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A Scarlet Thread of Redemption?

Author: Dwight A. Pryor


IS IT TRUE, as widely held in Christian circles, that the thematic unity of the Bible is to
be found in its story of redemption
!rom the time of the Church !athers to today"s tele#an$elists a %Scarlet Thread of
Redemption& has been touted as the main storyline of biblical re#elation, wea#in$ itself
throu$h the tapestry of Scripture in di#erse ima$es and incidents: from the blood shed to
co#er the na'edness of Adam and E#e in the (arden, to the blood applied to the
doorposts of Israelite homes in E$ypt, to Rahab"s scarlet thread in )ericho si$nalin$
)oshua"s men, to the blood shed at Temple sacrifices for the sins of Israel* All these, it is
said, are precursors to the real story of the Bible, namely, )esus and his blood shed at
Cal#ary for the redemption not alone of Israel but of the whole world*
As mar#elous and indisputably central to (od"s purposes in the earth as is the story of
redemption, I would su$$est nonetheless that another theme surpasses the %Scarlet
Thread of Redemption& as the o#erarchin$ meta+narrati#e and unifyin$ motif of the
biblical story* ,e mi$ht call it the %(olden Thread of the -in$dom*&
(od"s rei$n in and o#er the earth per#ades the biblical account from (enesis to
Re#elation* In the (arden the Almi$hty shared .is dominion with Adam and E#e,
commissionin$ them as a$ents of .is rule o#er the earth and all its creatures $reat and
small* In rebellion, howe#er, they forsoo' co#enant with their Creator and chose instead
to ser#e another $od, namely Self/ they chose autonomy and independence0the power to
declare for themsel#es what is $ood and what is e#il0rather than humble ser#ice to the
$racious -in$ of the Uni#erse*
So when the 1ast Adam appeared, he not only redeemed those ensla#ed to sin by the !irst
Adam, he also restored his !ather"s 'in$dom to its ri$htful place in human affairs* In his
preachin$, teachin$, parables and deeds the 2essiah continually and insistently
emphasi3ed the in+brea'in$ reality of the -in$dom of (od* And when his 2essianic tas'
will be fully accomplished at the 1ast 4ay and death is no more, then the Son will hand
the -in$dom bac' to the !ather, that (od may be all in all 56 Corinthians 67:89, 8:;*

T.E C<=SU22ATI<= of the Creation will occur when e#ery rule, authority and
power is sub>ect to (od* Then the se#enth an$el shall sound the $reat shofar and the
hea#ens shall re>oice because:
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and
he shall reign forever and ever. And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones
before God fell on their faces and worshied God!" 5Re#elation 66:67+6?;*
1et us ne#er for$et that the consummation of the -in$dom of (od will occur in @ion, not
in hea#en* Aes, there will be a %new hea#en and earth,& but a renewed )erusalem will still
be at its center and the )ewish nation still central to the purposes of the Creator* In that
$reat day, the first proclamation of (od"s -in$ship by Israel at the Sea0The L#$%
reigns forever and ever&" 5EBodus 67:6:;0will find its final fruition when the (od of
Abraham becomes -in$ o#er all the earth: The L#$% shall be one and 'is name one&"
5@echariah 69:C;*
So while the %Scarlet Thread of Redemption& is at the core of (od"s story, it"s not its
circumference* The %(olden Thread of the -in$dom& precedes, succeeds, and indeed
surrounds it* Redemption is an inte$ral and essential sub+narrati#e to the e#en $rander
story of (od"s rei$n in and o#er the earth*
<nly with such an o#er#iew can we be$in to $limpse the $ra#itas of the -in$dom
messa$e for )esus of =a3areth, why he prioriti3ed it and personali3ed it throu$hout his
life and ministry, and why it is so important0nay ur$ent0for the Body of 2essiah to lay
hold of his teachin$s on this sub>ect* ,e truly will become a$ents of redemption and
restoration in our world when we are sei3ed by the power of the -in$dom* Then we will
li#e our li#es in the name of the Son and to the praise of the !ather"s $lory*
D 8E69 The Center for )udaic+Christian Studies*
All ri$hts reser#ed*