Friday, April 10, 2009

The Unity of The Bible

One of the things that struck me hard during my study of how the New Testament views the law is how neatly the Old and New Testaments are tied together.

Obviously, the Old Testament starts with the beginning and the New Testament closes with the end, but aside from those obvious bookends, what really hit me is the progression of the two.

The Old Testament is the outer, and the New Testament is the inner; or, as the book of Hebrews puts it: "The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming - not the realities themselves (Heb 10:1)."

After this study I am willing to take a bit of a leap and suggest that everything in the Old Testament has not only the everyday reality described by the Old Testment, but also a deeper, spiritual meaning.

As I've mentioned in the previous post, the New Testament uncovers the inner law beneath the outer law of the Old Testament, but also, the New Testament gives a new meaning to circumcision (Acts 15:1-2, 5-11, Rom 2:25, Gal 6:15, Titus 1:10, etc.), to the Passover lamb (it is Jesus himself), to unleavened bread (1 Corinthians 5:7-8), to the Temple in Jerusalem (Hebrews 8:5), to the implements used in the Temple (Hebrews 9:2-5), to the activities in the Temple (Hebrews 9:6-7) to individuals in the Old Testament (Sarah and Hagar) (Galatians 4:21-25), to places in the Old Testament (Jerusalem and Mt. Sinai) (Galatians 4:24-26), to the rock providing water in the desert (1 Corinthians 10:1-4), and so forth.

I think that perhaps everything - or just about everything - in the Old Testament also has a deeper, spiritual meaning. This struck me in part in an earlier post I wrote about how I was stunned to see how the history of the nation of Israel was a foreshadowing of Christ. I see now that this foreshadowing is far more extensive than I realized.

Now, I hasten to add that realizing that there is a deeper spiritual meaning to everything in the Old Testament doesn't mean we have to figure it all out. The apostle Paul condemns bickering over genealogies and the law (Titus 3:9), so I'll be safe and go along with Paul and say that if a discussion about the deeper spiritual meaning of some Old Testament passage leads to bickering, the wise - and biblical - thing to do is just drop the matter.

But anyway, it just excited me to discover this amazing unfolding in the Bible, going from the beginning to the end, proceeding from the outer to the deep, inner, spiritual reality.

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