Burns starts with the incarnation of the Son in John 1:14-18. John's language and imagery are derived from the Old Testament. He discusses the presence of the Word, the "walk" of the patriarchs, the visual fire and cloud, and the presence of Name. The ethics of presence are significant, because sin caused a sense of remoteness and mandated worshipful obedience. The "presence in sanctuary" is followed by the "problem of presence in the prophets." Though blessed with city and temple, the Israelites became oblivious to the Glory in their midst. So, God promised a New Covenant, sealed by the accomplishments of Christ and the indwelling of the Spirit. This enables believers "to enter the Most Holy Presence of God," even in the darkest of circumstances. The new-covenantal family is to reflect the Trinitarian presence of God as it lives in unity of love and servant-hood. The various strands are then brought together in the "new heaven and earth," the new Jerusalem whose "temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb." The "dwelling of God" will be with his redeemed humanity, and "they will be his people without pain, tears, or death."
J. LANIER BURNS (Th.M., Th.D., Dallas Theological
Seminary; Ph.D., University of Texas, Dallas) is senior
research professor of theology at Dallas Theological
Seminary. Since 1973, he has served as the president of
the Asian Christian Academy in Bangalore, India.
This is an encouraging and helpful book by
an insightful and seasoned scholar. In The
Nearness of God, Lanier Burns sheds much
light on a wonderful but neglected biblical
themeGods presence. Readers will find
their theology deepened, their hope rekindled,
and their joy increased. Christopher W. Morgan, Professor of Theology,
California Baptist University, Riverside, CA
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