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Doug Van Dorn

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Christ in the Old Testament Series - Introduction (Part I)

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 10:30 AM



Introduction (Part I)


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. It is also quite fitting for a supernatural blog, because the very idea that a Person could be somewhere before he is born is astonishing (more later in this post).


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 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 LORD; 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).


The 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 theProphets 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).


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

 

Categories: Christ in the Old Testament, Biblical Interpretation

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