Christ in the OT- Part 1
1st Baptist Church,
Des Moines, NM
Iím Bryan Kimsey, co-pastor at 1st Baptist Church, Des Moines, NM. Welcome to the Ministerial Alliance program on KLMX radio. For the next week, Iíd like to take a look at Christ as seen in the Old Testament. Itís common to separate the Old and New Testaments as if they were completely separate entities, but really they are both part of the same Bible. I hope that this weekís study will reveal some interesting things about Christ in the Old Testament. If you miss any of this weekís lessons, you can find them on our website: www.fbcdesmoines.org. Also, let me extend an invitation for you to come join us in worship. Weíre just beginning a study on hell that will likely run for most of the rest of the year and I think weíll see some very interesting things from that study. Iíve already started by reading a sermon from Jonathan Edwards and examining the Hebrew and Greek words behind the English translation. In future weeks, weíll be looking at 4 different views of hell and seeing if we can support those views Scripturally. Iíll be posting those messages on the website, but the big advantage of coming to see us personally is what happens after the service. Thatís when we sit around a table and discuss the dayís sermon. With those invitations, letís get started on todayís message.
May God be glorified by this message and may the truth of Jesus Christ shine into hearts of darkness. Amen!
First, letís ask the question "why do we have the Old Testament?" Why do Christians have the Jewish Bible when we are not Jews, or the food laws that we donít follow, or the instructions for various sacrifices that we do not make? More importantly for us, as Christians, do we have Christ in the Old Testament or is He strictly a New Testament figure? This is an important question, especially when dealing with people who proclaim a general universal god, and maybe even proclaim the God of the Old Testament, but deny Christ. Itís also an important question when dealing with denominations that seem to pick and choose from the Old Testament, or ignore it altogether. In fact, in my experience Iíd say that many of the differences between denominations are due to their use of the Old Testament. Thus, Old Testament study should be a very important part of the New Testament Christianís life. Letís get started and see what the Old Testament has to say about Christ.
The New Testament makes many, many connections between Christ and the Old Testament. Keep in mind that when we read phrases like "in all the Scriptures" in the New Testament, the authors are usually talking about the Old Testament, since the New Testament had not yet been fully written. The New Testament is actually taking place right then!
Romans tells us the purpose of the Old Testament:
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
Note that this passage says that "whatever things were written before were written for our learning." Since they were written for our learning, we ought to go to the old Scriptures to learn! And the purpose of this learning is that "through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures" we "might have hope." This passage clearly states the purpose and usefulness of the Old Testament. Letís look at:
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (2) in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.
From this passage, we see that God spoke long ago to the fathers by the prophets. We also see that "in these last days" he has spoken to us in His Son. Note that this is a New Testament verse connecting the Old and New Testaments. It doesnít say anything about a new revelation, but rather indicates a continuing link between the Old and New. God is still the one speaking, first through the prophets to the father, and now through the Son to us. His revelations are applicable from start to finish.
"For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John.
Christ says that all the prophets and the law prophesized up to the time of John. In other words, the purpose of these was to point to that time. Once again, then, we can safely go back to the Old Testament to find Christ. That this was obvious to the Jews at the time of Christ can be seen in this passage:
Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. (45) Philip found Nathanael and said to him, "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wroteóJesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." (46) And Nathanael said to him, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" Philip said to him, "Come and see."
We see that Philipís charge to Nathanael was "We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote- Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph." Philip appealed directly to Nathanaelís knowledge of the Scripture and Nathanael replied with a Scriptural question "Can anything good come out of Nazareth", because they were expecting the Messiah from Bethlehem. Jesus was from Bethlehem, of course, but in a peripheral way through Egypt and then from Nazareth. This referring to Christ in the Scriptures isnít limited to street people, though. In Luke 24, the resurrected Christ is on the road to Emmaus talking to some disciples who do not at first recognize him:
Luke 24:25-27 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! (26) "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?" Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.
Note where Christ Himself started the testimony to- "beginning with Moses and all the prophets". Just a few verses later, we see a similar statement in:
Luke 24:44-48 Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
In this passage we see Christ referencing the Psalms in addition to Moses and the prophets. Remember, too that the reference to "Moses" covers all the material credited to Moses, from Genesis onward. Therefore, according to Christ, all of these- the Psalms, the writings of Moses, and the Prophets testify to Him. Christ refers to Himself in the Old Testament in many other places, including these two:
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. (15) And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (16) So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. (17) And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: (18) "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE HAS ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR; HE HAS SENT ME TO HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, TO PROCLAIM LIBERTY TO THE CAPTIVES AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET AT LIBERTY THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED; (19) TO PROCLAIM THE ACCEPTABLE YEAR OF THE LORD." (20) Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. (21) And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
John 5:46-47 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. (47) But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?"
Moving along through the New Testament, we continue to see Old Testament references to Christ.
Acts 8:26-35 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, "Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza." This is desert. (27) So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, (28) was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. (29) Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go near and overtake this chariot." (30) So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" (31) And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (32) The place in the Scripture which he read was this: "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH. (33) IN HIS HUMILIATION HIS JUSTICE WAS TAKEN AWAY, AND WHO WILL DECLARE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS TAKEN FROM THE EARTH." (34) So the eunuch answered Philip and said, "I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?" (35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.
This passage is particularly important because it gives us, in the New Testament, a specific reference in the Old Testament to Christ. Philip, beginning from this passage in Isaiah, preached Christ to the eunuch and this preaching resulted in his salvation. That this salvation is evident in the Old Testament is clear in:
1 Peter 1:10-12 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, (11) seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. (12) It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things into which angels long to look.
Here, Peter is telling us that the prophets foretold the grace that was to come. Note that Peter doesnít say a "continuance of existing grace", but says the "grace that would come". This implies that a greater grace than exists in the Old Testament was yet to come. This is something that New Testament Christians must keep in mind when looking at the Old Testament. Note also that the prophets were "seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating." Christ had not yet been revealed in the flesh, but these prophets predicted his coming. We can find those predictions in the Old Testament.
So far weíve looked at a good sampling of New Testament passages which tells us that we can look back at the Old Testament and see Christ there. Romans 15:4 told us that the purpose of the former Scriptures was to give us hope. Hebrews 1:1-2 told us that God formerly spoke by the prophets but has now spoken though His son. Matthew, Luke, and John showed Christ showing himself in Moses, the prophets, and Psalms. Acts 8:26-35 gave us a specific Old Testament passage to study and one which lead to salvation. And Peter told us again that the very writers of the Old Testament searched carefully for the bringer of this superior hope. There are many, many more passages we could look at, including the revelation of the coming of Christ given to Simeon and Anna in the temple, in Luke 2, but the ones weíve examined will have to do for now.
I hope you can see that New Testament clearly gives us warrant and encouragement to search for Christ in the Old scriptures. The Old Testament is not an isolated and hopefully forgotten part of the Bible, but is rather a vital foreshadowing of the glory that was to come in Christ. Personally, when I started studying the Old Testament in light of the new and saw the amazing continuity and lock-tight connections between the two, thatís when the Bible really came alive and my faith in its trustworthiness increased. Next time, weíll examine some specific examples of Christ in the Old Testament. Until then, as always, may Godís name be glorified through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who made the payment for our sins. Amen.
Christ in the OT- Part 2