Deuteronomy and Christology in the Gospel of Matthew

Christ the Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Brandon Crowe to speak about the themes in his book The Obedient Son: Deuteronomy and Christology in the Gospel of Matthew. The book is a published edition of Dr. Crowe’s dissertation written at the University of Edinburgh. It spans several key biblical themes, including sonship, God’s fatherly love, election, and obedience. Dr. Crowe is Assistant Professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he teaches the core course on the gospels.

Participants: , , ,

Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

David Morgan

8 years ago

Great show!

Two things:

1) Are there any books that discuss the sonship of Adam, Israel and Christ, and their relationship that you could recommend, that are at a more popular level than the one you’re discussing here?

2) In light of the mention of Kline and Mendenhall in the interview (and your general appreciation of the former), I wondered if you guys had any thoughts on Mark Jones’s comments towards the end of his review of The Law is not of Faith[1]? Similar comments are made in Credo Mag’s interview with Peter Gentry about Kingdom Through Covenant[2]. It would be good to hear responses to these claims that Mendenhall/Kline got things wrong from those who appreciate their work – although I realise that this isn’t an appropriate place for a detailed discussion, but perhaps it’s something you could discuss in the future, or someone has already dealt with this elsewhere and you could point me in their direction.

[1] http://www.opc.org/os.html?article_id=199 – see the paragraph beginning “Finally” and the five points that follow
[2] http://www.credomag.com/2012/05/18/kingdom-through-covenant-interview-with-peter-j-gentry-part-2/ – second paragraph of first answer

Mark G

8 years ago

Someone may find the following paper of interest in terms of ANE treaties and their possible relationships to OT covenants, etc. It refers to the proposals of Mendenhall and offers some critiques and alternative views.


The author concludes: “Much study of the Israelite covenant has focused on their similarities with ancient Near Eastern treaties. This study proposes that the biblical covenant instead bears greater resemblance to texts composed by vassals of the Neo-Assyrian empire. The best example of such texts is the Barrakab inscription from ancient Samal. It is suggested that Neo-Assyrian propaganda was used in the Barrakab inscription and was likewise adopted by ancient Israelites and altered to describe the relation of Yahweh to his people.”

Thus, in this view Israelite covenants would not follow as closely the Hittite treaty form: 1) preamble, 2) prologue, 3) treaty stipulations, 4) deposition, 4) divine witnesses, 6) blessings and curses.

…good to at least be aware of when you’re reading Kline’s works.

Mark G

8 years ago

Excellent! I’ve been reading through Beale’s New Testament Biblical Theology where he’s developing a number of these son / Adam / Christ / image of God connections so I found this program fascinating.


8 years ago

I am wondering if you have the information on the article Nick mentioned about the temptation of Christ paralleling Israel’s temptations and the other article mentioned paralleling Christ’s with Adam’s.

Thanks for a great show.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago


I think that this was the article I was thinking of. If not, let me know. You have to purchase a subscription to Galaxie to read the whole thing. Sorry! https://www.galaxie.com/article/7787

Mark G

8 years ago

I found a copy online by searching on “The Temptation of Christ David J. MacLeod”. It’s at feedingonchrist.com for the moment. I am not sure it is a legal copy so I’m not even gonna link there.

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Here are a few excerpts:

“There are three temptations recorded in Matthew and Luke.42 They are all variations on one great temptation, viz., to remove His Messianic vocation from the guidance of His Father.43 There are different emphases in the tests: First, as many students of the Bible have affirmed, the three forms of temptation are connected with those that brought sin into the world (1 John 2:16), viz., “the lust of the flesh (i.e., hunger) the lust of the eyes (i.e., worldly power and glory), and the boastful pride of life” (i.e., a sensational jump into the temple crowds). These three forms follow the order of Luke’s Gospel, which reverses Matthew’s second and third temptations.44

Second, as has also been frequently noted, the three temptations are directed against the three parts of Jesus’ human nature (1 Thess. 5:23). Again following Luke’s order, they are directed against the body (i.e., sense-consciousness and sense-satisfaction), the soul (i.e., self-consciousness and self-glorification), and the spirit (i.e., God-consciousness and God manipulation).45
The quotations of Scripture by Jesus during the temptations seem to follow the sequence of Israel’s testing in Exodus: the provision of manna (Ex. 16), the testing at Massah requiring a miracle (Ex. 17), and the worship of the golden calf (Ex. 32).46

Finally, as I noted earlier, it has been suggested that all three temptations lead back to the three elements of the Shemaʿ of Deuteronomy 6:5. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”47

In short, the issue for Jesus was nothing less than complete consecration of Himself to the will of God.”

“It may be possible to see in the wilderness experiences temptations addressed to Jesus in each of His
anointed offices: (1) The third temptation with its reference to “the kingdoms of the world” clearly relates to
the kingly office. (2) The second temptation with its setting at the temple in Jerusalem would most closely
touch the priestly office. (3) The first temptation with its creation of bread in the wilderness may find a
parallel in the prophet Moses providing manna from heaven (Ex. 16:13–21). I would not want to press the
connection in that the temptations seem to be primarily addressed to Jesus’ role as king and suffering
servant of the Lord. However, see the remarks of Lange, Matthew , 87.”

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago

Here is another significant insight from the Macleod article:

The Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized, is well below sea level. Matthew tells us that “Jesus was led up into the wilderness” (ἔρημος, erēmos). This area was to the west and mountainous. It was virtually devoid of water (rainfall was sparse) and permanent settlements. The soil was infertile because of this lack of rainfall, so only Bedouin lived there.23 Israel was tested in the wilderness, so a parallel with Jesus is clear. There is also a significant contrast with Adam.24 Like Adam He was tested, “but under the worst of conditions, not the best conditions.”25 Adam the first was not tempted in a wilderness but in a garden. He was defeated there and we, with all the race, now inherit a cursed earth.

On the other hand, Jesus, the last Adam, was tempted not in a garden, but in a wilderness, taking up the conflict exactly where the first Adam left it. Mark says that Jesus “was with the wild beasts” (1:13). Adam had lived in paradise and was at peace with his world. Jesus found Himself in the wilderness with wild
beasts—a reminder that our fallen world is lonely and fraught with danger.26 Jesus lived His life surrounded by all the consequences of the first Adam’s defeat, but He was to conquer the devil and win back the garden for the human race whose champion and representative He was.

The contrast between Adam the first and Adam the last demonstrates the falsity of the teaching that all mankind needs for the development of the goodness within him is a suitable environment. In spite of every favorable circumstance, Adam the first failed. In spite of every circumstance encouraging failure, Jesus was to stand firm. “Paradise was lost in a garden and regained in a wilderness.”27

Nicholas T. Batzig

8 years ago


This is probably the best critique of the use of ANE in the manner in which Kline sought to use it. I agree with Weeks here! http://www.amazon.com/Admonition-Curse-Inter-Cultural-Relationships-Testament/dp/0567081567

Mark G

8 years ago

Any chance you could expand on your comment? Even if I got the book on loan I it doesn’t look very accessible. I’m wondering how more recent scholarship has changed our understanding of ANE and at what points Kline’s work is in need of correction. Some folks are aware of this issue as cited above by David but it’s new to me.


8 years ago

Thank you and the “Christ the Center” team for pointing out again the glory of our Lord Jesus in His obedience in this episode on Deuteronomy.

I wish to encourage you that the preaching of and through Deuteronomy (including case law) is very beneficial to believers. Our pastor preached through Deuteronomy last year and early this year. The many, clear connections to Christ and His gospel help us know and follow our Lord.


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