Sunday, 31 July 2016

Viewing OT Prophecy from the Pinnacle of the NT

Old Testament prophecies sometimes dealt with a number of different themes in the same passage:
Israel's captivity.
Israel's restoration from captivity.
The rebuilding of the Temple.
Gentile proselytes to Judaism making annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem to keep the Feast, after the Jews' return from captivity.
The destruction of the Jews' enemies.
The ministry and suffering of Messiah.
A remnant of Jews believing.
Gentiles hearing and believing.
Again, the destruction and scattering of the Jews.
The ultimate coming and Kingdom of Messiah.
Even the new heavens and earth.
Two or three such themes in the same passage, sometimes!
Without the New Testament, it wouldn't have been possible to rightly divide it.
Not even Jesus' disciples understood that Messiah had to die, despite having been with him for three years - until after His resurrection: then they understood it, when He expounded the Old Testament Scriptures to them, and opened their eyes to understand it.
The Old Testament can only be rightly understood and applied, in light of the teaching of the New Testament.
The teaching of the New Testament - its doctrine, and its view of history is that:
The second coming of Christ and His Kingdom is still future;
But Christ has already come the first time, and inaugurated that Kingdom-salvation;
He came the first time into a setting of history when Israel had already been restored to their land; already functioning in their Temple; Gentile proselytes were already making pilgrimage;
The good news of the Kingdom was announced first in Israel - but only believing-Jews experienced it;
Then Gentiles also heard, and believed;
Then the Jews' Temple and city were again destroyed;
But this good news of the Kingdom continues to be preached among all nations;
And then the end shall come;
But only the born-again shall see the Kingdom of God.
The Apostles' doctrine enables us to rightly divide the prophetic Word.
It tells us what is now past; and what is yet to come.
It puts the focus on one thing and one thing alone: salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of ethnicity, and without the rituals of the Law.

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