Rebels and Exiles
Deep within the human psyche lies a sense that we were made for something more than this broken world. We all share an experience of exile—of longing for our true home.
In this ESBT volume, Matthew S. Harmon explores how the theme of sin and exile is developed throughout Scripture. He traces a common pattern of human rebellion, God's judgment, and the hope of restored relationship, beginning with the first humans and concluding with the end of exile in a new creation. In this story we encounter the remarkable grace of a God who wants to dwell with his people, and we learn how to live well as exiles in a fallen world.
Rebels and Exiles makes clear how the paradigm of sin leading to exile is foundational for understanding both the biblical storyline and human existence.
Essential Studies in Biblical Theology (ESBT), edited by Benjamin L. Gladd, explore the central or "essential" themes of the Bible's grand storyline. Taking cues from Genesis 1-3, authors explore the presence of these themes throughout the entire sweep of redemption history. Written for students, church leaders, and laypeople, the ESBT offers an introduction to biblical theology.
"Exile-restoration is one of the central themes in the Scriptures, and Matt Harmon gives us a remarkably clear tour of the theme in the Bible. Readers will not only be introduced to the theme of exile-restoration but will also be treated to an instructive survey of the storyline found in the Scriptures. Here is biblical theology at its best as a major theme is traced throughout the Bible, the intertextual relationship between the Old Testament and New Testament is illuminated, and the practical application of the theme is set forth."
"Matthew Harmon has produced a wonderful overview of a biblical theology of sin and restoration. This theological gem is full of insights that will be appreciated by a wide range of readers. Pastors, teachers, and students seeking to strengthen their grasp of biblical theology will be richly rewarded by their careful reading of this theologically astute and spiritually edifying exposition of these themes!"
"While distancing himself from N. T. Wright's view that 'exile' is the center of biblical theology, Matthew Harmon argues that sin-exile-restoration 'is a prominent motif in the biblical story line that plays an important role in structuring that story.' I wish this book had existed when I began serious Bible reading as a young adult! It skillfully, faithfully, and readably ties Scripture together from Genesis to Revelation and explains the heart of its message. It is exegetical, theological, and doxological in an effective balance. It dramatically depicts God's broad historic purposes since Eden and Abraham without 'obscuring the forgiveness of sins that the individual experiences through the work of Jesus,' an emphasis lacking in Wright, Harmon suggests. This is not the only book summarizing the New Testament's overarching message in concise terms, but it among the best. An added bonus is comments on application after every chapter and a masterful 'Recommendations for Further Reading' that will benefit those eager for more."
"This is biblical theology at its best—what an outstanding contribution to the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology series! Matt Harmon combines well-crafted prose, careful exegesis, compelling whole-Bible synthesis, and timely applications for the church today. Rebels and Exiles not only informs readers about the crucial themes of sin and restoration but also stirs in us a longing for our true home."
"A stimulating study of a central biblical theme. Matthew Harmon has his eyes on the biblical story line in which there is a pervasive sense of exile, but his eyes are also on the contemporary reader, who senses that something is missing. This book brims with exegetical insights and contemporary reflections, is well written and thoughtful, and is a profound reminder of the lengths to which God has gone to bring his lost sheep home. It is also a powerful reminder to the church that we are not home yet. I enthusiastically recommend it!"
Introduction: Sin and Exile in Contemporary Experience
1. Humanity's Original Rebellion and Exile
2. The Threat of Exile If/When Israel Rebels
3. The Reality of Exile When Israel Rebelled
4. Return from Exile When Israel Repents
5. The End of Exile Inaugurated Through Jesus' Life and Ministry
6. Restoration Through Jesus' Death, Resurrection, and Ascension
7. Life as Exiles in a Fallen World
8. The End of Exile Consummated in a New Creation
9. The Practical Implications of Sin, Exile, and Restoration
Recommendations for Further Reading