God’s Covenant, Part 10 – God’s Purpose

B-God’s Purpose Progressively Revealed

In further consideration of God’s purpose we now come to the manner of its unfolding in Scripture. Although the mind of God is limitless in terms of what it conceives He has determined to make a portion of it known to His creatures. We are told in Scripture “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deut. 29:29). This knowledge we have contained in the book called the Bible. The Bible is a book whose primary purpose is to reveal God, especially to make His will be known. In fact, knowledge and revelation are actually one and the same thing. Today it is fashionable to think of knowledge as something arrived at by men through scientific observation, but that notion could not be farther from the truth. Man knows nothing at all except what is revealed to him by God, whether it is special or more general revelation such as that found in nature. Because man has rejected the revelation of God by and large today, therefore, what he considers as knowledge is false and does not lead him to any kind of proper understanding of what life consists of. That is to say except for his own pleasure and self satisfaction. But as we have already seen, the purpose of all things including man’s existence is all inseparably connected to the eternal purpose of God. So what we have contained in the Bible, or, word of God as it can be rightfully called then serves this very purpose. The intent of God in giving us His word is to inform us of what the mind of God is toward the end that He be served and worshiped by His creature.

Scripture is also given by God that His covenant purpose and plan can be known by those to whom it has been determined will be its subjects both now, and for all eternity. Revelation is the foundation of faith in the covenant God. When we look at Scripture, we peer into the very mind of God concerning His covenant as it is revealed in history. In other words, if we would seek to understand the Bible then we must see in it a single covenant purpose and plan. The Bible is attacked by many people from many different quarters. The accusation made is that it is constructed haphazardly over time creating some sort of religious system based on an endless number of redactions. To these men, myth and contradiction are all they see in the Bible. It is true that the Scripture is written by many different men over a period of about fifteen hundred years. Yet, there is but a single overarching theme found within its pages. And of course, this theme is also comprising its parts that make up the whole. But to say that the Bible is nothing more than a collection of ancient writings that have no coherent theme is to misunderstand as well as too altogether misrepresent it.

1-The Unity of Scripture

The revelation of God emanates from the rational intellect of the eternal Deity. Every event of history, especially redemptive history has specific meaning to it in the mind of God which can only be known as it unfolds. A large portion of the Scripture, especially the Old Testament is therefore, made up of historical narrative. Yet, its purpose is not simply to give us a history lesson but to relate the acts of God in history so that they might be convertible to useful propositions from which faith can lay hold of. A case in point is this, the creation narrative is useful in that it informs us of the origin of all things. Scripture history opens with this glorious proposition, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1). As we read, the story of creation continues in its development as a theme within the space of six days, forming a number of propositional truths related to it. There are numerous places in Scripture that build upon the doctrine of creation, but the largest portion of revelation concerning this truth is contained in the first two chapters of Genesis in story form.

Ultimately though, the creation narrative points to the God who did it so that it is a starting point in the development of this vital doctrine of Scripture, to wit, the doctrine of God. Creation points to the God who transcends time and space. Creation points to the God who deserves to be worshiped and obeyed by His creatures. Creation points to the God who possesses immense power, hence, He is able to destroy as well as to create, and on and on it goes. Although the doctrine of creation does not appear in Scripture in the same manner as the doctrine of justification, theology would be bare without the narrative. Without the creation narrative redemptive doctrines such as justification would be meaningless. The God who creates is a holy God who demands perfection from His creatures. If this standard is not met, then God who created them is the only proper Judge (Ps. 7:11). The doctrine of justification, as it relates to the judgement of a just Judge is a matter of divine declaration. All of this is wrapped up in God’s covenant purpose and plan, so that without the creation narrative, nothing else stands.

The untaught look at Scripture in its two parts, Old and New Testaments and see little relationship between the two. The Old Testament appears to be concerned with the Jewish people and their development as a nation. The New Testament seems to be concerned with this world wide universal thing called Christendom. And so, the unlearned tend to view this perceived difference as a discontinuity in the Bible narrative. There is a popular scheme that has been around for many a year that seeks to exploit this seeming discontinuity in the Bible. They do this by proposing that God has two different plans for two different sets of people. By doing this, they profess to harmonize the meaning of Scripture history, as well as the mind of God revealed in Scripture. These people go so far as to say that God has two kingdoms, and there are two ways of salvation.

Jesus rebukes these folk in their ignorance in the pages of the New Testament. This He did when speaking to Nicodemus, a teacher of the Jews on the nature of His kingdom and salvation (John 3:1-10). Jesus’ teaching on the new birth appeared to Nicodemus to be so different as to be unrelated to his conception of the kingdom. To the Jew, being born into the kingdom consisted of family identity, circumcision and the keeping of certain religious ordinances. The main reason for the confusion in Nicodemus’ thinking was his failure to see what he should have seen in the Scripture narratives about the nature of God’s covenant kingdom. The kingdom of God, and hence, His covenant is primarily spiritual in nature rather than merely of earthly substance.

This is the very point Jesus made here to Nicodemus. The spiritual nature of God’s kingdom was laid before the Jews by Moses (Deut. 30:11:16). Whatever Moses set before the Israelites in terms of temporal blessing in the land they were going in to possess was tempered by the very clear assertion that it was inseparable from an inward spiritual life. The very same thing is said in the New Testament by the apostle Paul who quotes the words of Moses saying the same thing (Rom. 10:6-10). Paul even goes so far as to say that the meaning of this historical narrative is actually contained in the gospel of Christ, and that in Him, both Jew and Gentile are joined together as one by faith (Rom. 10:11-13). Old Testament history surrounding the Jews and their nation does coexist in complete harmony with what Jesus was teaching to them concerning the kingdom and the new birth (John 3:3,5). Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in response to his incredulity which John records for our understanding on the nature of God’s covenant. “Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” (John 3:9,10).

The basis for Jesus’ chiding is in the fact that the Old Testament narrative should have been understood by Israel’s teacher as propositional truth concerning the single unified covenant purpose. The Old Testament prophets pointed to the coming of the Messiah and His kingdom as the fulfillment of Abrahams blessing, and that it would be to the whole world (Gen. 12:3). And that being so, what Jesus taught in the Beatitudes, or, we might call the kingdom principles, should have been received by the Jews who first received this narrative. And so when we look at what God spoke to Abraham in the Old Testament about His covenant, we must do as the inspired apostle Paul did in the New Testament by relating it to the gospel. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, “In you all the nations shall be blessed.” (Gal. 3:8). God said no such thing in the original narrative, but He did actually say it in what was said (Gen. 12:3). This is narrative given in the form of a convertible proposition, showing forth the unity of Scripture and more important, the overall scheme of it.

There is a unity of purpose found in Scripture because of the same in God’s covenant. The covenant of God although presented in both Testaments is presented as one unified plan or purpose. To be sure, there is a development of this plan as various aspects of the covenant are revealed, beginning in the Old Testament and ending in the New. But the unifying theme is the fact that God’s covenant is eternal. Whatever individual promises were given at various times throughout history to various individuals concerning this, still, all of these culminate in the one overarching purpose of God to establish an eternal kingdom. This one eternal covenant theme is called in Scripture the “everlasting covenant.” The following verses are but a sample of the 15 times that the term “everlasting covenant” appears in the entire Bible (Gen. 9:16; 17:7; II Sam. 23:5; Ps. 105:10; Is. 24:5; Jer. 32:40; Ez. 37:26; Heb. 13:20). It is admitted that the term “everlasting covenant” appears only once in the New Testament. But since the writer of Hebrews asserts that Jesus Christ is the Mediator of it, no difficulty concerning the Old Testament is found in the text (Heb. 9:15).

Now, those who want to divide God’s covenant into pieces and then try to put them back together somehow, do this in the face of clear revelational unity found in the term “everlasting,” as it appears in both of the Testaments. For those who try to do this sort of thing we propose a simple formula in the form of a well-known nursery rhyme.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,

All the Kings horses and all the Kings men,

Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again?

If there are two covenant purposes with two kingdoms, and two covenant peoples with two covenant redemptions, then there must be two Gods in eternity. Of course, this is a ridiculous statement, but it is made to highlight the absurdity of this kind of hermeneutic. The philosophical proposition that the Humpty Dumpty rhyme presents to us in the matter however, sets the problem before us accurately. You can’t take something apart that is organically connected and dependant upon itself and expect to find consistency or some unifying purpose in it. The hermeneutic approach that does this to God’s covenant is like the pair of magic glasses that Joseph Smith wore when he read the golden plates that became the book of Mormon. Everything seen through these glasses appeared to him as truth, and we might add too, by his faithful followers. In reality, using unnatural methods of interpreting Scripture by pitting them against each other is just like looking through Joseph Smith’s glasses, it shows the viewer nothing but error.

There is a unity of purpose maintained in both Testaments of Scripture as seen by their own statements to this effect. Jesus came and preached the same kingdom that was anticipated in the Old Testament, even to non Jews. In the gospels a Roman Centurion believed in Him after Jesus healed his son. “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 8:10,11). Who are these that Jesus refers to in joining with Abraham in His kingdom? They are those throughout the world who just like the Centurion believe in Jesus as Abraham did also (Acts 3:25; Gal. 3:9). And there was nothing new or different about such a circumstance as this occurring when the Messiah came according to Old Testament prediction.

Although a large portion of Old Testament history is concerned primarily with Jewish believers, it was always known to them that the day would come, in which the kingdom would include the entire Gentile world. These are just a few of the many passages that foretold what Jesus said would happen concerning this to the Centurion: Duet. 32:43; Ps. 117:1; Is. 11:10; 42:1,6; 49:6; 60:3; 61:9.

When Paul taught the unity of Gods purpose in the book of Ephesians he stated that the kingdom transcends the division between the Testaments, and that it’s New Testament expression is founded upon the Old Testament revelation as much as the New. “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19,20). Many commentators take the phrase “the apostles and prophets” to mean only New Testament prophets as listed by Paul elsewhere in the same letter (Eph. 3:5; 4:11). There is no problem in applying the phrase this way, but in limiting its meaning only to New Testament prophets the overall context of Pauls teaching in chapter two is missed. Paul is bringing the members of God’s kingdom, ie, “household” together as one organization (Eph. 2:19-22). Paul says that the Christians are “fellow citizens” of the kingdom with the Old Testament saints. Even though the words covenant and kingdom is not present in this passage, nevertheless, the concept is clearly present there. God’s kingdom is delineated by the words “a holy temple in the Lord,” which make his references to “building,” “foundation,” and “cornerstone” all understood as kingdom language given in a metaphorical sense. It is for this reason that the distinction of apostle and prophet is made. Apostles are New Testament prophets already. And even though there appears to be a separate spiritual gift or function in the New Testament era associated with the title “prophet,” that is not entirely what Paul is saying here about the church. The prophets, no matter what Testament they are from comprise a single function, albeit according to their specific designation within the kingdom.

It should be remembered too, that the apostolic era was one in which the New Testament canon of Scripture was being formulated. It was not even until the fourth century that the church settled the matter of which letters were actually inspired and therefore, worthy to be called Scripture. Throughout the apostolic era the Old Testament was the Scripture upon which the gospel church was being constructed. Paul’s words to Timothy, “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” are referring to the Old Testament revelation (II Tim. 3:15).

The presence of inspired apostles as well as those others designated as prophets made this possible through their use of these Scriptures in pointing out their application to the church, and ultimately, to the kingdom. For this reason we see that they (apostles) quoted Old Testament Scripture in their letters more than two hundred different times, applying them to Christ, the gospel and the church. In addition to this, there are literally thousands of inferences and allusions made by them to Old Testament people, symbols, narratives, and examples. The passage in Ephesians which explains God’s kingdom using Old Testament imagery by Paul is just one example of this.

In another letter written by the apostle Paul we have a similar thing done in explaining the kingdom. Paul sets out in his letter to the Roman church in chapters nine through eleven to reconcile the obvious questions and difficulties that arose concerning the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in God’s kingdom. In doing this Paul used the metaphor of a tree to describe the nature of this kingdom (Rom. 11:16-24). This passage is deserving of a certain amount of time and space that is devoted to its interpretation, something we intend to save for another time. The specific point we do want to make here though, is that of the tree which represents God’s kingdom. Notice, there is but only one tree mentioned by Paul in this passage, not two. However it is interpreted, any interpretation which denies the singularity of God’s kingdom violates the clear teaching of Scripture to the contrary. Paul is concerned in this text to show how two seemingly disparate entities, the Jews and the Gentiles, have been made members of this one kingdom.

2-Progression in Revelation

The covenant purpose of God related to His kingdom is incredibly deep and variegated, yet, at the same time it is orderly and sequential in its undertaking. The unlearned and undiscerning may look at the Bible and see no clear scheme to it which makes any sense to them (I Cor. 2:14). But this should not be the case for those who are “spiritual” (I Cor. 2:15).

In unpacking the covenant purpose of God it is good to reflect upon the nature, construction, and formation of Bible history in terms of its main themes. Bible history, indeed all history is in reference to God’s purpose contained within His covenant.

History comprises many sequential events that unfold over a long period of time. Bible history is covenantal in nature, revealing the unfolding purpose of God in a succession of events that all lead to the ultimate end for which they were intended. As we look at the historical composition of Scripture there is a clear discernable development of purpose revealed. A proper examination of Scripture should lead one to see in it the progressive way that it unfolds.

God’s revealed purpose should be the beginning and ending of our study, for everything else in between that is what He has deemed necessary for its accomplishment. For this reason we do not believe that God has constructed His plan within space and time, nor is it in essence progressively developed, for this sort of thing would make God like us who are human. Nevertheless, God has purposed to establish His Kingdom through His covenant plan within time and space. What we are concerned with at this juncture is the revelation of this plan. Now, since this is so large a theme in and of itself, and since we have numerous subheadings in which to perform this, we are now concerned primarily with more of an overview.

So the question is where do we start in seeking to understand what God has purposed in terms of it’s (kingdom) revelation? For this we don’t start with Genesis chapter one, but with Moses the writer of Genesis, indeed of the first several books of the Bible. Moses was selected by God to be the first great prophet of the Bible. But before going any further we want to give a quick running definition of a prophecy. The purpose of a prophecy is to perform a twofold function in Scripture. First of all it is the function of fact telling God’s will for man, and second, it is the function of fore telling future events He will bring to pass in time. Also, especially in the case of Moses’ prophecy may perform the subsidiary function of past telling certain events which require the fact telling of them in order that they be understood.

The revelation God gave to Moses represents an important epochal event in covenant history. A great deal of important historical narrative had preceded Moses life and ministry. But here is where the difference lay in terms of revelatory history, Moses was chosen by God at a particular time in history to play a key role in the revealing of His kingdom purpose. This was a time in history when God was about to perform a series of major events toward the fulfillment of His purpose, and Moses was the key figure involved in this. Of course, we refer to the formation of the Old Testament Hebrew people into a nation set apart by God. Moses played an important role in this as a prophet, ruler and mediator of the people on behalf of God. We are concerned here now primarily with his role as a receiver and writer of revelation.

Moses entered the picture somewhere around 1520 BC[1], his early life story being related in the first chapter of the book of Exodus which he himself authored. Based on the genealogical records provided in Scripture it appears that God created the earth, and hence, the beginning of redemptive history commenced around 4000 BC. God most certainly revealed Himself to His people during this time which elapsed between the beginning of time and Moses’ day. Also, it would be unreasonable to assume that there was no written record of any of these things before Moses’ began to write. Certainly, there was oral communication of these things from person to person. There are a couple of cases in point worth noting about this. Moses wrote the book of Genesis which in Hebrew is “Bereshith,” or, the book of beginnings. Genesis is a narrative of events and people, beginning with creation first and ending approximately four hundred years before Moses was born. No information is given to us of how this narrative came to Moses. It could have been transmitted audibly by God as was the case on numerous occasions recorded throughout Scripture (Gen. 3:9; Ex. 3:4; I Sam. 3:1-4; Acts 9:1-6). It could have been derived by oral transmission preserved by Noah after the flood. Noah died shortly before Abraham did, and his son Shem, who was the progenitor of the Hebrew people and was alive, well into his grandson Abraham’s life. Also, last of all, Moses wrote in Genesis chapter five these words, “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.” (Gen. 5:1). He then goes on to give the record beginning with the first man Adam and then ending it with Noah and his family (Gen. 5:32). Did Moses mean to refer to an existing book or did he mean the book he was writing? We don’t know the answer to that question. But what we do know is what the Spirit tells us of all Scripture. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Tim. 3:16,17). Whatever way Moses came into the possession of the information which he recorded in Genesis, it was augmented by God’s inspiration.

A second point concerning early Scripture history arises from the book of Job. This book has always been in the possession of the Jews and received by them as an inspired writing. The New Testament attests to its authenticity in this regard (I Cor. 3:19; Jam. 5:11). But no one seems to know who the author of this book is. Job is believed to be a contemporary of Abraham, living after the flood. How it is that Job became a man of God, knowledgeable of His covenant and kingdom is a mystery. But one thing is certain, and that is that Job was most certainly a recipient of such revelation. Job even records the fact that his hope was in the Lord and in a future life and resurrection (Job 19:25-27). One possible clue about Job’s relationship to the covenant people may be the fact that he was a distant relative to them through a son of Shem (Gen. 10:21-23; Job 1:1).

So why was Moses given the task of documenting the history which preceded him? It was for precisely the same task for which Moses was called by the Lord in the first place (Ex. 3:4-8). This was the particular time in history in which God was to advance His kingdom in the earth beyond that which had preceded it. This He was about to do in transferring the focus of His covenant dealings in the world from only a few individual persons to a whole multitude of people. A documented covenant history in the possession of these people was essential in order to accomplish this task. And so it was, that Moses was called upon by God to perform such a duty.

Early Bible history joined with law, and a prescribed religious service would be the foundation God would lay through Moses for a future theocratic society on earth. It is important to note too, that after the fall and defection of man in the garden that earth’s inhabitants altogether fell away from any acknowledgment of their Creator. Scripture tells of this condition and the need for a re establishment of Gods testimony on earth “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom. 1:21). All but a few at this time in history were utterly ignorant of the living and true God. And so it was that God was about to break into this darkness that permeated the world with the light of His marvelous word.

The day in which Moses lived was marked by its incredible idolatry. Along with this idolatry was its attendant religious thought that was steeped in the occult. The life and deeds of Moses are in conjunction with the then world empire of Egypt. As the Exodus narrative reveals, Moses through God’s providence was brought up in Pharaohs household enjoying a very privileged position (Heb. 11:23). This man of faith left all that however, to follow and serve God in the wilderness (Heb. 11:24-27). Egypt was a land completely engulfed in wickedness, sorcery and idolatry. It was also in this land that the Hebrew people lived, of which Moses was a son. This Moses was commissioned by God to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery to the Egyptians, and to bring them to their own land as the people of God’s peculiar interest. And so the life and ministry of Moses, along with the deliverance and establishment of the Hebrews as people set apart to God is the epochal event upon which his volume of revelation revolves.

The first thing the Hebrew people needed was to know their God. For the Hebrews, while living in Egypt for four hundred years had become idolaters, the same as the Egyptians. The first task of Moses was to bring this people back to a knowledge of the true and living God, the One who created them, and the One to whom they owed allegiance. And so we see the narrative of Genesis begin with these words, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen. 1:1). Creation is the first major theme introduced in Scripture. Creation is foundational to faith in the living God, for He is a personal active Being, not a myth, nor an idol. And it is the power of God at work that does all things, and does them all good. As we have already seen the kingdom of God existed from the beginning, but the knowledge of it in the world had almost been lost. It was to these Hebrew people through Moses that this knowledge was to be returned, maintained and disseminated throughout the world.

Because creation is the foundation to Gods kingdom and covenant, He has a special interest in it. God loves His creation, the works of His hand. It is impossible to believe in God and not believe in Him as Creator. When Moses recorded the six literal days of creation in Genesis chapter one, he set forth the permanent standard by which faith in God was to be tested. If anyone denies or alters the meaning of these words they simply do not believe in God. This is important to convey because there are covenantal theories today that teach what is called the framework hypothesis for creation. This is an attempt to reconcile the revelation God gave of Himself in creation with modern science. It is also a denial of Scripture for it interprets the days of creation to mean long ages of time, even though the word used in Hebrew ordinarily means a literal day. God’s revelation boxes in the meaning in the very same narrative when it says, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Gen. 2:1-3). God sanctified a day, not an age.

The re establishment of the true knowledge of God was closely tied to the memorializing of this day. Observe Moses’ declaration of it to the Hebrew people in the wilderness before they were constituted as a nation.

Exodus 12:15

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

Exodus 12:16

On the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation for you. No manner of work shall be done on them; but that which everyone must eat — that only may be prepared by you.

Exodus 13:6

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.

Exodus 16:26,27

Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be none.” Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none.

Exodus 16:29,30

See! For the LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So the people rested on the seventh day.

The purpose of observing this day is to declare the Creator to the world. But even more important, it shows that God is intimately concerned with His creation in a covenantal way. This is so because all of the creation is His domain, His kingdom rule. The “day” which God made is part of that rule, for it fixes time in an incremental and progressive way. The kingdom of God’s everlasting covenant will be one of eternal, progressive time. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to God that the day of rest from His work is remembered. “For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works” (Heb. 4:4). “There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.” (Heb. 4:9).

Next, it was the duty of Moses to bring forth to the Hebrew people the presence and reality of sin as it had entered into creation. The fall of man, and its effect on all of creation was the second major theme of importance in this revelation given to Moses. Unless the people of future Israel understood their connection to this important historical event, there would be no basis whatsoever for them to understand God’s covenant, and their relationship to it or Him.

Adam’s fall in the garden is given by Moses in the form of historical narrative. Without this narrative there would be no explanation given to men as to why evil exists in the world. To get even closer to home, the fall explains why evil is present in each and every one of us. Now, the story as it goes in Genesis chapters two and three is not so obvious to everyone on this side of the event. A command was given by God to Adam not to eat of a certain tree in the garden (Gen. 2:16,17). Failure by Adam to heed God’s warning would result in his death. But eat it he did in following his wife in the same infraction (Gen. 3:6). No commentary is given in the narrative as to why this certain tree should be forbidden, or, why its use merited such a judgement as death. But in the slender narrative given it offers us a clue however, in what God called the tree. The name, “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” had reference to God rather than to the tree itself, for in eating from it the express command of God was violated. And so, when Adam ate of the tree, he died. The judgement of death came in two stages, he died first spiritually, then later on Adam died physically. Now the extent of this judgement as it fell upon Adam’s posterity is not stated in the narrative either. However, the fact that this judgement fell in turn upon all men becomes apparent in the narrative as it continues in chapter four of Genesis, and following through till the time of the flood when God destroyed the world (Gen. 6:5,7). And though there were only eight people saved from the deluge, as mankind multiplied from them so did sin. We know this by what has happened to every one of his descendants since that day.

Like creation, this narrative along with its various convertible propositions is essential to faith in God. Little wonder then that one of the tenets of pagan religion has always been the denial of this event with its attendant consequence. Paganism believes that humans have always died because of natural causes. In fact, death to the pagan mind is a sort of wonderful release from the constriction of this body and realm into some nebulous spirit world of perfection. Some pagan beliefs like Hinduism and Buddhism even think that this spirit existence reemerges once again in another form or body. Nothing can be further from the truth however, for we understand from Scripture that spiritual death means eternal death (Rom. 6:23). This death is the payment of Gods justice toward the perpetrator of His holy law. The law of God is inseparably connected to Himself, so that any violation of it is a crime against Him. It was into the midst of this pagan world view that God gave to Moses the revelation of the origin of death and judgement for sin.

The people to whom such revelation was given were to maintain it studiously as one of the tenets of their faith in the covenant God. All of the religion which would be instituted afterward by Moses would reflect this reality of sin and death as foundational to covenant redemption. Because sin is a violation of law, the knowledge of Gods law given through Moses was included in the narrative of the fall. Often it is said that there was but one law at issue in the garden. In the passage from the book of Romans that tells us of the imputation of Adams sin it refers to the “offence” which brought universal death and evil upon mankind (Rom. 5:12,14). Here the apostle Paul is drawing a distinction between the one offense and what it wrought upon men compared to what is brought in reversal of it through the act(s) of Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:15-19). But the continual reference to a single offense can be rather misleading when contemplating the nature of law. Law in principle is something that is all encompassing in nature. To violate any aspect of law when it pertains to the Being of God is a total violation of its all encompassing meaning (James 2:10).

Consequently, even in the Genesis narrative we see more at stake concerning God’s kingdom and this one command with Adams violation of it. Adam and Eve were commanded to take dominion over the earth (Gen. 1:26,28). This dominion was the maintenance and furtherance of God’s kingdom which Jesus reiterates in His model prayer to the Father, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10). Second, along with the negative prohibition of abstaining from that one tree in the garden, there was an equal positive command given to eat of all the others, especially of the tree of life (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:22-24). The violation of the one command rendered Adam unfit to fulfill all of the others, hence, he with his wife was ejected from the garden. And even more to the point, they were ejected from God’s kingdom, at least from its benefits and blessings.

The importance then of this narrative of Adam’s one offense cannot be understated. It also makes sense of why the revelation given to Moses for the Hebrew people would contain such a plethora of statutes and ordinances associated with Gods law.

Moving on from this, it was next given to Moses to write the narrative of redemption as it unfolds in Genesis. Redemption is the main issue involved in God’s covenant purpose, for His is a kingdom comprising people whom He has specifically chosen and saved for this purpose. In the garden where Adam and his wife fell into sin and thereby received judgement from God, it was there also he received the revelation of his redemption. Now, the narrative reveals much that is interesting concerning this of which we will only focus at this time on but a couple of points. First, the curse God pronounced on Adam and his wife was done so to them in the presence of the serpent who had tempted them to sin (Gen. 3:16-19). And second, the curse pronounced upon the serpent was pronounced upon him in the presence of the man and the woman who sinned (Gen. 3:14,15). But in the midst of this judgement a revelation of their redemption was pronounced too, showing that the curse was intricately connected to the purpose of redemption. This was done so, that is, the revelation of their redemption, not to them directly or in so many words, but to the serpent in the presence of their hearing. In doing this, the blessing of redemption revealed to Adam and Eve was actually the serpent’s curse. His works would be overthrown by their redemption. The kingdom of God would be established upon the ruin of his destruction.

More important, the narrative in Genesis three introduces the Redeemer as a son of the woman who will perform both the curse and the blessing upon the serpent. “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15). This is referred to as the proto evangelium, or, the pre gospel message. For in this revelation a Savior is promised who will overthrow all that was done to undo the kingdom by this wily creature. For the rest of history up to the time of Moses’ redemption, as it concern’s God’s covenant kingdom, is based upon this original narrative.

The rest of the time that elapsed between Adam and Moses was not without further revelation from God. The Genesis narrative records numerous events and circumstances that introduce God’s covenant purpose. We can notice from it too, that the revelation is progressive in nature, building upon what has been previously made known. When we keep in mind, the fact that God has but a single end in view we should not be misled in any way by the progressiveness of these events from a historical perspective. What we see from subsequent revelation is that God entrusted this knowledge to a single family in a single line of descent from Adam. This theme is carried through to the end of time being developed in its parts from the revelatory function in relation to the kingdom of the Lord. The narrative that is compiled of this becomes the whole canon of Scripture in that it reveals God’s mind, as it points and leads toward the final conclusion of it all.

God appeared next in the redemptive narrative to Noah in Genesis chapter six. The significance of this revelation is that it coincided with an earth changing cataclysmic event orchestrated by the Lord known as the flood. God revealed Himself to Noah prior to the flood, instructing him to build an ark even though it had never rained upon the earth (Gen. 6:13-17). The nature of this redemptive act God revealed to Noah was in preparation for what He had in-store for the future of His kingdom. Although God destroyed the world and everyone in it through this flood, Noah and his family were saved in order to repopulate the earth and to maintain the knowledge of God (Gen. 6:9,10). It was in and through Noah’s family that Gods covenant purpose was furthered and preserved. The flood was but one installment of the redemptive process if we can call it that, making it clear that God would deal with the entire world and all of mankind in His judgements. Afterward, God reiterated His previously spoken will to Adam, concerning the kingdom purpose of dominion through population expansion on earth. “Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.” So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives with him. Every animal, every creeping thing, every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth, according to their families, went out of the ark.” (Gen. 8:15-19).

Although population expansion had occurred following Adams ejection from the garden, it yielded little, if anything by way of acknowledgment by the earth’s inhabitants, concerning the gracious intentions of the Lord. The apostle Paul put it aptly when he described this period of time in which men were unthankful and did not glorify God (Rom. 1:18-21). When the flood occurred the whole earth was steeped in wickedness (Gen. 6:5). But now, having rid the earth of sinners and their deeds, God was worshiped by one of His redeemed once again (Gen. 8:20). The destruction of the earth thus revealed was in fact the redemption of His people. In turn it was also the populating of God’s kingdom. And so, we see the genealogical record in the Genesis narrative, as the life line so to speak, between Adam and Noah’s descendants concerning the developing theme of redemption (Gen. 5:1-32).

The next major event in the history of redemption occurred when God revealed Himself and His purpose to Abram, a son of Noah through his son Shem (Gen. 11:10-26; 12:1-3). It is at this point in history that the substance of the genesis narrative begins to expand exponentially in terms of this man and his family. Beginning in chapter twelve and going on through to the end of Genesis, the story of Abram and his family is taken up as the focus of God’s interest on earth. And It was from Abram’s posterity that the Hebrew people were born, of whom Moses was a son.

The occasion of the next stage in the progress of redemption was the separation of Abram from his family, and the charge by God to him to sojourn in the special place of His choosing. “Now the LORD had said to Abram: ” Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” (Gen. 12:1). This place was the land of Canaan, where God would establish an earthly nation of people made up of Abram’s descendants. God spoke to Abram saying, “I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2). This epochal event surrounding God’s revelation to Abram marked the beginning of the end of what had been the kingdom purpose administered through a single family unit, and the commencement of God’s dealings with a nation. And though the nation did not spring from Abrams’ immediate children, but rather from his great grandchildren, still he was to be the progenitor of it. And even more astounding than that, God revealed to Abram that of his family in this great nation, somehow all the earth would be included in the blessings and benefits associated with this purpose. God spoke again saying, “I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Gen. 12:3). This was nothing less than an intimation from God of what His kingdom purpose entailed. The earth that was lost to sin, with God’s dominion seemingly foiled through human rebellion would end in a complete reversal some day. So in Abram, redemption would be expanded, fulfilling the original charge to Adam, then to Noah to populate and exercise dominion on earth for God.

Now, just as the revelation God gave to Abram of being the father of a nation was postponed for a generation far removed from him, so was their entrance into the land to which they would eventually be situated. God revealed to Abram that his family would be diverted to another land where they would become slaves. Afterward, God would deliver them and bring them into the promised land. “Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.” (Gen. 15:13,14). This was of course, a revelation of the exodus out of Egypt that Moses would lead.

At this point, something important in the redemptive narrative becomes apparent. In the beginning of Genesis, we begin with the theme of a kingdom. Paradise is lost through sin, then regained through promised redemption. The narrative of this is given as a narrow sketch without commentary. Here, in these verses of Genesis fifteen (13,14), we have a new kingdom narrative unfold that builds upon the first, yet, this time there is a more definite outline of it with a procedure shown by God. Revelation God gave to Abram in Genesis chapter fifteen on the future history of his descendants, reveal an outline for us which shows God’s method of bringing His covenant purpose to pass. God declared in His revelation to Abram that there was a kingdom, a people, and a place already determined beforehand that He would bring into existence. But before the kingdom could materialize, the people of it must first be lost, then afterward redeemed. Before the people could receive their land, they must first be dispossessed of all property, land and freedom. There is still no commentary given by God as to the why of this, only the presentation of the various themes at issue related to it. Moses was to relay the things God revealed to Abram in his book of beginnings, so that his generation, the one that would be saved from their plight as slaves in Egypt would know their God and His ways.

And so, as the Genesis narrative of Abrams family headed toward its final stage. We are introduced to the twelve sons of his grandson, Jacob, who become the tribal leaders and heirs to the prophetic revelation of Genesis 12:1-3 and 15:13,14. The family was led providentially into Egypt by God, and blessed by Him through a particular son, Joseph, who obtained prominence in this land. The early history closes then with the family of Abraham as he was later called, in place for the great redemptive event that Moses was being prepared to effect.

But before Genesis was written, Moses himself encountered God in the wilderness for the first time and was given the first of many revelations he would receive relative to the advent of Israel as a nation (Ex. 3:1ff). God said to Moses, “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” (Ex. 3:10). As Egypt was the place of their enslavement, its leader Pharaoh was their chief persecutor. Scripture narrative reveals the deliverance from Egypt and from Pharaohs oppression came after a prolonged contest which took place between God and him through the instrumentality of Moses (Ex. 5:1-12:31). In the course of this deliverance, God inflicted pain upon Pharaoh and his people through a series of ten national plagues, forcing him to let His people go into the wilderness. It was there where God made known the detail of the Genesis narrative to Moses. It was also there that the details and instructions of an earthly kingdom were revealed to him as well (Ex. 20:1ff).

With a visible nation of people born and established upon earth in the name of YHWH (I AM WHO I AM, Ex. 3:14), there was now a witness provided for it of God and His kingdom, at least in principle. “And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” (Ex. 19:3-6). Moses was instructed by God to give Israel its law, its religion, and its identity as His people. The establishment of an earthly kingdom informed the apostate people of the earth that God was its rightful owner. This also discomfits the one who led the apostasy in the first place, that serpent of old, the devil whom God would utterly destroy some day. (Rev. 12:9; 20:2). The manner in which this kingdom was established illustrates three basic themes, kingdom ideal, circumstantial separation, and redemptive fulfillment. Put together, these three themes develop the mind of God concerning His kingdom.

The rest of the Old Testament is the story of the Hebrew people, their obedience to God at times but more often than not, their disobedience. The kingdom of Israel was not established over night either. It came in stages along with various revelations from God given to important persons in its development. In this, the concept of progression in the revealing of Gods purpose was furthered. Before Israel had obtained its first earthly king, God raised up an important figure among them to direct the undertaking of the next epochal event. “Now the boy Samuel ministered to the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the LORD where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the LORD called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” (I Sam. 3:1-4). This came at a time when Israel was languishing spiritually, and consequently there was an absence of revelatory nearness of God toward them.

Just like a previous time in Israel’s history, God raised this man Samuel up to show His mind in preparation for the next stage of kingdom development. Even though Moses was a prophet, Samuel was special in that he was to be the first in a line of prophets God would send to Israel in the governance of His kingdom. Samuel was instrumental in ushering in a new era in the historical narrative, through the establishment of Israel as an earthly monarchy.

But here is where the purpose of God often gets murky for many of God’s people. The Old Testament kingdom and its redemption were centered upon the expectation of a promised Messiah, beginning in Genesis (3:15), and carried on through to the end (Mal. 3:1; 4:5,6). The failure of Israel as an earthly kingdom under God raises many questions in the mind of believers who read of it in Scripture. Israel’s persistent disobedience led to their ultimate failure on earth to be a witness for God. After many warnings from God, He destroyed Israel as a kingdom, leaving it to be nothing but a district of ethnic inhabitants dominated by larger powers. But here too, kingdom progression was a consistent theme. God sent prophets during and after a prolonged disillusion of kingdom sovereignty, who all pointed to the very same redemptive ideal present since the beginning of time. The Messiah was still to come, and when He did, He would usher in a renewal of kingdom dominion throughout the earth (Is. 2:1-4; Ez. 36:16-28).

Generations of Jews ended up living under one oppressive ruler after another, until Jesus the Messiah finally appeared. When the Messiah finally did appear, however, it was anticlimactic to say the least. Instead of ushering in a new age of kingdom glory according to the Jewish concept of it, Jesus the Messiah was rejected and put to death by that generation of Jews. Instead, a smaller band of followers faithful to Christ was born who departed completely from the Mosaic institutions.

It is here that progression more than ever must be understood concerning God’s purpose. The Old Testament closes with these words, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Mal. 4:5). This was taken as a literal prediction by the Jews who believed that Elijah would return from the dead. But what do we see instead? “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘ Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ “ (Matt. 3:1-3).

What we see is the forerunner of the Messiah that Isaiah spoke of was not the literal Elijah come back from the dead, but rather, the figurative Elijah in John the Baptist. The words of Jesus to this effect prove the point.

Matthew 11:14

And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.

Matthew 17:10

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

Matthew 17:11

Jesus answered and said to them, “Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things.

Matthew 17:12

But I say to you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know him but did to him whatever they wished. Likewise the Son of Man is also about to suffer at their hands.”

And Luke quoted Malachi directly in his gospel narrative as John the Baptist (Luke 1:17). What this all proves to us is that there was indeed a progression of revelation relative to this great epochal event of the Messiah’s appearing, only not the one that was expected. Instead, everything that was predicted surrounding this literal event was shrouded in figurative imagery. It also shows that God’s kingdom in its ultimate form was to be something quite different from what was first made known long ago.

The same theme’s that were present in the Old Testament were carried through into the New Testament with the advent of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. In other words, revelatory progression carries with it continuity. The importance of John the Baptist as the forerunner of the Messiah then cannot be understated. The revelation given to him by God of the immanency of the Messiah’s appearance was the next phase of the kingdom narrative. And therefore, it provides the bridge in the gap between the original revelation of Genesis and the final stages of redemptive history in terms of the New Testament. Hence, we have in the introduction to John’s gospel both the explanation of whom Jesus Christ is in relation to God and creation, as well as who John the Baptist is as His final prophet (John 1:1-18). Verses 1-18 forms a complete statement to this effect. But tucked in the middle of it is the apostle John’s statement of John the Baptist as the smaller light that sheds light on the greater Light (verses 6-8).

We have in the New Testament church what is called the gospel, or, “glad tidings of the kingdom of God” among us, which means the kingdom is present here and now (Luke 1:19, 8:1). And yet, even so it is still not fully revealed in the sense of absolute dominion, as long as sin and disobedience remain in the world. Because of this, there is much more to come in terms of its consummation. But in terms of revelation, this stage of Gods purpose has now reached its final chapter. The gospel is the testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Tim. 1:8-11). In this passage written to Timothy, Paul is saying the revealing of Jesus Christ in the gospel is the appearance of God’s kingdom. In it Paul states that God’s purpose, His people, and the revelation of their salvation have all appeared in Him. The sum total of all these things Paul says of the gospel equal the kingdom of God. Also, Paul says that this gospel revelation is that which was the mind of God “before time began” (verse 9).

Progressive continuity requires a single unifying theme. The Bible does not disappoint us in this. Far from the advent of Jesus Christ being some kind of radical departure from all that went before, we are told by the Lord Himself that it is a continuation of it (John 5:39). This fact was lost of course, on the Pharisees who were spiritually blind. But it is most telling in that this can be said about many who are religious, yet, lost. They search the Scripture, but all the time they fail to see what’s there, or, should we say, who is there in it’s midst.

The Jews rejected Christ as the Messiah because they were blind. In fact, John tells us this in His introduction of the Word (Revelation) of God which is Christ, that they always rejected Him (John 1:11). This was because the Jews by and large were spiritually dead and blind, unable to see the Lord in the Old Testament revelation, and therefore, unable to believe in Him. Except for those Jews who were elect according to the Kingdom purpose of God, this is why the others failed to see God in Christ and receive Him as such (John 1:12,13).

But even the disciples were slow to see exactly who Jesus was, even though at times they were given extreme moments of spiritual clarity (Matt. 16:13-16). Nevertheless, the disciples were believers in Jesus Christ as the Messiah as is evidenced from their undying commitment to follow Him in spite of the fickleness of the crowd. And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:65-69). This testimony of faith from the disciples came from them because they were the chosen members of God’s covenant kingdom.

Yet, it really was not until after Jesus had died and arose from the grave, then appeared to the disciples, that they finally were able to comprehend more fully who He was in reference to the entirety of Scripture. In chapter twenty four of Luke’s gospel we have several amazing statements recorded to this effect (Luke 24:13-49).

As two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus, Jesus, after His resurrection appeared to them on the road, “But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.” (Verse 16). That is to say, they did not spiritually perceive Him to be the resurrected Lord they had known as the man Jesus previous to His crucifixion. Spiritual perception is a matter of God’s grace, just as it was when Peter declared of Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16). And it was for good reason that this was done, for Jesus intended to enlarge their understanding of Him from Scripture now that it was fulfilled in His resurrection.

What the disciples said of Jesus was most telling of their understanding and their expectation of what He was to accomplish. As Jesus and the disciples conversed, He inquired of the source of their apparent sadness, of which they replied that it was due to recent events which had taken place (Verses 17,18). “And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.” (Luke 24:19-21). Indeed, the disciples were right in understanding the expected Messiah to be a “Prophet, mighty in deed and word,” for this very thing was foretold by Moses (Deut. 18:15,18). And furthermore, Jesus of Nazareth did also display in Himself the very characteristic Moses said would certify Messiahship, to wit, power attending the words spoken in the name of the Lord (Deut. 18:21,22). But what the disciples, indeed all of the Jews did not understand concerning the Messiah, were that He would die the ignominious death of a malefactor before the kingdom would be fully revealed.

In other words, redemption according to the covenant purpose of God in reference to His kingdom was in the death of the Redeemer. This was something the Jews saw in Isaiah chapter fifty three, but could not reconcile as the purpose of God for the Messiah. Why was this? The Jews of old as we said, by and large were reprobates. What they hoped for was an earthly kingdom in which they would see all their earthly enemies destroyed. To them, the Messiah was an earthly prince whose purpose it would be to subjugate the world in tyranny for their benefit. None of the language of Scripture that described the Messiah as merciful in their minds had anything to do with anybody but themselves. But what they neglected to see in their self righteous thoughts, and hatred for all non Jews, was that the mercy of God is inseparably connected to His covenant, a purpose that includes people throughout the world. For example:

Deuteronomy 4:31

(for the LORD your God is a merciful God), He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them.

Genesis 12:3

I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

The progressive nature of Gods revelation kept this hidden from the Jews who did not believe in Christ then, nor, when He came in the flesh to accomplish His purpose. This was the mystery kept secret from the beginning of time when at first it was disclosed to Adam, Eve and the serpent in the garden (Rom. 16:25). A mystery is not something completely hidden, for then it would not be a mystery. No, a mystery is something revealed, but only in part. This was the aim of God in the Old Testament revelation. It was to reveal His purpose in the form of mystery, and to open it up over a long period of time. Those who believe in God are to look back in time at the revelation, and to consider what God has revealed in it up to their time. The Jews saw something different in Scripture than what God revealed. In their arrogance and unbelief they saw themselves, not Christ in the word. In utter hatred and contempt of God, the Jews fashioned Him after their own idea as an idol, in much the same way as they had always done (Ex. 32:4).

But here, on the road to Emmaus we see that the disciples who did believe in Him were lacking understanding too. “Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27). Everything contained in the Scriptures testify exclusively to the Person and work of Jesus Christ! He is what they are about; indeed, He is the “Word.” All that Moses wrote of in his books to Israel points to Christ. All the Prophets wrote of in their book’s points to Christ too. Jesus Christ is the central figure and purpose of the entire revelation of God concerning His kingdom, from the beginning of creation until He comes again. The death and resurrection of Christ, His ascension into glory, and all that happens until His return is contained in this revelation. Jesus is that Prophet that Moses and the prophets spoke of (Heb. 1:1-3).

This was no afterthought nor follow up to what would happen at the hand of the Jews. There are those who believe today that the church is a sort of parenthetical afterthought on the part of God, in response to the events surrounding the rejection of Christ by the Jews. But here, in this narrative Christ dispels such false thinking as that. Instead, Jesus tells us that it was the intention of God that these things should take place. How do we know that? We know by the words of Jesus to the disciples in verses 25-27. This brings us to something else that is vitally important to understand in these words Jesus spoke to the disciples. When He says to them “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”, Jesus is presenting a theological necessity to them which is contained in the Old Testament narrative. This necessity further expands upon the purpose God has in giving us the revelation of His kingdom progressively. It is an act of faith to reason upon the revelation of God. Unbelievers are prone to take every word of Scripture in the most literal and crassest sense. This is exactly what the Pharisees did to the law of Moses (Matt. 5:17ff). In doing this, the Pharisees destroyed the intent of God in Moses and the Prophets, making it impossible for them to see Jesus in them (Verse 17).

The key to this point is found in the Emmaus narrative.“So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them.” (Luke 24:15). As the disciples walked and talked, they ruminated upon the events which had just taken place in Jerusalem. The disciples talked to themselves and reasoned about these events. They sought to understand the theological meaning in them according to Scripture. It is in the context of this conversation and their desire that Jesus suddenly appears to show it unto them! And the necessity and reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection were further brought home to them when they came together for fellowship around a meal. “Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.” (Luke 24:30,31). Suddenly, it all came to them when they recalled the upper room discourse and the last meal they had with the Lord before He was betrayed. It was clear now to them that Jesus was the Paschal lamb prefigured in the Old Testament narrative of Israel’s exodus from Egypt. And instead of a single nation finding redemption in the Messiah, they knew now that the whole world was to benefit from Jesus’ death. The words of John the Baptist the disciples heard three years previously were now seen in a new light.“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).

This knowledge the disciples now had of Jesus was spiritual knowledge. It was based on Scripture narrative brought to light in their minds by the Lord. Therefore, faith is a reasoned response to Scripture narrative as much as it is a response to direct propositions of truth contained in Scripture as well.

Once again in the same chapter (Luke 24), we see the theological necessity of believing in Christ from the Old Testament Scripture brought forth to the disciples. After the two disciples returned from Emmaus to Jerusalem, Jesus once again appeared to them, but this time it was to the eleven, Judas having ended his life. “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” (Verse 44). Jesus told them that everything to do with His coming and purpose as a fulfillment of the Old Testament Scripture. And Jesus had continually pointed this out to His disciples. For example:

Matthew 3:15

But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.

Matthew 5:17

“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.

Mark 1:15

and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 4:21

And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

John 15:25

But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

John 17:12

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

This time, when Jesus spoke of the Scriptures he added the Psalms to those writings which looked forward to Him, and, the events surrounding His death and resurrection. The designation Jesus used, the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms were that which was used by the Hebrews to describe their Scriptures. Jesus’ use of this description however, was given specifically to convey the thought that the Scriptures in their entirety were written exclusively of Him. The progressive nature of the prior revelation is both seen and furthered in Jesus adding to it the words His disciples had heard from Him over the course of His three-year ministry with them.

“And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” (Verse 45). Comprehension is a function of reason. The two parts which constitute saving faith are knowledge and assent. These two things combined in harmony with each other equal faith. By Jesus coming in history and fulfilling all that was anticipated of Him in the Old Testament, the fullest expression of faith could now be had. Faith can now look back in time in Scripture to see a picture of God’s kingdom, of Gods salvation, and of Gods Savior Jesus Christ emerge.

“Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.” (Verses 46-48). And so it was that the disciples were the select witnesses to this fulfillment, prepared to preach the kingdom in its fullest expression to the world. In the New Testament, after the death and resurrection of Christ, we see a gradual drift away from narrative in Scripture to straightforward teaching of doctrine in propositional form. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand that the proper way of interpreting Scripture, indeed Scriptures own rule is to see it as a development of revelation that has unfolded over a long period of time. Older revelation is interpreted by the newer, not the other way around. Many have fallen into the pitfall of interpreting the future remaining time of this age and certain expected events surrounding the second coming of the Lord this way.

To understand the Bible, is to understand its theology. Theology consists not only of the explicit statements made in the Bible, but the implicit ones as well. Jesus asserts this very thing when He uses the words “thus it was necessary” to prove to the disciples the intent of God. The Westminster confession states the case properly when it says:

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture (Of the Holy Scripture, Section VI).

The Sadducees, just like the Pharisees, had no faith and consequently were unable to comprehend Jesus and the unmistakable proofs surrounding His ministry as consistent with the Scripture. These men were the liberals of their day, they denied there was any resurrection to be expected. So they questioned Jesus in such a way so as to catch Him in His teaching, by presenting a dilemma they saw in the Mosaic law concerning inheritance in light of future resurrection (Matt. 22:23-28). “Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matt. 22:29-32). They did not believe in Christ from Gods word because they did not see the necessary theological consequences in it concerning His teaching. Earthly inheritance laws mean nothing in God’s eternal covenant kingdom.

Aside from the broad themes of kingdom, captivity, sin and redemption we have already considered from the Old Testament revelation, we come now to the question of how does the person of Christ fit into this? We admit that the Old Testament is full of hundreds of direct prophecies respecting the Messiah. The Jews saw those too, and certainly had an expectation of His coming. But what is it about the Old Testament revelation contained in Moses, Prophets and the Psalms that point to Jesus Christ as its fulfillment? In other words, how does Scripture anticipate the coming of Christ aside from specific prophecies given to that effect? It is seen in what Jesus fulfills in His person pertaining to the specific needs of Gods covenant people. This is best summarized by what is often called the threefold office of Christ, which is that of Prophet, Priest, and King.

Jesus received a commission by the Father to this threefold office at the time of His baptism (Luke 3:21-23). As a Prophet, Jesus Christ reveals the will of God concerning redemption, which is proclaimed throughout the world. As a Priest, Jesus Christ became a sacrifice for sinners on the cross, which He intercedes for His people before the Father. As a King, Jesus Christ overcame sin and the devil on the cross, which He applies to His people as He rules all creation from His throne at God’s right hand. As Prophet, Priest and King Jesus Christ reconciles sinners to God, so that Paradise, which was ruined in the beginning is restored.

The Old Testament presents Jesus Christ in the form of what are called types which represent Him in this threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King. A type is a symbol or an analogy of something that is being portrayed by it. The antitype is the fulfillment of the type by the actual thing which the type represents. The Old Testament is full of types pertaining to many aspects of God’s kingdom and redemption. There is often argument over the use of types in Bible interpretation. The reason being that some find a type virtually everywhere they look, while others discount types as allegorical and an improper means of interpreting Scripture. But there are clear instances in the New Testament that assert the validity of type/antitype revelation in Scripture.

There are a couple of particular examples of this in the New Testament which even uses the words type and antitype that will suffice to prove our case. Peter says that Baptism is the antitype of the flood in Noah’s day (I Pet. 3:21). Paul says that Adam was a type of Jesus Christ who was to come (Rom. 5:14). Of course, the word type need not be used to convey the same thought as long as the example given is legitimate. There are other words seen in the Bible which show the same type/antitype correlation between the Old and New covenant revelation. For example the word “symbolic” is used by Paul to describe a type/antitype distinction that exists between the Old and New Covenant (Gal. 4:22-26). The writer of Hebrews used the term “symbolic” as well to show a type/antitype distinction between the Old and New Testament service (Heb. 9:6-10). And the same writer used the word “shadow” also to illustrate a type/antitype distinction between the Old and New Covenant sacrifice in reference to Mosaic law (Heb. 10:1-4). Our present concern however, is to focus on the threefold office of Christ revealed in Scripture which He fulfilled at His coming.

Prophet

Since the knowledge of God and His kingdom is utterly dependant upon His revelation, there is an absolute need for all men who know Him to have a revelator, or a prophet. Man was certainly made with an innate knowledge of his Creator (John 1:4), and nature testifies of this to man as well (Ps. 19:1-3). But there is no message contained in a tree which tells man of salvation, and certainly not a salvation which comes from Gods free grace. And the noetic effect of sin upon man has rendered him unable to discern with any accuracy what the exact content of innate knowledge, often called natural law should be. This fact is what account for the presence and reality of idolatry in the world (Rom. 1:18-23). The knowledge of salvation can only come from revelation (Ps. 19:7,8). Therefore, God sent many prophets throughout history to tell of His grace and salvation. But these men, and sometimes women, were always in themselves imperfect. The prophets of old were themselves objects of grace for they were redeemed sinners too. Aside from performing the much needed task of bringing Gods word to His people, these many prophets served the purpose of being types of a single perfect Prophet who would come some day.

Before Moses, we see in Scripture God communicating directly with various people in various circumstances (Gen. 3:9, 4:9, 6:13, 12:1, 20:3). But when God spoke to Moses instructing him concerning Pharaoh and the deliverance of the Hebrew people, this began an entirely new manner of revelation being communicated. Moses himself was a prophet, first to the Hebrew people and second, to the world. As such, Moses was a type of this greater expected Prophet. We see this in the burning bush narrative when he received a commission from the Lord. (Ex. 3:4-8). Not only did Moses communicate Gods word to Pharaoh, he did the same to Israel. The difference was of course, that to Pharaoh Gods revelation was judgement, to Israel, the message was redemption. The antithesis that is seen between the two events, a message of judgement to the world on the one hand, and deliverance toward Gods people on the other, shows His covenant purpose which carries on through history until its final end.

When the Psalmist uses the word “law” (Ps. 19:7), he is referring to the same writings as that which our Lord did in Luke, which are the writings of Moses. The entire revelation of God can rightly be termed “law” too, for in it God makes known His judgements and commands. Moses’ revelation, unlike that which was previously given to individuals can rightfully be called law. Before Moses, revelation given by God to individuals pertained primarily to themselves or their immediate offspring, even if it had far reaching consequences in God’s kingdom. The revelation given to Moses was different in that it was codified into writing, and it looked forward to this One great prophet who would someday come and fulfill every meaning in it, every requirement contained within its pages. “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear,” (Deut. 18:15).

After Moses, many prophets were sent by God to His covenant people in continuation of the type which Moses embodied. These prophets all maintained a connection to the Mosaic revelation by pointing Israel back to the law, while at the same time pointing forward to the Messiah. The prophetic function of fact telling and fore telling was carried out through warning the people of God’s judgement for their sin while at the same time bringing new additional revelation to them of future redemption in the Messianic kingdom. In doing this, these prophets served an immediate purpose in the maintenance of the everlasting covenant while looking ahead to its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah. “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.” (Acts 3:22-24).

The fact that an entire class of persons arose that were called to this prophetic duty over the course of many generations, shows forth the inherent imperfection of their ministry. As history shows, Israel sinned more and more until God utterly destroyed it, sending the Jews into captivity and bringing a permanent end to the nation state of Israel. If it were not for the fact that the prophetic office in the Old Testament was a type of Christ, the kingdom purpose of God would have indeed failed through them. But, as we have said, a type is an imperfect analogy of the true thing. And so we see in the New Testament that Christ is revealed to be the last and greatest of all the Prophets. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Heb. 1:1,2).

Priest

The second thing needed by people in God’s kingdom is that of a priest or a mediator between God and them. Since the fall of man in the garden, man has been unable to approach God on his own as he once did. It was almost as though Satan had succeeded in overthrowing God’s kingdom purpose when he successfully tempted man to sin and defect from his Creator. Upon committing that first sin, an immediate change occurred between God and Adam as seen in those verses surrounding the event (Gen. 3:7-10). Fellowship was broken between them because of that sin. God was now a terror to Adam and Eve rather than a friend. But the situation was far from presenting an insurmountable problem to God, for it was part of the eternal purpose for which Gods everlasting covenant was designed. “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken lies, Your tongue has muttered perversity.” (Is. 59:1-3). The sin that separated man from His God was actually ordained as the circumstance by which God the Redeemer would undertake to effect his salvation. If it were left up to man there would be no hope for him. But the purpose of God in ordaining this was that He might show forth the riches of His grace and kindness to a people marked out for redemption and a place in the renewed kingdom.

The promise of a son to Eve who would crush the serpents head who bit them was that of Jesus Christ. So faith in a future Redeemer was the way in which God saved His people and placed them under a new relationship with Him. Now there are two primary things which are comprehended in the work of a Redeemer, the first being that of providing a sacrifice for sin, and second being that of mediating the sacrifice on their behalf. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of both, but prior to His coming a sacrificial system which was typical of Him was established by God for His people. The offering of sacrifices to God required a mediator who was appointed by God for them, this too, was typical in nature. This twofold work of sacrifice and mediation is seen throughout the Old Testament in many types and shadows of the one Redeemer who would fulfill them, Jesus Christ.

Early in the redemptive narrative we see a strange and mysterious figure emerges who’s duty it was to act as a priest for the people of God. This figures name is Melchizedek who mediated the offerings of Abraham to God (Gen. 14:18-20). This passage of Scripture tells us that though Abraham had a personal relationship to God by faith, still he was to worship God through a duly appointed priest. The progressive typical nature of this priesthood is further opened up for us in the book of Hebrews where Christ is shown to be the antitype of it (Heb. 5:5-10). It is plain to see that this typical priesthood was an office, just like that of a prophet (Num. 11:29; I Sam. 10:10-12).

The place of importance in Moses’ revelation from God and his ministry to the people is evident here as well. Not only did the role of Moses prefigure Christ as a prophet, but Christ as a Redeemer and Mediator too. First, Moses was sent by God to bring the message of the covenant to the Hebrew people, but then second, he was to lead them out of bondage in Egypt as their deliverer, or, redeemer. This is a fact we see brought to light further on in Scripture where he is mentioned this way in reference to this event (Ps. 77:19,20; Is. 63:11,12; Heb. 3:16).

Israel’s exodus from Egypt with all that it entailed was the revelatory prefigurement of Christ’s redemption for His people, bringing further progression to the redemptive narrative. In the Exodus narrative we see in these events surrounding it:

1) The people of God begin in bondage (Ex. 1:8-11,14).

2) There is an evil oppressor of God’s people (Ex. 5:6-14).

3) God sends them a prophet and a redeemer (Ex. 6:10,11).

4) God provides them a sacrifice (Ex. 12:1-11).

5) God’s justice is shown in punishing sinners (Ex. 11:4-7).

6) God miraculously acts for their deliverance (Ex. 14:13-30).

Each one of these themes is a parallel picture of Christ and His redemption.

1) The people of God begin in bondage to sin (Rom. 8:15).

2) There is an evil oppressor of God’s people (Heb. 2:14,15).

3) God sends Christ as a Prophet and a Redeemer (Heb. 1:1-3).

4) God provides Christ as a sacrifice for sin (I Cor. 5:7b).

5) God’s justice is shown in punishing sin (Rom. 2:5-10).

6) God miraculously undertakes every aspect of our deliverance (Rom. 8:28-39).

The narratives of these events as recorded in Scripture formulate an understanding of the spiritual realities of God’s kingdom that unfolds over time. Of course, salvation was present for those under its shadows provided they were born again believers in the Messiah.

Moses acted as a mediator for the people too, at least in typical form though not actual performance of the sacrificial system. God called Moses’ brother Aaron later on to perform that aspect of the priestly function for Israel. What Moses did perform as a mediator of the people was that of an intercessor. We see this especially in the narrative following the giving of the law at Sinai, and the subsequent apostasy of the Israelites (Ex. 32:1-14). This event occurred while Moses was away on the mountain with God receiving the two tablets of the law from His hand (verse 1). God commanded Moses to return to them quickly for “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them,” thereby breaking the covenant with Him (verse 8a). The Lord then said something amazing to Moses concerning the people whom He had just finished delivering from the bondage of Egypt, “Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.” (Verse 10). It would seem on the surface that Gods covenant kingdom was entirely dependant on the obedience of those who entered into it, if it could be lost so easily by them. But this was not so as is evidenced in the continuing narrative.“Then Moses pleaded with the LORD his God, and said: “LORD, why does Your wrath burn hot against Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?” (Verse 11). God had given Moses a desire to mediate for the people through prayer. Moses pleaded thus with God according to His revealed covenant purpose, “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ “ (Ex. 32:13).

Moses acted many times in this way for the people, showing forth that quality of love for God and the people that finds its perfect fulfillment in Jesus Christ. We see this especially in what is usually termed “Jesus’ high Priestly prayer” for His disciples just before His trial and death (John 17:1ff). In this prayer we see Jesus interceding for His people, knowing He was about to depart from them. And just like Moses, Jesus’ intercession was based on the covenant purpose which He would accomplish in His death (verse 4). And note here what is revealed in the type/antitype mediation. There is a particularity shown in Gods covenant purpose regarding those for whom He sends a mediator. Moses interceded not for the people of Canaan whom the Israelites were going in to dispossess, but for them. And just like Moses did, so did Jesus concerning His people (verses 6,9,12). Jesus prayed not for the world, but for His people, and those who would later believe in Him after He was physically gone from earth (verse 20). The only one lost was Judas, the son of perdition, because he was reprobated by God. Now, it remains to be seen what difference there is that lies between the covenant promise made to the sons of Abraham, whom Moses interceded for, and the promise made to us whom Christ intercedes for now. That we will take up in due time. But for now, it is evident that God has shown forth in revelation the office and purpose of a priestly mediation in Moses, that looked ahead to the actual fulfillment in Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1-6).

The multifaceted functions of the priesthood were such, that it could not properly be displayed in its entirety in but one person with their particular qualities. And here too, a single type portraying the office of the priest did not suffice in God’s revelatory purpose. When Israel was constituted a theocratic nation at Sinai, God appointed Aaron, Moses brother to mediate as High priest on their behalf, thereby splitting and multiplying this function among many in the course of their history. In this way, the type which Melchizedek cast of an appointed priest, serving a continuing Priesthood, was taken over by the sons of Aaron until Christ came (Heb. 7:1ff).

King

And last of all, God’s people need a king to rule over them in His kingdom. Here too, we see this office and function clearly displayed in the Old Testament. Even though there is no mention of this office in relation to the promised Messiah of Genesis 3:15 there is a clear implication of it even there. The giving of the commandment to Adam was the exercise of God’s kingly rule over His kingdom. When the serpent led Adam in rebellion against God and His law, he did in essence usurp that rule over creation. Jesus referred to Satan as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31). Paul called Satan the “god of this age,” and ” the prince of the power of the air” proving this very point (II Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2). The freedom Satan promised our first parents were actually subservience to his despotic rule over them. This freedom, if it can be called that, sets men and women against each other to serve their own lusts at the expense of everyone else. Hence, we live in a world of evil with people killing each other. The crushing of the serpents head in Gen. 3:15 clearly implies that the Messiah would overthrow him, and in doing so, restore God’s kingdom to its proper condition.

The first instance where this office is made known is at the end of Genesis where Jacob pronounced a blessing on each one of his children as he lay dying (Gen. 49:1ff). Judah was the son who was the progenitor of the Messiah and so Jacobs words to him prophetically reflect something of the nature of this kingly office (Gen. 49:9-12). A lion (verse 9), is called the king of the jungle. And so, the Messiah is called in the New Testament “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” in accordance with His kingly office (Rev. 5:5). A scepter (verse 10), is the symbol of kingly authority. And so, when that devilish man Balaam was forced by God to speak rightly of Israel, he prophesied that “A Scepter shall rise out of Israel” to batter His enemies (Num. 24:17). Judah was told that his progeny would not lack a “lawgiver” until Messiah (Shiloh) comes, “And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.” (Verse 10). Now this tells us two things about the office and function of a king. A king holds a scepter, or, the symbol of power to rule over his kingdom. Second, a king is a lawgiver, who establishes his right to rule over his kingdom as he sees fit. The scepter as it concerned Judah’s prophecy was but the symbol of that rule of law that Israel would carry and pass on to the Messiah when He comes. It was actually the Messiah’s to begin with.

And once again, Moses was to become for Israel the embodiment of a king in the early stages of their development, when he assumed the appointed role of ruler and lawgiver. Before Moses had seen and heard the Lord, already he had a heartfelt desire to see the Hebrew people set free from Egyptian tyranny, and brought under the rule of God. This is evident in the incident where he intervened when he saw a fellow Hebrew being beaten by an Egyptian, thereby saving his life (Ex. 2:11,12). Moses’ desire for the Hebrews was further sparked when he encountered two of them fighting with each other (Ex. 2:13). We can tell from the narrative that followed that Moses admonished the aggressor in this fight, further showing those leadership qualities that he was outfitted by God for in his future calling. But the retort of the Hebrew man to Moses was quite interesting if not shocking when he said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us?” (Ex. 2:14a). Indeed, God did make Moses a prince and a judge over Israel in calling him to lead them out from under Egyptian domination into the presence of the Lord. And in fact, when Moses’ authority was later on challenged by a company of rebels, God confirmed his appointment by swallowing them up in the earth (Num. 16:1ff).

The five books of Moses are called the Law because they are the Lord’s rule over His people. In this, Moses prefigured the kingly rule of Jesus over God’s kingdom. “Moses commanded a law for us, A heritage of the congregation of Jacob.” (Deut. 33:4). It was of this heritage which Moses laid down, that the prophets foretold the Messiah’s reign. “For the LORD is our Judge, The LORD is our Lawgiver, The LORD is our King; He will save us” (Is. 33:22).

The importance of Moses in this is underscored by his even providing the rule for future kings of Israel when they would become thoroughly established in the land (Deut. 17:14-20). Of course, Israel was destined to become a theocratic kingdom, and as such, God was to be their king. After Moses and his successor Joshua had died, Israel was cast into disarray for a long period of time. But God appointed Judges among them, who essentially acted as rulers in the absence of a proper national monarchy. The primary purpose of the Judges was not only to govern the people, but to free them from an encroaching tyranny by their neighbors. At a certain time in their history, God introduced an earthly king to Israel that was to them the final component of God’s earthly purpose. It was here that Moses, the lawgiver, became the foundation of Israel’s future monarch. For the king was to be someone “whom the LORD your God chooses,” who will “write for himself a copy of this law in a book” and “shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes” (Deut. 17:15,18,19).

David became the first true king in Israel to sit upon that earthly throne according to Moses law, following a failed attempt at it by Saul. David also became a new type and symbol of Messianic rule, one that looked ahead to the future of the Messianic kingdom, when it would be revealed in its fullest extent on earth. This is intimated in the revelation of it given to David of his son and continuing reign in him (II Sam. 7:8-17). David’s role as king in Israel was new in one respect, but it was nothing less than a continuation and progression of the previous revelation and purpose given by God to Moses (verse 8). And though the immediate words from God to David were focused on his immediate offspring, yet, it looked ahead for fulfillment in Christ. This is made known by the angelic revelation given to Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the time of His incarnation (Luke 1:30-33). It is important to note that the “reign” of Jesus Christ “over the house of Jacob” is an everlasting one, showing His literal fulfillment of the type and office which Moses, then David held (verse 33).

And so, it was at this time in which Messiah had come, that the office of king which the prophets spoke of was established. Zacharias’ prophecy says it all when he links Jesus and His accomplishments, to everything which was previously prophesied of, and took place in the Old Testament concerning God’s kingdom purpose (Luke 1:67-79). And so we understand this threefold office which Christ possesses in the kingdom, to be that which the writer of Hebrews expresses in his opening remarks upon Christ (Heb. 1:1-4). Christ is the Prophet of the everlasting covenant; Christ is the Priest of the everlasting covenant; Christ is the King of the everlasting covenant.

Notes:

[1] This date is based on the research of Steve Rudd from an online article entitled “New Evidence for Thutmose III as Exodus Pharaoh in 1440 BC ” (http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-date-1440bc.htm). This date differs from earlier research by Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) published in his “Annals of the World” (1650) who places the Exodus at 1491 BC. No particular position on either date is taken by the author of this article.

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