I received a complimentary copy of this book from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
Liew is looking at the miracle of Christ changing the water into wine at the wedding at Cana, at its signs and symbols that confirm that the kingdom of God has arrived and also points to its consummation in end times. It points out the relationship between faith and glory, how each is required for the other to exist, and that the church should be living both the glory and the faith until that day, for whom God has “predestined, He has justified, and whom He has justified, He has glorified”.
This is not a long book but it is a book that requires serious thought. The topic is complex even though the story’s narration in the Gospel of John is a brief part at the start of the ministry of Christ. This is Liew’s dissertation and is a very well thought out and researched presentation to “investigate the end-time symbolism of the wedding at Cana, which can be applied to our lives today“. Liew identified 5 subsidiary questions during his research that he outlines at the end of the dissertation as he explains the development of his question, his research methodology, and some of the literature he found most useful.
I had never looked at the changing of the water to wine beyond it being a miracle that demonstrated Jesus’ authority and caused the disciples to believe. The idea that they “saw His glory” because they had faith and that others there did not have faith, did not see the glory as a result, and therefore, did not believe in His identity, had never occurred to me. As Liew explored the meaning of marriage and the wedding banquet from Biblical times, and connected it to other parables in the gospels, showing how the end times would be the wedding feast for Christ as the bridegroom and the church as His bride, it made sense. He explored prophecy from the Old Testament, including the apocrypha, and pointed to the many contrasts between old and new as seen in the wedding feast narration, and the pointing ahead to the feast of the bridegroom in the “final eschatological banquet”. He expounded the idea of the expectation that Christ’s followers would show His glory in their lives as” time progresses to the fulfillment of the kingdom”, and showed how it could be applied to our lives today. Liew looked at the language from the Greek and the Hebrew, its usage and context, and how a change in tense gave a different slant to what was written.
I found this rather deep, and it challenged and expanded my knowledge of theological terminology. (I liked that I had an eCopy so I could easily check the dictionary from time to time.) Some of things Liew wrote I had difficulty getting my head around, such as the idea of “reality as history moving irrevocably toward its final goal — the decisive establishment of the Kingdom of God within history by an act of God”, or “the concept of already but not yet,” and “history is not an end in itself but a means to an end” will take a lot more thought on my part. At times, I felt that this book was more for theological scholars than for ordinary Christians looking for a Bible study to improve their knowledge and the application of that knowledge to their daily lives. However, having said that, I found it interesting and think that I learned a lot from it; I especially enjoyed his explanations of his study and materials in the final section of his dissertation. I will probably read at least some parts of it again to make sure I have it clear in my mind. * * * *