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Featured The main plotline of the whole Bible

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Arthur King, Jul 31, 2023.

  1. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    God’s promise to Abraham (formerly Abram) is the reversal of Adam’s curse, and sets up the narrative drive for the whole Biblical storyline.

    Genesis 12:1-3

    Now the Lord said to Abram,
    “Go forth from your country,
    And from your relatives
    And from your father’s house,
    To the land which I will show you;
    And I will make you a great nation,
    And I will bless you,
    And make your name great;
    And so you shall be a blessing;
    And I will bless those who bless you,
    And the one who curses you I will curse.
    And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”


    Prominent theologian N.T. Wright (I know, everyone has their disagreements with NT Wright, blah blah blah) explains that God’s promise to Abraham is seen throughout the Biblical narrative as the reversal of Adam’s curse:

    Abraham emerges within the structure of Genesis as the answer to the plight of all humankind. The line of disaster and of the curse, from Adam, through Cain, through the Flood to Babel, begins to be reversed when God calls Abraham and says ‘in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed,’ This point about the structure of the book of Genesis is reinforced by a consideration of the many passages in which the commands issued to Adam in Genesis 1 reappear in a different setting. Thus, for instance, we find the following sequence:

    1:28: And God blessed them, and God said to them,

    “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    12:2: “I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you…

    17:2,6,8: I will make my covenant between me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly…I will make you exceedingly fruitful…and I will give you, and to your seed after you, all the land of Canaan…

    22:16: Because you have done this…I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore…and by you shall all the nations of the earth bless themselves, because you have obeyed my voice.

    Thus, at major turning-points in the story—Abraham’s call, his circumcision, the offering of Isaac, the transition from Abraham to Isaac and from Isaac to Jacob, and in the sojourn in Egypt—the narrative quietly insists that Abraham and his progeny inherit the role of Adam and Eve. There are, interestingly, two differences which emerge in the shape of this role. The command (‘be fruitful…’) has turned into a promise (‘I will make you fruitful…), and possession of the land of Canaan, together with supremacy over enemies, has taken the place of Adam’s dominion over nature.


    God’s promise to Abraham is the reversal of Adam’s curse. It is the promise that God will provide the means of restoring what sin had destroyed. When put together with God’s promise to Adam and Eve regarding their offspring, it means that the offspring of Abraham who will bring blessing to all nations will also crush the head of the serpent and restore humanity’s stewardship over creation. Galatians 3 calls Genesis 12 "the gospel." It is a gospel of restoration.

    It is this promise to Abraham that sets up the main question in the plotline of the Bible, which is “How is God going to bless all nations through Abraham’s offspring, i.e. Israel?” To not be aware of this (as I was not for many years) is to not understand the basic plotline of the Bible. It is like reading The Lord of the Rings without knowing that the mission is to throw the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. Without this knowledge, the narrative just becomes a bunch of semi-random events strung together. And sadly, that is the way the Bible reads to many (maybe most) people, Christian and non-Christian. But Israel was to be God’s agent of salvation for the world. They were to be a kingdom of priests, a light to all nations. They were to be the mediators of the world, reconciling all people on earth to God. As God says to Israel in Exodus 19:6:

    ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians,
    and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself.
    Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant,
    then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine;
    and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’


    Psalm 67 summarizes the vocation well:

    God be gracious to us and bless us,
    And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah.
    That Your way may be known on the earth,
    Your salvation among all nations.


    Israel prays that God would be gracious to her and bless her—why? So that God’s way would be known on the earth, and that God’s salvation would be known among all nations. Israel was God’s means of bringing salvation to the whole world.

    Israel understood her role as the agent of God’s deliverance of the world, and in the book of Isaiah we see a confession that they have failed this role. Israel says in 26:18:

    As the pregnant woman approaches the time to give birth,
    She writhes and cries out in her labor pains
    Thus were we before You, O Lord.
    We were pregnant, we writhed in labor,
    We gave birth, as it seems, only to wind.
    We could not accomplish deliverance for the earth,
    Nor were inhabitants of the world born.


    In this heartbreaking passage, Israel is acknowledging that they have failed in the mission that God has given them, to accomplish deliverance for the world. They were to give birth to a new world, a new humanity, but they could not accomplish it.

    It is the success or failure of Israel’s mission to bless all nations that controls the tension in the storyline in the Bible. The tension is increased when Israel runs into circumstances that seem to be insurmountable obstacles to God’s promises being fulfilled. Thus, it is as if Abraham asks, “God, how are You going to bless all nations through my offspring, when my wife has been barren for 100 years?” And it is as if Israel asks, “God, how are we to bless all nations, when we are enslaved to Egypt?” “God, how are we to bless all nations, when we are stuck in the wilderness?” “God, how are we to bless all nations, when we are having so much trouble with these Philistines?” “God how are we to bless all nations when we are going into exile?” “God, how are we to bless all nations when for 500 years we have been ruled by a series of godless but powerful empires (Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome)?”

    Furthermore, the tension is increased by the repeated instances throughout Israel’s history in which they prove themselves to be just as depraved and wicked as the rest of the nations. How is God going to bless all nations through a group of people who are just as wicked and corrupt as everyone else? If Israel is sinful, they can only further pollute the world, not purify it. They can only sin against the world, not save it. They can only further corrupt the world, not recreate it.

    But the stakes are even higher still. For we have to realize that when Israel sins, it is not just Israel’s fate that is at stake, and not just the fate of the rest of the world that is at stake, but also God Himself is at stake. God has staked His own glory, His own name, His own reputation, and His own faithfulness on His promise that the world will be saved through Israel. When Israel sins, God’s own glory and faithfulness and truthfulness and righteousness are at stake! As 1 Samuel 12:22 says, “the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself.”

    Furthermore, in the Bible Jesus’ resurrection is the fulfillment of God’s promises to restore and renew the world from humanity’s fallen state. As Paul says in Acts 13:32, “We preach to you the good news (gospel) that God has fulfilled His promises to our fathers in that he raised up Jesus from the dead.” How did God fulfill His promises? By raising Jesus from the dead. The gospel is that God’s covenantal promises to restore the world from Adam’s curse (the subject of the Old Testament) are fulfilled in Jesus’ resurrection (the subject of the New Testament). The gospel is God’s promise and His fulfillment of that promise in Jesus.
     
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  2. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    The main plotline and driver of the whole Bible is found in these three verses:

    Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

    Genesis 3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

    Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
     
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  3. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The main plotline and driver of the whole Bible is found in second part of John 1:29, "behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of humanity."

    Yes, God's promise to Abraham is the promise to reverse the the consequences of Adam's sin, everyone but Jesus being "made sinners." Romans 5:19

    In Genesis 12:3, God says "in you" referring to one of Abraham's descendants (Jesus) all the families (better: all the peoples) of the world will be blessed.
     
  4. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    (A) Why does Paul call the Genesis 12 promise "the gospel"?

    8 The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” 9 So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer.

    (B) And why does Paul say that the gospel is the fulfillment of God's promises to the fathers? As Paul says in Acts 13:32, “We preach to you the good news (gospel) that God has fulfilled His promises to our fathers in that he raised up Jesus from the dead.”

    (C) Why does Paul spend so much time talking about God's faithfulness to Israel in his letters?

    (D) Seems like in your view that a lot of the Old Testament is pointless, no?
     
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  5. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    God uses means. As the apostle Paul wrote: 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

    You are trying to draw a conclusion that does not at all follow from my post that you are arguing against.
     
  6. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of humanity.

    That is not a plotline, that is a (the) central plot point. The plotline is the central mission of a story. And it is the promise to Abraham and his offspring that occupies the vast, vast majority of the Old Testament.
     
  7. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    God chose Abraham and his descendants through Isaac to be the means by which Christ would take on sinless human flesh and live and die to save the people that God gave to Him to be their Surety before the world began.
     
  8. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The whole plotline is for humanity to behold, see, understand the who and why of the Lamb of God.

    Plotline definition: : a connected series of occurrences that form the plot or part of the plot in a story or drama
    a) God is creator of heaven, earth and humanity
    b) Adam, the first man, sinned.
    c) God imposed upon humanity the consequence of that sin, i.e. everyone being made sinners.
    d) God promised Abraham that one of his descendants would bless all the peoples of the world.
    e) God tells the story of Abraham's descendants down to Jesus.
    f) God reveals the virgin birth, sinless life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
     
    #8 Van, Jul 31, 2023
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2023
  9. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    "Plotline definition: : a connected series of occurrences that form the plot or part of the plot in a story or drama"

    No, storytelling is defined as:

    Someone wants something really badly but he/she is having a hard time getting it, so he must make character revealing/defining choices of action to overcome his obstacles.

    Narrative is Conflict. Conflict = Obstructed Desire

    When writing or analyzing a story, one should ask:

    -What does my protagonist (or any person in the story) desire?
    -What are his/her obstacles to achieving his goal?

    Obstacles come in three categories:

    External Obstacles: I want X, but External Objects keep me from obtaining X.

    Interpersonal Obstacles: I want X, but Other People keep me from obtaining X.

    Internal Obstacles: I want X, but Other Desires within Me keep me from obtaining X.


    -What choices of action does the protagonist make to overcome these obstacles?
    -How do these choices of action reveal or define the protagonist’s Character?

    (Character = the priority of various/competing desires). Within our souls there are various and competing desires. We choose which ones we will follow. What a person chooses reveals and defines what they really want. What a person really wants reveals who they really are. The assumption here is that what defines a person’s identity is his or her deepest love.

    Theme = Relationship of Character to Consequence. How consequences (positive or negative) result from character. Anti-Theme: the opposite relationship of Character and Consequence, depicted to clarify the theme.

    There is no plotline or story until there is a driving desire/mission/plan/purpose/strategy.

    God's promise to and through Abraham is the central driving mission of the vast majority of the Old Testament.
     
  10. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    The whole plotline is for humanity to behold, see, understand the who and why of the Lamb of God.

    Plotline definition: : a connected series of occurrences that form the plot or part of the plot in a story or drama
    a) God is creator of heaven, earth and humanity
    b) Adam, the first man, sinned.
    c) God imposed upon humanity the consequence of that sin, i.e. everyone being made sinners.
    d) God promised Abraham that one of his descendants would bless all the peoples of the world.
    e) God tells the story of Abraham's descendants down to Jesus.
    f) God reveals the virgin birth, sinless life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    The main plotline of the whole Bible is "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of humanity."
    The plotline tells of the driving desire/mission plan/purpose/strategy of the provision of God's Lamb, our Lord and Savior.
     
  11. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    The main plotline in the Bible is Jesus Christ's Accomplishment of the Godhead's Eternal Covenant of Grace, by His death, burial, and resurrection, as exhibited throughout the Old Testament and New Testament, towards and upon God's Elect in time.


    Gill, John [1697-1771]‎ > ‎
    A Body of Doctrinal Divinity by John Gill, D.D. Volume 4
    BOOK IV.

    OF THE ACTS OF THE GRACE OF GOD
    TOWARDS AND UPON HIS ELECT IN TIME


    1. Of the Manifestation and Administration of the Covenant of Grace.
    2. Of the Exhibitions of the Covenant of Grace in the Patriarchal State.
    3. Of the Exhibitions of the Covenant of Grace Under the Mosaic Dispensation.
    4. Of the Covenant of Grace, as Exhibited in the Times of David, and the Succeeding Prophets, to the Coming of Christ.
    5. Of the Abrogation of the Old Covenant, Or First Administration of it, And the Introduction of the New, Or Second Administration of it.
    6. Of the Law of God.
    7. Of the Gospel.
     
  12. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. . . ."

    Revelation 21:1, ". . . And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. . . ."
     
  13. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Although it is a sermon and not a plotline, The Scarlet Thread, by W. A. Criswell tells the old, old story, "from ca-vah to ca-vah" (cover to cover).

    Remind me to post a link to the .pdf around August 24th, or so, to be safe.


    "The Scarlet Thread is a classic treatment of the grand story of redemption. Tracing the theme of salvation from Genesis to Revelation, W. A. Criswell tells the old, old story as only he could as a prince of preachers."

    Daniel L. Akin President,
    Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    Wake Forest, North Carolina

    "What a joy it is to see The Scarlet Thread being made available once again for a new generation! W. A. Criswell’s classic work beautifully portrays the picture of Christ’s redemptive work throughout the canon of Holy Scripture. Readers will be informed, instructed, strengthened, and helped in their faith journey. More importantly, they will be moved to a life characterized by worship, praise, and gratitude to our great God."

    David S. Dockery,
    President, Union University
    Jackson, Tennessee
     
  14. JonC

    JonC Moderator
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    @Arthur King

    I have been enjoying your posts. You articulate traditional Christianity much better than I am able.

    May I share the content of a couple of your posts with friends?
     
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  15. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    Thanks! Absolutely!
     
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  16. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    In your last paragraph regarding;
    The main plotline of the whole Bible,
    the Name 'Jesus' is mentioned for the first time.

    However, even by including Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, instead of just His resurrection, there is still nowhere in the Bible "God’s promises to restore and renew the world from humanity’s fallen state".


    There is no covenantal promise to restore the world from Adam's curse.

    The Gospel is that Jesus died, was buried, and raised from the dead, Biblically speaking; I Corinthians 15::1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


    Salvation for God's chosen people was fulfilled in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

    Acts 13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

    27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

    28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

    29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

    30 But God raised him from the dead:

    The Gospel is defined in the Bible as above, in I Corinthians 15:1-3.

    God did not stake His anything.

    There is no promise that the world would be saved.


    Nope.

    There is no mission that God has given them,
    A.) to accomplish deliverance for the world
    B.) give birth to a new world,
    or give birth to C.) a new humanity,


    Try through Jesus.

    It's like reading a Christ-less Bible.


    This reversal-talk is unsubstantiated, from the Book.


    There is no restoration of humanity's stewardship over creation.

    There is no Gospel of restoration.


    This is the Gospel.

    con't
     
  17. Alan Gross

    Alan Gross Well-Known Member

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    Pulpit Commentary.

    And in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed. Not Mess themselves by thee or in thy name (Jarchi, Clericus); but in thee, as the progenitor of the promised seed, shall all the families of the ground (which was cursed on account of sin, Genesis ill 17) be spiritually blessed - cf. Galatians 3:8 (Calvin, Luther, Rosenmüller, Keil, Wordsworth, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary').

    Thus the second sense in which Abram was constituted a blessing lay in this, that the whole fullness of the Divine promise of salvation for the world was narrowed up to his line, by which it was in future to be carried forward, and at the appointed season, when the woman s seed was horn, distributed among mankind. Genesis 12:2

    See if you see the Gospel and promise of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Savior, I'm these verses.

    Acts 13:22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

    23 Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:

    24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

    25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.

    26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.

    27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

    28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.

    29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.

    30 But God raised him from the dead:

    32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,


    33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children,
    in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

    34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

    35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

    36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

    37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.


    38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

    the Lamb of God did not take away the sin of humanity.

    Correct. Very correct.

    Otherwise I see an awful lot of irresponsible, backward, and made up verbage attempting to be structured into some sort of newfangled dramatic prose without the Message of the Bible for salvation from sin or the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the Savior.


    There is no restoration of humanity's stewardship over creation.

    There is no Gospel of restoration.

    There is no mission that God has given them,
    A.) to accomplish deliverance for the world
    B.) give birth to a new world,
    or give birth to C.) a new humanity,


    There is no covenantal promise to restore the world from Adam's curse.


    Even by including Jesus' bloody death for sin, burial of that sin away, and resurrection for forgiveness of sin, instead of just His resurrection, there is still nowhere in the Bible "God’s promises to restore and renew the world from humanity’s fallen state".

    All one big twisted waste.

    Unless, one is looking to engender a strictly emotional response in people without Regeneration.
     
  18. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    Titus 1;2 YLT I added [ ] upon [to] hope of life age-during, which God, who doth not lie, did promise before times of ages,

    Would you agree that the resurrection of Jesus was the fulfillment of the above promise?

    Consider
    knowing that Christ, having been raised up out of the dead, doth no more die, death over him hath no more lordship; Rom 6:9 YLT
    'And that He did raise him up out of the dead, no more to return to corruption, he hath said thus -- I will give to you the faithful kindnesses of David; Acts 13:34 YLT

    Would it be fair to state that the resurrected Jesus Christ is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen?
     
  19. percho

    percho Well-Known Member
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    Methinks the real plot is government especially on the earth. What does one need for governance and how to govern? The righteousness of God?

    YLT From Heb 2:6,7,8 'What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, or a son of man, that Thou dost look after him? Thou didst make him some little less than messengers, with glory and honour Thou didst crown him, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands, all things Thou didst put in subjection under his feet,' for in the subjecting to him the all things, nothing did He leave to him unsubjected,

    However:

    YLT From Heb 2:8 and now not yet do we see the all things subjected to him.

    I understand there to be debate of the following
    Was there a governor on the earth before Adam was created? Did he want more? What about the tower of Babel?

    The kingdom of men VS the kingdom of God.
     
  20. Arthur King

    Arthur King Active Member

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    Yes, the resurrection of Jesus is the fulfillment of God's covenantal promises. As Acts 13:32 says:

    "And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus."

    And to your second question, yes I think ultimately faith is resurrection faith. You can see this especially in Romans 4 and in the Abraham narratives. Abraham's faith specifically leads to him believing God's promises will bring life out of death, both in the conception of Isaac and the deliverance of him from the altar.
     
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