Quotes from Church History continued...
All the promises of God lead back to the first promise concerning Christ of Genesis 3:15. The faith of the fathers in the Old Testament era, and our faith in the New Testament are one and the same faith in Christ Jesus… The faith of the fathers was directed at Christ… Time does not change the object of true faith, or the Holy Spirit. There has always been and always will be one mind, one impression, one faith concerning Christ among true believers whether they live in times past, now, or in times to come. (Luther’s Commentary, Gal 3:6-7)
John Calvin’s three essentials to be borne in mind when reading the OT:
“First, we hold that earthly prosperity and happiness did not constitute the goal set before the Jews to which they were to aspire... Secondly, the covenant by which they were bound to the Lord was supported, not by their own merits, but solely by the mercy of the God who called them. Thirdly, they had and knew Christ as Mediator, through whom they were joined to God and were to share in His promises.” (II.10.2).
“Holy men of old knew God only by beholding Him in His Son as in a mirror. When I say this, I mean that God has never manifested Himself to men in any other way than through the Son, that is, His sole wisdom, light and truth. From this fountain Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and others drank all that they had of heavenly teaching. From the same fountain, all the prophets have also drawn every heavenly oracle that they have given forth. (IV.8.5)
For Christ not only speaks of his own age, but comprehends all ages when he says: ‘This is eternal life, to know the Father to be the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom he has sent’ [John 17:3]… From this it follows that no worship has ever pleased God except that which looked to Christ. (II.6.1)
Even the Old Covenant declared that there is no faith in the gracious God apart from the Mediator… The law plainly and openly taught believers to seek salvation nowhere else than in the atonement that Christ alone carries out. I am only saying that the blessed and happy state of the church always had its foundation in the person of Christ… So, then, the original adoption of the chosen people depended upon the Mediator’s grace. Even if in Moses’ writings this was not yet expressed in clear words, still it sufficiently appears that it was commonly known to all the godly. For before a king had been established over the people, Hannah, the mother of Samuel, describing the happiness of the godly, already says in her song: “God will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his Messiah” [1 Samuel 2:10]… Therefore David proclaims: “Jehovah is the strength of his people, the saving power of his Christ” [Psalm 28:8]… From this it is now clear enough that, since God cannot without the Mediator be propitious towards the human race, under the law Christ was always set before the holy fathers as the end [objectum] to which they should direct their faith.(II.6.2)
The hope of all the godly has ever reposed in Christ alone.(II.6.3)
Faith in God is faith in Christ. God willed that the Jews should be so instructed by these prophecies that they might turn their eyes directly to Christ in order to seek deliverance… apart from Christ the saving knowledge of God does not stand. From the beginning of the world he had consequently been set before all the elect that they should look upon him and put their trust in him… God is comprehended in Christ alone… So today the Turks, although they proclaim at the top of their lungs that the Creator of heaven and earth is God, still, while repudiating Christ, substitute an idol in place of the true God. (II.6.4)
The fathers, when they wished to behold God, always turned their eyes to Christ. I mean not only that they beheld God in his eternal Logos [sermone], but also they attended with their whole mind and the whole affection of their heart to the promised manifestation of Christ. (Commentary, John 1:18)
There is no other way in which God can be known but through Christ, who is the image and pattern of his substance… Although Jews, Turks, and other infidels boast that they worship God the Creator of heaven and earth, yet they worship an imaginary God: however obstinate they may be, they follow vague and uncertain opinions instead of truth; they grope in the dark and worship their own imagination instead of God. In short, outside of Christ, all religion is deceitful and transitory and every kind of worship ought to be abhorred and condemned. (Commentary, Isaiah 25:9)