It was seeing problems like these that inspired Kaminski to create CASKET EMPTY. While living at Tyndale House, during study for her PhD at Cambridge in the late 1990s, she had the idea for the series. “I was asked by a church to teach an eight-week series on the Old Testament. It would be one night a week, for anyone in the church. As I was preparing I knew I wanted to teach through the redemptive narrative. And since it was eight weeks, I started to think about how I could divide the Old Testament up into parts. I started with creation and then Abraham. And that’s when I felt the Lord really gave me the acronym, CASKET EMPTY. So that was where it all began and, shortly afterwards, I started looking for someone who could be part of the project. I approached David Palmer, a pastor and graduate from Gordon-Conwell, and we have now been working together for a number of years.”
CASKET EMPTY is an acronym encapsulating the key periods of the redemptive story of the Bible: Creation, Abraham, Sinai, Kings, Exile, Temple (OT), and Expectations, Messiah, Pentecost, Teaching, Yet-to-Come (NT). The title CASKET EMPTY refers to the central point of this story, Jesus’s empty tomb. The series plots each of these pivotal moments in the Bible narrative along visual timelines which line up key figures, events, biblical books and themes. Since their inception, the timelines and study guides have been translated into Chinese, Korean, Arabic, Farsi, and the team is now looking at a project to bring them to Haiti and Thailand.
Seeing the events of the Old Testament in context is key to understanding them: “So first, you’ve got to get the historical context and the narrative. But then you also want to see theologically how things are developing within that narrative. Understanding covenants is a great place to start because they help you to put the narrative together. In fact, misunderstanding covenants can lead to misinterpretation of the Old Testament. For example, we may think that the Old Covenant was exclusively Jewish, and that the New Covenant is open to Gentiles. So since we’re under the New Covenant, this is now open to all. But this misses the missional call from the very beginning of the Old Covenant in Genesis 12:3 and Genesis 17, where you have non-Israelites and non-Abrahamic family being incorporated. Recently, when looking at all the genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1-9, I noticed that the tribe of Judah is the most ethnically diverse within the genealogies. You know, you don’t hear too many sermons on that. We just assume that it’s exclusively Jewish. So a good grasp of the covenant theology is so important as we consider that larger narrative.”