Saturday, August 1, 2009

Christ in the Old Testament

Saturday after Pentecost 8
August 1, 2009

The Lord be with you

Back in the last century, when I was at Concordia Theological Seminary, I had Dr. Dean Wenthe for a couple of OT classes. I truly enjoyed those classes because he opened my eyes to a whole new way of reading the OT. He took seriously such passages like John 5:46-47 (If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?) and Luke 24:44 (These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled). He could find Jesus and the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith in him everywhere. Those people who give you some number for how many times Jesus is referred to in the OT simply don't get it. He is everywhere from Genesis 1 (where God speaks, for Jesus is the Word [John 1]) through Malachi 4 (where Jesus is the Sun of Righteousness). Paul could even find the Gospel in the story of Sarah and Hagar (Galatians 4).

I was blessed a number of years ago to attend a continuing education class in North Carolina by Dr. Charles Gieschen. He has published a book titled Angelomorphic Christology: Antecedents and Early Evidence of which he shared some with us. I was so pleased to see the practice of finding Christ in the OT has flourished in the professors at my old sem.

I am writing about this because I've just finished an article in the recent Concordia Theological Quarterly by Richard Lammert titled "the Word of YHWH as Theophany." I've thought this about the "Word of the LORD" passages in the OT for many years now. When we read something like, "the word of the LORD came and said," it sure seems like "the word of the LORD" is a person who is talking. As the message is from God this person would be God. When you consider passages like 1 Timothy 2:5 (For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus) then we can be even more specific, the OT "Word of the LORD" person is Christ Jesus. Professor Lammert's gave a great, though somewhat technical, defense of this position. What a blessing to again see that my old sem is keeping Christ central.

In my opinion, if you aren't finding Christ when you read the OT, you are reading it like a non-Christian. I think many Christians would be greatly blessed if they could just have the blinders taken off. They would find the OT filled with a spirit of grace they never knew.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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