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Old Testament New Testament Bridge
Jesus as Moses
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OLD TESTAMENT SYNOPSIS: LEADING TO JESUS

OLD TESTAMENT SYNOPSIS: LEADING TO JESUS

By understanding the major events of the Old Testament, our eyes are opened to the glory of Jesus Christ.

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In the beginning, God created a paradise. And he created a creature in his own "image and likeness" called man, who would live in this paradise. God gave man one rule: do not eat fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

What God offered man instead was a much more wholesome and nourishing option called the tree of life.

Instead of eating from the tree of life, however, man ate from the forbidden tree. This action brought sin and death into the world.

Man was expelled from God's kingdom. God in his mercy, however, promised man that the seed of Eve would redeem the sin of man, and once again restore the kingdom.

Still, God had to purify the world of this original sin, so he flooded the earth and cleansed away all of the iniquity. Noah, his family, and two of each of the animals of the earth were all that survived the deluge.

When the world was re-populated after the flood, God chose one man to be his representative on earth. God promised this chosen man, whose name was Abraham, that he would become the father of a nation with descendants as numerous as the stars. 

To test the faith of this chosen man. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac.

Unlike Adam before him, Abraham proved himself worthy in the eyes of God, who in turn allowed his son Isaac to live a full life. For Isaac would be the heir to God's chosen people.

Isaac in turn had a son named Jacob. After an encounter with God, Jacob became known as "Israel." Israel had twelve sons of his own. The families and descendants of these men are known as "The 12 Tribes of Israel."

At the end of his life, Israel made prophecies about each of his 12 sons. Of his son Judah, he said a king would come from his line who would save their people.

The nation of Israel spent 400 years living in Egypt, and they grew in number just like God promised Abraham they would. Nonetheless, their growing population was seen as a threat to Pharaoh.

The Israelites were forced into slavery in Egypt. It was Pharaoh's way of keeping them under his rule (or so he thought).

Pharaoh even went so far as to command his men to kill every male Hebrew baby. One, however, managed to escape.

One desperate Hebrew mother put her newborn son into a basket and sent him down the Nile River. This basket ended up in the care of Pharaoh's daughter. She would raise the boy as her own. His name was Moses.

Moses would be called on by God to lead his people out of slavery in Egypt to a glorious land he promised them. 

This would be no easy task, but with the help of God, the Israelites did the impossible. 10 Plagues and a parted Red sea would help Moses and his people escape. The Law of Moses and 40 years in the wilderness would teach his people of their troubled relationship with God, as well as their everlasting covenant with him.

Nonetheless, with the help of God's mercy, Moses led his people to the Promised Land.

 

Moses, however, never entered the Land himself, for he, too, had struggled to obey God's command.

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This nation of Israel would have many ups and downs throughout the coming centuries. The age of the Judges was marred by repeated cycles of sin and repentance.

 

The age of Judges was followed by the age of Kings.  And nowhere was God seen more visibly in the nation of Israel than in their divinely-chosen king.

From poet and shepherd to the anointed King of Israel, David represented all that this chosen nation was supposed to be in the eyes of the Lord. The prophets proclaimed that from David's line, the promised redeemer was to come.

Until the Messiah arrives, the Israelites make it their top priority to build a glorious temple to God, where he can dwell among them. It would be David's wise son Solomon who would oversee this monumental feat.

Solomon, however, would also turn his back on the Lord, and because of his sin, the nation of Israel was plunged into civil war upon his death.

10 tribes claimed the North and called their land Israel, and 2 tribes claimed the South, and called their land Judah. Both of these nations would eventually be conquered. 

The Assyrians conquered Israel in the North, which has led to the mystery of the ten lost tribes of Israel. That is to say, no one is really sure what happened to these conquered people.

The Babylonians conquered Judah in the South, and destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem. This led to a period of exile in Babylon for the Israelites. Less than a century later, however, the Persian king Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon and subsequently allowed the Israelites to return back to their homeland.

During this period of homecoming, the second Temple of Jerusalem was constructed. 

Prophets continued to preach of the coming of the Messiah -- a seed of Eve, from the tribe of Judah, from the line of King David who would restore the kingdom of God.

That is, until 400 years of silence ensued.

ENTER JESUS...

JESUS FULFILLS THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES

ALL 4 GOSPELS BEGIN BY EMPHASIZING A CONTINUATION & FULFILLMENT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT:

In the scriptures, the prophet Isaiah said, "'A voice cries in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord" (Isaiah 40:3). The Gospel of Mark (the first Gospel written according to the majority of scholars) begins with a description of John the Baptist using these same exact terms: "John the Baptizer appeared in the wilderness... And he preached saying 'After me comes he who is mightier than I.'" By beginning his Gospel in this way, Mark is showing a continuation and fulfillment of the ancient texts. 

The Gospel of Luke does likewise, and begins with a story about an old man named Zechariah who is told by God that his old and barren wife is pregnant. Zechariah could not believe it. Nonetheless, God heard this man's prayers and gave him and his wife a miracle baby. This miracle baby was John the Baptist. In this way, John literally precedes Jesus. For we are told six months after the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah, he visited Mary and Joseph. What is more, this opening scene in Luke's Gospel will also instantly remind those well acquainted with scripture, of God similarly promising Abraham a son with his wife Sarah who was also old and barren.

That is not where the similarities between the story of Abraham (and Isaac) and the story of the Gospels ends. The initial parallel (above) is making way for a more profound similarity. For we must recall that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son to prove his love to him. Abraham proved that he was willing, thus revealing his love for God. Likewise, by sending Jesus to earth, God, reveals that he is also willing to sacrifice his own son to prove his love for us. In other words, Jesus is yet another sign of God fulfilling his covenant with Abraham.

The way in which each Gospels begins, connects us back with the Old Testament, and highlights a profound connection, continuation, and fulfillment of the scriptures.

For instance, in the Old Testament the future king and redeemer was said to be a seed of Eve*, be from the tribe of Judah and be from the line of King David. As we close the Book of Malachi, at the very end of the Old Testament, we then turn next to the New Testament and The Gospel of Matthew. Matthew begins his Gospel with the genealogy of Jesus, and in so doing, he reveals how this man -- Jesus -- fits the exact description of the one they have been waiting for all along.
 
[*Although it is Luke's gospel that explicitly connects Jesus back to Eve directly, the connection to Eve is also implied by Matthew's genealogy, which begins with Abraham. Anyone who knows the Old Testament well enough, knows that Abraham's line goes back to Noah, which in turn connects back to Adam and Eve.]

And last but not least, The Gospel of John begins with the ultimate connection and continuation of the Old Testament. The Old Testament begins with, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth....And he said 'Let there be Light."
 
As we see in these lines, God created the world by speaking it into creation. In other words, he used his Word to make the world. I will come back to this point in a moment.

The prolific Christian writer and theologian, St. Augustine, once wrote, "That which is called the Christian religion existed among the ancients, and never did not exist, from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh, at which time the true religion which already existed began to be called Christianity." (Retractions)

Augustine is addressing a common argument made by skeptics of Christianity: How can your religion be both timeless and exist at a specific moment in time? To an outsider or skeptic it can kind of seem like Christianity just magically sprung up, as if out of nowhere -- This misinformed notion serves to undermine the cause.  

This was the same argument that John was addressing in the opening line of his Gospel. John's Gospel opens with,"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Immediately, one can see the connection that John is making to the Old Testament. By using the same verbiage, John is obviously invoking the story of creation in the Book of Genesis. In that Book, God used his Word to make the world. The "Word" is also a title for Jesus. In other words, Jesus is the Word of God, as well as God himself (or as John says "the Word was God"). John's Gospel shows us how Jesus has always been around (timeless), while also revealing  how he lived and died at precise moment in history (approximately 2000 years ago).

Let us think about that precise moment in history for a second, and what that means for us today. What year is it right now? It is 2020. We all accept that. That number, which is known and accepted by almost everyone in the world is representative of what? It represents when Jesus lived. In other words, almost the entire world marks their calendars, emails, notes, etc. with a sign of Jesus Christ. As Christians, let us appreciate the power of that that for a moment.

What is more, it is difficult to go more than a few blocks in most of the countries of the world without coming across a place of worship in honor of this man. We should appreciate the sheer amount of ingenuity, collaborative spirit, resources, creativity, force of will, etc. it took to construct all of these churches in his name -- for that, too, is a miracle unto itself.

Summing up, when we are talking about what year it is, we are discussing how it represents the TIME of this man, and his precise place in history. And when we talk about the ubiquity of churches, we are talking about the SPACE of this man and where we can go to worship him. When we talk about the Bible however, we are talking about both of these purpose at once. The Bible defines both TIME and SPACE in much the same way, which is to say, it tells us about the time and life of a man named Jesus Christ -- the Long Awaited King who takes away the Sin of the World -- and the place where he dwells among us, where we can go to worship him -- that is to say, the Bible holds within it THE WORD.

The Tree of Life
The Messiah
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