Day 5

The Last Word: Okay, I am reading through the book of Acts and it seems that Bishop Wright is on to something here. As you recall from yesterday's post, Wright stated that the 'good news' was a simple message about YHWH's promise to Israel and that Jesus, particularly his death and resurrection, was the climax of that story. Well, so far, it seems to be that way. Every sermon has mention of Jesus and Israel and how YHWH has fulfilled his promise to Israel through Jesus' death and resurrection. Even in Peter's sermon to the house of Cornelius the two subjects are intertwined. I think, then, that the good Bishop is on to something here. And it makes sense. If Jesus isn't the climax to the story of Israel, then their story is unfinished. It's like a mystery missing the final chapter. All the clues are there but we can't know for sure to whom they are pointing. Furthermore, it makes Christianity a 'second plan' type of thing instead of what YHWH intended -- the missing final chapter to the same story.

The church needs to recapture this, IMO. Too many Christians don't really know for sure why they even have the OT. It just seems to be stories of how YHWH (or, as some wrongfully teach, some other god) interacted within ancient history; not as a single story but several, sort of realted stories.

Also, the problem of dispensationalism comes into play here. Instead of seeing Christianity as the 'final chapter' (albeit, a long one), they too see an unfinished story of Israel. But that is not what the NT is teaching. It is clear that the NT writers saw Jesus and themselves and what they were doing as the continuation of the same story. Or, rather, Jesus was the climax to the old story and they and their mission were the new chapter to the second, hidden, continuation. To use todays terms, Christianity would be the sequal to Israel's movie. It is not it's own movie without any connection to the previous one but it builds on everything that was laid in the first movie and continues to take it to the next level. Very much like movies like The Lord of the Rings or the X-Men. The 'new' covenant, then, should be seen as new as in 'different' not something 'brand-spanking' new with no connections to the 'old'.

Therefore, when we read the OT we should realize that we are reading the first chapters of our story. It is our history that we are reading there in those strange, foreign, and mysterious stories. We have a rich heritage and it would be sad for us not to embrace it.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.



Anonymous said…
Good thoughts!
Irin said…
Well said. I often think that we put too little emphasis on the old testament and what it has to teach us.
Odysseus said…
Thanks Irin. I think something else we need to remember is that when reading the OT we are not looking to repeat the story, but to learn from it. As St Paul put it, the law (and by that I am referring to the whole OT story here) was temporary to lead us to Christ (Galatians 3). In other words, if we were on a journey, and the beginning of the journey was a plane ride but the next leg of our journey was a boat ride, we wouldn't try and take that plane again! We have to remember that we are those people that took that plane ride to begin with. Likewise, when we read the story in the OT, we are reading our story, but we are reading the first parts of it. We are now in the new chapter, the new creation.

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