Early on in my Christian walk, I held to a more strict grammatical-historical way of interpreting the Bible. That is, human authorial intent was supreme. When reading the Old Testament, for instance, I sought to read it as a Jew might read it (my first reading), and then (in my second reading) to understand it in light of Jesus in the New Testament. What is more, I saw the hermeneutic employed by the New Testament authors as something not to be copied. In fact, they would probably fail many modern classes on hermeneutics. It’s simple enough, I thought: Just as I interpret a letter written to me by my wife, so too do I interpret the Holy Scriptures.
My conviction, however, started to wane as I read Luke 24 and 1 Peter 1, for instance. I started to think about typology, and became aware of redemptive-historical hermeneutics. I began to read and listen to men like Richard Gaffin, Lane Tipton, David Murray, Sinclair Ferguson, and the ministry of the Reformed Forum. Through my studies I have come to a more Redemptive-Historical hermeneutic.
In this blog, I’d like to present my notes that I took as I listened to these great men. Do pardon the length, as I saw merit in presenting it all in one blog. If it proves too much, however, maybe just take it a section at a time. The hyperlinks under their names are the lectures, sermons, and podcasts that these notes came from.
1) “The Redemptive-Historical View,” in Biblical Hermeneutics: Five Views by Richard Gaffin
2) “The Gospel and Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutics” in Confident of Better Things by Lane Tipton
3) Jesus on Every Page by David Murray
4) The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament by Edmund Clowney
5) Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ From All the Scriptures by Dennis Johnson
6) Preaching Christ From All The Scriptures by Edmund Clowney
7) The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robinson
8) The Christ of the Prophets by O. Palmer Robinson
9) Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview by Meredith Kline
10) Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament by Christopher Wright
11) Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament (1-5) by Nancy Guthrie
12) The Shadow of Christ in the Law of Moses by Vern Poythress
13) Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen
14) Typological Writings by Jonathan Edwards
15) Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture by Graeme Goldsworthy
1) Christ viewed being “with them” (v. 44) was pre-resurrection, not post.
2) “Law of Moses, the Prophets, and Psalms” is as weeping term. That is, Jesus is in all of the Old Testament, not just part of the Old Testament. Because:
A) There are time indicators in Luke 24 from the day Jesus was resurrected (vv. 1-43) to 50 days later (vv.52-53). Vv. 44-49 are in the middle and are meant as a summary of His post-resurrection ministry. Not only his post-resurrection ministry, but he says he has been teaching this to them the whole time they were “with Him” (v.44).
B) Jesus opened their minds to read the Scriptures (vv. 27, 32, 45). This is a sweeping term meaning all of the Old Testament, not part of the Old Testament. Much of Jesus’ post-resurrection ministry was basically teaching typology and hermeneutics to His disciples.
3) The pervasive sense and meaning of all of the Old Testament, Jesus taught them, was His death and resurrection (v.45-47).
4) c.f. Luke 18:31-34: It is written in the Old Testament that Jesus would (1) Handed over to the Gentiles, (2) Flogged & humiliated, (3) Killed, and (4) Resurrected on the third day. This is the pervasive meaning of all the OT.
5) This is the redemptive-historical Hermeneutic method Jesus taught His disciples and us in regards to how to read all of the Old Testament.
6) “Repentance” in Luke and Acts includes both “faith” & “repentance.” “Repentance” was what was prophesied about in the OT regarding the forgiveness of sins and salvation, but includes saving faith—not to the exclusion of saving faith.
7) The Hermeneutic of the New Testament writers is prescriptive for how we ought to do hermeneutics.
8) c.f. Acts 3:17-26: Every single prophet spoke about Jesus’ death. “These days” (v. 24) is regarding the time of Jesus’ cross and resurrection.
9) c.f. Acts 10:43: Peter said: All the prophets testified about Jesus, and that by faith in Him forgiveness will be granted.
10) c.f. Acts 26:22-23: Paul said: Moses and the prophets taught that Jesus would (1) Suffer, and (2) be the first to rise from the dead.
11) c.f. Acts 13:27, 17:2-3: The ministry of the apostles was teaching from the Old Testament that Jesus must die a substitutionary death and rise from the grave.
12) c.f. 1 Peter 1:10-12: The prophets knew the gospel (death and resurrection) (v. 11), and they knew their message was not for their own time, but for the New Testament readers (v. 12a). That is, the prophets saw and understood their ministry to be ministering to a future New Covenant generation of God’s people. The “target audience” as it were, is the New Covenant readership. “This” in verse 10 is referring back to vv. 3-9, which talks about resurrection, inheritance, and return of Jesus. The prophets “intent” and “all-embracing concern” in the main was to show the person and work of Jesus in their writing and prophesying (both in divine authorial and human authorial intent). What the various prophets say are unified and integrated, because the one “Spirit of Christ” (v.11) spoke the one message to all the prophets. Thus, the Old Testament is one large promissory, prophetic witness to Christ, and that witness centers in his “suffering and glory” (v.11).
13) c.f. John 12:40-43 quotes Isaiah: Isaiah saw Christ’s glory, John says, and spoke of Jesus (he spoke of what he saw).
14) Two extremes to avoid: (1) Restricting Jesus to just a few prophesies in the OT and viewing the rest as Jewish (pre-Christian) history, and (2) Viewing each particular OT text as teaching some particular point of the death or resurrection of Jesus (i.e. allegorizing the OT).
15) Is Jesus in every sentence of the OT? No, in that not every text is unpacking a particular piece of Jesus’ person and work. But yes, in that every sentence is in a context of an unfolding history that has one direction in its overall purpose, which is Jesus Christ’s suffering and glory. The OT can be oblique, but is not ambivalent.
16) We are bound to read the Old Testament in light of the New Testament
17) The writer of Hebrews believes that the OT culminates in the NT.
18) c.f. 2 Corinthians 1:20: the promises of God (all of them) are fulfilled in Christ. Thus, the promises of God in the Old Covenant have a predictive and forward-looking character
19) The NT writers taught, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that the Old Testament is preeminently Christocentric.
20) c.f. 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Acts 1:16; 2:16-17; 3:18, 21; 4:25; 7:6; 13:47; 28:25; Romans 1:2; 3:2; 9:17; 15:4; 1 Corinthians 9:8-10; Luke 1:70; 24:25; John 5:45-47; Matthew 1:22; 19:5; Mark 7:9-13; Hebrews 1:1-2, 6-7: All of Scripture is derived ultimately from God’s conscious, not human consciousness. Thus, while there are earmarks of human authorship that can be useful in hermeneutics, the authorial intent we seek is ultimately and primarily Christ’s authorial intent, not man’s.
21) c.f. 1 Corinthians 15:13-8: Paul quotes an early creedal formula and says the Old Testament Scriptures taught: (1) Christ’s death, (2) Christ’s burial, (3) resurrections of Christ.
22) c.f. 2 Tim. 2:8; Gal. 3:1; 6:14; 1 Corinthians 2:2: Paul’s gospel is about the death and resurrection of Christ. In fact, he sees this as the pervasive teaching of all of the Bible (Old and New Testament).
23) c.f. John 8:56: Abraham saw the day of Jesus and rejoiced over it.
24) c.f. John 5:39: Jesus believes that all of the Scriptures testify about Him.
25) c.f. John 5:45-47: Moses wrote about Jesus.
26) c.f. Galatians 3:8: The “Scriptures,” which is being used as a synonym for God, preached the gospel of justification by faith to Abraham.
27) c.f. Acts 2:31 – David saw the resurrection in advance and spoke about the resurrection of Jesus in Psalm 16.
28) c.f. Acts 2:16 – The prophet Joel spoke about Pentecost in Joel 2:28-32.
“The Gospel and Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutics,” in Confident of Better Things
1) Because typology is an inherent feature in the Old Testament, it is (or at least ought to be) thus a function of the grammatical-historical method (186).
2) Jesus is sacramentally present in the Old Testament (194).
3) Many modern evangelicals teach a two-reading view of the OT. That is, you first read the OT according to the grammatical-historical method, which seeks to understand the OT in terms of its original human and historical intent. Only after this is done, one can read the text in a “second” or “Christotelic” way. This, however, is a false segregation, and a false presupposition that somehow the grammatical-historical method does not functionally do typology (pp. 200-201).
4) “Mystery” in the Bible is “a making known of what has already been revealed in the Old Testament” (p. 210).
Some helpful quotes from the book:
What, then, is a type? A type is a temporal, earthly reality that represents a reality beyond itself. Certain features within the earthly reality bear a resemblance to the future reality represented in the earthly type… types are not empty shells in the Old Testament; they are rather the ordained means by which God communicates the gospel of Jesus Christ to the saints in the Old Testament” (pp. 194-195).
“What is the ‘original context’ of the Old Testament? At minimum we must begin with the notion that the Old Testament is the self-revelation of the triune God. As such, God’s being and revelation provides the ‘original context’ that situates the Old Testament. The human and historical are therefore subordinate to the Trinitarian self-disclosure of God (p. 203).
The Old Testament is the history of special revelation. As the history of special revelation it is not possible to construe the “original intent” of a given Old Testament text “only” in terms of “original human historical meaning.”… The human dimension of the Old Testament is a subset of a more basic historical reality, namely, the redemptive revelation of the triune God (203-204).
The Old Testament, on its own terms, prior to Jesus’ advent in redemptive history, is Christian Scripture—Scripture that mediates the gospel of Jesus Christ and all his benefits to the faith of Old Testament saints through earthy promises, types, and sacrifices. As Christian Scripture it presents the gospel on its own terms in typological categories (p. 211).
It’s time to turn away from deficient concepts of grammatical-historical meaning, historicist constructions of typology, and artificial disjunctions between original contextual meaning and christological fulfillment. It’s time to turn back to the redemptive revelatory activity of the triune God and to the organic richness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, accenting all of its manifold hermeneutical presuppositions and implications. It is time to proclaim clearly and without reservation that Christ enters the Old Testament through the front door (p. 213).
The Old Testament, on its own terms, objectively foresignifies and supernaturally presents Christ to the faith of Old Testament saints, thereby requiring a typological presentation of the gospel as an inherent feature of Old Testament redemptive revelation (p. 186).
The substantial concern of Old Testament redemptive revelation is the gospel of God’s Son… The history of the Old Testament is therefore a history of special revelation that has Jesus Christ as its central redemptive concern… Israel, while integral to God’s redemptive purpose, is from this standpoint not the paramount concern of the Old Testament Scriptures… The gospel of Jesus Christ is a transtestamental reality (p. 187, 188).
Christ is not merely foresignified in the Old Testament; he is also sacramentally (or spiritually) present to the faith of his elect… The gospel of Jesus Christ is not only foresignified in the Old Testament but is applied through promises, types, and sacrifices in the Old Testament prior to Jesus’ appearance in redemptive history (pp. 194-195).
1) Some of the problems in evangelicalism are (1) biblical theology is viewed as a subject that studies the human authors in how they understood Christianity, (2) Systematic theology is viewed as a philosophical endeavor to bring ideas together, abstractly, and (3) biblical theology and systematic theology has been separated and not linked. This must be reversed.
2) Christ is organically present in the Old Testament in and of itself, and is not just read back into the OT texts. The Old Testament contains the Gospel on its own terms, taught the NT writers. The Gospel is trans-testamental, not like a “mystery novel with a surprise ending.”
3) c.f. Romans 1:2-4: The gospel (death and resurrection) was promised by the Old Testament prophets.
4) Paul’s use of “mystery” is not something “wholly hidden in the OT,” but rather Paul uses “mystery” as something revealed in the OT (Rom. 16:25; Eph. 3:3-6). The use of “mystery” is an organically unfolding, revealing, via typology, the progressive development of redemptive history. The difference between how the gospel was revealed in both testaments was modal and not essential. That is, the revealing essence was the same, but the mode has changed (ex: the OT uses typology).
5) OT typology is not just empty pointers pointing people to Christ in the OT, but typology is Christ’s ordained means to bless OT saints by showing them the Gospel and what they must place their faith in order to be saved. OT is not merely a picture of the New Covenant, but the pictures are objectively and redemptively the actual presence of Christ.
6) Typology is not just a horizontal, historical unfolding of redemptive-history, but typology has a strong vertical element (to the Triune God) connecting the trans-testamental gospel (view as a triangle, maybe).
7) Jonathan Edwards viewed Typology as a divinely constituted means by which God uses people, places, and events to illustrate His Gospel. It’s not a “reader-response” where the NT writers read things back into the text, but those things were organically present in the OT text itself.
8) The Old Testament must not be read in any other way but as gospel-teaching, Christian Scripture.
9) Kant and the Enlightenment has taught us to overemphasize history qua history, overemphasize the human, and brought with it an overemphasis on textual criticism. The text, however, is redemptively qualified and we cannot have a Kantian bear-history understanding.
10) The Old Testament is an inscripturated history of redemptive. You do not have a human-based, time-bound, human qua human thing happening in the OT. The God-breathed Scripture does not fit with the Kantian-Enlightenment framework.
11) The original context of the Old Testament is redemptive-historical revelation with Christ as center. That is the context. This should have a hermeneutical function in all of our readings in Scripture (including the “first”).
12) The Bible is God’s commentary on His mighty deeds of creation and redemption, as it moves toward consummation. Deed-revelation and word-revelation are linked.
13) Redemptive-revelation of the gospel in the Old Testament on its own terms should cause is to rethink and rework our ideas of “authorial intent” and “grammatical-historical.” Not necessarily do away with them, but bring them to bear on this central reality and see how they look after.
14) We should avoid artificial connections with Jesus in the OT (e.g., allegory).
15) Christomorphic reading of the Bible: The OT foresignifies Christ and only Christ can conform to the structures present in the OT. The OT is not a wax nose where the apostles saw the resurrection and reinterpreted it in light of Christ.
16) Biblical symbolism, which is God present in the OT to save His people (e.g. The Exodus), is what grounds Typology, and keeps the reader from making artificial connections to Jesus and/or weird allegories. Symbolism demands typology. Typology arises organically from the Biblical Redemptive Symbols of the OT.
17) Don’t ask, “What would an ordinary, time-bound individual have understood,” but ask, “How well did the omni-competent God foreshow the Gospel.” The NT writers answer this question with: A+!! Don’t fall I to a historicism and reductionistic way to read Scripture.
18) Within the type itself there is a built in pointer, that propels beyond itself to the antitype (ex. Exodus, David, Joseph, Goliath, etc).
1) Scripture has dual authorship and each relates to the other.
2) Critical scholars often have an overemphasis on looking at human, time-bound authorship.
3) What we’re after is not a human understanding of God’s mighty deeds, but God’s understanding. 1 Corinthians 2 says the Spirit seeks the mind of God. We are after the mind of God, and it is the Spirit, as He wrote Scripture, that brings us to the mind of God. Many times the human authors wrote higher than they knew. God knew what he was writing through them, but the human authors didn’t always.
4) Since the Bible was written by God using human means, there is a coherent unit in the Bible. Thus, Scripture interprets Scripture. That is, when you come to an unclear passage, you can look to clear passages to help elaborate. The Bible then forms a massive inter-testimental web. Presbyterians are confessionally bound to this Hermeneutic. For instance, The WCF says “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself; and therefore when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched by other places that speak more clearly” (1.9).
5) There is three levels of history: (1) the actual events that transpired in history, (2) the unifying grand story (meta-narrative) that unites all of history, and (3) God’s use of distinct human authors to testify about the events in history.
6) The Scriptures themselves teach us how to understand Scripture. Sola Scriptura: The rule of interpretation are not extrinsic but intrinsic to Scripture.
7) The New Testament’s finding of typology in the Old Testament is the answers in the “back of the book” to the odd number of typology problems, so the interpreter can endeavor to do the even numbers (understanding you are fallible and not inspired). For instance, the New Testament says Jonah was a type of Christ. Using the NT Hermeneutic, we can understand Joseph as a type of Christ as well, even though the NT doesn’t specifically name him as a type.
8) The difference between allegory and typology is that allegory originates in the creativity of the human reader, and typology originates in the purposes of God as he ordained them as pictures of the person and work of Christ in the OT. It’s important not to allegorize the texts.
9) Exile-Restoration, Judgment-Redemption is all throughout he Old Testament and represents as a Type: Atonement-Resurrection. Jesus in the Wilderness and being tempted is Jesus re-living the temptations of the first Adam and the history of Israel. Jesus is the true Israel.
10) New Testament people didn’t look at the Old Testament literary themes and think “I had better align myself with this.” Rather, God is using predictive types in the Old Testament to point to how He will redeem in the future.
1) Jehoiachin willingly went into exile (the OT’s type of hell), bore the Covenantal punishment for his people, on behalf of his people, just as Christ bore the wrath for His people. Once judgment comes, then restoration can come. First comes the cross then glory. .
2) Ezekiel says Jehoiachin is like a cedar tree that grew big and God took and planted in Zion. Parellels of Christ can be seen in terms of the growth after His death.
3) Jehoiachin finds favor with the Babylonians, and he eats at the kings table all his days—though he’s still in exile. This is illustrative of inaugurated eschatology. Though he’s still in exile, he lives on; and though he’s still under wrath, God has given him glimpses of blessings throughout.
Example: Ruth & Boaz
1) Bethlehem (meaning “house of bread”) has no bread, as a famine swept the area. Not only this, but wickedness was everywhere (Ruth was not safe. Also see the idolatry narratives in Judges). In fact, the wickedness of Bethlehem parallels Sodom language, which seems to say that Bethlehem was worst that Sodom. But Boaz represents light coming forth from Bethlehem, just as Jesus will in the future.
2) Elimelech (meaning “my God is king”) did not believe God was his king and did not believe in the promise that God would provide. He left the land given to him by God and went to dwell among the pagans (self-exiled himself). Nevertheless, God shows that he will bring outsiders into His kingdom as He brings Ruth into His Kingdom.
3) Ruth’s title progresses from (1) “Foreigner” – 2:10, (2) “Maid-servant” – 2:13, (3) “Maiden” – 3:9, (4) “Wife” – 4:10, (5) a “Mother” in the genealogy of Christ – Matthew 1:5. Does this not illustrate and give hope to sinners outside God’s fold, that they too can be adopted–that God will not leave them as foreigners? Christ gives a new identity and a new nature.
4) Boaz has to take the law upon himself and fulfill it in order to redeem Ruth and Naomi (3:8-4:10), just as Christ had to take the law upon Himself to redeem Jew and Gentile.
5) Boaz didn’t have to redeem Ruth, but he spread his wing over Ruth, a Gentile pagan, just as God spreads His wings over lost sinners and brings them in His fold (2:11-12).
6) Ruth was a Moabite, which was the tribe born of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter. Naomi wrongly and inappropriately tells Ruth to go to the threshing room floor (type of night club in Israel) when Boaz has been drinking (like Lot). But here, there is a holy reversal where Boaz does not touch Ruth Inappropriately.
7) Naomi keeps trying to take things upon herself, but we see several times–in Naomi trying to take care of herself after her husband dies, and in trying to get Ruth to the threshing room floor–that human effort is futile. The author is teaching that it’s through God’s actions that His promises will come about.
8) The writer was showing (1:16-17) that a pagan Gentile has greater Covenantal faith in Yahweh than Israel at this time. She is saved at this time; she has grasped what it means to be God’s people. Ruth did not see God’s mighty deeds, but Israel did; she has faith while Israel is in disobedience. In a sense, she has become a “true Jew” as Paul would talk about later.
9) You also see that God is fulfilling Genesis 12 (promise to Abraham), as Boaz redeems not only Ruth but Naomi as well, which sets up this picture nicely.
10) Boaz is a kinsmen-redeemer, just as Jesus is our kinsmen-Redeemer. Image of a Bride-groom comes into view.
11) The reason the brother had to sleep with his dead brothers wife to perpetuate his line is because of Genesis 3:15 seed promise (c.f. 4:6). They knew a redeemer was coming by the seed of the woman and longed for this Redeemer. It’s not until Isaiah that they knew it was going to be a virgin birth (7:14).
12) Ruth tries to approach Boaz in darkness (3:6), but Boaz redeemed publicly in the light (4:1), just as God redeems in the light (c.f. Nicodemus-Jesus conversation).
13) Ruth lays at the feet of her kinsmen redeemer, as the church lays at the feet of Christ, the true Redeemer (3:14).
14) Boaz was willing to count the cost, and be self-less in redeeming Ruth and Naomi when the first redeemer was not. Jesus is willing to take the cost upon Himself to redeem His predestined sheep.
1) Typology presupposes (1) The Old Testament is a revelation of God, (2) God’s Genesis 3:15 promise created a forward-looking momentum for subsequent texts and OT books.
2) A “Type” is “a real person, place, object, or event that God ordained to act as a predictive pattern or resemblance of Jesus’ person and work, or of opposition to both.”
3) Analogy isn’t necessarily typology. You have to ask: did the audience see this with foresight, or are you just seeing it with hindsight.
4) When finding a type: (1) Does the New Testament explicitly call it a type? (2) Does it have the earmarks of being a type (as defined in definition above)
5) The type is always lesser or weaker than the antitype, and usually moves from the simple to the complex (e.g. The Ark (simple) to the penal substitutionary atonement of Christ (complex)).
6) The heart of typology is finding the essential resemblances, not the incidental resemblances to Jesus.
7) Not only does the New Testament shed light on the Old, but also vice versa.
8) Some types have dual fulfillments (multiple antitypes).
9) Similarity is not typology, and coincidence is not the same as divine providence. Ask: did God ordain this to be a type?
10) Also, an example of moral Christ-likeness is not the same as typology.
11) Don’t make every detail of the text to be christological or typological. That’s Allegorizing.
12) The type and antitype must be related. That is, something evil cannot have a good antitype.
13) Jesus is present in the Old Testament, both physically (Christophanies), but also in pictures (typology).
14) Sometimes one truth accelerates ahead of the others. For example, the seed of the woman [Gen. 3:15] is most prominent in the promises to Abraham in Genesis 12, 15, and 17
Example: Noah’s Ark
1) Matt. 24:38 – Jesus uses Noah’s generation as a analogy for every generation to be watchful. This, however, is not typology, but is a hindsight analogy.
2) Peter 3:23-32 calls Noah’ flood as a type and defines an antitype.
3) The type was intended to teach the original audience: (1) God is holy and hates sin and will punish it (2) God provides sinners with a means of escape (3) God patiently calls sinners to safety (4) God completely saves those who put their faith in him and use his means of salvation, (5) God’s wrath purged the world of sin, but will not touch the believers who are in his appointed place of refuge.
4) God’s Ark only saved a few sinners for a short time and didn’t save from eternal wrath. The antitype is always greater than the type.
5) The essential resemblances : (1) Just as the flood showed God is holy, hates sin, and will punish it with the full force of His wrath, so the 2nd coming of Christ will do the same thing, (2) In the flood God provided sinners with a divinely approved means of escape, so too in Christ does God provide sinners with a divinely approved means of escape. (3) Just as God patiently calls sinner to His place of refuge, so does He call sinner to Christ as His appointed place of refuge. (4) Just as God protected and kept safe those who put their faith in Him during the flood, so will He protect and keep safe those who put their faith in Jesus. (5) Just as the flood purged the world of sin, and gave the faithful a new beginning, so too does baptism signify the purging of sin and the new beginning for believers.
6) Genesis 3:15 told them who would save, and Noah’s Ark told them how: By God’s appointed means, He will provide a place of refuge for undeserving sinners.
Example: David & Goliath
1) Just as Adam and Christ are the federal heads representing a large group of people, David and Goliath are federal heads representing groups of people.
2) David crushed Goliath’s head just as Genesis 3:15 promised.
3) Goliath was a type of Satan: (1) He was an enemy of God, (2) he was ruthless, (3) He was armed, (4) He was strong, (5) He was experienced (6) he was self confident, (7) he was frightening, (8) he enslaves, (9) he is persistent in taunting (10) he mocked David.
4) David was a type of Christ: (1) he was sent by his father, (2) he was outraged, (3) he is dismissed by the enemy, (4) he is courageous, (5) God has prepared him, (6) he’s confident (7) he is God glorifying and motivated to lift the name of God, (8) he was victorious, (9) the defeat was substitutionary, (10) he was rewarded, (11) In what looked weak, be crushed the lead of the enemy.
5) The writer was showing that Israel’s nationally security rests in God’s provision alone.
Example: Leviticus 14 Law regarding Leprosy
1) The sacrifices washed away sins only so far as the person could go to temple, but did not wash the person of sins for justification. These sacrifices were the type and Christ’s atonement was the antitype.
2) The leprosy passages in Leviticus teach about spiritual leprosy: sin.
3) The priests in OT could only pronounce unclean, but Jesus, our high priest, can make clean
4) If you touched a leper you were considered unclean too. But Jesus touched lepers and they became clean. In fact, we all had spiritual leprosy and Jesus touched us and we became clean.
5) The Lepers had to dwell outside of God’s dwelling, showing His holiness, and also points to Paul’s teaching “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”
6) Some Lepers were healed by God. If healed, the priest would come and inspect. The priest would get two sparrows. The priest would kill one and take his blood and put it into a bowl. He then took the living bird and dipped it in the blood. The priest would take the living sparrow dripping with the blood of the dead sparrow, and release it. The Leper would see the bird sore, free as a bird. The Leper would get it: “I’m like that bird, free.” The blood of another has set him free. Every bird the Leper would see would remind him that he is “free as a bird through sacrificial blood.”
7) Next time you see a bird in the sky, remember that Christ has healed your spiritual leprosy, and you are now free as a bird.
Ferguson advises that to preach Christ from the OT well we must preach Christ from the NT well. Many evangelicals, he laments, don’t preach Christ well in the OT. They have, rather, moralized the text, spent most of their time trying to find himself in the text (a “Where’s Waldo” hermeneutic), or have, inadvertently, viewed the Bible through the lens of Schleiermacher. “My job is not to find you in the text,” he writes, “It is Jesus’ job to find you through the text by the Holy Spirit. It’s my job to find Christ in the text.” Ferguson also says finding Jesus in the OT is almost like intuition. When you are saturated in Jesus—His person, His attributes, His plan, His work—you begin seeing Gospel-patterns and redemptive-historical truths as you read the Old Testament. Do you have more books about Jesus on your shelf than any other Christian topic? Gazing at a man’s bookshelf can be telling regarding his emphasis, or his “thing.” Are you with Paul in saying you want to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified, or would you rather focus on “more interesting doctrines”?. The more saturated in Jesus one is, the more natural it will be to see Christ in all of Scripture, as He will become the paradigm, or lens by which you see things.
Ferguson offers four pieces of advice to seeing Christ in the OT, using the mnemonic “CURS,” which stands for covenant, union, redemptive-victory, and seat.
God has structured His narrative of redemptive history by way of covenants. God made a covenant with Adam (pre-fall), then he made a type of post-fall covenant (Gen. 3:15), then with Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and finally the New. These covenants have both continuities and discontinuities, but the underlying reality and goal is Jesus. Christ unites the purpose and drive of each covenant. Knowing what particular covenant is operative in the book or passage you’re reading will help you to see Christ and how that text points to Him, presents Him, and is fulfilled in Him.
The commonality between the Old Testament saints and New Testament saints (including us), is that we are all in union with Christ. To be “saved” is to be in union with Christ. This union has two aspects: forensic and transformative, or, as people know them, justification and sanctification. In union with Christ, the believer is legally declared righteous because Christ imputes His righteousness to the believer for justification. Also, there is an ongoing transformative nature where the believer is progressively transformed into the image of the Son. Knowing that continuity exists between the Old Testament believer and you – namely, we are all being conformed to look like Jesus – can be helpful when reading of the Old Testament saints. We are all in union and communion with Christ throughout our sufferings and victories.
In Genesis 3:15, God promises conflict – conflict that will end with Christ as victorious over Satan and all His works. We see this conflict throughout almost all of the Old Testament. By seeing this forward-moving momentum of Genesis 3:15, particular epochs, wars, and victories can be seen as moving toward Jesus, the “seed of the woman.” As you read the Old Testament, you begin to see Gospel-patterns – judgment-redemption, exile-restoration, promise-fulfillment – all pointing to: atonement-resurrection, which is bookended with creation-consummation. Thus, when we read about David and Goliath, for instance, we see a larger picture.
Just as the history of philosophy is a footnote to Plato and Aristotle, so is redemptive history a footnote to Genesis 3:15 until the “seat” comes. One of the reasons that genealogies are a big deal in many books of the Old and New Testament (many begin with one, end with one, or contain one in the middle) is because the “seat” is a big deal. That is, who is sitting on the seat? For instance, as you read the Book of Ruth and the genealogy at the end of the book, you realize that Ruth is an ancestor leading to King David’s throne. What is more, when you read Matthew, you see that Ruth is a Great-Great-Great….Grand mother of Jesus. Knowing who you’re dealing with and what lineage he (or she) is in will be a great tool in seeing Christ in all of Scripture.
© copyright J. Brandon Burks