Salvation In The Old Testament Essay

998 words - 4 pages

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 contains a segment that hints that his worldview might be somewhat deterministic—although Joel has said that those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved, he also adds that “there shall be those who escape, as the Lord has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the Lord calls” (Joel, 32). It is somewhat unclear from the wording, but Joel seems to imply that even if one does not call upon the Lord, he might still be saved if the Lord has chosen him.
The prophet Isaiah, however, is much more nihilistic about the idea of salvation. “Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate,” he begins (Isaiah, 24:1). “And [this desolation] shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with the master, as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower, as with the creditor, so with the debtor,” he prophecies (Isaiah, 24:2). Here Isaiah employs a kind of antithesis, giving examples of opposing sets of people in order to make it clear that no one will be spared from the desolation that the Lord will cast...

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