Friday, February 28, 2020

The Old Testament's Revelation of Christ [Pt.6]

by Rudolph P. Boshoff

[Continued from Pts. 1234, & 5]

I. A Holistic Understanding of the Person of Jesus Christ Revealed in the Old Testament

There is a clear indication from the above-mentioned chapters that Jesus was the expected Messiah that was anticipated through prophetic types within the Old Testament text, active within the world through Theophanies, clearly mentioned in the Scriptures. In conclusion, we will show how the Old Testament flows into the New seamlessly.   

II. The Story of God as the Story of Jesus

N.T. Wright (2000:167) calls for the explicit recognition that when we start with the Old Testament Scriptures and ask ourselves what it might look like if God was to become a man, He would very much look like Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Thinking and speaking therefore of God and Jesus in the same breath are not a category mistake, but simply the realized expression of what the Old Testament predicts and foreshadows. Job (19:25-26) looks forward and says:
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” 
John (1:14) the Beloved writes: 
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.
The only truthful expression to this reality of Christ is found later in the same Gospel (John 20:28) when Thomas calls out to Jesus as “My Lord and my God.” [Gr. Ὁ Κύριός μου καὶ ὁ Θεός μου]. Larry Hurtado (2003:53) says the clear accommodation of Jesus as recipient of cultic worship with God is uncontested and was a major development in the practice and belief of the first Christians. 

When Jesus, therefore, affirms Himself to be “the Alpha and Omega” (Rev 22:13) we understand that He is calling on the Old Testament to affirm who He was and is (Isa 41:4, 44:6, & 48:12). The very identity of Christ hinges on the fact that He was the revealed Lord Yahweh from the Old Testament. We can therefore clearly see that the Worship of God is given to Christ (Isa 45:23, Phil 2:10-11) because He reveals the works of God (Joel 2:32, Rom.10:13) and the glory of God (Exod 33:19, John 12:41), being judge as God (Ecc 12:14, Acts 17:31). Jesus has the highest possible position on the throne of God (Dan 4:34-35, Rom 14:10, Ps 110:1, Matt 22:44, Heb 1:3,13) being equal with God (Exod 20:3, 7; Deut 5:7,11; cf. Ps 110:1; Dan 7:13-14; cf. Ezek 1:26-28, Matt 9:3; cf. Mark 2:7 & 14:61-64; John 5:17-18, 8:58-59, 10:27-33, & 19:7). Jesus Christ as Yahweh rules over everything (Isa 44:24; Jer 10:16, 51:19; Matt 11:25-27 & 28:18; Luke 10:21-22; John 3:35, 13:3, & 16:15; Acts 10:36; 1st Cor 15:27-28; Eph 1:22; Phil 2:10 & 3:21; Heb 1:2 & 2:8; Rev 5:13) forever and ever (Ps 9:7 & 45:6; Luke 1:33; Eph 1:19-21; Heb 1:8). 

The first Christian community who looked at the Old Testament and identified the fact that this Jesus Christ was both Lord and God gave this seamless reality. Michael J. Kruger (2017:144) mentions that the first Christian community could affirm on the authority of the Old Testament that there was One God that was the sole creator of heaven and earth and the same God predicted the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. This Messiah was from the seed of David born from the Virgin Mary and was the creator of all things who came into the world as God in the flesh. To those who believe in Him He would grant salvation because of His suffering and vicarious death, burial, and resurrection. In addition, he will one day return visibly to judge both the living and the dead and reward those who faithfully followed Him.

To understand the central revelation of the Old Testament Scriptures was to identify the person and work of Jesus Christ within the Scripture. There was no other reality evident amongst the first Christian community and to them the coming of Jesus Christ was the ultimate eschatological reality fulfilled in the historical person of Jesus Christ. Therefore, John the Beloved writes:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.
[1st John 1:1-3.]

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