This New stuff really is Old

One might think it’s a lesser known communicable attribute that we drop hints.  If asked to keep a secret too long, fragments of it will sometimes percolate out of us until the gig is up.  Let my wife buy you a Christmas or birthday present early enough and, by the time that gift-giving day arrives, you will have probably pieced together enough “slips” to at least take a really good guess at what it is.  Just ask her about woks some time.

Redemption and resurrection are such well defined New Testament concepts that we often don’t look for them in the Old.  And God, who is outside of time and space, wasn’t impatient getting to them.  Yet that news was just too good to keep hidden during Israel’s trials and discipline.

So redemption and resurrection are clearly communicated in the Old Testament.  The clues were often missed, but they certainly weren’t subtle.  They were so common and so not-subtle that Israel developed idioms and “shortcuts” for them.  Something like those two friends who numbered their jokes to save time retelling them.

“Redeemed from the pit” (or Sheol) is one of these. Perhaps the most familiar is in Psalm 103; others include 1 Sam 2:6, Psalm 16, and Psalm 30.

“Light of light” is another.  To suffer or go down into the pit and then “see the light of life” meant to be risen from the dead. My favorite use of this is in Isaiah 53:11, because it’s such a clear prophecy of Christ’s resurrection, but also because it was just too good to keep hidden.  Some manuscripts had the verb for “see” with the required object missing, causing early NASB translators (and others) to add it in italics.  The “it” was “the light” (of resurrection) and it was there all along, with the Dead Sea Scrolls providing the final proofs.

In today’s sermon, Pastor Dave Stephens covered Job 33, and verses 28-30 lept out.  I’m not sure how I previously missed the weight of these two foreshadows being so clearly and beautifully presented, but they were certainly there all along. In this most ancient of works, the very future concepts of resurrection and redemption are exceptionally clear.  As Dave points out, Job contains some advanced Christology (and, of course, very beautiful language), so we should discard any idea that ancient man was primitive.  Listen to his series on Job for more on that.

Warfield said described the Old Testament as a room “fully furnished but dimly lit” and Augustine said that what is “concealed in the Old Testament is revealed in the New”.  Indeed.

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