Can you preach the Gospel from Old Testament scriptures? If you have eyes to see, you most certainly can!
Some months ago I was making my way through the poetic books when it suddenly dawned on me:
Together, they tell the Story!
When I wrote out the theme of each book – and stitched them together – this is the generous fabric it wove:
Song of Songs
– The Kingdom of this World
– A Called-out Bride
– The Wisdom and Ways of God in the Kingdom of darkness
– Finding Intimacy with God in the Wilderness
– Blessed are the Overcomers
I’m baffled when I hear people say you can’t find the gospel in the Old Testament. One of the earliest places you can find the Gospel’s most prominent feature is way back in the frontleaf of Genesis’ record:
I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
This is the Good News that sits high and gleaming, all alone, atop the manure-pile of man’s reckoning due to his Fall.
Where else does the Gospel pose surreptitiously in the oldest record?
When Abraham offered up his son Isaac to Yahweh, he assured the ‘lad’ – who was actually around Jesus’ age when He was laid atop the wood – the LORD would provide a Sacrifice for their worship.
And then, just before the knife plunged into flesh, God stopped the ceremony and provided a Substitute: a male lamb “caught in the thorns.” The phrase reveals that the ram was ‘stretched out’ and pierced with thorns.
If you have eyes to see, the Gospel is riddled throughout the ancient record, hidden in plain sight.
Jesus said it was so:
Matthew 13:52 (JBP)
“…every one who knows the Law and becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who can produce from his store both the new and the old.”
In laymen’s terms, the Savior said it is the Old that points to the greater revelation of Himself in the New.
“You can find pictures of Me back there,” He says, “and they’ll make you hunger to find the Real Me in the present.”
A few weeks ago, I shared with our ‘kids’ another place where the Divine Story is hidden in plain sight. It was so absolutely delightful watching their eyes light up when they began to see it!
The riddle was found, of all places, in a genealogy. This particular record can be located in Genesis 5.
Can you spot the Story of stories?
Let’s pick through the names…
…You know Adam, of course. His name means “Man”. More specifically, “mud-man.” Yup.
Then comes Cain and Abel. Well, Abel was murdered and Cain is a wash. But next in line comes “Seth” whose name means “Appointed”. Then Enosh (“mortal”). Following in line comes Kenan (“sorrow”) and Mahalalel (“the blessed God”).
Still with me?
Okay, who’s next? Oh yes: Jared, meaning “shall come down.”
Even though the previous names don’t ring a bell, you likely remember the next guy: Enoch. His name means “Teach” or “teaching”. The line is rounded out by Methuselah, Lamech and Noah (“his death shall bring”, “the despairing” and “rest”, respectively).
Some of you caught it, didn’t you? If you haven’t seen it yet, let me try it with this approach and then perhaps you can solve the puzzle:
Mahalalel–The blessed God
Jared–Shall come down
Methuselah–His death shall bring
Yes you do.
The names. The Story is hidden among the names:
Man [was] appointed mortal sorrow but the Blessed God shall come down teaching and His death shall bring the despairing [His] Rest.
The story of stories, to be sure. And that’s not all…
Isn’t it wonderful that he put YOUR name in His story?