Answer: Ecclesiotelic Hermeneutics

This week I asked a question about the meaning of the song, “You Said,” by Hillsong, particularly the chorus:

You said, “Ask, and I’ll give the nations to you.”
Oh Lord, that’s the cry of my heart.

I think that it’s from Psalm 2:7-8:

I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me,
"You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession."

It’s a promise made to David, but the NT authors take it christologically as referring to Jesus (Rom 1:4; Acts 13:33; Heb 1:5; 5:5). Since the inheritance given to Christ is given to the church in him, Psalm 2:7 can be understood as a promise given to the church (cf. Gal. 3:29, 2 Cor 1:20). It’s an example of what Richard Hays calls an ecclesiotelic hermeneutic, reading the church as the end (goal) of OT text and story. David didn’t understand fully—he thought that the promise was to him and his physical descendants, and that YHWH would give him political/military victory over the nations. But in Christ the nations have been reconciled as part of New Israel. The prophets often spoke more than they knew.

I’m not sure that Darlene Zschech and company consciously thought through all the NT passages, but they clearly read the OT ecclesiotelically—and I think it’s pretty cool.

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About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, living and learning in Eastern Europe…an Old Testament professor and former liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth…eldest sibling to three, brother-in-law to Josh and Hannah…uncle to Marshall.
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