. Description of Views (1) Less Definite Conceptions (2) Ideas of Sheol (3) The Fallen Angels (4) Resurrection (5) Judgment The Messiah (6) The Messianic Age and the Gentiles (7) Rabbinical Ideas LITERATURE


Eschatology of the Old Testament (with Apocryphal and Apocalyptic Writings).

(A) Scope of Article:

By "eschatology," or doctrine of the last things, is meant the ideas entertained at any period on the future life, the end of the world (resurrection, judgment; in the New Testament, the Parousia), and the eternal destinies of mankind. In this article it is attempted to exhibit the beliefs on these matters contained in the Old Testament, with those in the Jewish apocryphal and apocalyptic writings that fill up the interval between the Old Testament and the New Testament.

(B) Dr. Charles' Work:

The subject here treated has been dealt with by many writers (see "Literature" below); by none more learnedly or ably than by Dr. R. H. Charles in his work on Hebrew, Jewish and Christian eschatology (A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life in Israel, in Judaism, and in Christianity). The present writer is, however, unable to follow Dr. Charles in many of his very radical critical positions, which affect so seriously the view taken of the literary evidence, and of the development of Israel's religion; is unable, therefore, to follow him in his interpretation of the religion itself. The subject, accordingly, is discussed in these pages from a different point of view from his.

(C) Individual Religion in Israel.

One special point in which the writer is unable to follow Dr. Charles in his treatment, which may be noticed at the outset, is in his idea-now so generally favored-that till near the time of the Exile religion was not individual-that Yahweh was thought of as concerned with the well-being of the people as a whole, and not with that of its individual members. "The individual was not the religious unit, but the family or tribe" (op. cit., 58). How anyone can entertain this idea in face of the plain indications of the Old Testament itself to the contrary is to the present writer a mystery. There is, indeed, throughout the Old Testament, a solidarity of the individual with his family and tribe, but not at any period to the exclusion of a personal relation to Yahweh, or of individual moral and religious responsibility. The pictures of piety in the Book of Genesis are nearly all individual, and the narratives containing them are, even on the critical view, older than the 9th century. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, are all of them, to the writers of the history, individuals; Moses, Joshua, Caleb, are individuals; the deeds of individuals are counted to them for righteousness; the sins of others slay them. If there had been ten righteous persons in Sodom, it would have been spared (Genesis 18:32). It was as an individual that David sinned; as an individual he repented and was forgiven. Kings are judged or condemned according to their individual character. It is necessary to lay stress on this at the beginning; otherwise the whole series of the Old Testament conceptions is distorted.

I. Fundamental Ideas.

The eschatology of the Old Testament, as Dr. Charles also recognizes, is dependent on, and molded by, certain fundamental ideas in regard to God, man, the soul and the state after death, in which lies the peculiarity of Israel's religion. Only, these ideas are differently apprehended here from what they are in this writer's learned work.

1. Idea of God:

In the view of Dr. Charles, Yahweh (Yahweh), who under Moses became the God of the Hebrew tribes, was, till the time of the prophets, simply a national God, bound up with the land and with this single people; therefore, "possessing neither interest nor jurisdiction in the life of the individual beyond the grave.. Hence, since early Yahwism possessed no eschatology of its own, the individual Israelite was left to his hereditary heathen beliefs. These beliefs we found were elements of Ancestor Worship" (op. cit., 52; compare 35). The view taken here, on the contrary, is, that there is no period known to the Old Testament in which Yahweh-whether the name was older than Moses or not need not be discussed-was not recognized as the God of the whole earth, the Creator of the world and man, and Judge of all, nations. He is, in both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, the Creator of the first pair from whom the whole race springs; He judged the whole world in the Flood; He chose Abraham to be a blessing to the families of the earth (Genesis 12:3); His universal rule is acknowledged (Genesis 18:25); in infinite grace, displaying His power over Egypt, He chose Israel to be a people to Himself (Exodus 19:3-6). The ground for denying jurisdiction over the world of the dead thus falls. The word of Jesus to the Sadducees is applicable here: "Have ye not read. I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living" (Matthew 22:31, 32). The Old Testament instances of resurrection in answer to prayer point in the same direction (1 Kings 17:21 2 Kings 4:34; compare Psalm 16:10; Psalm 49:15, etc.; see further, below).

2. Idea of Man:

According to Dr. Charles, the Old Testament has two contradictory representations of the constitution of man, and of the effects of death. The older or pre-prophetic view distinguishes between soul and body in man (pp. 37, 45), and regards the soul as surviving death (this is not easily reconcilable with the other proposition (p. 37) that the "soul or nephesh is identical with the blood"), and as retaining a certain self-consciousness, and the power of speech and movement in Sheol (pp. 39). This view is in many respects identical with that of ancestor worship, which is held to be the primitive belief in Israel (p. 41). The other and later view, which is thought to follow logically from the account in Genesis 2:7, supposes the soul to perish at death (pp. 41). We read there that "Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The "breath of life" (nishmath chayyim) is identified with the "spirit of life" (ruach chayyim) of Genesis 6:17, and is taken to mean that the soul has no independent existence, but is "really a function of the material body when quickened by the (impersonal) spirit" (p. 42). "According to this view the annihilation of the soul ensues inevitably at death, that is, when the spirit is withdrawn" (p. 43). This view is held to be the parent of Sadduceeism, and is actually affirmed to be the view of Paul (pp. 43-44, 409)-the apostle who repudiated Sadduceeism in this very article (Acts 23:6-9). Body, Soul and Spirit.

The above view of man's nature is here rejected, and the consistency of the Old Testament doctrine affirmed. The Biblical view has nothing to do with ancestor worship (compare the writer's Orr, The Problem of the Old Testament, 135-36). In Genesis 1:26, 27 man is created in God's image, and in the more anthropomorphic narrative of Genesis 2:7, he becomes "a living soul" through a unique act of Divine inbreathing. The soul (nephesh) in man originates in a Divine inspiration (compare Job 32:8; Job 33:4 Isaiah 42:5), and is at once the animating principle of the body (the blood being its vehicle, Leviticus 17:11), with its appetites and desires, and the seat of the self-conscious personality, and source of rational and spiritual activities. It is these higher activities of the soul which, in the Old Testament, are specially called "spirit" (ruach). Dr. Charles expresses this correctly in what he says of the supposed earlier view ("the ruach had become the seat of the highest spiritual functions in man,"p. 46; see more fully the writer's God's Image in Man, 47). There is no ground for deducing "annihilation" from Genesis 2:7. Everywhere in Genesis man is regarded as formed for living fellowship with God, and capable of knowing, worshipping and serving Him.


3. Sin and Death:

It follows from the above account that man is regarded in the Old Testament as a compound being, a union of body and soul (embracing spirit), both being elements in his one personality. His destiny was not to death, but to life-not life, however, in separation of the soul from the body (disembodied existence), but continued embodied life, with, perhaps, as its sequel, change and translation to higher existence (thus Enoch, Elijah; the saints at the Parousia). This is the true original idea of immortality for man (see IMMORTALITY). Death, accordingly, is not, as it appears in Dr. Charles, a natural event, but an abnormal event-a mutilation, separation of two sides of man's being never intended to be separated-due, as the Scripture represents it, to the entrance of sin (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19, 22 Romans 5:12 1 Corinthians 15:21, 22). It is objected that nothing further is said in the Old Testament of a "Fall," and a subjection of man to death as the result of sin. In truth, however, the whole picture of mankind in the Old Testament, as in the New Testament, is that of a world turned aside from God, and under His displeasure, and death and all natural evils are ever to be considered in relation to that fact (compare Dillmann, Alttest. Theol., 368, 376; God's Image in Man, 198, 249). This alone explains the light in which death is regarded by holy men; their longing for deliverance from it (see below); the hope of resurrection; the place which resurrection-"the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:23)-after the pattern of Christ's resurrection (Philippians 3:21), has in the Christian conception of immortality.

II. Conceptions of the Future Life-Sheol.

Had Israel No Belief in a Future Life?:

It is usual to find it contended that the Israelites, in contrast with other peoples, had not the conception of a future life till near the time of the Exile; that then, through the teaching of the prophets and the discipline of experience, ideas of individual immortality and of judgment to come first arose. There is, however, a good deal of ambiguity of language, if not confusion of thought, in such statements. It is true there is development in the teaching on a future life; true also that in the Old Testament "life" and "immortality" are words of pregnant meaning, to which bare survival of the soul, and gloomy existence in Sheol, do not apply. But in the ordinary sense of the expression "future life," it is certain that the Israelites were no more without that notion than any of their neighbors, or than most of the peoples and races of the world to whom the belief is credited.

1. Reserve on This Subject: Hopes and Promises Largely Temporal:

Israel, certainly, had not a developed mythology of the future life such as was found in Egypt. There, life in the other world almost over-shadowed the life that now is; in contrast with this, perhaps because of it, Israel was trained to a severer reserve in regard to the future, and the hopes and promises to the nation-the rewards of righteousness and penalties of transgression-were chiefly temporal. The sense of individual responsibility, as was shown at the commencement, there certainly was-an individual relation to God. But the feeling of corporate existence-the sense of connection between the individual and his descendants-was strong, and the hopes held out to the faithful had respect rather to multiplication of seed, to outward prosperity, and to a happy state of existence (never without piety as its basis) on earth, than to a life beyond death. The reason of this and the qualifications needing to be made to the statement will afterward appear; but that the broad facts are as stated every reader of the Old Testament will perceive for himself. Abraham is promised that his seed shall be multiplied as the stars of heaven, and that the land of Canaan shall be given them to dwell in (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 15); Israel is encouraged by abundant promises of temporal blessing (Deuteronomy 11:8; Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and warned by the most terrible temporal curses (Deuteronomy 28:15); David has pledged to him the sure succession of his house as the reward of obedience (2 Samuel 7:11). So in the Book of Job, the patriarch's fidelity is rewarded with return of his prosperity (chapter 42). Temporal promises abound in the Prophets (Hosea 2:14; Hosea 14 Isaiah 1:19, 26, etc.); the Book of Proverbs likewise is full of such promises (3:13, etc.).

2. A Future State not Therefore Denied:

All this, however, in no way implies that the Israelites had no conceptions of, or beliefs in, a state of being beyond death, or believed the death of the body to be the extinction of existence. This was very far from being the case. A hope of a future life it would be wrong to call it; for there was nothing to suggest hope, joy or life in the good sense, in the ideas they entertained of death or the hereafter. In this they resembled most peoples whose ideas are still primitive, but to whom it is not customary to deny belief in a future state. They stand as yet, though with differences to be afterward pointed out, on the general level of Semitic peoples in their conceptions of what the future state was. This is also the view taken by Dr. Charles. He recognizes that early Israelite thought attributed a "comparatively large measure of life, movement, knowledge and likewise power (?) to the departed in Sheol" (op. cit., 41). A people that does this is hardly destitute of all notions of a future state. This question of Sheol now demands more careful consideration. Here again our differences from Dr. Charles will reveal themselves.

Belief Non-Mythological.

It would, indeed, have been amazing had the Israelites, who dwelt so long in Egypt, where everything reminded of a future life, been wholly destitute of ideas on that subject. What is clear is that, as already observed, they did not adopt any of the Egyptian notions into their religion. The simplicity of their belief in the God of their fathers kept them then and ever after from the importation of mythological elements into their faith. The Egyptian Amenti may be said, indeed, to answer broadly to the Hebrew Sheol; but there is nothing in Israelite thought to correspond to Osiris and his assessors, the trial in the hall of judgment, and the adventures and perils of the soul thereafter. What, then, was the Hebrew idea of Sheol, and how did it stand related to beliefs elsewhere?

3. Survival of Soul, or Conscious Part:

That the soul, or some conscious part of man for which the name may be allowed to stand, does not perish at death, but passes into another state of existence, commonly conceived of as shadowy and inert, is a belief found, not only among the lower, so-called nature-peoples, but in all ancient religions, even the most highly developed. The Egyptian belief in Amenti, or abode of the dead, ruled over by Osiris, is alluded to above; the Babylonian Arallu (some find the word "Sualu" = she'ol), the land of death, from which there is no return; the Greek Hades, gloomy abode of the shades of the departed, are outstanding witnesses to this conception (the various ideas may be seen, among other works, in Salmond, Christian Doctrine of Immortality, I (ideas of lower races, Indian, Egyptian Babylonian, Persian and Greek beliefs); in Sayce, Hibbert Lectures, Religion of Ancient Babylonians, and Gifford Lectures, Religions of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia; Dr. Charles, Eschatology, chapter iii, on Greek conceptions). The Hebrew conception of Sheol, the gathering-place of the dead, is not in essentials dissimilar. "The resemblance," says Dr. Salmond, "between the Hebrew Sheol, the Homeric Hades, and Babylonian Arallu is unmistakable" (op. cit., 3rd edition, 173). As to its origin, Dr. Charles would derive the belief from ancestor worship. He supposes that "in all probability Sheol was originally conceived as a combination of the graves of the clan or nation, and as thus its final abode" (op. cit., 33). It is far from proved, however, that ancestor worship had the role he assigns to it in early religion; and, in any case, the explanation inverts cause and effect. The survival of the soul or shade is already assumed before there can be worship of ancestors. Far simpler is the explanation that man is conscious from the first of a thinking, active principle within him which disappears when death ensues, and he naturally thinks of this as surviving somewhere else, if only in a ghost-like and weakened condition (compare Max Muller, Anthropological Religion, 195, 281, 337-38). Whatever the explanation, it is the case that, by a sure instinct, peoples of low and high culture alike all but universally think of the conscious part of their dead as surviving. On natural grounds, the Hebrews did the same. Only, in the Scriptural point of view, this form of survival is too poor to be dignified with the high name of "immortality."

4. The Hebrew Sheol:

It is not necessary to do more than sketch the main features of the Hebrew sheol (see SHEOL). The word, the etymology of which is doubtful (the commonest derivations are from roots meaning "to ask" or "to be hollow," sha'al), is frequently, but erroneously, translated in the Revised Version (British and American) "grave" or "hell." It denotes really, as already said, the place or abode of the dead, and is conceived of as situated in the depths of the earth (Psalm 63:9; Psalm 86:13 Ezekiel 26:20; Ezekiel 31:14; Ezekiel 32:18, 24; compare Numbers 16:30 Deuteronomy 32:22). The dead are there gathered in companies; hence, the frequently recurring expression, "gathered unto his people" (Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:33 Numbers 20:24, etc.), the phrase denoting, as the context shows, something quite distinct from burial. Jacob, e.g. was "gathered unto his people"; afterward his body was embalmed, and, much later, buried (Genesis 50:2). Poetical descriptions of Sheol are not intended to be taken with literalness; hence, it is a mistake, with Dr. Charles, to press such details as "bars" and "gates" (Job 17:16; Job 38:17 Psalm 9:14 Isaiah 38:10, etc.). In the general conception, Sheol is a place of darkness (Job 10:21, 22 Psalm 143:3), of silence (Psalm 94:17; Psalm 115:17), of forgetfulness (Psalm 88:12 Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10). It is without remembrance or praise of God (Psalm 6:5), or knowledge of what transpires on earth (Job 14:21). Even this language is not to be pressed too literally. Part of it is the expression of a depressed or despairing (compare Isaiah 38:10) or temporarily skeptical (thus in Ecclesiastes; compare 12:7, 13, 14) mood; all of it is relative, emphasizing the contrast with the brightness, joy and activity of the earthly life (compare Job 10:22, "where the light is as midnight"-comparative). Elsewhere it is recognized that consciousness remains; in Isaiah 14:9 the shades (repha'im) of once mighty kings are stirred up to meet the descending king of Babylon (compare Ezekiel 32:21). If Sheol is sometimes described as "destruction" (Job 26:6 margin; Job 28:22 Proverbs 15:11 margin) and "the pit" (Psalm 30:9; Psalm 55:23), at other times, in contrast with the weariness and trouble of life, it is figured and longed for as a place of "rest" and "sleep" (Job 3:17; Job 14:12, 13). Always, however, as with other peoples, existence in Sheol is represented as feeble, inert, shadowy, devoid of living interests and aims, a true state of the dead (on Egyptian Babylonian and Greek analogies, compare Salmond, op. cit., 54-55, 73-74, 99, 173-74). The idea of Dr. Charles, already commented on, that Sheol is outside the jurisdiction of Yahweh, is contradicted by many passages (Deuteronomy 32:22 Job 26:6 Proverbs 15:11 Psalm 139:8 Amos 9:2, etc.; compare above).

III. The Religious Hope-Life and Resurrection.

(a) Nature and Grace-Moral Distinctions:

Such is Sheol, regarded from the standpoint of nature; a somewhat different aspect is presented when it is looked at from the point of view of grace. As yet no trace is discernible between righteous and wicked in Sheol; the element of retribution seems absent. Reward and punishment are in this world; not in the state beyond. Yet one must beware of drawing too sweeping conclusions even here. The state, indeed, of weakened consciousness and slumbrous inaction of Sheol does not admit of much distinction, and the thought of exchanging the joys of life for drear existence in that gloomy underworld may well have appalled the stoutest hearts, and provoked sore and bitter complainings. Even the Christian can bewail a life brought to a sudden and untimely close. But even on natural grounds it is hardly credible that the pious Israelite thought of the state of the godly gathered in peace to their people as quite the same as those who perished under the ban of God's anger, and went down to Sheol bearing their iniquity. There is a pregnancy not to be overlooked in such expressions as, "The wicked shall be turned back unto Sheol" (Psalm 9:17), a "lowest Sheol" unto which God's anger burns (Deuteronomy 32:22), "uttermost parts of the pit" (Isaiah 14:15 Ezekiel 32:23) to which the proud and haughty in this life are consigned. Dr. Charles goes so far as to find a "penal character of Sheol" in Psalms 49 and 73 (op. cit., 74). Consolation breathes in such utterances as, "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for there is a happy end to the man of peace" (Psalm 37:37), or (with reference to the being taken from the evil to come), "He entereth into peace; they rest in their beds, each one that walketh in his uprightness" (Isaiah 57:2; compare Isaiah 57:21 "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked"). Even Balaam's fervent wish, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his" (Numbers 23:10), seems weakened when interpreted only of the desire for a green and blessed old age. It is possible to read too much into Old Testament expressions; the tendency at the present time would seem to be to read a great deal too little

(P. Fairbairn, Typology of Scripture, I, 173, 422, may profitably be consulted).

(b) Religious Hope of Immortality:

To get at the true source and nature of the hope of immortality in the Old Testament, however, it is necessary to go much farther than the idea of any happier condition in Sheol. This dismal region is never there connected with ideas of "life" or "immortality" in any form. Writers who suppose that the hopes which find utterance in passages of Psalms and Prophets have any connection with existence in Sheol are on an altogether wrong track. It is not the expectation of a happier condition in Sheol, but the hope of deliverance from Sheol, and of restored life and fellowship with God, which occupies the mind. How much this implies deserves careful consideration.

1. Sheol, Like Death, Connected with Sin:

It has already been seen that, in the Old Testament, Sheol, like death, is not the natural fate of man. A connection with sin and judgment is implied in it. Whatever Sheol might be to the popular, unthinking mind, to the reflecting spirit, that really grasped the fundamental ideas of the religion of Yahweh, it was a state wholly contrary to man's true destiny. It was, as seen, man's dignity in distinction from the animal, that he was not created under the law of death. Disembodied existence, which is of necessity enfeebled, partial, imperfect existence, was no part of the Divine plan for man. His immortality was to be in the body, not out of it. Separation of soul and body, an after-existence of the soul in Sheol, belong to the doom of sin. Dr. Salmond fully recognizes this in his discussion of the subject. "The penal sense of death colors all that the Old Testament says of man's end. It is in its thoughts where it is not in its words" (op. cit., 159; see the whole passage; compare also Oehler, Theology of the Old Testament, I, 242, English translation; A. B. Davidson, Theology of the Old Testament, 432, 439). The true type of immortality is therefore to be seen in cases like those of Enoch (Genesis 5:24; compare Hebrews 11:5) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11); of a bare "immortality of the soul," Scripture has nothing to say.

It is on all hands conceded that, so far as the hope of immortality, in any full or real sense, is found in the Old Testament, it is connected with religious faith and hope. It has not a natural, but a religious, root. It springs from the believer's trust and confidence in the living God; from his conviction that God-his God-who has bound him to Himself in the bonds of an unchanging covenant, whose everlasting arms are underneath him (Deuteronomy 33:27; compare Psalm 90:1), will not desert him even in Sheol-will be with him there, and will give him victory over its terrors (compare A. B. Davidson, Commentary on Job, 293-95; Salmond, op. cit., 175).

2. Religious Root of Hope of Immortality:

Life is not bare existence; it consists in God's favor and fellowship (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 63:3). The relevant passages in Psalms and Prophets will be considered after. Only, it is contended by the newer school, this hope of immortality belongs to a late stage of Israel's religion-to a period when, through the development of the monotheistic idea, the growth of the sense of individuality, the acute feeling of the contradictions of life, this great "venture" of faith first became possible. One asks, however, Was it so? Was this hope so entirely a matter of "intuitous ventures, and forecasts of devout souls in moments of deepest experience or keenest conflict," as this way of considering the matter represents? Not Necessarily Late.

That the hope of immortality could only exist for strong faith is self-evident. But did strong faith come into existence only in the days of the prophets or the Exile? Exception has already been taken to the assumption that monotheism was a late growth, and that individual faith in God was not found in early times. It is not to be granted without demur that, as now commonly alleged, the Psalms and the Book of Job, which express this hope, are post-exilian products.

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Eschatology of the New Testament

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