The Apostles Were Not Trying to Be Original

The apostles of Jesus Christ were not trying to be original with their teaching.  They were loyal Jews who were merely trying to relate the understanding of the Scriptures given to them by their fellow loyal Jew – Jesus – in the wake of His resurrection from the dead.

Jesus explained to His apostles that everything that happened to Him was part of a predetermined plan of God documented in what we call the Old Testament.  The documentation of this plan was “coded” to be sure – but was there, and there in abundance.  By “coded” I simply mean that prophecies about Messiah were in riddle-like fashion, only making sense once the answer was revealed.  The answer began with the resurrection of the Messiah.

Throughout the New Testament we find vocabulary drawn from the pages of the Old Testament.  This is because the apostles weren’t teaching the New Testament – they were teaching the Old Testament, just the way Jesus had taught it to them, and just the way that the Holy Spirit was further revealing it to them.

Therefore, the best way to understand the teachings of the New Testament is to look for their roots in the Old Testament.  Conversely, the worst way to attempt to understand the New Testament is to ignore the Old Testament.  Don’t look for originality in the New Testament; look for repetition and the elevation of teaching already present in the Old Testament.  (By “elevation” I mean the transition from law to grace, from flesh to spirit, from an earthly orientation to a heavenly orientation that Jesus brought.)

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Book of 2 Samuel Quoting the Book of Judges

2 Samuel 11:21 ‘Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’–then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'”

Joab, David’s general, is here referencing the story found in Judges 9:50-54.  The Jews paid attention to their history, just as we should pay attention to their history.

Why should we pay attention to the history of ancient Israel?  Because the prophets of God wrote it and thus give us the history from God’s perspective.  There could never be a more objective view of history than His.

The Scriptures were written and compiled progressively.  In the time of David and Joab, they had the Law of Moses, and probably the books of Joshua and Judges.  They learned from the Scripture they had.  If they could learn from the Scriptures they had, how much more can we learn from all that we have.

When Scripture quotes Scripture, it is all the more edifying.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

I Will Bring You Back to the Place from Where I Sent You into Exile

Jeremiah 29:14 ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will restore your fortunes and will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will bring you back to the place from where I sent you into exile.’

While Jeremiah’s words had a particular meaning to the Jews of that time, God’s promise has broader fulfillment in the restoration of humanity to Himself through Jesus Christ.

Mankind was exiled from the presence of God because of sin.  Only through Jesus Christ was sin ultimately and perfectly addressed.  Therefore, through Jesus Christ we have our way back to the Creator against whom we’ve sinned and from whom we’ve wandered.

For this reason, the tree of life first mentioned in Genesis 2 is addressed in Revelation 22, the last chapter of the Bible.  That is, as humankind was denied access to the tree of life because of the sin of Adam and Eve, so humankind was invited back to the tree of life through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Apostles Did Not Wish They Had New Testaments

The only Bible that the apostles had was what we call the Old Testament.  Nevertheless, we never see the apostles lamenting that their Scriptures were insufficient.

Of course, we need the New Testament because that’s how we hear the apostles’ testimony.  They knew their testimony, however, and did not need what we need.

The point of this is that the Old Testament contains much more meaning for us than most Christians realize.  We need to use the New Testament to view the Old Testament the way that the apostles did.  Then we will begin to see more of the treasures that are resident therein.  But remember, we will only have begun.  Keep looking for more.  For in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), and it is these very Scriptures that testify of Him (John 5:39).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Eve’s Sin Was a Failure to Trust

If you read Genesis 3, you’ll see why Paul says (in 1 Timothy 2:14) “the woman was deceived.”  The serpent begins the deception by raising doubts in Eve’s mind about God’s instruction concerning trees and fruit (actually given in Genesis 2:16-17).  Then Eve sees the tree, that it was a delight to the eyes, that its fruit was good for food, and that it was desirable to become wise – and she ate.

It wasn’t like Eve attacked Adam or cursed him or blasphemed God.  She didn’t do anything that we would otherwise call evil.  Rather, she failed to obey God’s command, which was essentially a failure to trust His judgment.

We are restored to God by reversing Eve’s sin.  That is, we come back to God when we trust Him, when we trust His judgment.

We don’t have all knowledge.  Therefore, if God says “Don’t do such-and-such,” we should trust Him and not do it.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 49:8 – Christ Has Brought About the Day of Salvation

Isaiah 49:8 Thus says the LORD,
“In a favorable time I have answered You,
And in a day of salvation I have helped You;
And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people,
To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages;

These words Isaiah wrote in prophecy of the days of Christ.  As Paul himself wrote to the church in Corinth, quoting this verse:

2 Corinthians 6:1 And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain–
2 Corinthians 6:2 for He says,
“AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU,
AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”–

Thus Paul and the rest of the apostles are continually demonstrating their belief that what we call the Old Testament Scriptures are all about Christ.  (For more on this idea, see The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ.)

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Isaiah 49:6 – Messiah Was a Light of Revelation to the Gentiles

Is 49:6 He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

Isaiah is prophesying of Jesus, as is confirmed by Luke’s quotation of this verse in his gospel when he describes Jesus being brought to the temple as an infant.  A devout elderly man named Simeon applied Isaiah’s words to Jesus, saying the child was:

Luke 2:32 A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

Paul also applies this verse to Jesus and what He was doing through the church in the New Testament when he said:

Acts 13:47 “For so the Lord has commanded us,
‘I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES,
THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.'”

Thus Isaiah 49:6 testifies of Messiah, as do all the Scriptures of the prophets.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

See “Strong and Courageous” in Both Testaments

We know that the apostles taught from what we call the Old Testament.  Just how deeply the Old Testament texts permeated their common and individual consciousnesses, however, is not always plain to see.  It’s certainly plain when the apostles quote and Old Testament verses – especially when Bibles like the New American Standard Bible identify those quotations by rendering them in all capital letters.  It’s not so plain, however, when the apostles use language from the Old Testament in ways that don’t show up as direct quotations.  Let me give you an example.

The people of God were exhorted by Moses to “be strong and courageous.”  For example [emphasis added here and throughout]:

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

In the New Testament, we can see the same sort of exhortation to the people of God.  Consider this from Paul:

1 Thessalonians 3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

The point is not that Paul is “quoting” the verse from Deuteronomy, but that the idea of the people of God needing strength and encouragement as they prepared to enter the kingdom of God had become a part of his thinking.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Genesis Contains Seeds that Grew into the Law of Moses

So much that we read in the Law of Moses (articulated in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) can be found in seed-form in Genesis.  For example:

Clean and unclean animals in Genesis 7:2

Circumcision in Genesis 17:10

Covenant in Genesis 6:18

Exodus in Genesis 12:1-3

Feast of Booths in Genesis 33:17

Feast of Unleavened Bread in Genesis 19:3

Offerings to the Lord in Genesis 4:3-4

Plagues on Pharaoh and his house in Genesis 12:17

Priests in Genesis 14:18

Sabbath in Genesis 2:2

Sacrificial lamb in Genesis 22:8

Tithing in Genesis 14:20

There are more.  How many can you find?

The Bible develops themes over time.  Important ideas are repeated and expanded upon.  Let us be open to finding them.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How the Old Testament Refers to Itself

We are using to see how dependent the New Testament is on the Old Testament.  In fact, without the Old Testament, the New Testament would make no sense.  Thus the Old Testament lays a foundation that the New Testament builds upon.

We should also be aware that the Old Testament itself – being written and compiled over a 1,500-year period – is built in layers, with each successive layer referring to the ones prior.  The first layer was the Law of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).  As books are added, we can see them making reference to things written in the books that were already there.

Because the order in which the Old Testament books appear is not strictly chronological, the linkages from one book to another are not always “from right to left.”  For example, you can see below that the book of Ezra refers to the books of Haggai and Zechariah.  However, in most English Bibles, the book of Ezra precedes the other two rather than following them.  Therefore, the intertextual links don’t always appear to be sequential.  Understanding the Bible’s pervasive intertextuality, however, allows the Bible to become a commentary on itself – reducing reliance upon others to explain its contents.

Below are some examples of an Old Testament book referencing something from a previous Old Testament book.  It only scratches the surface of the Old Testament’s self-referential nature.  Perhaps, though, it will be enough to give you a feel for how interwoven are the Bible’s ideas.

2 Samuel 11:21 ‘Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman throw an upper millstone on him from the wall so that he died at Thebez? Why did you go so near the wall?’–then you shall say, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is dead also.'”

In this verse, Joab is recalling for David an incident from Judges 9:50-54.

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2 Kings 14:6 But the sons of the slayers he did not put to death, according to what is written in the book of the Law of Moses, as the LORD commanded, saying, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the sons, nor the sons be put to death for the fathers; but each shall be put to death for his own sin.”

This verse is speaking specifically of Deuteronomy 24:16, which is, of course, part of “the Law of Moses.”

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2 Kings 17:7 Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods
2 Kings 17:8 and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced.
2 Kings 17:9 The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the LORD their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city.
2 Kings 17:10 They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree,
2 Kings 17:11 and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD.
2 Kings 17:12 They served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.”
2 Kings 17:13 Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.”
2 Kings 17:14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God.
2 Kings 17:15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.
2 Kings 17:16 They forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.
2 Kings 17:17 Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him.
2 Kings 17:18 So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.
2 Kings 17:19 Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced.
2 Kings 17:20 The LORD rejected all the descendants of Israel and afflicted them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them out of His sight.
2 Kings 17:21 When He had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel away from following the LORD and made them commit a great sin.
2 Kings 17:22 The sons of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them
2 Kings 17:23 until the LORD removed Israel from His sight, as He spoke through all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away into exile from their own land to Assyria until this day.

This passage explains why the Northern Kingdom (called “the Kingdom of Israel” in contrast to the Southern Kingdom which was called “the Kingdom of Judah”) was captured by the Assyrians and taken into exile.  The simple reason?  Failure to heed Moses and the Prophets.  This passage characterizes and encapsulates Israel’s history from the time in Egypt to this point in the book of 2 Kings.

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2 Kings 18:4 He removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was called Nehushtan.

The “He” to which this veres refers is King Hezekiah.  The incident with Moses and the bronze serpent is found in Numbers 21:8,9.  (The incident is also mentioned by Jesus in John 3:14.)

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2 Kings 18:5 He trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel; so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among those who were before him.
2 Kings 18:6 For he clung to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses.

King Hezekiah is the “he” referenced here.  When the king adhered to the Law of Moses and the warnings of the prophets, the nation fared well.

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2 Kings 18:11 Then the king of Assyria carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and put them in Halah and on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes,
2 Kings 18:12 because they did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, but transgressed His covenant, even all that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded; they would neither listen nor do it.

The “he” referenced here is King Hoshea of the Northern Kingdom.  Because he was a wicked king, like those who had preceded him, the people fared poorly.  The nation rose and fell based on its faithfulness, or lack thereof, to the Scriptures first handed down by Moses.

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2 Kings 21:8 “And I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.”

This verse is making a general reference to the Law of Moses.  There are so many of them in the Scriptures that only a minuscule fraction of them can be shown in this post.

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2 Kings 23:21 Then the king commanded all the people saying, “Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.”
2 Kings 23:22 Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah.
2 Kings 23:23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the LORD in Jerusalem.

Verse 22 makes reference first to the time covered by the books of Judges and Ruth, and then by the time covered by the books of Samuel and Kings.  Of course, the reference to the original Passover is a reference to Exodus 12.

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Ezra 5:1 When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them,
Ezra 5:2 then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them supporting them.

Haggai and Zechariah are two prophets, responsible for books that bear their names in the Old Testament.  See also Ezra 6:14, where a similar reference is made.

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Malachi 4:4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel.

The prophet Malachi is here calling the people of Israel to be faithful to the Law given to them through Moses.  Of course, this was a common appeal by the prophets.

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The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Jesus’ Regard for the Prophets

Jesus thought highly of the prophets.  He trusted them.  He believed that they spoke for His Father.

Jesus modeled His own life after the prophets, and encouraged His disciples to do the same.

Jesus believed everything that His Father had said about Him through the prophets.  Here are some verses which make clear Jesus’ trust in the prophets [emphasis added]:  

Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luke 24:26 “Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”
Luke 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

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Luke 24:44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
Luke 24:46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
Luke 24:47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
Luke 24:48 “You are witnesses of these things.

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The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

The Apostolic Mind

The apostles of Jesus Christ were taught by Him to read the Scriptures in a way that none of them had ever read the Scriptures before.  In a phrase, Jesus taught them to read the Scriptures according to the spirit and not according to the flesh.

This new way of reading the Scriptures caused the apostles to understand the people of God differently.  When reading according to the flesh, the people of God were the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  When reading according to the spirit, the people of God were those who followed Messiah.  At first, the apostles understood this to mean Jews who followed Messiah, but in time they came to see that Gentiles could follow Messiah and be included in the people of God, too. In retrospect, this was an obvious conclusion, for why would you read the Scriptures according to the spirit, but limit their application to people according to the flesh.  Old attitudes die hard in the human mind, however, and so this understanding took a little longer to change.

What distinguished old Israel (that is, the people of God according to the flesh) from new Israel (that is, the people of God according to the spirit) was, as said above, faith in Christ.  Here, therefore, we see cases where believers – rather than physical descendants of Abraham – are regarded as God’s nation:

In Matthew 19:28, Jesus says tells His apostles that they will sit on the thrones for the twelve tribes of Israel.  That is, as the physical nation had its patriarchs (Judah, Levi, Benjamin, and the rest), so spiritual Israel would have its patriarch (Peter, James, John, and the rest).

In Matthew 21:43, Jesus tells the rulers of Israel that God’s rule would be taken away from them and given to “another people.”  Who were those other people?  People who put faith in Christ.

In Luke 22:30, Jesus makes a point similar to the one He made in Matthew 19:28.

In Romans 8:28-29, Paul explicitly distinguishes Jews of the flesh (“outward Jews”) from Jews of the spirit (inward Jews).

In the third chapter of 2 Corinthians, Paul contrasts the exceeding glory of the new covenant when compared to the glory of the covenant that preceded it.  This evokes Haggai 2:9, which otherwise some might have interpreted to mean that the Messiah would have more “stuff” than Solomon, but actually meant that Messiah would have spiritual, not earthly, trappings.

In Galatians 6:16, Paul blesses “the Israel of God.”  This references those who no longer trust in circumcision, but rather in Christ Himself.

In Philippians 3, Paul uses the term “circumcision” to refer to Israel, distinguishing the “true circumcision” from the “false circumcision.”  Of course, believers constituted “the true circumcision.”  Those who gloried in the flesh were the “false circumcision” – or we could say “false Israel” or “the false people of God.”

The epistle to the Hebrews is obviously addressed to believers – not merely physical Hebrews.

In James 1:1, he addresses his letter to “the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad” – that is, those who believe in Christ and who are spread all over the Mediterranean world.

In 1 Peter 2:9-10 Peter takes Old Testament expressions and applies them to believers:  “a chosen race,” “a royal priesthood,” “a holy nation,” “a people for God’s own possession, and “the people of God.”  In the Old Testament, these terms had been applied to the physical descendants of Abraham; here, Peter is apply to those who believe in Jesus.

In Revelation 2:9 and 3:9, the expression “those who say they are Jews and are not” is obviously an allusion to this concept of distinguishing physical Israel from spiritual Israel.

Physical Israel is an earthly and therefore temporal identity.  By contrast, spiritual Israel is a heavenly and therefore eternal identity.  (See 2 Corinthians 4:18.)  The apostles the Scriptures in the way they were ultimately intended to be read.  It took Jesus Christ Himself, however, to bring that understanding.

Related post:  Scriptures on Christ as Moses

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on Christ as Moses

It is clear from the New Testament documents that the apostles saw Jesus as the one prophesied by Moses in this passage from the Old Testament:

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.

The apostle Peter said so explicitly in this New Testament verse:

Acts 3:22 “Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.

The martyr Stephen confirmed it:

Acts 7:37 “This is the Moses who said to the sons of Israel, ‘GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN.’

The New Testament disciples thus saw Jesus as the “new Moses” and “greater Moses,” raised up as mediator between God and His people – just as Moses had been, only far more so.

There are other places in the New Testamet where we can recognize the apostles holding this particular view of Jesus.  Here are some of them:

1 Corinthians 5:13 But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.

The phrase in capitals appears multiple times in the book of Deuteronomy (13:5; 17:7, 12; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21), where it is an admonition from God through Moses for the people of God to keep themselves separated from sin.  That Paul quotes it as relevant to the church at Corinth indicates that the New Testament church saw itself as the new Israel and Jesus as the new Moses.

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1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea;
1 Corinthians 10:2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
1 Corinthians 10:3 and all ate the same spiritual food;
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10:6 Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.
1 Corinthians 10:7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, “THE PEOPLE SAT DOWN TO EAT AND DRINK, AND STOOD UP TO PLAY.”
1 Corinthians 10:8 Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day.
1 Corinthians 10:9 Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.
1 Corinthians 10:10 Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:11 Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

It’s obvious in the passage that Paul is having his readers remember the incidents involved in Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypy precisely because he believes they have application to their present situation.

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Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
Titus 2:12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Titus 2:14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The phrase “to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” in verse 14 is an allusion to Exodus 19:5 and Deuteronomy 4:20; 7:6; and 14:2 wherein God declares His intention to establish Israel as a people for Himself and His purposes.  Thus believers in Christ were the new “nation of God’s people.”

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Hebrews 3:1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
Hebrews 3:2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
Hebrews 3:3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
Hebrews 3:4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
Hebrews 3:5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
Hebrews 3:6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.

This passage makes the explicit comparison of Moses and Christ – showing the superiorities of Christ in the process.  This comparison continues throughout this chapter and into the next.

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Hebrews 12:18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind,
Hebrews 12:19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.
Hebrews 12:20 For they could not bear the command, “IF EVEN A BEAST TOUCHES THE MOUNTAIN, IT WILL BE STONED.”
Hebrews 12:21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I AM FULL OF FEAR and trembling.”
Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
Hebrews 12:26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.”
Hebrews 12:27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
Hebrews 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

This passage compares and contrasts Moses at Mount Sinai with Jesus at the heavenly Mount Zion.

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1 Peter 2:9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
1 Peter 2:10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.

Most of the phrases in verse 9 were originally uttered by Moses to the children of Israel.  Peter is applying to those who are now following Jesus Christ – whom God has seated “in the chair of Moses” (see Matthew 23 2 and how Jesus rebuked the scribes and Pharisees for attempting to seat themselves in that place).

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Jude 1:5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.

This reminder would have no purpose unless, of course, the experience of Jesus and the New Testament church was to parallel the experience of Moses and the chldren of Israel.

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Related post:  The Apostolic Mind

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Apostolic Use of the Old Testament

The apostles did not preach and teach from the New Testament because it was not compiled until after they had all died.  Their authoritative text was the Old Testament.  If we don’t take this truth seriously, we will not properly understand the New Testament.

Even though the apostles preached and taught from the Old Testament, they never called it that.  The terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” post-dated the apostles as well.  Rather, the apostles referred to “the Law of Moses.”  Or they might say simply “the Law,” or even more simply, “Moses.”  Or they might refer to “the Law and the Prophets,” or simply “the Prophets.”  They could also say “the Law and the Prophets and the Writings.”  They could say “the Scriptures” or simply “Scripture.”  They might use the name of the specific prophet they are quoting, such as Isaiah or Daniel.  Or they might simply say “it is written.”  In all these cases, however, they are referring to what we call the Old Testament.

It is critically important to recognize the Old Testament roots of New Testament teaching.  Otherwise, we might think the apostles are bringing us new ideas when they are actually explaining the ideas of the prophets before them.   As Jesus Himself said:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

People who think that we should read only the New Testament and discard the Old Testament are like a man who keeps the key but stays away from the house that it unlocks.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Repetition in the Scriptures

Repetition in the Scriptures is a good thing.  It makes us more sure about what we’ve read.  For one thing, “every fact is to be confirmed by two or three witnesses.”  And it was Paul who said:

Philippians 3:1 …To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

What forms of repetition do we see in Scripture?  Here are some of them:

Four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) instead of one, although each has its own perspective.

1 & 2 Chronicles generally covers the same history as 1 & 2 Samuel plus 1 & 2 Kings, but, as with the Gospels, offering some different perspective).

The parallelism of Hebrew poetry, which is based on repetition of the main idea being conveyed.

Teachings in which pairs or trios of words are used (there’s the two or three)

God would never engage in meaningless repetition (Matthew 6:7).  If He’s repeating something, there’s a good reason for it.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptural References to the Fall

The first sin of mankind is described in Genesis 3.  After that, it is referred to elsewhere in Scripture.  Here are some of those places [emphasis added to draw out the point].

Hosea 6:6 For I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice,
And in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
Hosea 6:7 But like Adam they have transgressed the covenant;
There they have dealt treacherously against Me.

Luke 23:43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned–
Romans 5:13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
Romans 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
Romans 5:16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.
Romans 5:19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.

2 Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

2 Corinthians 12:3 And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows–
2 Corinthians 12:4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

1 Timothy 2:13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.
1 Timothy 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

Revelation 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Revelation 20:2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;

Rev 22:1 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb,
Rev 22:2 in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.

Rev 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book;
Rev 22:19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.

Notes:

“paradise” can mean “garden” or “park” and correlates with “garden” as in “the garden of Eden” referenced in Genesis 3 – the place where the Fall occurred.  Thus while the Fall amounted to a paradise being lost, the New Testament verses are speaking of it being restored through Jesus Christ.

“the serpent of old” refers, of course, to the serpent, so identified in Genesis 3:1ff.

“tree of life” is mentioned in Genesis 2:9; 3:22, 24.

Related to these references to the Fall would be, of course, Scriptural References to Creation.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptural References to Creation

Creation is described in Genesis 1-2.  After that, it is referred to many times and in many ways in the Scriptures.  It is an important point and we have much to learn from it.

Here’s a partial list of Scriptures after Genesis 1-2 that refer to creation.  They are organized by whether they refer to the Creator, the original creation of the world, the ongoing goverance of creation, the destruction of creation, miraculous interventions in nature, or the redemption of (i.e. the new) creation.  Some verses, of course, fall into more than one of these categories:

THE CREATOR

This category consists of isolated verses that briefly refer to God as “Creator” or “Maker,” and other verses that make the same cryptic point – that creation has a personal Creator – while saying little else about the creation in the respective passage.  If more is said, the passage is likely found in one of the other categories below.

Job 4:17; 32:22; 36:3

Psalm 95:6; 100:3; 149:2

Proverbs 14:31; 17:5; 22:2

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Isaiah 17:7; 27:11; 54:5

Jeremiah 51:19

Hosea 8:14

Romans 1:25

THE ORIGINAL CREATION OF THE WORLD

This category includes verses that refer to the acts of creation as first recorded in Genesis 1-2.  Therefore, the creation of Adam and Eve (that is, the human race) are included here.  However, creation of all subsequent creatures is covered in the next category, “The Ongoing Governance of Creation.”

Exodus 20:11; 31:17

2 Kings 19:15

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 38:4 – 39:30

Psalm 24:1-2; 33:6-9; 89:11-12; 95:3-6; 96:5; 100:3; 102:24-27; 104:1-35; 115:15; 121:1-2; 124:8; 134:3; 136:1-9; 146:5-7; 148:1-6

Isaiah 40:21-31; 42:5; 44:24; 45:7-13; 48:13; 51:13

Jeremiah 10:11-16

Amos 9:5-6

Jonah 1:9

Malachi 2:10

Matthew 19:4-6

Mark 10:6-9

John 1:1-3, 10; 9:32

Acts 4:24; 14;15; 17:24-29

Romans 9:19-21

1 Corinthians 6:16; 8:4-6; 11:8-12

Ephesians 5:31

Colossians 1:15-18

1 Timothy 2:13

Hebrews 1:2, 10-12; 11:3

2 Peter 3:4-5

Revelation 3:14; 14:7

THE ONGOING GOVERNANCE OF CREATION

Governance would include the maintenance of all physical and spiritual phenomenon, provision for the procreation and sustenance of all creatures, and oversight and regulation of all human activity.  This last category includes God’s role as judge of heaven and earth, which involves  destruction (a separate category below).

Genesis 8:20-22; 9:11; 18:16-33

Deuteronomy 32:8, 15, 18

1 Chronicles 29:11-12

Nehemiah 9:6

Job 10:3, 8; 12:23-25; 26:5-14; 31:15; 35:9-16; 38:4 – 39:30

Psalm 24:1-2; 50:10-12; 68:7-10; 74:12-17; 89:11-12; 96:10-13; 100:3; 104:1-35; 107:1-43; 119:73; 135:5-6; 136:23-26; 138:8; 139:13-16; 145:15-16; 146:5-7; 147:4, 8-9, 16-18; 148:7-14

Isaiah 29:16; 40:21-31; 42:5; 43:1, 7, 15; 44:2, 21, 24; 45:7-13; 50:2-3; 51:12-15; 64:8

Jeremiah 5:22; 10:11-16; 18:1-6; 33:20, 25

Amos 9:5-6

Matthew 5:45; 6:26, 28-30; 10:29-31

Acts 1:7; 14:16-17; 17:24-29

1 Corinthians 10:26

Ephesians 3:15

Colossians 1:15-18

1 Timothy 4:1-5

Hebrews 1:3, 7

1 Peter 4:19

THE DESTRUCTION OF CREATION

The destruction of creation flows from God’s role as judge (the governor) of creation.  This destruction may be partial (as in Sodom and Gomorah), or total (as in “the end of the age”).  Regarding the latter, it can be termed “passing away.”

Genesis 6:5-8; 8:20-22; 9:11

Psalm 102:26-27  (quoted in Hebrews 1:11-12)

Isaiah 34:4; 51:6

Jeremiah 45:5

Joel 1:15

Matthew 5:18; 24:35

Mark 13:31

Luke 16:17; 21:33

Hebrews 1:11-12  (quoting Psalms 102:26-27)

2 Peter 3:4-12

Revelation 20:11; 21:1

SPECIAL INTERVENTIONS IN NATURE (i.e. MIRACLES)

Genesis 6:5-8; 21:1-7

Exodus 3:1 – 4:17; 5:1 – 12:36; 14:15-31; 15:1-18

Joshua 3:14-17; 10:1-14

2 Kings 2:11; 6:17; 20:8-11

Psalm 74:12-17; 78:1-72; 106:7-12; 136:10-22

Isaiah 38:7-8

Jonah 1:4, 11-12, 15, 17; 2:10; 3:10; 4:6-8

Matthew 8:23-27

Mark 4:35-41

Luke 8:22-25

THE REDEMPTION OF CREATION (i.e. THE NEW CREATION)

Isaiah 65:17; 66:22

2 Corinthians 5:17

Galatians 5:17

Ephesians 2:10-22; 4:20-24

Colossians 1:15-18

2 Peter 3:13

Revelation 1:4-5; 3:12, 14; 21:1-2

Of course, these lists are by no means exhaustive.  Perhaps you will want to complete them for yourself.

Related to this list of verses is Scriptural References to the Fall

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Catalog of New Testament Teachings Traceable to the Old Testament

This catalog flows from the post Tracing the Old Testament Roots of New Testament Teaching.

What follows is a list of New Testament verses whose ideas can first be found in the Old Testament.  The New Testament writers were, of course, not trying to be original.  Rather, they believed that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all the requirements and promises of the Old Testament.  This catalog helps to show just how intertwined and mutually dependent the Old Testamnt and New Testament actually are.  The list is given in two forms: first, in New Testament order; then, all the same verses are listed in Old Testament order.

IN NEW TESTAMENT ORDER

Matthew 6:13  –  Psalm 145:11

Matthew 19:17  –  Psalm 119:68

Matthew 19:26  –  (see also Mark 10:27 and Luke 18:27) Genesis 18:14; Job 42:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 8:6

Matthew 26:11  –  Deuteronomy 15:11

Mark 10:18  –  Psalm 119:68

Mark 10:27  –  (see also Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27) Genesis 18:14; Job 42:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 8:6

Mark 12:29  –  Deuteronomy 6:4

Mark 12:30  –  Deuteronomy 6:5

Mark 12:31  –  Leviticus 19:18

Luke 11:13  –  Psalm 84:11

Luke 18:19  –  Psalm 119:68

Luke 18:27  –  (see also Matthew 19:26 and Mark 1027) Genesis 18:14; Job 42:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 8:6

John 17:17  –  Psalm 119:160

IN OLD TESTAMENT ORDER

Genesis 18:14  –  (see also Job 42:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 8:6)  Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27

Leviticus 19:18  –  Mark 12:31

Deuteronomy 6:4  –  Mark 12:29

Deuteronomy 6:5  –  Mark 12:30

Deuteronomy 15:11 –  Matthew 26:11

Job 42:1-2  –  (see also Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17; Zechariah 8:6)  Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27

Psalm 84:11  –  Luke 11:13

Psalm 119:68  –  Matthew 19:17; Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19

Psalm 119:160  –  John 17:17

Psalm 145:11  –  Matthew 6:13

Jeremiah 32:17  –  (see also Genesis 18:14; Job 42:1-2; Zechariah 8:6)  Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27

Zechariah 8:6  –  (see also Genesis 18:14; Job 42:1-2; Jeremiah 32:17)  Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27

This “catalog” does not even scratch the surface, for indeed the seeds of all New Testament teaching can be found in the Old Testament.  What you see here represents some of the more obvious connections (such as Mark 12:28-34 quoting Deuteronomy 6 and Leviticus 19), but also some of the less obvious ones (such as Psalm 119:160 and John 17:17).  This short list is provided just to orient you to this fact and to launch you on your own study of such connections.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Intertextuality in the Bible

Google defines “intertextuality” as “the relationship between texts.”  The term is of recent vintage (20th Century) and there are more complex definitions than this, especially from sophisticated literary sources.  For our purposes, it suffices as a way to refer to the fact that the Bible’s documents are constantly referring to each other.

The Bible is a collection of ancient documents written over a millennia and a half by dozens of authors, most of whom never met each other.  What unified their thinking and caused them to be able to say so many similar and complementary things was the one God – the God of Israel – whom they all served.

The terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are simply the most common way of saying that the Bible’s documents can be divided into two sub-collections: those written before Jesus Christ and those written after.  Those written before were written over the 1,500 years prior to His birth.  Those written after were written within a century of His death and resurrection.  Most certainly, there is “a relationship between the texts” of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Within these two collections, there are relationships as well.  To truly understand and appreciate the Bible means understanding how one of its documents can shed light on the rest.  Because the degree of intertextuality is so great, some people have used the phrase, “Let Scripture interpret Scripture.”  It’s a good idea.

Here are some examples of posts which discuss intertextuality, though without always using that term:

The Old Testament (that is, the Hebrew Bible) Is About Jesus Christ

New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words

New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

Tracing the Old Testament Roots of New Testament Teaching

Echoes of the Law of Moses in the Book of Psalms

For more studies on the intertextuality of the Bible, click on the category “Intertextuality” to the right, which comes under the parent category “The Bible.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Echoes of the Law of Moses in the Book of Psalms

Just as the New Testament is built upon the foundation of the Old Testament, so the later writings of the Old Testament are built upon the earlier writings of the Old Testament.  For example, the Psalter (i.e. the book of Psalms) in many ways is an exposition on the Law of Moses.  This is most obviously seen in the very first psalm where a person’s life is depicted as successful or not depending on what the person does with “the law of the Lord,” which is, of course, the law of Moses (i.e. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).

One way to think of the Psalms is as a set of reflections on what God had done through creation and through His establishment of a nation through Abraham.  The Law of Moses, of course, is not just a set of regulations for Israel, but also a history of God’s workings.  Thus the Psalms are the result of having heard from God, having observed His actions over centuries, and tying the two together by commenting how the ways that God works and and, more specifically, how His words correlate with his actions.  (Would that our words correlated so well with our actions; that’s what the redemption through Jesus Christ is supposed to rectify.)

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had to learn the ways of God without benefit of Scriptures.  David and those who assisted him were able to achieve a great understanding of God and His ways by having the Scriptures available to them.  We who have the light of Jesus Christ can do this to an even greater degree.  That is, if we can see how the Law of Moses inform the book of Psalms, we can better appreciate how the Old Testament informs the New Testament, and how all of Scripture informs us about Jesus Christ.

You could also think of the book of Psalms as a commentary on the Law of Moses.   Of course, it doesn’t seek to explain every passage of Mosaic Law – far from it.  But it does seek to comment on truths that can be gleaned from those five books Moses wrote.  It’s as if those who wrote the Psalms are saying, “We’ve read Moses and reflected on all that God has taught us through him…and here are the main points.”  In this regard, consider Psalm 143:5 which are attributed to David himself.

On a technical note, be aware that any reference to “Israel” in the Psalms (and it appears 68 times) is at the very least etymologically connected with Abraham’s grandson, Jacob (Genesis 32:27-28), whose life was recorded in the first book of the Law of Moses.  I have not tried to record all these.

You will find great reward in finding quotes, references, and allusions to the Law and its many passages in the book of Psalms.  Here’s a “starter set” of references to help you begin.

Psalm 1  (“the law of the Lord” v. 3 refers to all that Moses had to say on God’s behalf)

Psalm 4:6  (“Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!” echoes Numbers 6:26)

Psalm 18:1  (The opening declaration “I love You, O Lord” is the appropriate human response to the divine command of Deuteronomy 6:5)

Psalm 25:16  (“Turn to me and be gracious to me recalls Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 29:10  (though cryptic, it’s hard not to think of Noah in Genesis 6-9 when we read here of “the flood”)

Psalm 29:11  (“The Lord will bless His people with peace” echoes “The Lord bless you” in Numbers 6:24 and “give you peace” two verses later)

Psalm 31:16  (“Make Your face to shine upon Your servant” echoes Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 31:23  (“O love the Lord, all you His godly ones!” is a reminder of the great commandment of Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Psalm 33:6  (Here we have a reference to the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2)

Psalm 44:3 (“the light of Your presence” echoes “the light of Your countenance” in Numbers 6:26)

Psalm 47:4  (a reference to their ancestor Jacob)

Psalm 47:9  (a reference to Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham, through whom the covenant began)

Psalm 66:6  (“He turned the sea into dry land” refers, of course, to the dividing of the Red Sea during the Exodus from Egypt)

Psalm 67:1  (“bless us” echoes Numbers 6:24, which applies to Psalm 67:6-7 as well; “be gracious to us” and “cause His face to shine upon us” echoes Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 67:2 (alludes to the special role God had assigned to Israel, addressed in Exodus 19:5-6 and Deuteronomy 7:6 and 14:2)

Psalm 67:6-7  (see note on Psalm 67:1 above)

Psalm 77:20  (the psalmist recalls the leadership of God through Moses and Aaron)

Psalm 78  (this lengthy psalm, like the 106th,  recounts Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and its trials in the wilderness; see also Psalm 105 and 136)

Psalm 80:1-2  (the psalmist invokes names of the nation’s patriarch, including Israel, Joseph, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh)

Psalm 80:3, 7, 19  (“cause Your face to shine upon us” echoes Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 86:16  (“be gracious to me” echoes Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 89:15  (“the light of your countenance” echoes Numbers 6:26)

Psalm 90:8  (“the light of Your presence” reminds us of Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6:25-26)

Psalm 91:14  (“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him” is a reminder of God’s promise to deliver those who keep covenant with Him, the overarching requirement of which was specified as “love” in Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Psalm 95:6  (“Maker” refers to God’s role as our Creator)

Psalm 95:8-11 (these are references to the wilderness trials that Israel experienced after coming out of Egypt)

Psalm 97:10  (“you who love the Lord” could not fail to remind the reader or listener of God’s command in Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Psalm 105  (this psalm recalls the covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as events associated with the Exodus and Wilderness; in this regard, see also Psalms 78, 106, and 136)

Psalm 106  (this lengthy psalm, like the 78th, recounts incidents associated with Israel’s exodus from Egypt and wilderness wanderings; see also Psalm 105 and 136)

Psalm 110:4  (the only other place that Melchizedek is mentioned in the Old Testament is Genesis 14; therefore, this is an allusion to him)

Psalm 116:1  (The psalmist here gives a reason for loving the Lord in addition that being what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Psalam 119  (this, the longest of all the psalms, extols the law, or torah, of God over and over, from beginning to end)

Psalm 119:135  (“Make Your face shine upon Your servant” echoes Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 123:2  (“Until He is gracious to us” echoes “be gracious to you” in Numbers 6:25)

Psalm 135  (references throughout names and issues found in Genesis through Deuteronomy; see also Psalm 78, 105, 106, and 136)

Psalm 136  (a reflection and celebration of God’s work at creation and during the Exodus; see also Psalm 78, 105, and 106

Psalm 145:20  (“The Lord keeps…” echoes Numbers 6:24 and “…all who love Him” echoes the requirement of Deuteronomy 6:4-5, bringing together both the command and promise of the covenant)

Psalm 146:5  (a reference to Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham)

Psalm 146:6  (an obvious reference to the creation as recorded in Genesis 1-2)

The marginal cross-reference system of the New American Standard Bible (see more on this here) will help you in finding more of these echoes.  Then, the more you study the Pentateuch (yet another name for the Law of Moses) and the Psalter, the more of them you will recognize on your own – or should I say with the Holy Spirit’s help!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Tracing the Old Testament Roots of New Testament Teaching

New Testament teaching is rooted in Old Testament teaching.  Jesus and His apostles trusted the Scriptures of Moses and the prophets of Israel.  This dependency is most obvious in a passage like this one:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
Mark 12:33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

Jesus is widely known for having preached that we should love one another.  This passage indicates that He credited the Old Testament as the source of that principle.  The phrases in all capital letters come from the following specific sources:

  • Mark 12:29 is Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:4
  • Mark 12:30 is Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:5
  • Mark 12:31 is Jesus quoting Leviticus 19:18

Putting Old Testament quotations in all capital letters is a practice of the New American Standard Bible (NASB).  It’s common for English translations, especially the more literal ones like the NASB, to highlight Old Testament quotations found in the New Testament in some easily identifiable way.  The NASB also has a cross-reference system which shows up the margins of all but the smallest print editions.  This cross-reference notation will identify the location of the quotations as I did above – for practically every verse of the Bible!  These are some of the reasons I appreciate the NASB so much.  (Here’s a post which gives more detail on that appreciation.)

By using a such a cross-reference system, you can trace the Old Testament roots of New Testament teaching from almost any place in the New Testament.  Since the cross-reference system is provided for the Old Testament, too, you can read passages there and check in the margin for which New Testament passages might refer to it.  This helps you tie together the two testaments.  They are certainly tied together in the mind of God.  “Old Testament” and “New Testament” are just terms that later generations have used to describe the Bible’s writings that came before and after Jesus of Nazareth.

Not all New Testament references are as easy to identify as the one above.  Some references are just partial quotations. Some are allusions, which are even more difficult to identify.  An example of this is Jesus’ statement, “The poor you always have with you” from  Matthew 26:11 (also found in Mark 14:7 and John 12:8).  If you read Deuteronomy 15:11, you will see a marked similarity.

Matthew 26:11 “For you always have the poor with you…

Deuteronomy 15:11 “For the poor will never cease to be in the land…

Though Jesus phrased the thought differently, it’s impossible to imagine that He or anyone listening to Him thought He was being original with the idea.

Another example of such an allusion is Jesus’ assertion that “with God all things are possible,” which He uttered in slightly different ways in three of the gospels (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27).  Compare this with similar thoughts found from one end of the Old Testament to the other:

Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?…

Job 42:1 Then Job answered the LORD and said,
Job 42:2 “I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.

Jeremiah 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,

Zechariah 8:6 “Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the LORD of hosts.

Once again, neither Jesus nor His countrymen – whether friend or foe – would think He was trying to introduce a new idea into Jewish thought by saying that with God all things were possible.  What Jesus was introducing, of course, was the notion that genuine and full faith in this idea would make an enormous difference in a person’s life – as it did in His.

While Bible scholars have discovered many such connections between the testaments, and lots of them show up in cross reference systems, there are yet other connections waiting to be found by those who read the Bible while trusting in the Holy Spirit for illumination…and who put into practice those things that they learn about Jesus.

For a list of more examples, see Catalog of New Testament Teachings Traceable to the Old Testament.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Promises

“Promise” is an important biblical concept.

The Old Testament is that set of documents associated with the prophets of ancient Israel.  The New Testament is that set of documents associated with the apostles of Jesus Christ.  The apostles claimed that promises made on behalf of God by Israel’s prophets were fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

The Old Testament is replete with these promises, but the most obvious examples of them were addressed to Abraham and, later, to a his descendant David.  These promises focused on an heir to whom, and through whom, would come extraordinary achievement and blessing.  This promised heir was called by many names, but most obviously by the name “Messiah” (i.e., “Christ”).  Thus to call Jesus of Nazareth by the name Jesus Christ is to claim that he is the fulfillment of those promises from God.

In this way, the two testaments are tied inextricably to each other.  The Old Testament is promise; the New Testament is fulfillment.  Implicit in all this is God’s nature as one who promises and then is faithful to make good on what He has promised.

Scripture passages relevant to this concept of promise and fulfillment, specifically of the Messiah (the Christ):

Acts 13:22-24

Romans 1:1-4; 9:3-5; 16:25-27

1 Corinthians 15:3-4

2 Corinthians 1:19-20

Titus 1:2

The apostles also claim that those who belong to Jesus Christ are heirs to the great and gracious promises that were his.  See 2 Peter 1:4.  Thus even though God has fulfilled all His promises in Jesus Christ, He continues to be true to those promises today for all those who live faithful to Christ.

Here is a listing of some of God’s specific promises to us.

The word “promise” is closely related in the Bible to the word “covenant.”  And here is a post showing how the two words relate to each other.

For yet more on the promises of God, see these posts.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

This post is similar to New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words.  That post dealt with specific words which are often translated differently in the two testaments – causing us to miss their commonality.  This post is about expressions that appear in both testaments in essentially the same form, yet are often not fully appreciated as having originated in the Old Testament.  That is, people often seem to read the New Testament as if unaware that the writers were relying on their conceptions of Old Testament usage.

Son of God – This expression is largely rooted in 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2:7, 12, but also is referenced in Exodus 4:22-23 and Hosea 11:1.  Among 1st-century Jews it was considered a messianic title, referrring to the promised descendant of David who would one day rule Israel in glory.  The expression exploded into a whole new perception when Jesus was raised from the dead and exalted to heaven.  Nevertheless, New Testament usage of the term never lost sight of its 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2 origin as a reference to Israel’s greater David.  (Trinitarian conceptions, by the way, are completely foreign to both testaments; they are post-biblical in origin.)

Son of Man – This expression appears over 200 times in the Old Testament (over 90 of these in Ezekiel alone), where it most often seems to be a rather mundane expression for a human being.  Jesus often used the term to refer to Himself, though this seemed more a way to cloak His messianic identity than to announce it (John 12:34).  However, the term is most notably mentioned in Daniel 7:13-14 and Psalm 8:4 where New Testament writers see the expression as a description of the resurrected and exalted Christ.  It is this understanding that drives New Testament usage of this Old Testament expression.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

New Testament Words Which Are Really Old Testament Words

When we read the New Testament (NT), we are often coming across words which are ostensibly absent or infrequent in the Old Testament (OT) – but which actually aren’t.  This isn’t a result of translators conspiring to hide anything from us.  Rather, it’s because of the vagaries of language and a variety of unrelated factors.  (The Tower of Babel described in Genesis 11 truly did invite a curse.)

The advantage of a literal English translation like the New American Standard Bible (NASB) is that it usually translates a given word consistently throughout the Scriptures.  This allows someone who knows English (but not the underlying original languages of Scripture) to use a concordance or cross reference system to compare one scripture to another – thus providing a broader set of examples to help understand the meaning of a word by multiple usages in varying contexts.  There are a few words, however, that even the NASB doesn’t translate consistently between the testaments (again, not through any malicious or corrupt intent), and this prevents us from more easily seeing the continuity of ideas between what we call the OT and what we call the NT.

Even without a concordance, you may be reading the OT and come across the word “Sheol,” then turn to reading the NT and come across the word “Hades,” without recognizing that these two words are referring to the same thing.  Or that “Jesus” in the NT is the same name as “Joshua” in the OT.  Or that “church” is often found in the OT, but usually translated as “assembly” or “congregation” instead of as “church.”  And so on.

There are not a lot of words that fall into this category, but some of them are important so I’ll list them in this post.  The comments below are based on the NASB and the Strong’s Concordance associated with it found at the NASB site.  (Other literal English translations may vary from this.  I will say that the NASB and the King James Version track closely on such issues.)

Christ  –  Shows up in the OT as “Anointed” or “Messiah,” but never as “Christ.”

church – Usually shows up in the OT as “assembly” (occasionally as “congregation” or “company”) but never as “church.”  Here’s a post on how “church” was used in the OT, and here’s a post on how it was used in the NT.  And here’s a summary post on how it’s used in both testaments.

Gentiles  –  Usually shows up in the OT as “nations,” but occasionally as something else and only once as “Gentiles.”  Even in the NT, it is sometimes translated as “nations” instead of “Gentiles.”

gospel –  Shows up in the OT as “good news,” but never as “gospel.”  For a little more detail, see this post.

grace  –  Shows up in the OT as “favor” and other words, but only occasionally as “grace.”  For more detail, see this post.

Hades  –  Shows up in the OT as “Sheol,” but never as “Hades.”  For more detail on this, see Appendix I of The Biblical Case for Everyone Going to Heaven.

Jesus  –  Shows up in the OT as “Joshua” and never as “Jesus.”

saints  –  Usually shows up in the OT as “holy ones,” and only occasionally as “saints.”

If an English reader didn’t know better, he’d think most of these terms were introduced in the New Testament and weren’t used before that.  This just wouldn’t be true.  Moreover, we have to remember that the Old Testament was the only Bible that New Testament folks had.  What we call the New Testament wasn’t collected, bound, and distributed until most if not all the folks we read about in the New Testament were dead and gone.

Understanding the OT context in which these words were first used is critical to understanding what NT folks meant when they used the words.  The NT believers were deeply steeped in the OT.  If we try to understand their writings without reference to the OT, we are going to misunderstand them.  Even worse, if we import meanings to these words based on what has happened since they died we are going to impose foreign meaning on their thoughts – meanings they could not possibly have intended.

Related to this post, is a post on significant terms that translated the same in both testaments, but which are insufficiently appreciated as having been coined in Old Testament times:  New Testament Expressions Which Originated in the Old Testament

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.