The anticipation of Christ in the Old Testament includes the Law – the foundation, and the Prophets – the expectation.
The realization of Christ in the New Testament includes the manifestation in the Gospels, the interpretation in the Epistles.
The Law of Moses prefigured the basic types and patterns which were later fulfilled in Christ.
It was also a moral preparation – the law was man's tutor in what God demanded – whereupon guilt would lead them to Christ for forgiveness.
The Law also recorded the first Messianic hope in Genesis 3:15, and to the people of Israel in Deuteronomy 18:15.
The Prophets at the Expectation of Christ.
The promise was a prophet like unto Moses from among the Jews (Deuteronomy 18:15). First the promised land was possessed under Joshua. In Judges, many deliverers were seen. In Samuel, the anointing of King David through whom the 'anointed One' was promised (II Samuel 7:12). As the empire of Israel chose sin: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and the Twelve minor prophets kept the promise of Messiah alive to the last book of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:2). Then the Jews returned to Israel from Babylonian captivity in Ezra, and reconstruction in Nehemiah.
The Gospels show the Manifestation of Christ. This begins with the ministry of one crying in the wilderness, that of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:3) as Isaiah had predicted (Isaiah 40:3). What was anticipated in the Old Testament realized in the New. Prophecy becomes history. He embodied the way of faith and hope in God (I Peter 1:20,21).
This was to take away sins (I John 3:5). Also to destroy the works of the devil (I John 3:3). Also to show the love of God manifest among men, that we might live through Christ (I John 4:9). This was to manifest the mystery hidden for ages and ages (Colossians 1:26).
Jesus came yet the world knew Him not. He came to his own home, yet His own people received Him not (John 1:10,11). To all those who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become children of God (John 1:12).
The Epistles and Acts interpreted Christ. They explained what His coming meant and how it was to be applied in the life of the believer. This was accomplished through the promised Holy Spirit who was to teach the disciples all things and bring to their remembrances all that Jesus had spoken to them.
The church from the beginning had devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles (Acts 2:42). They were exhorted to hold to the traditions which were taught by the apostles (II Thessalonians 2:15). These were recorded in the Epistles and were added to the Gospels and Revelation, to form the New Testament.
To go into greater detail, the Testaments can be divided into four parts each:
The Old Testament
1. The Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy)
2. History (Joshua - Nehemiah)
3. Poetry (Job – Song of Solomon)
4. Prophecy (Isaiah - Malachi)
The New Testament
1. The Gospels
2. The Acts of the Apostles
3. The Epistles
Parallels – In the Law, God laid the foundation for Christ. In History, the nation of Israel becomes active in the promised land, and the lineage through David, from which Christ will come, is established. The Poets aspire and express that longing and looking for Christ. The Prophets look forward in expectation of Christ.
The Law established God's presence among men symbolically – commandment, tabernacle, sacrifices, feasts, Christophanies. In the Gospels, God dwells among men in human form, in Jesus. The Law lays the foundation for the nation of Israel. The Gospels lay the foundation for the church. In the Law, Moses is the central figure who instructs God's people. In the Gospels, Christ teaches His followers to have faith in Him. The movement is from foundation to perfection. Hebrews 3:5,6 -
5 And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
6 but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Parallels in the Histories and the Acts.
The Israelites became a nation and a force in the world, and they were more effective when they were true to God. In Acts, the church spreads far and wide, though heresies crept in. Old Testament History records the promise to Abraham that he would become a great nation 'through whome all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' By and large, Israel failed to be the channel of blessing to the surrounding nations. They hoarded the promises and built a wall of hostility. In New Testament history, Christ and His church broke down the wall, welcoming Jew and Gentile alike. The Gospel will continued to spread all around the world.
Parallels in the Poetry and the Epistles.
The poets looked for and longed for the Prophet and King promised by God. The Epistles explain and describe all blessings in Christ as High Priest. Both interpret the foundational truths they knew.
Parallels between the Prophets and the Revelation. Both are prophesy of Christ. The Old Testament predicts both the first and second comings. The New Testament records the first coming and predicts the second. Both Testaments end with the Second Coming of Christ.
Differences: Daniel was told that the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end (Daniel 12:9). John was told, 'Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.' The Old Testament predicted the Coming of Christ. Revelation looks forward to the consummation of all things in Christ.
Christ as High Priest in the Epistles – Hebrews 2:17; 3:1; 4:15; 7:28.
First mention of Jesus as our High Priest. He had to take on human flesh to become like His brethren, to be a merciful and faithful representative of the people, only without sin, to make reconciliation with God for the sins of the people. Verse 3:1 restates Christ as High Priest.
As High Priest, Christ now in heaven pleads our case, representing us, being able to feel our infirmities, as He experienced temptation, yet without sin.
A priest forever called of God a High Priest after the order of Melchizedek (in the Old Testament, Psalm 110:4).
This chapter describes the history of Melchizedek dealing with Abraham. Then the Aaronic priesthood, one after the other – because they were mortal and passed away. Not so with Christ, Who continues forever, unchangeable, making intercession for them, able to save to the uttermost, those that come unto God.
Christ Presented in the Four Gospels:
Matthew presents Christ as King of the Kingdom of heaven (Zechariah 9:9) to the Jews: From the line of Abraham and David, the lion of the tribe of Judah (Ezekiel 1:10); the teaching is emphasized; He provides righteousness through His role as Savior.
Mark presents Christ as the Suffering Servant of God, especially to the Romans. The symbol of the ox; the emphasis is on what He did as God's servant and powerful Savior.
Luke's theme was Christ as man to the Greeks, from the ancestry of Adam, Who came as the second Adam, only without sin, to redeem mankind as the perfect Savior.
John presents Christ as God, the Living Word to the world, the very Son of God, from eternity. The symbol of the eagle, the expression of God's thoughts. The provider of eternal life as the Personal Savior.
The Acts: the Evangelization of Christ. Jesus had told His disciples to spread the Gospel to all nations. God had told Abraham that the end purpose of his people was the blessing of all nations. This was to be carried out in the spread of the message of the Savor. The outpouring of the Spirit began the proclamation in Jerusalem. Then persecution caused the spread into all of Judea and Samaria. With the conversion and missionary journeys of Paul, the Gospel of Christ was spread to the ends of the Roman empire and onward and outward.
The Epistles interpret and apply the Gospels of Christ to His church. They include the interpretation and application: the possessions believers have in Christ. Romans explains the Redemption which is in Christ Jesus: the righteousness of God imputed to man through faith in Jesus. I Corinthians emphasizes sanctification of the believer. II Corinthians explains the persecution, the sharing of Christ's suffering, but also His comfort.
Galatians emphasizes our freedom in Christ through love. Ephesians explains exaltation and unity in Christ, blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Philippians shows joy in Christ, to glory in Christ, to rejoice in Christ. Colossians shows completion in Christ – to become mature in Him. Christ was and ever is the God-man – we are complete in Him. I Thessalonians exhorts the expectation – the hope we have in Christ Jesus. This expectation in Christ is confidence in what is yet to come. II Thessalonians – Glorification in Christ. May the Lord Jesus be glorified in you, and you in Him.
I Timothy - faithfulness in Christ, to fight the good fight of the faith. II Timothy – soundness in Christ. Avoid teaching that is not sound in Christ Jesus. Titus – steadfastness in Christ – to give instruction in sound doctrine – to be sound in faith, held firm to the sure Word.
Philemon – goodness that is ours in Christ. Hebrews – exhortation to perfection, better than everything in the Old Testament. Through Christ, the greater and more perfect tabernacle, by His sacrifice has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. James exhorts to wisdom in Christ, ask of God. Show your works in the meekness of wisdom. Wisdom from above is first, pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits. I Peter exhorts to submission, obedience, to Christ – and only then will you be approved by God. II Peter exhorts to purification in Christ – the righteousness of our God, and our Savior Jesus Christ, Who has granted all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Christ.
I John exhorts to communion with Christ – if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, with God and Christ. Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ. II John exhorts to a continuation in Christ – follow the truth and abide in it. III John exhorts to contribute for Christ – render service to the brethren. Jude exhorts contending for the faith – especially against ungodliness.
Revelation – consummation in Christ.
Let us review:
Anticipation of Christ in the Old Testament founded in the Law.
Preparation made for Him in History (the nation of Israel).
Aspiration for Him expressed in Poetry.
Prediction of Him in Prophecy.
Realization of Him proclaimed in the Gospels.
Evangelization of Him in the Acts.
Application and Interpretation for the believer in the Epistles.
Consummation of all things in Him in Revelation.
Christ, in the Gospels, is portrayed as the Prophet to His people, in Acts and the Epistles as priest for His people, and in Revelation as King over His people.
First, His incarnation (the Gospels), second His exaltation and proclamation (Acts and Epistles), third His eternal glorification (Revelation).
All things were created by Him. (Colossians 1:16.)
In Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17.)
All things are held together by the Word of His power.
All things will be made new for Him.
All things will be consummated in Him.
All believers in Him will enter eternal salvation.
They will be His people and He will be their Lord.
The Revelation is of Jesus Christ: 1st of His person, 2nd of His possession (the Church) by the shedding of His blood, and 3rd His program of overcoming the world and the establishment of His kingdom among men.
Jesus is the living Word of God. 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh...' - John 1:1,14. He is the Word of Life, and of Spirit, and of Truth.
Christ and Scripture have a dual origin. Christ is fully God and fully human. The Bible is inspired by God and written by man, in the words of men. As Christ is Sinless, so the Scriptures are also without error. Both are unchangeable. Both were brought into the world through the nation of Israel.
Both Christ and the Bible are described as faithful and true, as light, bread, power, unto salvation, cleansing, healing, nourishing, liberating, and eternal. To read and study the Bible is to learn of Christ. Knowing Him as Savior is eternal life to all believers.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church in Lake City, SC, on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. Be sure to visit the author's full list of Bible Study Lessons by book for all of his free lessons.