Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Unveiling of Christ


The fact that the message of Christ crucified and exalted is whispered on every page of the Old Testament is argued for throughout the New Testament, and may be clearly discerned in how the first apostles interpreted and applied various Old Testament passages in their sermons and writings (e.g. Acts 2:22-36; 15:12-211 Cor. 10:1-13, to name but a very few). A good exemplary passage would be Hebrews 8:5, which refers to the Old Testament tabernacle and priestly duties as “types and shadows”. Then, after expressing this hermeneutical principle of typology, the author goes on for several chapters to show how this part of the Old Testament finds its perfect fulfillment in Christ. And furthermore, he is not content to speak merely of the sacrificial system, but finds in historical persons, such as Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), in prophecies written to the House of Israel, such as Jeremiah 31:33 (Hebrews 8), and in various psalms, written in different times and contexts (e.g. Hebrews 1:5-14; 2:5-18; 10:5-10, etc.) clear references both to Christ, who fulfills everything written, and to the Church, for whom everything was fulfilled, and who is the true heir of all the Old Testament promises.
The fact that the New Testament authors, without exception, displayed this hermeneutic whenever they addressed the Old Testament, and that they did so in accordance with what Christ had taught them of himself, from all the Old Testament scriptures (Luke 24:44-48), gives us good and necessary warrant for reading the Old Testament in the same way: looking for types and shadows of the coming Christ, which were at first obscure, but which may be understood now that Jesus has suffered and entered his glory, in every feature of the Old Testament, including historical events, persons, places, prophecies, psalms, sacrificial laws, and so on. In short, not just every page, but every feature of the Old Testament text has things to teach us about Christ, which we may understand now that Christ has been glorified; and to refuse to see Christ in all these ways is to rob ourselves of the greatest treasures and truths of the bible.