Christ in the Old Testament Series

Christ in the Old Testament, The Gospel, Theology

 

Christ in the OT Introduction

Introduction

In this, my first series of blogs for The Decablog, I want to look at what I believe is the key to reading the Scriptures properly. It is the key because no matter what other grid Christians may use to make the Scriptures cohere (covenant, kingdom, divine council, dispensations, etc), this one was taught explicitly by the Lord Jesus himself as the one that leads us directly to eternal life. This makes our subject very important.

That key is to see the Second Person of the Trinity throughout the Old Testament. “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life,” he told the Pharisees. But, “It is they that bear witness about me” (John 5:39). Yet, it is not enough to read the Scripture with him at the center. We must come to him because of it. He continues, “Yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:40). My hope and prayer is that as we travel down this road, you will be challenged anew to do as Jesus said. Come to him that you may have life.

The series will proceed as follows (links will be added here once they are all online). Part I: Introduction; Part II: The NT Passages and Reflections; Part III: Christ in Prophecy; Part IV: Christ in Typology; Part V: Christ in The Law; Part VI: Christ: The Word of God (Part I and Part II); Part VII: Christ: The Angel of the LORD; Part VIII: Christ: The Name of the LORD; Part IX: Christ: The Wisdom of God; Part X: Christ: The Son of God; Part XI: Christ: The Glory of God; Part XII: Christ: The Arm of the God; Part XIII: Conclusions.

The Emmaus Road

After the Resurrection, two disciples of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to a small village called Emmaus. They were talking about reports of an incredible event that they did not believe. Some were saying that Jesus had actually risen from the grave. Suddenly, the Lord Jesus himself stood behind them. Prevented from recognizing who he was, he began to scold them for being so slow to believe. The basis? “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:26-27).

InterpretationThe word “interpreted” here is diermeneuo. We derive the English word “hermeneutics” from this. Hermeneutics is the art and science of biblical interpretation. In other words, the explicitly taught hermeneutic from the Lord himself was to see him in the OT. This is such an important idea for Luke that he repeats it. “‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45). “Moses and all the Prophets” or “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” are two ways of saying “the whole Old Testament.” Christ is found everywhere in the Old Testament.

But notice again the source of Jesus’ consternation. They did not believe the Scriptures concerning him. “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26). To put this more bluntly, Jesus expected that they would read the Scriptures this way. It was not that canonically inspired Apostles were the only ones allowed to interpret the Old Testament with Jesus in mind, because to do so would be a dangerous speculative undertaking for anyone else to attempt, but his expectation was that all of his disciples would have learned by now to read it this way, even as Simeon and Anna had done at his birth when they alluded to Isaiah 8:14-15, 28:16, and 52:8-10 respectively in their blessings of the Christ child (see Luke 2:34, 38). [1]

In the next installment, we will look at several places where the New Testament has just this kind of interpretation.

[1] See David W. Pao and Eckhard J. Schnabel, “Luke,” in G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos, 2007), 273-74.

(By: Doug Van Dorn)

4 thoughts on “Christ in the Old Testament Series

  1. Nehemiah Coxe:

    The great interest of man’s present peace and eternal happiness is most closely concerned in religion. And all true religion since the fall of man must be taught by divine revelation which God by diverse parts and after a diverse manner has given out to his church. He caused this light gradually to increase until the whole mystery of his grace was perfectly revealed in and by Jesus Christ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. God, whose works were all known by him from the beginning, has in all ages disposed and ordered the revelation of his will to men, his transactions with them, and all the works of his holy providence toward them, with reference to the fullness of time and the gathering of all things to a head in Christ Jesus. So in all our search after the mind of God in the Holy Scriptures we are to manage our inquiries with reference to Christ. Therefore the best interpreter of the Old Testament is the Holy Spirit speaking to us in the new. There we have the clearest light of the knowledge of the glory of God shining on us in the face of Jesus Christ, by unveiling those counsels of love and grace that were hidden from former ages and generations. (Coxe and Owen, Covenant Theology, 33)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s