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1672. Christ Seen in the Structure of the Old Testament

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
December 26, 2023 6:00 pm

1672. Christ Seen in the Structure of the Old Testament

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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December 26, 2023 6:00 pm

Dr. Dan Olinger begins a series about Jesus in the Old Testament entitled “Looking Unto Jesus” from Hebrews 12:1-2.

The post 1672. Christ Seen in the Structure of the Old Testament appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.


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, Sr. His 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 Chapel platform. During this Christmas season, we thought it would be good to hear a study series about Christ in the Old Testament, and the name of this series is Looking Unto Jesus.

Today's message will be preached by Dr. Dan Olinger, a professor in the School of Theology and Global Leadership at Bob Jones University. He'll be showing us that the structure of the Old Testament is about Christ. Hebrews chapter 12. 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 here. He's called the author and the finisher of our faith. The word translated author here literally means the one who goes first. He is the founder, he's the source, he's 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, 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 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 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 they're talking about the Old Testament. The New Testament didn't exist at the time that Luke, in this case, was penning his gospel, and so when Jesus demonstrates from the scriptures, he's demonstrating from 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 manuscripted 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 of. 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 learned, for example, in John 1 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.

We're told the same thing. Christ is the agent of creation. He's Elohim. There is some speculation that Christ is also the agent, the angel of the Lord in the Old Testament, the angel of Yahweh, the angel of Jehovah. That's my personal opinion.

I won't impose it 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 me on that. And there are some indications of that in the text. This person, this angel of Jehovah, sometimes talks as though he's Jehovah and sometimes talks as though he isn't.

And there's only one person in all of the universe that that situation directs our minds to, 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 Joel Huffstutler who taught Bible in 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 that's, you know, doctoral students think they're going to change the world with their dissertations, and they're shocked to find out that their 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 an important part of the education. Now this text, Hebrews 12, and specifically verse 2, focuses on Jesus' position in relation to the work of our salvation. And as we go through this series, we're going 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 exposit this passage, my text.

I just used it as a jumping-off point and departed there from and never returned there to. 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 teaching of this text or any other. What I'm about to share with you is something that I teach in one of my classes.

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, okay? So let's talk about how the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, are organized. When you were 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 it.

Remember that one? There was a bookcase there, and each shelf was a section of the Bible. And maybe you had two bookcases, an Old Testament bookcase and a New Testament, or maybe they were sections, one on top of the other.

I've seen various manifestations of this. But you had this 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. Remember that one? And on each of those shelves 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?

Yeah, you didn't? Okay, I was weird as a Sunday school kid, I'm sorry. We organized the Old Testament into those five sections. The Jews didn't do that. They call their scripture the Tanakh. You may have heard that expression, the Tanakh.

Tanakh 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 North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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, Tanakh. It's an acronym, a T, an N, and a K, and those letters stand for the three sections of the Hebrew Bible. T stands for Torah, or law. N stands for Nivi'im, or prophets.

K stands for Kithuvim, or writings. And so the Jews organized their scriptures into the law, the prophets, and the writings. And their books are actually, in many cases, in a different order from what we see. Their Bible ends with 2 Chronicles, for example, and there are other differences. And Jesus often referred to the scriptures in his day as the law and the prophets. He didn't typically say, and the writings, but that was the way the thing was organized. I'd 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? Well, the five books of Moses, we all 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, but much of Exodus talks about the design of the tabernacle, the clothing of the priests, how that would be made. Leviticus, you have 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. What do you get from the Torah? What do you read through the Torah, and what do you walk away with?

Well, I think one of the big ideas is how complicated it all is. You read 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 and grain offerings and drink offerings. And some of them you burn and 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 involves any animals at all, grain offerings, meal offerings the King James calls them. 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 worked. You go to all of this trouble and you follow all of these detailed Commandments and you got to 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 of 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 three o'clock in the afternoon it doesn't work anymore and you got to do it again and so there's an evening or an afternoon sacrifice and the next day Monday didn't work you got to do Tuesday and every day twice a day for all of their lives another lamb has to slit his has to have his throat slit and his bloodshed and he's got to die because we can't quit sinning and the shedding of the blood of a lamb can't cover our sins.

All of this trouble and it doesn't even work. So what do 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 flushes 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 Abiathar and Zadok none of them are good enough. Now I realize that Abiathar and Zadok aren't in the law they come later but still hundreds of years later and it's still doesn't work. What about the prophets? Now in Hebrew Scriptures what they call the prophets is pretty much what we call the historical books with a couple of exceptions that I'll mention and what we call the major and minor prophets. Samuel, Kings and then 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. Matter of fact most of the books of the prophets have the same outline. I don't know if you ever noticed that.

They have the same outline. Sin, judgment, call to repentance and often number four, blessing that will follow. Here's what you're doing wrong. Stop it. If you don't I'm gonna clobber you and if you do it's gonna be awesome and you know one thing I love about the prophets is many of them even say and even if you don't I'm gonna judge you but after that I'm gonna stop and then it's gonna be awesome. Well in 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 planet Zorkon. How does that work? And even some of the more straightforward statements I use this as an example with my students. Isaiah 53 verse 9 says that when the servant of Yahweh is sacrificed he will make his grave with the wicked and with the rich. Now 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 I and some others have a whole lecture on why that is and if you want to know then 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 that God's gonna fix all this but 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 does he want from us? What are we supposed to do?

Just tell us. And then we turn to the writings. Now the 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 one book. The Hebrew Bible ends with the book 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 gonna take up this tradition and do it again after they failed so badly the first time. And 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, do it, don't give up. So the big story in the writings and you find this as well in the poetic books which include the writings of two of the most successful kings and in many ways the most disappointing kings. And all the wisdom that they shared and all the 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 spectacular ways imaginable. When are we gonna get a king who can reign in righteousness? And in our Bible the last book is Malachi, the last book 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 for 400 years. What are 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? And then we turn the page and we find at the beginning of Matthew's Gospel the 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've seen me, you've 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 crushes 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 death 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 the way to the end of the world, the end of the age.

I will never leave you or forsake you. And as he leaves he promises to return and that promise is fulfilled in Revelation 19, clearly and powerfully and violently and certainly. Over the next few weeks we're gonna learn a lot about this remarkable Savior, prophet, priest, and king.

We're gonna 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 may we love the one we find. May 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, 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 series called Looking Unto Jesus, studying passages about Christ in the Old Testament. Join us again tomorrow as we continue the series here on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-26 22:11:16 / 2023-12-26 22:20:17 / 9

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