Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from a Syriac Orthodox, Jacobite and Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Quad Centum (Issue 400) Souvenir Edition

Volume 7 No. 400 March 1, 2017
 

Chapter 3 - Jesus in The Bible

The Whole Bible Guides Us Toward Jesus

Having a single unified theme is one of the reasons we know that the Bible is God's Word. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is all about God redeeming humanity. Jesus is its star. ...

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible

"Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself." ...

More Than 300 Biblical Prophecies Point to Jesus

The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about Jesus alone - all written a thousand years before he was born. The Bible prophesied about when he'd be born, where he'd be born, and how he'd be born. He couldn't have manipulated his birth to fulfill those prophecies. ...

150 Titles of Christ from the Scriptures

There are many, many titles of Christ in both the New and Old Testaments. As one prays and studies them, they amount to a mini-Catechesis of the Lord Jesus. Here are some. ...

Book of God, Logos of God

When you understand the network of symbolic associations made within Scripture itself, you realize that the Bible and the Fathers are not roughly in the same ballpark: both of them are very precise, and they are describing exactly the same thing. ...

Christ in The Old Testament

Central to the teachings of Christ is that Moses and the Prophets wrote about Him. ... St. Irenaeus shows that in the 2ndCentury, Christians believed that the anthropomorphic appearances of God in the Old Testament were actually appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ. ...

Seven Ways the Old Testament Deepens Our Love for Jesus

Open the Bible at Genesis, travel back in time, connect with Christ in the Old Testament, deepen your relationship with Him, and increase the heat of your love for Him. ...

The Light in the World: Meditation on John 1

What I love about the gospel of John is that the writer is synchronizing traditions throughout - weaving Greek cultural with Judaism. The writer is faced with a mixed marriage of sorts - Greek followers of Jesus worshiping alongside Jewish followers of Jesus. Their rich cultures are growing on one another and this writer provides the first quilt for us to wrap up with. ...

Chapter 3 - Jesus in The Bible

The Whole Bible Guides Us Toward Jesus

By Rick Warren

"Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."
(Luke 24:27 NIV).

Only God could have put the Bible together. It contains 66 books written over 1,600 years by 40 authors - and it has one theme.

Having a single unified theme is one of the reasons we know that the Bible is God's Word. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is all about God redeeming humanity. Jesus is its star.

The fact that the Bible has only one theme is nothing short of a miracle. It'd be one thing if one person wrote the Bible. The Koran was written by one person, Mohammed. The Analects of Confucius were written by Confucius. The writings of Buddha were written by Buddha. You'd expect them to be uniform.

The Bible, on the other hand, was written by 40 different people, at every age and in every stage of life, on three continents. And they all wrote the same story: Jesus' story. Prophets and poets, princes and kings, and sailors and soldiers all had the same story. Some were written in homes, others in prisons, and others on ships. You couldn't have put together a more diverse group of authors.

Yet the story is the same.

Imagine if I gave 50 people each a piece of paper, and I told them to tear their pieces of paper into different shapes - but I never said how I'm going to use them. What's the likelihood I'd be able to take those pieces of paper and make a map of the United States out of them? Those odds would be astronomically low. If I did that, most people would think it was a trick.

That's the miracle of how the Bible was put together.

We tend to think that the New Testament is about Jesus and the Old Testament is about Israel. But that's not true. The Bible says in Luke 24:27, "Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself" (NIV). The New Testament wasn't even written then.

The pictures, the metaphors, the analogies, and the illusions - from beginning to end - are about God's plan to redeem people and build a family for eternity. It all began with Jesus. You can see him in every book.

That's a miracle.

Talk It Over

  • How does your appreciation for the Bible reflect an understanding of the miracle of its cohesiveness?
  • If you had to sum up the Bible in one sentence in your own words, what would you say?
  • What are some ways you can make the Bible more personal to you?
  • Give hope, prayer, and encouragement below. Post a comment & talk about it.

Source: Daily Hope Devotional

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible
Old Testament

In Genesis, Jesus is the Ram at Abraham's altar
In Exodus, He's the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus He's the High Priest
In Numbers He's the Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night
In Deuteronomy He's the City of our refuge
In Joshua He's the Scarlet Thread out Rahab's window
In Judges He is our Judge
In Ruth He is our Kinsman Redeemer
In 1st and 2nd Samuel He's our Trusted Prophet
And in Kings and Chronicles He's our Reigning King
In Ezra He's our Faithful Scribe
In Nehemiah He's the Rebuilder of everything that is broken
And in Esther He is the Mordecai sitting faithful at the gate
In Job He's our Redeemer that ever lives
In Psalms He is my Shepherd and I shall not want
In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes He's our Wisdom
And in the Song of Solomon He's the Beautiful Bridegroom
In Isaiah He's the Suffering Servant
In Jeremiah and Lamentations it is Jesus that is the Weeping Prophet
In Ezekiel He's the Wonderful Four-Faced Man
And in Daniel He is the Fourth Man in the midst of a fiery furnace
In Hosea He is my Love that is forever faithful
In Joel He baptizes us with the Holy Spirit
In Amos He's our Burden Bearer
In Obadiah our Savior
And in Jonah He is the Great Foreign Missionary that takes the Word of God into all the world
In Micah He is the Messenger with beautiful feet
In Nahum He is the Avenger
In Habakkuk He is the Watchman that is ever praying for revival
In Zephaniah He is the Lord mighty to save
In Haggai He is the Restorer of our lost heritage
In Zechariah He is our Fountain
And in Malachi He is the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.

New Testament

In Matthew, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God"
In Mark He is the Miracle Worker
In Luke He's the Son of Man
And in John He is the Door by which every one of us must enter
In Acts He is the Shining Light that appears to Saul on the road to Damascus
In Romans He is Our Justifier
In 1st Corinthians our Resurrection
In 2nd Corinthians our Sin Bearer
In Galatians He redeems us from the law
In Ephesians He is our Unsearchable Riches
In Philippians He supplies our every need
And in Colossians He's the Fullness of the Godhead Bodily
In 1st and 2nd Thessalonians He is our Soon Coming King
In 1st and 2nd Timothy He is the Mediator between God and man
In Titus He is our Blessed Hope
In Philemon He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother
And in Hebrews He's the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant
In James it is the Lord that heals the sick
In 1st and 2nd Peter He is the Chief Shepherd
In 1st, 2nd and 3rd John it is Jesus who has the tenderness of love
In Jude He is the Lord coming with 10,000 saints
And in Revelation, lift up your eyes, Church, for your redemption draws near; He is our King of Kings and Lord of lords!

– Source Unknown

More Than 300 Biblical Prophecies Point to Jesus

By Rick Warren

"No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction"¯
(2 Peter 1:21 GW).

The Bible is the most read book in history. It's also the bestselling book in history and the most translated book in history.

Yet it's more than that. It's also God's Word - God's very breath. Second Timothy 3:16 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness"¯ (NIV).

That means the Bible isn't just a good idea. It is God's Word to us. One of the reasons I can know that the Bible is true and trustworthy is that it has thousands and thousands of prophecies that have come true and will come true in history. Every one of the Bible's prophecies has either come true exactly as God predicted or will come true sometime in the future.

The Bible contains more than 300 prophecies about Jesus alone - all written a thousand years before he was born. The Bible prophesied about when he'd be born, where he'd be born, and how he'd be born. He couldn't have manipulated his birth to fulfill those prophecies.

It also predicted how he would die. A thousand years before Jesus died, David described Jesus' death on the cross in one of the psalms. He didn't use the word "crucifixion"¯ because no one knew that word then. Long before the Romans were even thinking about crucifying people, David described it.

Only God could have known that.

What are the odds that I could make 300 predictions about you and every one of them would come true? It's so astronomical you couldn't write the number down. It takes more faith to believe that the Bible's prophecies were a coincidence than to believe that God planned them.

The Bible says, "No prophecy ever originated from humans. Instead, it was given by the Holy Spirit as humans spoke under God's direction"¯ (2 Peter 1:21 GW).

During Bible times, nobody wanted to be a prophet. The law in Israel was that a prophet of God had to be correct 100 percent of the time. If you were wrong just once, then you were considered a false prophet and would have been put to death. A prophet better be right!

And the biblical prophecies were right - every one of them. You can trust the Bible because what the Bible predicts comes true.

Talk It Over

  • Biblical prophecies may seem irrelevant or unimportant in your life. Why do you think God wants you to study, understand, and care about them?
  • Do you trust that the Bible is true? How does doubt keep you from hearing what God wants to say to you?
  • How is the Bible useful in your life? Do you only use it for encouragement, or is it also a tool for rebuking, correcting, and training in your life?

Source: Daily Hope with Rick Warren
© 2017 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

150 Titles of Christ from the Scriptures

By: Msgr. Charles Pope

There are many, many titles of Christ in both the New and Old Testaments. As one prays and studies them, they amount to a mini-Catechesis of the Lord Jesus.

Presented below are over 150 titles of Christ. The list is compiled from various sources, but most come from The Catholic Source Book, compiled and edited by Fr. Peter Klein.

The list will grow. There are other titles of Christ that you may know that can and should be added.

When considering an addition please consider if it is a true title or just an adjective. For example, "kind" is an adjective, and is true of Jesus, but it is not a title, per se. Nouns show usually show better promise as titles of Christ. But even nouns do not always amount to a title. For example "walker" is a noun, and surely an accurate description of Christ who did a lot of walking, but again, it is not a title per se.

Titles of Jesus Christ in Scripture:

Advocate - 1 John 2:1
Alpha and Omega - Revelation 1:8; 22:13
The Almighty - Revelation 1:8
Amen - Revelation 3:14
Apostle and High Priest of our Confession - Hebrews 3:1
Author and Finisher of our Faith - Hebrews 12:2
Beloved - Matthew 12:18
Beloved Son - Colossians 1:13
Bread of God - John 6:33; 50
Bread of life - John 6:35
Living Bread - John 6:51
Bridegroom - John 3:29
Brother - Matthew 12:50
Captain of our Salvation - Hebrews 2:10
Carpenter - Mark 6:3
Carpenter’s Son - Matthew 13:55
Chief Shepherd - 1 Peter 5:4
Chosen One - Luke 23:35
Christ - Matthew 16:20
Christ Jesus - 1 Timothy 1:15; Colossians 1:1
Christ of God - Luke 9:20
Christ the Lord - Luke 2:11
Christ who is above all - Romans 9:5
Consolation of Israel - Luke 2:25
Chief Cornerstone - Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6
Dayspring - Luke 1:78
Deliverer - Romans 11:26
Deliverer from the wrath to come - 1 Thessalonians 1:10
Eldest of many brothers - Romans 8:29
Emmanuel - Matthew 1:23
Faithful and True Witness - Revelation 1:5; 3:14
Father Forever - Isaiah 9:6
First and Last - Revelation 1:17; 2:8
Firstborn among many brothers - Romans 8:29
First born from the dead - Revelation 1:5
Firstborn of all creation - Colossians 1:15
First Fruits - 1 Corinthians 15:20
Friend of tax collectors and sinners - Matthew 11:19
Gate of the sheepfold - John 10:7
Glory - Luke 2:32
Good Shepherd - John 10:11; 14
Grain of Wheat - John 12:24
Great Shepherd of the sheep - Hebrews 13:20
Head - Ephesians 4:15
Head of the Church - Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22
Hidden Manna - Revelation 2:17
High Priest - Hebrews 3:1; 4:14; 7:26
He Who Holds of the Keys of David - Revelation 3:7
He who is coming amid the clouds - Revelation 1:7
Holy One - Acts 2:27
Holy One of God - Mark 1:24
Holy Servant - Acts 4:27
Hope - 1 Timothy 1:1
Horn of Salvation - Luke 1:69
I Am - John 8:58
Image of God - 2 Corithinians 4:4; Colossians 1:15
Indescribable Gift - 2 Corinthians 9:15
Intercessor - Hebrews 7:25
Jesus - Matthew 1:21
Jesus the Nazarene - John 18:5
Judge of the World - 2 Timothy 4:1; Acts 10:42
Just One - Acts 7:52
Just Judge - 2 Timothy 4:8
King - Matthew 21:5
King of Israel - John 1:49
King of Kings - Revelation 17:14; 19:16; 1 Timothy 6:15
King of Nations - Revelation 15:3
King of the Jews - Matthew 2:2
Lamb of God - John 1:29
Last Adam - 1 Corinthians 15:45
Leader - Matthew 2:6; Hebrews 2:10
Leader and Perfecter of Faith - Hebrews 12:2
Leader and Savior - Acts 5:31
Life - John 14:6; Colossians 3:4
Light - John 1:9; John 12:35
Light of all - Luke 2:32; John 1:4
Light of the world - John 8:12
Lion of the tribe of Judah - Revelation 5:5
Lord - Luke 1:25
One Lord - Ephesians 4:5
My Lord my God - John 20:28
Lord both of the dead and the living - Romans 14:9
Lord God Almighty - Revelation 15:3
Lord Jesus - Acts 7:59
Jesus is Lord - 1 Corinthians 12:3
Lord Jesus Christ - Acts 15:11
Lord of all - Acts 10:36
Lord of Glory - 1 Corinthians 2:8
Lord of lords - 1 Timothy 6:15
Lord of Peace - 2 Thessalonians 3:16
The Man - John 19:5
Master - Luke 5:5
Mediator - 1 Timothy 2:5
Messiah - John 1:41; 4:25
Mighty God - Isaiah 9:6
Morning Star - 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 2:28; Revelation 22:16
Nazarene - Matthew 2:23
Passover - 1 Corinthians 5:7
Power and wisdom of God - 1 Corinthians 1:24
Power for salvation - Luke 1:69
Priest forever - Hebrews 5:6
Prince of Life - Acts 3:15
Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6
Rabboni - John 20:16
Ransom - 1 Timothy 2:6
Redeemer - Isaiah 59:20
Rescuer from this Present Evil Age - Galatians 1:4
Radiance of God’s Glory - Hebrews 1:3
Resurrection and Life - John 11:25
Rising Sun - Luke 1:78
Root of David - Revelation 5:5
Root of David’s line - Revelation 22:16
Root of Jesse - Isaiah 11:10
Ruler - Matthew 2:6
Ruler of the kings of the earth - Revelation 1:5
Ruler and Savior - Acts 5:31
Savior - 2 Peter 2:20; 3:18
Savior of the world - 1 John 4:14; John 4:42
Second Adam - Romans 5:14
Servant of the Jews - Romans 15:8
Shepherd and Guardian of our souls - 1 Peter 2:25
Slave - Philippians 2:7
Son - Galatians 4:4
Beloved Son - Colossians 1:13
Firstborn Son - Luke 2:7
Son of Abraham - Matthew 1:1
Son of David - Matthew 1:1
Son of God - Luke 1:35
Son of Joseph - John 1:45
Son of Man - John 5:27
Son of Mary - Mark 6:3
Son of the Blessed One - Mark 14:61
Son of the Father - 2 John 1:3
Son of the Living God - Matthew 16:16
Son of the Most High - Luke 1:32
Son of the Most High God - Mark 5:7
Only Son of the Father - John 1:14
Source of God’s creation - Revelation 3:14
Spiritual Rock - 1 Corinthians 10:4
Living Stone - 1 Peter 2:4
Stone rejected by the builders - Matthew 21:42; 1 Peter 2:8
Stumbling Stone - 1 Peter 2:8
Teacher - Matthew 8:19; Matthew 23:10
Testator of the New Covenant - Hebrews 9:16
True God - 1 John 5:20
True Vine - John 15:1
The Way the Truth and the Life - John 14:6
The One who is, is was, and who is to come - Revelation 3:7
Wisdom of God - 1 Corinthians 1:24
Wonderful Counselor - Isaiah 9:6
Word - John 1:1; 14
Word of God - Revelation 19:13
Word of Life - 1 John 1:1

Source: Archdiocese of Washington Blog

See Also:

Ten Names of God You Need to Know

Book of God, Logos of God

by Seraphim Hamilton

One difficulty I've articulated before is "translating" the language of the Bible into the language of Orthodox theology. I believe that the two are totally congruent, but their modes of speaking are different. The language (not substance) of Orthodox theology is the language of Hellenistic philosophy, while the language of the Scriptures is the language of Hebrew prophecy. As I've pointed out before, it was Paul the Apostle, the tent-builder who fulfilled the prophecy of Father Noah that Japheth would dwell in the tents of Shem. Paul was a Torah scholar and educated in the philosophers.

Orthodoxy teaches that all things were born through the Logos. There are distinctions within creation on account of distinct modes of participation in different sets of God's energies. Since the Father always energizes in the Son, these energies (logoi) are summed up in the Logos. We were created in the image of the Logos, and the world is to be glorified through man: we apprehend the underlying rationalities, or logoi, of creation, and direct them by our wills to the service of God. That two step process is called "consecration" and it is Eucharistic because, when we apprehend a logos in union with Christ, we offer it up to God with "thanksgiving."

This process of consecration requires wisdom. God rules the world through the Logos, and the Tree of Wisdom, the Tree of Rule, was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That language is the language of kingship. When Solomon prays for wisdom to "govern this people" the wisdom is to "discern between good and evil." When Adam seized the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he was attempting to crown himself king before he had learned the wisdom necessary to rule justly. "He who exalts himself will be humbled" so Adam was exiled from Paradise.

A person rules by the Spirit in union with the Logos. In this union, he is able to apprehend the rationalities of creation in relation to each other and thus direct them rightly towards God. Adam was not wise enough to rule properly, so he grasped the world and steered it away from God, which is why it began to die. An important point here is the association between apprehending the world and eating it. Plants are machines which turn the world into food, and man eats up the world and consecrates it to God. Both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge were fruit-trees which a person could eat from.

According to Deuteronomy 5, the Torah is given so that Israel might learn to discern between good and evil. This creates an association between the book and the fruit. The Logos is the Language of God, and because man is the image of the Logos, man is the creature of language, capable of symbolizing the rationalities of the world in verbal terms. Thus, a principal symbol for learning wisdom is chewing on the scroll. This is the root of the dietary law that animals are clean only when they make a chewing motion.

We see all these different threads come together in Revelation 4-5. John is in Heaven, and he is weeping because no person is worthy to open the book. From Adam to Christ, no person has been able to eat of the tree of knowledge rightly, to grasp the logoi of the world and direct them towards God. But an angel tells him to stop weeping, for now there is such a man. John looks, and he beholds the Incarnate Logos, the Lamb who is a Lion, ascending above the sea of crystal to the throne of God. The sea of crystal is the firmament made in Genesis 1, and it seals off the throne room of God from our material world. What John sees is the ascension of Christ. John's Gospel ends with Jesus talking of His future ascension, but John's narration of this ascent is in Revelation 4-5. In Christ, the Fathers teach us, our nature is placed in the throne room of God and we are seated in Heaven with Christ because we are consubstantial with Him.

Remember the association of language with the logoi, and thus the book with the summation of the logoi. The book is the fruit of the tree, and when Jesus ascends to the throne, He is made king. He is the one who is worthy to receive the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Whereas Adam exalted himself and was humbled, Jesus humbled himself and was exalted. As Paul tells us in Philippians 2:6-11, Jesus did not seize kingship, so God gave it to him. We are told similarly in the letter to the Hebrews: Jesus, in His humanity, grew up and learned the wisdom to discern between good and evil, so that He is now "crowned with glory and honor" after being "for a little while lower than the angels."

He rules by the book. But can the book be eaten? Indeed: we see precisely this occurring in Revelation 10. The "Another Angel" is Jesus, because He displays theophanic characteristics associated with God in Ezekiel 1. He is the one who leads the whole angelic choir, the "Angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament. He gives the book to St. John: remember what he says? "Take, and eat." This is Eucharistic language. The book symbolizes the logos, and we eat the incarnate Logos in the Eucharist, so John is given the book to chew up. When he chews up the book, he spits it out in symbols in Revelation 11-13. That's what we are to do: meditate on God's word, meditate on Christ, and then we symbolize all the logoi summed up by Him verbally. This is the task of theology.

Here is my point:

-The Fathers describe our task as in Christ, by the Spirit, spiritually apprehending the logoi of the world and directing them to God. This is what transfigures the creation.

-The Bible describes plants transforming the world into food, and us turning the grain-plants into bread, then eating the bread and being joined to God.

But when you understand the network of symbolic associations made within Scripture itself, you realize that the Bible and the Fathers are not roughly in the same ballpark: both of them are very precise, and they are describing exactly the same thing. Biblical theology and Patristic theology flawlessly roll together.

Seraphim Hamilton

Apologia Pro Ortho Doxa

Source: pravoslavie.ru

Christ in The Old Testament

by Fr. Ted Bobosh

"… the treasure hid in the Scriptures is Christ, since He was pointed out by means of types and parables."
(St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments)

Central to the teachings of Christ is that Moses and the Prophets wrote about Him. We have already encountered this in several of the posts in this series.

Jesus said: "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. . . . 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?" (John 5: 39-47)

In this post, we will look at several quotes from St. Irenaeus of Lyons (d. 202AD) and how he applied Christ’s own words to the Scriptures.

"For if ye had believed Moses, ye would also have believed Me; for he wrote of Me;"(John 5:46) [saying this,] no doubt, because the Son of God is implanted everywhere throughout his writings: at one time, indeed, speaking with Abraham, when about to eat with him; at another time with Noah, giving to him the dimensions [of the ark]; at another; inquiring after Adam; at another, bringing down judgment upon the Sodomites; and again, when He becomes visible, and directs Jacob on his journey, and speaks with Moses from the bush. And it would be endless to recount [the occasions] upon which the Son of God is shown forth by Moses. Of the day of His passion, too, he was not ignorant; but foretold Him, after a figurative manner, by the name given to the passover; and at that very festival, which had been proclaimed such a long time previously by Moses, did our Lord suffer, thus fulfilling the passover."
(St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments, Kindle Loc. 5535-41)

In the above quote, St. Irenaeus shows that in the 2ndCentury Christians believed that the anthropomorphic appearances of God in the Old Testament were actually appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ. It is the Son of God who speaks to Moses from the burning bush and in every occurrence in which Moses spoke with God face to face as a man speaks to a friend (Exodus 33:11). Christ is thus hidden from us in each manifestation of God in the Old Testament if we read the Jewish Scriptures with no knowledge of the Holy Trinity. But in Christ we see in these Old Testament theophanies that Christ is appearing to the saints of the people of God. In Christ we come to realize what these holy men and women are seeing when they encounter God. The authors of the Old Testament books themselves did not fully understand what they were witnessing, but still they reported these anthropomorphic experiences. In Christ we understand more fully what they were encountering yet couldn’t fully describe. That is why the Old Testament theophanies are not able to fully explain that it was the Word of God who they encountered. Once the incarnation occurs in Christ, we are able to see Christ the Word in the Old Testament texts.

"But since the writings (litera) of Moses are the words of Christ, He does Himself declare to the Jews, as John has recorded in the Gospel: "If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, neither will ye believe My words." He thus indicates in the clearest manner that the writings of Moses are His words. If, then, [this be the case with regard] to Moses, so also, beyond a doubt, the words of the other prophets are His [words], as I have pointed out. And again, the Lord Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference to all those who were still alive: "If they do not obey Moses and the prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him."
(St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments, Kindle Loc. Loc. 5203-8)

Not only did Moses and the prophets encounter Christ the Word of God, it is Christ the Word who speaks to them and gives them the words which they record in the Scriptures. Moses and all the prophets were telling us what they heard from Christ, so that when we encounter these same words, phrases, ideas, and metaphors in the New Testament we recognize Christ in the Old Testament. Scholars speak about the New Testament being filled with echoes of Old Testament ideas and phrases – this is because in fact the Old Testament authors were hearing Christ and recording what He said. It is the Old Testament authors who are actually echoing the New Testament!

And teaching this very thing, He said to the Jews: "Your father Abraham rejoiced that he should see my day; and he saw it, and was glad" What is intended? "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness." In the first place, [he believed] that He was the maker of heaven and earth, the only God; and in the next place, that He would make his seed as the stars of heaven. This is what is meant by Paul, [when he says,] "as lights in the world."Righteously, therefore, having left his earthly kindred, he followed the Word of God, walking as a pilgrim with the Word, that he might [afterwards] have his abode with the Word. Righteously also the apostles, being of the race of Abraham, left the ship and their father, and followed the Word. Righteously also do we, possessing the same faith as Abraham, and taking up the cross as Isaac did the wood? follow Him. For in Abraham man had learned beforehand, and had been accustomed to follow the Word of God. For Abraham, according to his faith, followed the command of the Word of God, and with a ready mind delivered up, as a sacrifice to God, his only- begotten and beloved son, in order that God also might be pleased to offer up for all his seed His own beloved and only-begotten Son, as a sacrifice for our redemption. (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments, Kindle Loc. 5320-29)

Every encounter with the Word of God by the holy men and women of the Old Testament is thus an encounter with Christ. And each encounter with Christ is also a revelation of God the Father, even as Jesus said: "He who has seen me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me?" (John 14:9-10). Each theophany in the Old Testament was thus really an encounter with the pre-incarnate Word of God, but each encounter also revealed the Father to all. For Christ is the image of the Father. "He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities—all things were created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:15-16).

Fr. St. Irenaeus, Christ is now obvious in the Old Testament texts. He reads the Torah (Pentateuch) as a typology and preparation for the coming of Jesus the Christ. Joshua, the protégé of Moses, shares the same name as Jesus in the Old Testament. Thus everything Joshua does prefigures Christ and is thus prophecy.

"Take unto you Joshua (᾿Ιησοῦν) the son of Nun."(Numbers 27:18) For it was proper that Moses should lead the people out of Egypt, but that Jesus (Joshua) should lead them into the inheritance. Also that Moses, as was the case with the law, should cease to be, but that Joshua (᾿Ιησοῦν), as the word, and no untrue type of the Word made flesh (ἐνυποστάτου), should be a preacher to the people. Then again, [it was fit] that Moses should give manna as food to the fathers, but Joshua wheat; as the first-fruits of life, a type of the body of Christ, as also the Scripture declares that the manna of the Lord ceased when the people had eaten wheat from the land.(Joshua 5:12)" (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments, Kindle Loc. 9079-89)

The books of the Old Testament clearly witness to Christ, but do so by hiding Christ in the very text which records the events of the Old Testament as well as in the events and people of the Tanahk. Jesus Christ has fully revealed the meaning of the Old Testament. His image, found on every page of the Scriptures, is now obvious to all of those who are in Christ.

"For every prophecy, before its fulfillment, is to men [full of] enigmas and ambiguities. But when the time has arrived, and the prediction has come to pass, then the prophecies have a clear and certain exposition. And for this reason, indeed, when at this present time the law is read to the Jews, it is like a fable; for they do not possess the explanation of all things pertaining to the advent of the Son of God, which took place in human nature; but when it is read by the Christians, it is a treasure, hid indeed in a field, but brought to light by the cross of Christ, and explained, both enriching the understanding of men, and showing forth the wisdom of God and declaring His dispensations with regard to man, and forming the kingdom of Christ beforehand… " (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies and Fragments, Kindle Loc. 6354-59)

Source: Fr. Ted's Blog, pravoslavie.ru

Seven Ways the Old Testament Deepens Our Love for Jesus
by Dr. David Murray

One of the ways that children sometimes try to deepen their relationship with their parents is to travel back to where their father or mother grew up. They might visit historical societies, read archives, and gather newspaper stories and artifacts from old friends. Doing so, they build a bigger and better picture of their father or mother and experience a deeper sense of connection with them and love for them.

In a similar way, Christians go back to the Old Testament to build a bigger and better picture of Jesus Christ. By connecting with His past, we connect better with Him and deepen our love for Him. The Old Testament connects us with Jesus' past in the following ways:

1. We are reading Jesus' Bible:

The 39 books of the Old Testament are the Scriptures He heard and read. These are the verses He memorized. This was His Sunday school syllabus. He fed His hungry soul on the Law, the Prophets, and the Poets. They nourished and edified Him.

2. We are learning Jesus' language:

Jesus was so familiar with the Old Testament that His vocabulary was saturated with Old Testament words and concepts. He spoke the Old Testament, taught the Old Testament, applied the Old Testament, and consciously and deliberately fulfilled the Old Testament. Like Bunyan, if you were to prick Him, He would "bleed Bibline."

3. We are singing Jesus' songs:

The Psalms were Jesus' hymnbook. They were what He worshipped with in the Temple and Synagogue. He used them to express faith, hope and trust; but also fear, anxiety, and even abandonment. He sang them on the eve of his death and even many of His last words were Psalm words.

4. We are feeling Jesus' feelings:

Paul prayed that he might know the fellowship of Christ's sufferings (Phil. 3:10).One of the best ways to do this is to read the Psalms that predict Christ's sufferings, especially the emotional sufferings, the agony of human betrayal and desertion, and ultimately the horror of divine abandonment (e.g. Ps. 22, 69). We feel Christ's feelings there in a an even deeper way than in the Gospels.

5. We are hearing Jesus' voice:

We must banish the false idea that it's God the Father who speaks in the Old Testament and it's God the Son who speaks in the New. Even if we say that it's the voice of the triune God we hear in the Old Testament, the Son's voice is equally joined to the Father's and the Spirit's. However, we can go further and say that it is God the Son who is specially speaking in the Old Testament. He is the Word of God, the usual way God speaks to sinners, the one mediator between God and man. "Thus says the Lord" effectively means "Thus says the Messiah." (Rev. 19:10).

6. We are seeing Jesus in action:

The Son of God visited the earth as the Angel of the Lord at least 20 times (and maybe many more times that are not recorded). We can see what kind of Savior he was in human form long before He came in human flesh as He frequently brought gracious messages and powerful help to His needy people.

7. We are admiring Jesus' trophies:

In some ways the Old Testament saints are even more amazing than New Testament saints. When you think of how little truth they had, how little of the Holy Spirit they had, how few the believers were, and how rare their encouragements, it's utterly amazing that they believed in the coming Messiah and kept believing. It can only be explained by the almighty work of Christ in the soul by His Holy Spirit. His Old Testament trophies of grace shine with a special luster in His "showcase."

Open the Bible at Genesis, travel back in time, connect with Christ in the Old Testament, deepen your relationship with Him, and increase the heat of your love for Him.

About The Author:

Dr. David Murray is Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and pastor of the Free Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is the author of Jesus on Every Page and blogs regularly at HeadHeartHand.

The Light in the World: Meditation on John 1

by Beth Scibienski

I typically use the New Revised Standard Version for these reflections but I found the Common English Version to be simply fascinating. Enjoy a fresh perspective on this well known poem.

In the beginning was the Word
and the Word was with God
and the Word was God.
2 The Word was with God in the beginning.
3 Everything came into being through the Word,
and without the Word
nothing came into being.
What came into being
4 through the Word was life,
and the life was the light for all people.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness doesn't extinguish the light.
6 A man named John was sent from God.
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning the light,
so that through him everyone would believe in the light.
8 He himself wasn't the light,
but his mission was to testify concerning the light.

9 The true light that shines on all people
was coming into the world.
10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn't recognize the light.
11 The light came to his own people,
and his own people didn't welcome him.
12 But those who did welcome him,
those who believed in his name,
he authorized to become God's children,
13 born not from blood
nor from human desire or passion,
but born from God.
14 The Word became flesh
and made his home among us.

We have seen his glory,
glory like that of a father's only son,
full of grace and truth.

15 John testified about him, crying out,
"This is the one of whom I said,
'He who comes after me is greater than me
because he existed before me.'"

16 From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace;
17 as the Law was given through Moses,
so grace and truth came into being through Jesus Christ.
18 No one has ever seen God.
God the only Son,
who is at the Father's side,
has made God known.

Full disclosure - I'm a gospel of John fan. I read this translation and I'm almost giddy with delight.

10 The light was in the world,
and the world came into being through the light,
but the world didn't recognize the light.

Translation note - This verse isn't typically translated this way. It's translated "He was in the world and the world came into being through him and the world didn't understand him." So, I looked it up and the verse translates like this, "It was in the system and through the system it came and the system didn't know it."

What I love about the gospel of John is that the writer(s) is synchronizing traditions throughout - weaving Greek cultural with Judaism. The writer is faced with a mixed marriage of sorts - Greek followers of Jesus worshiping alongside Jewish followers of Jesus. Their rich cultures are growing on one another and this writer provides the first quilt for us to wrap up with. When we get close enough to it, we see the stitches that hold odd pieces together and we see the strings that are coming undone.

For the Greek culture, this is the beginning of their creation myth: In the beginning there was only chaos. Then out of the void appeared Erebus, the unknowable place where death dwells, and Night. All else was empty, silent, endless, darkness. Then somehow Love was born bringing a start of order. From Love came Light and Day. Once there was Light and Day, Gaea, the earth appeared.

For the Jewish culture, this is the beginning to their creation myth: In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.

And the writer of John's gospel says: In the beginning was the word - the logos in Greek, the dabar in Hebrew, the creative force of the universe. And this creative force was with God, it was God, it was with God in the beginning.

What came into being through this creative force was light and that life was light to all people.

The light shines on all people. The world, the system, the cosmos came into being through this light and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not extinguish it.

For so many, the idea of God as a person, specifically a man in the sky is no longer a viable option. Our world doesn't make sense with that kind of myth. And by our world, I mean a Western 21st century worldview. Post industrial revolution. Driven by capitalism. Connected by the internet but disconnected with one another. Filled with injustice and inequality. An ethnically diverse world, where we mingle our cultures and explore our cuisines.

What kind of myth speaks to this culture? John offers us "A system with light and life." The light and the life comes into the system and the system doesn't recognize it. The light and the life seems foreign to the darkness that is pervasive.

And John equates this very human person, the Palestinian Jew named Jesus with the light and life that comes into a system and the system doesn't recognize it.

Both the Greek folks and Jewish folks in this community of faith would've been intrigued and offended by this quilt that John has stitched together. For the Greeks - a human with skin and bones and snot and tears cannot possibly be equated with the light and life of the creative order. The cosmic implications will be ruined by the humanity of it. For the Jew - the God of Abraham who called things into existence cannot be defined as the life and the light of the Greek creation myth. God is a person. Jesus is a person. The personal implications will be ruined by the cosmic picture.

Yes. Both myths bastardized for the purpose of creating a quilt that we in the 21st century have been wrapping ourselves up in for so long it is showing signs of both wear and love.

We wrap ourselves around the idea that the light was in the world and the world, even we, came into being through this light. But we still live in a world where the light still seems foreign.

Source: A Thousand Words of Inspiration

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