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September 7, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Dan Olinger begins a series entitled “Looking Unto Jesus” with a message titled “Looking Unto Jesus: Christ Seen in the Structure of the Old Testament,” from Hebrews 12:1-2.
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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University travel platform today on The Daily Platform were beginning a study series entitled, looking unto Jesus, which is a study of Christ in the Old Testament. Today's message will be preached by Dr. Dan Allender of the Bob Jones University seminary showing us that the structure of the Old Testament is about Christ. Hebrews chapter 12 and Hebrews chapter 12 this morning familiar passage and it serves as the base passage for the series on which we are embarking this morning. Let's read this very familiar first two verses wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience or endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. The focus in this text is on Christ himself, and he is called by a couple of descriptive terms series called the author and the finisher of our faith.
The word translated author here literally means the one who goes first is the founder he is the source he is the initiator the word that's translated finisher here is a word that means to take something out to the end of it and finisher is just exactly the right word to use Christ of the Bible tells us is at the beginning of our faith.
He's the one who starts it off and he is the one who brings it to completion. In other words, he's the whole story. He has been our savior from the very beginning of God's plan and he will see our salvation through to the very end.
That being the case, it really shouldn't just surprise us that all of the Scripture is about him. From the very beginning we have Christ as the focus of the biblical revelation you may recall that he after his resurrection, he intercepted a couple of his disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus and he walked along with them for a few hours and conversed with them and you know that that during that whole conversation. They never recognized him and the Bible tells us that beginning at Moses and all of the prophets, he demonstrated to them the Scriptures about himself.
Now when the gospel writers use the word Scriptures. You have to remember that there talk about the Old Testament, the New Testament didn't exist at the time that Luke in this case was pending his gospel.
And so when Jesus demonstrates from the Scriptures. He's demonstrated in the Hebrew Scriptures.
What we would call the Old Testament and he made the point to those disciples that the whole Old Testament was about him now. I don't question the wisdom and kindness and providence of God in what he chose to include in the Scripture and what he chose not to include, but there are days that I really wish that that conversation had been manuscript in Luke 24 I would love to know exactly what he said.
Now, I suspect we get a little hint of that in the sermons we find in the book of acts. I think Peter and Paul learned from what Jesus had instructed his disciples about and I think that a lot of those texts that Jesus went to show up again in the preaching in acts but that's just an assumption and not something we can be sure if you go to the Old Testament, you find that he does show up, you don't recognize him.
There on first reading. You have to learn from further revelation in the New Testament.
Sometimes that that was Jesus we learn, for example, in John one that Jesus was Elohim in Genesis chapter 1. He was the one who created the heavens and the earth, and that truth is reinforced in Colossians 1 and in Hebrews 1 were told the same thing. Christ is the agent of creation. He's Elohim. There is some speculation that Christ is also the agent and the. The angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, the angel of Yahweh, the angel of Jehovah.
That's my personal opinion I want to impose on you. You can be a perfectly good Christian and you can even be my Facebook friend and not agree with me on that. But you can't be right and not agree with and there are some indications of that in the text of this person, this angel of Jehovah sometimes talks as though he's Jehovah, and sometimes talks as though he isn't and there is only one person in all of the universe that that situation directs our minds to it and that's the sun.
If you're really interested in that topic. It's not my topic for this morning if you're really interested, there's a dissertation in our library on that very subject.
It was written by a Joel Hufstetler who taught Bible and the Academy here for a few years and is now in the pastoral ministry and I would invite you to go read it as is always the case with dissertations in the library. If you read it you will have been the first person to do so that's I'm sorry to say true of my dissertation as well and asked you know doctoral students think or to change the world with their dissertations and their shock to find out that there dissertations make no difference whatsoever to anybody and that's an important thing to learn when you're about to be honored that in the end you don't matter that's that's an important part of the education now this text. Hebrews 12, and specifically verse two focuses on Jesus position in relation to the work of our salvation. So rat and and as we go through this series were to be looking at a number of places in the Old Testament where Jesus shows up and does things.
But I want to focus particularly this morning on his work in relation to our salvation, and specifically I want to focus on the big picture. So I want to share sort of an overview with you and it's going to look like I didn't really ask positive this passage my text. I just use this as a jumping off point and departed therefrom, and never returned thereto, and that's not a practice. I like to engage in. I think you should exegete the text that you're preaching. But I think in this case it will be appropriate. I will try not to distort anything in the in the teaching of this text, or any other share with you is something that I teach in one of my classes. It's something it's it's not original with me by a long shot. It's something that I know some of the other members of the Bible. Faculty teach as well.
Some of you will have heard a presentation similar to this in the past but I've been teaching long enough to know that students don't always remember everything the first time they hear it and I also know from my own experience that it doesn't hurt to go over something again and so I'd like to talk to you this morning about the structure of the Hebrew Scriptures.
The Old Testament and specifically the fact that the structure of the Old Testament is about Christ. It's all about him. He is the organizing principle of the Old Testament.
He doesn't just show up at the end. So let's talk about how the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures are organized when you're in Sunday school. There was a little poster on the wall of your Sunday school room and it had a picture of a bookcase on that one was bookcase there and each shelf was a section of the Bible and maybe you had two bookcases in Old Testament bookcase in the New Testament. Or maybe they were sections, one on top of the other that I've seen various manifestations of this book but yet is bookcase and it would start with the Old Testament and you had a shelf for history or for law and then for history and then for poetry and then major prophets and then minor prophets member that one and and on each of those shells were the books and you always felt sorry for New Testament history because there was only one book on that shelf and it had a very short name and you just felt like it didn't have much of a collection to offer you know you you didn't okay. I was weird as a Sunday school. I'm sorry we organize the Old Testament into those five sections.
The Jews didn't do that.
They called their Scripture the tongue knock you may have heard that expression the time not to knock is not a Hebrew word. It's an acronym what's an acronym it's a word that's made up of a set of initials NATO, the NATO NASA the National Aeronautics and Space Administration right we don't hear much of either of those anymore. In the modern world, but those are perfectly good acronyms. The Jews have this name tongue knock. It's an acronym a T and N and a K and those letters stand for the three sections of the Hebrew Bible. T stands for Torah or law and stands for Navy team or prophets K stands for kit convene more writings and so the Jews organize their Scriptures into the law, the prophets in the writings and their books are actually in many cases in a different order from what we see, thereby blends the second Chronicles. For example, there are other differences and Jesus often referred to the Scriptures in his day is the law and the prophets, and he didn't typically say, and the writings. But that was the with the way that the thing was organized.
I like to suggest to you that each of those sections is about Christ. Each of those sections is revealing to us, our need for the work of Christ in a different area of our salvation. Let's look at that a little more closely. What about the law. The Torah will the five books of Moses will know that. What's that about well you get some history at the beginning with Genesis that sets up the story and then most of the Torah is about the law. That's why we call it the law. Exodus includes the coming out of Egypt and much of Exodus talks about the design of the tabernacle, the clothing of the priests. How that would be made. Leviticus you have the a lengthy discussion of the sacrificial system. Deuteronomy its name means second law and so that is a second giving of the law, a repetition of the earlier giving of the law when you get from the Torah you read through the Torah and when you walk away with well I think one of the big ideas is how complicated it all is Yuri, Leviticus, and there are sacrifices and sacrifices there are. Thank offerings and peace offerings and sin offerings and burnt offerings and heave offerings and wave offerings of grain offerings and drink offerings and some of them you burning some of them you don't and some of them you eat, and others. You must never eat and some of them involve certain kinds of animals and some of them involve other animals and some of them don't involve any animals all grain offering meal offerings. The King James goals that is really complicated and this may not occur to you when you read it, but it should you come out of the end of Deuteronomy and you should think you know it's a shame that none of this works. You go to all this trouble and you follow all of these detailed commandment. You gotta do everything just the right way and from the very beginning when God gave Moses the pattern of the tabernacle. He says make sure you do it exactly as I showed you and you go to all this trouble and you follow all of these regulations and you do everything perfectly and it still doesn't work there's a morning sacrifice and by 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It didn't work anymore and you gotta do it again and so there's an evening or an afternoon sacrifice and the next day Monday didn't work you gotta do Tuesday and every day twice a day for all of their lives. Another lamb has to slit his ass at his throat slit, and his bloodshed and he's gotta die because we can't quit sinning and the shedding of the blood of a lamp can't cover our sins. All of this trouble and it doesn't even work. So what we need when we come out of Deuteronomy the Torah. We need a priest who can offer a sacrifice that works that deals with our sin that not only covers it, but washes it away. That takes it to another place and eradicates it. We need a priest who can do the job and none of these guys for all of their gifts and for all of their qualifications. Aaron and the bio far and Sadock, none of them are good enough. Now I realize it on by a foreign Sadock guard in the law. They come later, but still hundreds of years later and still work for about the prophets know in Hebrew scriptures what they call the prophets is pretty much what we call the historical books with a couple of exceptions they'll mention, and what we call the major and minor prophets Samuel Kings and in the major and minor prophets.
What's the focus of that section of the Hebrew Scriptures. Well you read a lot about the sins of Israel all the things they do wrong. You read a lot about their need for repentance that affect most of the books of the prophets have the same outline I've ever noticed that that the same outline sin judgment call to repentance and and often number four blessing that will follow. Here's what you doing wrong stop that if you clobber you and if you do it's gonna be awesome and you know it. One thing I love about the prophets is many believe and say and even if you don't, I'm the judge you but after that I'm gonna stop and then it's gonna be awesome well in the process of telling that story. Most of it is pretty clear, but when they get to the future blessing part.
I say this reverently. Sometimes they get really hard to understand that whole wheel and the wheel and the wheel thing. What was that all about. Some people think it was a UFO from the planets or con because I work, and even some of the more straightforward statements. I use this as an example of my students. Isaiah 53 verse nine says that when the servant of Yahweh is sacrificed he will make his grave with the written, wicked, and with the rich no no Jew would be able to make any sense out of that wicked people and rich people didn't get buried in the same place. The prophets are really hard to understand now that is not a defect that's intentional. God did that intentionally, and the and some others have a whole lecture on why that is and if you want to know them take our classes but what's the point we come out of the prophets and and we understand that we got a sin problem and that there's judgment and that we need to repent and God's gonna fix all this when it gets down to the details and that's where our questions are.
We leave the prophets as confused as we started, we just don't understand what they're saying and we want a prophet who will just come and talk to us and tell us in plain language. Who are we, who is God, what is he want from us. What are we supposed to do. Just tell us, and then returned to the writings and other writings are basically the books of poetry and some of the smaller books and very importantly, the book of Chronicles and in Hebrew it's it's one book the Hebrew Bible ends with the book a problem of Chronicles. It's the climax of the story Israel has returned from Babylonian captivity. They have rebuilt the temple and they are trying to decide whether they're going to take up this tradition and do it again after they failed so badly.
The first in the book of Chronicles lays out the story of all of those kings and all of those failures and how God was faithful anyway and it says now listen to it. Don't give up. So the big story in the writings and and you find this is well in the poetic books which are include the writings of two of the most successful kings, and in many ways the most disappointing thing in all the wisdom that they shared in all that the worship that they offered and how deeply flawed they were in the process and you come out of the writings disappointed with your kings.
Some of them had such promise, David, Solomon, are you kidding me and all of them failed in the most spec killer ways imaginable. When are we going to get a king who can reign in righteousness and in our Bible. The last book is Malachi blessing of the Old Testament.
It's the last book written in the Hebrew Scriptures and it ends with a curse. I will strike the land with a curse.
And then God goes silent. 400 years where we left with desperate hope. Anticipation. Could we please have a priest who will offer a sacrifice that works. Could we please have a prophet who would speak to us clearly who would fill the emptiness of our souls. Could we please have a king who won't disappoint us, who will as Amos said.
Let justice run down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. Can we please have a ruler like that then we turn the page and we find at the beginning of Matthew's gospel book of the generation of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham and he's a prophet who speaks to us of the father and he shows us the father and he says if you see me you seen the father. This is all you need to know, and I haven't distorted the message at all. It's clear it's plain here. Touch me as priest. He strides into the domain of darkness, and by the shedding of his own sinless blood. He crosses the head of the serpent and there is never going to be another death never going to be another sacrifice. This is a priest who is deaf of death and hell's destruction as King. He comes to the end of his earthly ministry and he says all authority is given to me in heaven and in earth. Now go and he leaves us for a bit, but he doesn't really leave us. He says I'm with you all lately in the world. The NBA, I will never leave you or forsake you. And as he leaves, he promises to return and that promises fulfilled in Revelation 19, clearly and powerfully and violently and certainly over the next few weeks were to learn a lot about this remarkable Savior, prophet, priest and king were little see him sit down in the very beginning of God's story. The Old Testament, the one that everybody thinks nobody ought to read anymore as we find him there.
They we love the one we find they we embrace him, worship him, serve him with no regard for the cost until he comes.
Let's pray thank you father for giving us your son thank you that he is all that we can imagine. And he is the fulfillment of all the longings that you have stirred up in us in your word. Thank you that while we will be disappointed with our families, with our friends with our teachers with our pastors with ourselves we will never be disappointed with him. May we find our life our rest of our forgiveness, our hope in him guide us in the days ahead.
We pray in Jesus name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached at Bob Jones University by Dr. Dan Olinger, which is part of the study series about Christ in the Old Testament. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series here on The Daily Platform