butter light

OT and NT connections

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I went to see The Dark Knight Rises. First thing I did after entering the theater was go straight to the Men’s Room. I stayed in there for about the first 130 minutes of the movie. I then left the rest room, found an empty seat and watched the last few scenes of the movie. What a great plot it has. I really enjoyed the story line. My family and friends talked about it for hours. 
just kidding.
The other day I ordered a Salt Caramel Latte from the Starbucks drive through. When I came to the window the barista handed me the drink and I immediately took off the lid. I poured about 3/4 of it on the ground, said, “Thanks” and I drove off. 
just kidding.
I recently discovered a way to make Sunday mornings less rushed, more relaxed. We may try this for a while and see how it works. We plan to come to the church service at about the 11:30am mark (it usually ends around noon). If we slip in for the last 15 or 20 minutes I am sure we will get the gist of it. Should be enough, I think, and it will free up a lot of time.
The Old Testament makes up about 75% of the Bible’s content. Why does the OT get so little of our attention? Doesn’t it gives us the largest portion of the Redemption Story?
What if J.R.R. Tolkein left The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers unpublished, locked in a vault for hundreds of years, only allowing the last section of his famous trilogy The Return of the King to go to print? Would that be enough? Should that be enough?
The Old Testament matters because the Bible matters. But the answer is not to spend most of one’s time in the Old Testament to the minimizing of the New Testament. The answer is not to spend 75% of our time in the OT. The answer, I believe, is in giving notice to the many interesting ways (too many to count) all the parts of Scripture are inter-connected. Does anybody play baseball with only one base (leaving the other 3 off the field and out of play)? In answer to a recent question about OT and NT connections here are a few tips.


Some observations as I progress in my study of the OT-NT

–          There seems to be more continuity (uniformity of themes and ideas) between the OT and NT than discontinuity. I used to think that the OT was a very distinct piece from the NT or cut out of a different rock than the NT. The more I read the OT alongside the NT the more I see how similar they are to each other. The OT and NT are of the same river – the earlier, upstream and the later, down stream.

–          The division between the OT and NT is traditionally placed between Malachi and Matthew. Since the Gospels occurred entirely under the SecondTemple era and under the Mosaic Law period it seems more logical to think of the OT NT division as between John and Acts.

–          I have heard it said that the last OT prophet was John the Baptist, but it seems more in keeping with the flow of Redemption History (and the above statement) to see Jesus as the last OT prophet and indeed the Last Prophet. There is certainly a sense in which Jesus was quite a different prophet. However, His prophetic work was not entirely different as to be unrecognizable to a Jewish audience. His prophetic work was very much within the prophetic tradition of the long line of prophets before Him. In fact, His prophetic work is the capstone of their body of work.

–          The most fun I have on this question about how the OT relates to the NT is simply in seeing The Big Story come together. Building a theological system around this question or accumulating data on this question might be useful. However, what excites me more is learning how The Big Story unfolds from one book to another and from one century to another. The History of Redemption is a beautiful thing to behold.

–          The teaching of Jesus (the ‘red letters’ – mostly in the 4 Gospels and Revelation) is the best starting point for working through how the OT and NT relate to each other. If He mentions an OT passage or an OT person or prophet, then going back to the OT to dig up info about it or them is a sure bet to getting more money out of The Big Story. Notes or references in my Bible margins only have a minimal amount of information. So, I find it fascinating to track down the many things Jesus says which either allude to or quote the OT – lots there.

–          Specific things that have caught my attention lately on this question: kingdom of God in the OT, Daniel’s prophecies, esp. in chapters 7 and 9, Isaiah talking about the blessings of the coming Restoration, OT expectations of the Messiah, the Abrahamic covenant, the New Covenant and more

–          Letting the NT be my guide to interpreting the OT. There can be sharp disagreement on this, but it seems wiser to the let the NT make clear what may be unclear in the OT. Most agree with the comparison that the OT is in shadow and the NT in light. If that is the case, then “the light” should most certainly give clarity to what is “in shadow.”

–          Using books, articles or mp3s across a variety of Christian traditions instead of getting info from only my tribe.


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