the relationship between the Old and New Testaments

More on Moses

While we’re on the subject of Moses…

The Big Mac (which is what I’m going to call Dave McDougall today) made a really interesting link that I’d never noticed today.

We’re doing a series on prayer at the moment (I’m preaching on the Lord’s Prayer next Sunday) and today was on the subject of God saying “no” to our prayers.

God said “no” to Moses when he prayed to be allowed to set foot in the Promised Land in Deuteronomy 3. I always felt a bit sorry for Moses. He worked pretty hard at trying to keep an unwieldy people in line. And I felt vicariously ripped off for him that he had to miss out on the fulfillment of the promise he worked so hard to deliver.

I’ve also always struggled to figure out the significance of his presence at the transfiguration (Matthew 17). He, like Elijah, is a pretty significant Old Testament player. And I thought that could be it. This is where the Big Mac came to the fore this morning. At the transfiguration Moses is present both in the Promised Land and with the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecy. Which is pretty special – and now I don’t feel sorry on his behalf at all.

On typology

I’ve had a fair bit to say about typography lately – so don’t get confused here. The first one is about the patterns made by letters, typology is the study of “types” and theologically it’s a way of linking the Old Testament to the New Testament.

Think of the way we use the words archetype and prototype and you’re getting close.

One of the foundational reasons that I think Jesus is something special is the way he fulfils the Old Testament. I don’t mean just the specific prophecies regarding the coming saviour that atheists are so keen to claim are debunked on the basis of generality or whatever other reasons they give. I mean the way he is the fulfillment of the narrative of the Old Testament. In particular the pivotal characters of the Old Testament. And I don’t see how it’s possible for that to be debunked any time soon. Here’s a cool list from a Tim Keller sermon via the new Evangel group blog

  • Jesus is the true and better Adam, who passed the test in the garden and whose obedience is imputed to us.
  • Jesus is the true and better Abel, who, though innocently slain, has blood now that cries out not for our condemnation, but for our acquittal.
  • Jesus is the true and better Abraham who answered the call of God to leave all the comfortable and familiar, and go out into the void, not knowing whither he went, to create a new people of God.
  • Jesus is the true and better Isaac, who was not just offered up by his Father on the mount,but was truly sacrificed for us. And when God said to Abraham, “now I know you love me, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from me, now we can look at God, taking his son up the mountain and sacrificing Him, and say,” now we know that you love us, because you did not withhold your son, your only son whom you love from us.”
  • Jesus is the true and better Jacob who wrestled and took the blow of justice we deserve, so we, like Jacob, only receive the wounds of grace to wake us up and discipline us.
  • Jesus is the true and better Joseph, who at the right hand of the king, forgives those who betrayed and sold Him, and uses His new power to save them.
  • Jesus is the true and better Moses, who stands in the gap between the people and the Lord and who mediates a new covenant.
  • Jesus is the true and better rock of Moses who was struck with the rod of God’s justice, and now gives us water in the desert.
  • Jesus is the true and better Job, the truly innocent sufferer who then intercedes for and saves his stupid friends.
  • Jesus is the true and better David, whose victory becomes his people’s victory though they never lifted a stone to accomplish it themselves.
  • Jesus is the true and better Esther, who didn’t just risk losing an earthly palace, but lost the ultimate and heavenly one, who didn’t just risk his life, but gave his life to save his people.
  • Jesus is the true and better Jonah, who was cast out into the storm so we could be brought in.
  • He is the real passover lamb, innocent, perfect, helpless, slain so that the angel of death would pass over us

It’s not an exhaustive list – there’s no mention of any of the judges or many of the prophets. But until atheists get this, and critique this properly, they don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the claim that anyone can “fulfill the Old Testament” given the right mix of intention and coincidence.

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