Restoration Prophecy in Ezra-Nehemiah

The Christ the Center corporal’s guard spoke with Matthew Patton, PhD student in biblical studies at Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, IL about his paper “Searching for a Truly Repentant Israel: Ezra-Nehemiah and Restoration Prophecy.” A very fascinating discussion was had about such things as the already/not yet eschatology of Ezra-Nehemiah and how even though Israel was back in the land, they had not returned from exile. The significance of typology was also addressed. One of the strengths of Matt’s research is that he shows the intertexuality of the various parts of the Bible. This paper particularly highlights Nehemiah’s prayer and his citations and allusions to Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and 1st Kings. This discussion augers well for future in-depth biblical theological and exegetical conversations.

order Nehemiah and the Wall by Justin Gerard from 12 Stone Art

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.

Bill Snodgrass

11 years ago

I look forward to hearing this one ! There are indications in the Gospel accounts as well of this theme: Back in the land, but not fully returned from exile…

Jim Cassidy

11 years ago

In additional to MacCleod, who was condemned as a heretic by the Church of Scotland, there is also T.F. Torrance who advanced the same position that Christ repents for us (Torrance, by his time, however, was not condemned by the same church!). I don’t think this is a viable option, theologically, however. Of course, for both Torrance and MacCleod, Jesus was sinful!

The better way, perhaps, of thinking about this is the fact that Jesus does not need to repent because he fulfills Deuteronomy perfectly. And therein lies his restorative vicarious action. It is we who need to repent and believe that we may be joined to him and restored to the inheritance stored up for us in heaven.

One last thought. Jesus is, of course, regarded as sin on the cross where he undergoes the divine judgment. His “sinfulness” there is like our righteousness here – imputed and alien to him. It may be then that perhaps the resurrection is seen as a kind of repentance. Not in terms of an individual conscious sorrow for one’s own sin. But, rather, as a turning – in fact, a returning – to a place of heavenly presence and the firstfruits of an eschatological beautific vision of the divine glory.

But that’s just shooting from the hip here.

Camden Bucey

11 years ago

I agree. Clearly Jesus never has any need to turn from any personal sinfulness, but he did undergo John’s baptism of repentance signifying what he would do for his Church.

Jeff Waddington

11 years ago


Yes, as soon as we finished recording the episode I kicked myself for failing to mention Torrance. I learn of McLeod Campbell via Torrance.

We were “thinking from the hip” about repentance and you are quite correct. Our Lord had and has no need to repent.

Chuck Bridgeland

11 years ago

Very interesting episode. Possible to get that paper?

In my “just read it” layman’s reading of the Old Testament, it seems like the exile to and return from Babylon is the big event that much of the OT (history and prophets) revolves around. This ties that into the New Testament and the coming of the Messiah.

Alex Kowalenko

10 years ago

I enjoyed this one, and I think you are right, that there needs to be a “return” to more topics on Biblical Studies – Old and New Testaments.

What you did here was great – interview a student on his work, and their understanding of the themes of the biblical book.


10 years ago

Matt, Camden, great podcast. It felt like Kline-Klub all over again.

Matt, my read of Ezra-Nehemiah is very similar, and I’ve been doing a lot of study in this area recently. I’m curious if you’ve read any of N.T. Wright’s work on this topic, and what you think of it. The continuation of “exile” into the time of Jesus is an important aspect of his work, particularly in “Climax of the Covenant” and “Resurrection of the Son of God.”


10 years ago

Ah, you did mention his work. For some reason my player cut off the podcast the first time I listened to it, so I missed it.

Matthew Patton

10 years ago

Thanks for the comments, all.

I appreciate the theological reservations about Jesus’ repentance. In reflecting on the role of Jesus in fulfilling the repentance of Israel, it continues to strike me as difficult to imagine how a sinless person could “repent.”

Since the interview, I was reading Peter’s sermon in Acts 3:17-26, and was struck by how much the language of repentance and restoration pervades this section. I am wondering if the NT conceives of the repentance of Israel being fulfilled more in the *church* than in *Jesus*.

Benj, thanks for the comment regarding Wright. I want to give him more attention, especially since he is doing a conference at Wheaton this Spring!

Reformed Forum - Reformed Theology Podcasts, Videos, Blogs and More - » Blog Archive » Christ the Center 2010 March Madness

10 years ago

[…] with Guy Waters #ctc93 (10) The Regulative Principle of Worship with Derek Thomas #ctc80 (55) Restoration Prophecy in Ezra-Nehemiah with Matt Patton #ctc90 (23) Scripture and Doctrine in the Church with (none) #ctc72 (42) […]

Mike Wiersma

9 years ago

Any chance this paper could be made available to the public? I’d love to read it.

Matthew Patton

9 years ago

Hi Mike,
Thanks for your interest. At this point I am gearing up to publish this paper in a journal, so I am not distributing it. When (or if) it does get published, I will try to remember to put a pointer here.


Tom Wesenberg

5 years ago

I’ve listened to this podcast numerous times with great benefit. Was the paper ever published? Also on the repentance issue, would Romans 6:10 fulfill the repentance definition given in the podcast (turning from/turning to)?


9 months ago

Is this paper available anywhere? Has it been published?



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