butter light

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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What if J.R.R. Tolkein left The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers unpublished, locked in a vault for hundreds of years, only allowing the last section of his famous trilogy The Return of the King to go to print?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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why is baptism an image of New Life?


The imagery in Baptism pictures what?

First – You can’t baptize yourself. Salvation is a work of God, not of a church or of man. You can’t make yourself spiritually new. God does it. You can’t purchase a position into the Kingdom of God. You come in empty handed and you humbly lay yourself in His hands.

Second – Baptism re-dramatizes the Gospel by picturing New Life in Jesus. When we are baptized we are announcing that we have willingly joined ( gone into) the Way of Divine Forgiveness, that we want to live the life of forever forgiveness (see Mark 1). 

Dunking – I see a dead man coming up alive. Christ brings us from a spiritual grave into new life.


Pouring – I see a man standing under the waterfall of cleansing. To make completely clean is to make as new. Christ and His Gospel make new from the inside out.


Sprinkling – I see a thirsty soul alien from God, parched and weak, now revived by divine forgiveness. This once withered soul grows in New Life by being watered with the bottomless grace of the Messiah.

Maybe the Baptism of Jesus showed more than that He was receiving divine approval. Maybe it also showed us that Jesus brings New Life raining from above.

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basic conclusions about the Kingdom of God without going crazy in the details


Shanghai - a HUGE city, but not as big as the Heavenly City

basics to understanding the Kingdom of God

  1. There are a wide variety of opinions about what the Kingdom of God looks like. It can be confusing. Not all are bad. Many are helpful. Some of them are not.
  2. Regardless of what you think the Kingdom of  God looks like you should be willing to admit that ‘the KoG is in our midst.’ The King has indeed come (see Heb 1:3). He is on His throne presently and He is the process of restoring His Kingdom (see Heb 8:1 with 6:20-7:22, Melchizedek the kingly Priest). Accepting this is a good to then understand what the Kingdom looks like.
  3. The KoG is not the same thing as the Church Age (see Heb 12:24, a person should explain what they mean by the word ‘church’ as they read this context. Do they mean an age within time, an organized group of believers or the whole company of saints in all of time?). The Church Age is one manifestation of the KoG across all of time and eternity. The Church Age is not point for point the same thing as the KoG nor is the Church Age entirely separate from the KoG. In other words, the KoG is a larger divine enterprise in which the Church Age now serves a part.

Note: This counters the RCC view which sees herself as the KoG on earth. It also counters the ultra-Dispensational views which see the KoG as absent now because it was removed at Jesus’ Ascension.

  1. In order to learn what the Kingdom of God should look like look to the King and His Gospel (see Heb 12:2). There is a tendency for us to define the KoG according to what we like or want to happen. Yet, no one can define what the KoG looks like better than the King Himself and His Gospel. Look to King Jesus (see Mark 1:1, The start of the Gospel of Jesus Messiah).

Note: This counters the liberal Protestant views which see the KoG as basically doing good to others. This is good, but the KoG is not solely this.

  1. The KoG is not just about external improvements or a social order. Nor is it just about internal or spiritual improvements, ie. pietism, monkery or separatism. The KoG is both inside and outside (see Heb 12:28). This is why the Gospel of Jesus Christ is central to the KoG. The Gospel alone transforms the KoG and its people from the inside out. The Gospel alone keeps the externals of the KoG in balance so they do not slide in a religious form of idolatry. The Gospel alone keeps us moving forward to extend the boundaries of God’s Kingdom for His glory, His righteousness and the beauty of His grace.
  2. The Gospel is that which bring us into the large community which is the Kingdom of God. We are not restored by the Gospel for our own sake or for our own betterment or even just to have an isolated individual relationship with God. We are restored by the Gospel of Christ so we can learn to think, live and harmoniously relate to others in the Kingdom of God, God Himself included. The KoG is in its ultimate form will be centered around a huge, huge City in the New Heavens and New Earth (see Heb 13:14 with Rev 21-22).

Basically, the Gospel serves the large divine Kingdom enterprise in which God is restoring His people to Himself and us to each other, from the inside out (see Heb 13:20-21).

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What is faith?

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Rather than defining faith in this setting let us describe it.

Faith is like being blindfolded while someone else who knows where the chair is guides you verbally to it so you know where to sit. Finally you reach the chair with their guidance and you sit. Faith is not a blind leap into nothing hoping that there might be a chair there. It is trusting that what some one else has told you is true and having taken them at their word you come to find out for yourself it is indeed true.

This is why faith breeds more faith.

This illustration also reminds us that we cannot exercise godly faith entirely on our own. You cannot rest or lean on something all in your own effort. We don’t get to that resting place in God by our own initiative or by our effort.

Thus, faith in the biblical sense is not a full exercise of your will, but the acceptance that what God has willed is incontrovertibly true. There cannot be true lasting rest if it’s left up to my own faith to decide where to find it and how to get and keep it.

Faith is what God gives you to help you find Him.

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what is my fave way to whine? (we’ve plenty to choose from)

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(from a recent small group discussion)

Notice how each of the Ten Commandments (in Exodus 20) exposes our inner demands. Each of these human demands is basically some form of resentment, a desire to control. Isn’t resentments at the root of why we don’t like The Ten Commandments, the idea of rules in general or when someone gets in the way of what we want (even if that something is something good)? Idolatry is not just a Second Commandment issue. Idolatry in some form or another is addressed by all ten commandments AND resentment is a master craftsman of idols.



root resentment: “God supreme over EVERYTHING?! He can’t be that big?!”


root resentment: “I define enjoyment as I please! I own me.”


root resentment: “God is my genie. That’s why I see Him as either a source of good luck or object of my anger.”


root resentment: “How could I rest in God when my life is restless?.”


root resentment: “I, yes I, am the master of my own life.”


root resentment: “Can you believe how they stand in my way?!”


root resentment: “Measure marriage by – ‘to thine own self be true’.”


root resentment: “If I don’t take care of #1…”


root resentment: “Truth is flexible – my primary interests are not.”


root resentment: “I will secretly or openly long after what pleases me.”

Note: Depression and resentment are cousins. Whining comes in many flavors.

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were the original translators of the Kings James Bible KJVonly?


apparently not – a brief quote from the long preface to the King James Bible:

So that, to have the Scriptures in the mother tongue is not a quaint conceit lately taken up, either by the Lord Cromwell in England, [Thuan.] or by the Lord Radevile in Polony, or by the Lord Ungnadius in the Emperor’s dominion, but hath been thought upon, and put in practice of old, even from the first times of the conversion of any Nation; no doubt, because it was esteemed most profitable, to cause faith to grow in men’s hearts the sooner, and to make them to be able to say with the words of the Psalms, “As we have heard, so we have seen.” [Ps 48:8]

note: at the bottom of page 11 in this PDF of the preface

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Is the Old Testament secondary material?

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I heard Pastor John MacArthur recently refer to the OT as basically supportive material to the NT. Ummm? Not sure I want to relegate the OT to a secondary position in Redemptive History. I hope that’s not how he meant it. It may be since he considers it a laudable milestone in his ministry to have just finished preaching verse by verse thru the NT. He now is going to take some time to consider where he will go next. Uh?

Why do we need the OT as much as we need the NT?

A few big reasons:

The Creation account

The Fall of Man

The Idea of covenants

The nature of Imputation

The nature of Redemption

Grace unfolding

What worship is

The glory of God

Fullness of the Sovereignty of God

An extensive view of the scope of Man’s Depravity

Songs Praise

Poetry of many varieties

Who YHVH is

The Temple as a prelude to who Christ is

The Tabernacle as a demonstration of what Christ did

Don’t we miss a lot of Redemptive History when we look at the OT as supportive material for the NT? The OT is the forest in which the trees of the NT grew upward. You may have heard the idea that the OT is shadow and the NT is light. I am rethinking that idea. Perhaps this analogy is true as it pertains to the unfolding of Gospel details. Finding out that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ is like going from shadows to light. For that the “shadow-light” metaphor works.

However, the Divine Revelation God offered in the OT and offers us now is not shadowy or in a corner. The NT and the OT are both supportive material for God’s eternal Redemptive design. If Abraham could put his full faith and trust in God with the amount of Divine Data before him thousands of years ago, then the OT record is not secondary.

I see the OT as millions of gallons of water behind a dam. The NT is what happens when the dam bursts.