Christ in the Old Testament 8

Ok, here are 10 11 reasons this matters.  (Dev’s reminded me of an absolutely crucial one). I’m not going to spend very long elucidating any of them.  I’m sure they’ll become rants of their own in future posts:

Why it’s important to see the Hebrew Scriptures as already and inherently a messianically focussed trinitarian revelation:

  1. To make sense of the OT text.  I’m not sure how many passages I’ve quoted in the last 7 posts, maybe 40?  More?  I really don’t think I’ve been monkeying around with the texts, but I do think that these passages get a serious stream-roller treatment when people read them as uni-Personal passages. Let’s release ourselves from a basically unitarian hermeneutic of the OT because when you take these texts seriously they burst such arbitrary bonds
  2. Identifying Christ in Scripture is pretty fundamental!  To fail to correctly identify Christ in Scripture is a spiritual error, and a serious one at that.
  3. Christ is not simply the best Word of God.  He is not the ultimate revelation of God or the seal of a series of improving revelations of God.  He is the one Word and Wisdom and Image and Way and Truth of God.  The OT is a fundamental test case about whether we believe this, or whether Christ is just the ‘cherry on the cake.’
  4. We refocus on the main point of the incarnation – not new information but salvation!
  5. The Old and New Testaments really belong together.  And they don’t belong together simply because both are revelations of “grace”.  I hope to post on this in the future but proclaiming “grace alone” without such grace being the natural outcome of “Christ alone” empties grace of its gospel character.
  6. What is Faith?  Key question. If we are to emulate father Abraham’s faith are we simply to emulate the fact that he was trusting?  Isn’t the Object of faith the decisive issue? We stand shoulder to shoulder with Abraham, Moses and Isaiah not because we are all believers per se but believers in the Christ.
  7. Jewish evangelism!  We do not tell the Jew that they’re basically right about their interpretation of the Scriptures but please allow us to add a meaning Moses had no idea about.  If they believed Moses they’d believe in Jesus for he wrote about Jesus.
  8. Other religions.  Let us block off entirely the claim that other religions can know God apart from Christ.  It’s not unusual in debates on that issue for people to claim “Of course it’s possible to know God apart from Christ – OT Israel was in just that position.”  No they weren’t!  There never has been a revelation of God apart from Christ.
  9. The Trinity really is the foundational truth about God.  It is not a nuance to be added to a simple doctrine of the one God as taught by Moses and the Prophets.  All revelation of God has always been trinitarian.
  10. Personal distinctions in the Trinity go all the way down. By this I mean that Christ’s difference to the Father is not simply a function of the incarnation.  Often times people see the differences between Jesus and His Father as only the result of Jesus having taken flesh.  And it is a very simple step from there to a Nestorianism that says the human nature of the Son is separate from the divine nature.  But no, prior to incarnation the Sent One from the LORD is a distinct Person who nonetheless has the Father’s Name dwelling in Him (Exodus 23:21).  It has always been ok for the Divine Servant to be distinct from the LORD, we don’t need to assign all differences we see in Jesus to His human nature.
  11. Here’s a crucial one from Dev: “Refocusing Scripture on Jesus rather than on self. Therefore living for Him and not using Him to get on with my own life.”  If the law is about you – what kind of Christian life will you lead?  If Psalm 15 is about you, how will you cope?  If David slaying Goliath is a type of your battles – what’s the moral?  But if the law describes Christ and His righteousness… If Psalm 15 is about Him… If David is Christ defeating the head of the house of the wicked and winning victory for the people of God… then we are put in our right place.  We confess “I am not the righteous one described in the law, but a sinner.”  “I am not the Blameless One, but I have taken refuge in Him.”  “I am not the victorious King, but He has won my victory for me.”  (I may have misconstrued Dev’s point horribly – sorry about that, but that’s where my rant has led me.)

There are others but 10 11 is a nice round number.  I’m sure others can add more.  What say you?

Next post…

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Posted on by Glen in christology, covenant continuity, Doctrine of God, Old Testament, revelation, trinity

About Glen

I'm a preacher in Eastbourne, married to Emma.

0 Responses to Christ in the Old Testament 8

  1. Dev

    refocusing Scripture on Jesus rather than on self?
    therefore living for Him and not using Him to get on with my own life….

  2. Bobby Grow

    Glen,

    Do you think Abraham consciously was trusting Christ, i.e. in other words, did he know that the Son was the mediator between man and the Father? What of the mystery, in the Pauline sense?

    I’m not trying to dispute the continuity of Revelation between the old and new covenants. Or that God has and always will be Trinity. I’m just trying to probe on how you see progressive revelation chronologically unfolding the economic nature of God in salvation history.

  3. glenscriv

    Hi Dev, Excellent point, in fact I think I’ll edit the post to include it. Thanks

  4. glenscriv

    Hi Bobby,
    Short answer to the Abraham question is – John 8:54-56. Abraham looked forward to seeing Christ’s day, saw it, and was glad. I think the Jews correctly understand Jesus’ claim to be that He actually met Abraham (you’re not yet 50… implication: you’d have to be 2000!). So according to Jesus, Abraham hoped to see Jesus and then did and was very happy about it. This is the thing Abraham did which Jesus wished these Jews would do (John 8:39). I don’t think that you can retrospectively award to Abraham a meeting with Jesus. If Jesus says they met then they met.

    When we go back to Genesis we see Abraham seeing and worshipping the appearing LORD (eg Gen 12:7) when the whole expectation of OT worship was that to see God meant death. (I contend that Christ is the mediating/appearing LORD who in time brings Israel out of Egypt to meet the unseen LORD on the mountain – “No-one has *ever* seen God but God the One and Only in the Father’s bosom has made Him known”). The Word of the LORD appeared to Abraham in Gen 15:1 and took Him outside (v5) etc. The Angel of the LORD is a key character for him – see for eg ch22 where the Angel intervenes in the sacrifice “Now I know you fear God because you haven’t witheld Isaac from Me.”

    In Gen 18 Abraham makes a meal for the appearing LORD, He intercedes with Him for Sodom before this LORD goes on to Sodom to reign down judgement from the LORD out of the heavens (Gen 19:24).

    Also, don’t forget that Jacob identifies Abraham’s God as the Angel – the Sent One (Gen 48:15-16). The Angel Himself claims to be the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Ex 3:2ff. He is *of* the LORD but is also called “God” and “I AM” and He will save Israel and bring them back to worship *God* on this mountain.

    All that kinda stuff adds up in my book to an Abrahamic knowledge of One who is *of* the LORD and yet *is* the LORD and who mediates the business of the LORD-out-of-the-heavens / the unseen LORD / the Most High God. Now this isn’t the language of Nicea or Chalcedon but I think it still very much qualifies as trinitarian/christocentric. It’s certainly not any more anachronistic to call Abraham a trinitarian than it is to call him a monotheist! Abraham is not Aristotle or Maimonides but how often people read Genesis expecting to see *their* doctrines of God! I’m saying, let’s expect to see trinity (revealed in a very earthy Hebraic way but nonetheless something recongnizable as trinity). I contend that this presupposition (rather than a more philosophical concept of “monotheism”) takes best account of Abraham’s experience as we read about it.

    As for the mystery – here’s a post I’ve done on it (I think at your request from memory):

    http://christthetruth.net/2007/11/19/the-mystery/

    I think the mystery is the inclusion of Gentiles as Gentiles in the Lord’s body (see esp Eph 3). That’s what’s really new about the NT. That’s what everyone’s struggling with in the NT – not trinity but circumcision and diet etc!

    As to progression I don’t mind people talking about progression but I maintain it’s progression *from* Christ not *to* Christ. From the garden onwards the LORD-Man Redeemer of the world is the conscious hope of the godly. I don’t think the Object of faith evolves from things that aren’t Christ into Christ. If people are happy to concede this then I’ll let them claim whatever progression they like (almost!). But it’s progression from the Person of Christ, not towards Him.

  5. Dev

    hey bobby,

    i wonder if this helps?

    Romans 4:16 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring – not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

    if we share the faith of Abraham – then what is Abraham’s faith in? – His context in Rom 3 is the faith in the propitiating blood of Christ – and all the promises that proceed from Him

    & Heb 11 implies that in no way was Abraham ever misinterpreting that the promises were earthly or temporal.. and Paul’s exegesis of Genesis in Galatians also implies that the promise was about the Seed – the Messiah – and all who are in Him

    and Glen.. yup that’s what I meant about the Psalms (as well as the rest of the law)
    PS: did you read the ‘law’ essay i wrote? what did you think?

  6. Bobby Grow

    Glen,

    I have partially responded to you and Dev via a post over at my site.

  7. Pingback: Christ in the Old Testament 12 « Christ the Truth

  8. Christian :o) Joseph

    Hello my Brother in Christ Jesus,Our most blessed God and glorious Saviour… I have truly been blessed to find a brother who is christocentric,,,,

  9. Christian :o) Joseph

    Say Glenn.. If you ever get the time check out the site, ” Lord Jesus Christ assembly in Indiana Pa. ” I believe you will be blessed ……. Your brother in Christ Jesus….. Great little word there ( en ) in Christ Jesus.. The Christosphere…. Grace to you and peace..

  10. Glen

    Thanks Christian Joseph,
    Every blessing IN JESUS!

    Glen

  11. Pingback: Christ in the Old Testament 7 « Christ the Truth

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