The Heart of God: The Messenger of the Covenant (1)
And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Read and meditate on Genesis 12.1-3, Genesis 15.1-21, and Deuteronomy 7.6-9.
The New Testament begins with the coming of Jesus Christ, the Messenger of the covenant and God’s Messiah. In Him all the unifying threads of Scripture find their focal point and perfection. The whole of the Old Testament points forward to Christ, while the whole of the New Testament looks back to His work and forward to His return. To appreciate this more fully, we need to do a brief review of themes from the Old Testament.
1. Summarize the promises of God. Peter describes these promises as “exceedingly great and precious.” Do you find them to be so? Explain. Why should we expect that all the promises of God should find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 1.20)?
2. In Genesis 15, how did God obligate Himself to fulfill His covenant with Abram? How can you see that Jesus fulfills both God’s end of this arrangement and the obligations of His people?
3. Meditate on John 1.1-18. The Apostle John says that the Word of God “tabernacled” in our midst (v. 14), using the same Greek word that is the root of the Old Testament (Septuagint) word for tabernacle. In what ways did the tabernacle of the Old Testament point forward to Jesus? How does Jesus fulfill the purpose and promise of the tabernacle?
4. Meditate on John 2.19-21. In what ways did the Old Testament temple point forward to Jesus? Why was Jesus justified in applying the image of the temple to His own body?
5. Meditate on Deuteronomy 7.6-9 in the light of John 3.16. How did Jesus embody what Moses explained in Deuteronomy 7.6-9?
When we’re reading the Old Testament we must first be careful to understand the text in its original setting, and how it was intended for its original readers or hearers. But if this is all we do with the Old Testament, we will end up moralizing the texts and creating a religion of works. We must let the Old Testament point us forward to Christ, so that we see in Him the fulfilment of everything the Old Testament teaches. Suggest some guidelines to help you in seeing Jesus as you are reading or studying the Old Testament.
Oh, give thanks to the LORD!
Call upon His name;
Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him;
Talk of all His wondrous works!
Glory in His holy name;
Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD!
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face evermore!
Remember His marvelous works which He has done,
His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth,
O seed of Abraham His servant,
You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the LORD our God;
His judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers His covenant forever,
The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac,
And confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan
As the allotment of your inheritance,”
When they were few in number,
Indeed very few, and strangers in it.
T. M. Moore
Two books can help you gain a fuller understanding of the terrain we will be covering in this series. Kingdom Documents provides a concise overview of the primary teaching of the Old and New Testaments, and shows, through early Church creeds, how our forebears understood the primary teachings of God’s Word. (click here to order). I Will Be Your God develops more fully the idea of God’s covenant and leads us to consider the practical implications of our covenant relationship with God (click here).
Visit The Ailbe Seminary, where our course, Introduction to Biblical Theology, offers a parallel study of our theme in this series, using brief video presentations and the workbook God’s Covenant: An Introduction. All courses at The Ailbe Seminary are available without charge.
We are happy to be able to offer each week’s Scriptorium studies in a free weekly PDF, suitable for personal or group use. You can download all the studies in this series by clicking here. Please prayerfully consider sharing with The Fellowship of Ailbe through your giving. You can contribute to The Fellowship by clicking the Contribute button at the website or by sending your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.