Christ In The Old Testament

Some months ago, I did a Bible study series in church I titled Christological Survey of The Old Testament. The series was based on Jesus’ conversation with two of his disciples on a journey called Road To Emmaus in Luke 24:13-44.  I will like to share some of the lessons in the study in a series of articles hoping it will bless a reader.

The Road To Emmaus

In this journey, two of Jesus’s disciples; Cleopas and an unnamed disciple were journeying from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus on the third day of Jesus’ resurrection. We know from the gospel narratives that Jesus revealed himself to his disciples and this event is one of those events post-resurrection that Jesus’ disciples saw him. The disciples were lamenting about the events of the past three days concerning Jesus’s death. Jesus joins them and perhaps because they were engrossed in their conversation, they didn’t recognise him. It appears also their inability to recognise him was a supernatural act of God. Luke tells us “But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” (v.16). Then a conversation ensued between Christ and the disciples (vv.17-27)

In this conversation, we note something common with many, if not all believers. We tend to presume our dreams and desires are God’s will for us. These disciples had their own ideas about the ministry of Jesus. To them, they saw him as a political Messiah: “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel thing” (v. 21). Because this political messiah they were expecting has been killed, they were sad. If we do not align our desires to the word and will of God for our lives, like these disciples, we will be saddened by the events of life that may go against our desires.

In response to their crushed hopes, Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith and then from the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus explained the events of his death and resurrection

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself (v.27)

In another event when the whole disciples were gathered, Christ appeared to them again and explained the events of his death and resurrection:

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled (v.44).

The Tanakh

What we call Old Testament is the full Bible of the Hebrews which was what was available Scriptures of Jesus’ earthly ministry. This is called the Tanakh; “an acronym derived from the names of the three divisions of the Hebrew BibleTorah (Instruction, or Law, also called the Pentateuch), Neviʾim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings).”¹

So when Luke told us Jesus taught his disciples the things written about him “beginning with Moses, and all the prophets” and also everything written about him in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms, Jesus was teaching his disciples about himself from the Old Testament Scriptures (also Matthew 5:17; John 5:46). The various divisions of the Tanakh is the various division of the Hebrew Bible and it is to be noted that, long before Jesus Christ was born, what was Scripture for the Jews had long been established.

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, 8 which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them. For it is no new thing for our captives, many of them in number, and frequently in time, to be seen to endure racks and deaths of all kinds upon the theatres, that they may not be obliged to say one word against our laws and the records that contain them²

What these series of articles will attempt to do will be “walking” through the Old Testament to find out places where Jesus is revealed based on his own teachings in Luke 24:27; 44.  These articles too will not be exhaustive of everything about Christ in the OLd Testament. It is not meant to be a detailed Christological Survey, but something that will serve as a springboard to study more. Indeed, all of Biblical revelation evolves around Christ: all the Old Testament prophets prophesied about Christ (1 Peter 1:10).

To be continued…

Notes:

  1. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Tanakh: Jewish Sacred Writings”, Britanicca.com/topic/tanakh.
  2.   Josephus, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged, trans, William Whiston (USA: Delmarva Publications, 2016), Kindle edition

–Article also posted on Grace and Truth by author

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