It is a connected, historical, systematic, progressive whole. This includes promises and prophecy and historical record. It records the development of salvation in down to earth, understandable, and experienced instruction. The development is in graded, progressive, stages. All was prepared in advance, of which the goal is Christ. There is order and harmony – one truth – one doctrine. Scripture explains Scripture. The preparation for salvation in the Old Testament is clearly formed and moves unto its goal.
The Biblical account of ancient history is the foundation. There are two periods of revelation. After sin entered and Eden was closed to man, the principle of "self-determination" was in force. There was no human hierarchy or authority, and no Divine law instituted (from Adam to Noah).
After man's complete failure, that dispensation was wiped off the face of the earth. Beginning with Noah, the principle of authority was instituted. Genesis 9:6 – "Whoso sheds man's blood by man shall his blood be shed." This was also perverted by man in building one Kingdom to his power and greatness (consider Nimrod in Genesis 10).
This finally led to the great expression of man's pride in the building of the Tower of Babel. Then, from this "universalism", God limited His revelation to a particular man – Abraham – and later, to the nation that came from him – Israel. Within this was also the promise of the blessing of all nations through Christ (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:8). The preparation for man's salvation is clearly seen in the directing of history to the Savior, His work and its goal.
There are two periods, and covenants – with Abraham, then with Moses. First, with Abraham – instruction of "faith", lasting 2,000 years. Second, added to the first, is "God's Law" through Moses. This was an instruction in the guilt of sin and man's need of "repentance".
This clearly shows the essential path of conversion, repenting, turning away from self, and turning to Christ in faith. The complete Old Testament revelation prepared for this outcome.
With Abraham's covenant was the promise of Isaac and his being offered up to sacrifice. This showed God's life-giving grace and power of resurrection. In the Law of Moses, the sinner is under God's judgment, and receives the sentence of death. Together, these two show the two sides of the work of the redemption of Christ, why He must offer up Himself on the Cross, and be raised up by the power of God. It is this that provides the sinner the gift of salvation, which is accepted by repentance and faith. Thus, the Divine plan reached its goal.
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.