Tag Archive for 'Old Testament'

Quote of the Day: Happy Talk

This is a repost from a few years ago. I would like to soon post another quote from this book that I haven’t put up before.

Making matters simpler for the enemy is the fact that in these days of “happy talk,” pastors, biblically illiterate parishioners, and thousands of churches that are theology-free zones, are virtual modern Marcionites. Marcion was a second century heretic who (to oversimplify a bit) embraced the “good” Redeemer God of the New Testament but rejected the (presumably) wrathful Creator God of the Old. Any discomfort with the God of the Old Testament smacks of Marcion’s heresy. To view the God in the Old Testament as different from the God of the New Testament is to expose how little we understand either.

–Jim Andrews, Polishing God’s Monuments, pg. 97

Without elaborating, sometimes when I hear people say certain things, I feel like saying, “Have you read the Old Testament?”

We’ve lost the fear of God. We’ve lost the fact that God is jealous and hates sin. I see this more than ever when reading through Numbers and Leviticus. He wouldn’t let any little tiny thing defile them [something I have re-noticed very recently–2016] and couldn’t be in the presence of anything or anyone who was unclean. And when we don’t understand that, we don’t really know God and we can’t more fully appreciate his grace and love. We talk about his grace and love all the time, but by doing that to the exclusion of other aspects of God’s character we can’t appreciate them as much as we could. We’re really missing out on enjoying God and more importantly glorifying him even more.

This is one thing I love about the Puritans. They had that balance. And there are certainly a lot of Christians now who do too. For me this is the value of reading the Old Testament, one example being–using Psalms as a model for prayer, worship, praise. lament etc. in addition to the usual comfort. And then not neglecting Proverbs.

Ironically, I wonder if some people are afraid to fear God.

Polishing God's Monuments

The Glory of Christ in the Old Testament

One thing I will continue to harp on is the importance of the Old Testament. (I also harp on how important it is to pray for not only healing, but also all manner of spiritual matters in praying for those who are suffering, among a few other things.)

John Owen writes about this pretty forcefully in The Glory of Christ. A few years ago I planned on doing what I called “The year of the Old Testament”. That turned into two years, although there was a break for surgery in there, I think. I felt like I hardly learned anything, relatively speaking. I learned a lot, for me, but didn’t get very far in learning about how the two testaments of the book of the Bible are connected. In addition to spending time in the larger portion of the Book, I’ll need to spend other years concentrating on it.

Here is what he writes in the chapter titled ‘Representations of the glory of Christ under the Old Testament’. The first part is a quote in full, and there is only a part of each section for each of his numbered portions (those Puritans and their numbers!). Italic are his. Bold is mine. The word mystical basically means unseen. I don’t want some of you to get freaked out about that.

It is said of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he declared unto his disciples in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself,” Luke 24:27. It is therefore manifest that Moses, and the Prophets, and all the Scriptures, do give testimony unto him and his glory. This is the line of life and light which runs through the whole Old Testament; without the conduct whereof we can understand nothing aright therein: and the neglect hereof is that which makes many as blind in reading the books of it as are the Jews, — the veil being upon their minds. It is faith alone, discovering the glory of Christ, that can remove that veil of darkness which covers the minds of men in reading the Old Testament, as the apostle declares, 2 Cor. 3:14–16. I shall, therefore, consider briefly some of those ways and means whereby the glory of Christ was represented unto believers under the Old Testament.

1. It was so in the institution of the beautiful worship of the law, with all the means of it. Herein have they the advantage above all the splendid ceremonies that men can invent in the outward worship of God; they were designed and framed in divine wisdom to represent the glory of Christ, in his person and his office.

2. It was represented in the mystical account which is given us of his communion with his church in love and grace. As this is intimated in many places of Scripture, so there is one entire book designed unto its declaration.

3. It was so represented and made known under the Old Testament, in his personal appearances on various occasions unto several eminent persons, leaders of the church in their generations This he did as a præludium to his incarnation. He was as yet God only; but appeared in the assumed shape of a man, to signify what he would be.

4. It was represented in prophetical visions. So the apostle affirms that the vision which Isaiah had of him was when he saw his glory, John 12:41.

5. The doctrine of his incarnation, whereby he became the subject of all that glory which we inquire after, was revealed, although not so clearly as by the Gospel, after the actual accomplishment of the thing itself.

6. Promises, prophecies, predictions, concerning his person, his coming, his office, his kingdom, and his glory in them all, with the wisdom, grace, and love of God to the church in him, are the line of life, as was said, which runs through all the writings of the Old Testament, and takes up a great portion of them. Those were the things which he expounded unto his disciples out of Moses and all the Prophets. Concerning these things he appealed to the Scriptures against all his adversaries: “Search the Scriptures; for they are they which testify of me.” And if we find them not, if we discern them not therein, it is because a veil of blindness is over our minds. Nor can we read, study, or meditate on the writings of the Old Testament unto any advantage, unless we design to find out and behold the glory of Christ, declared and represented in them. For want hereof they are a sealed book to many unto this day.

7. It is usual in the Old Testament to set out the glory of Christ under metaphorical expressions; yea, it aboundeth therein. For such allusions are exceedingly suited to let in a sense into our minds of those things which we cannot distinctly comprehend. And there is an infinite condescension of divine wisdom in this way of instruction, representing unto us the power of things spiritual in what we naturally discern. Instances of this kind, in calling the Lord Christ by the names of those creatures which unto our senses represent that excellency which is spiritually in him, are innumerable. So he is called the rose, for the sweet savour of his love, grace, and obedience; — the lily, for his gracious beauty and amiableness; — the pearl of great price, for his worth, for to them that believe he is precious; — the vine, for his fruitfulness; — the lion, for his power; — the lamb, for his meekness and fitness for sacrifice; with other things of the like kind almost innumerable.

We will grow richer as we understand more of these things.

Quotes About Jesus in the Old Testament – Pt 3 of Many

We cannot say that Moses preached the opposite of Jesus because Moses spoke of Jesus. We cannot say that Israel had only the law, and we have the gospel: “For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them.” (Hebrews 4:2, emphasis added)

–David Murray, Jesus On Every Page (Advance Copy)

Also see:

Quotes About Jesus in the Old Testament – Pt 2 of Many

Most Christians delight in reading and rereading the record of Jesus contained in the four Gospels. These four short books reveal so much about our precious Savior. But what would you say if I told you that knew of some bonus material about Him? What if I told you there were other books—books that most people know very little about? No, I’m not talking about some newly discovered Gnostic gospels. In fact, the books I’m talking about were written hundreds of years before a star appeared in the east.

You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m talking about the Old Testament. Yes, the Son of God was present and active on earth long before His birth in Bethlehem. This was probably my most exciting discovery when I started looking for Jesus in the Old Testament. Numerous writers, including Jonathan Edwards and Jonathan Stephens, opened my eyes to see the amount of bonus material that I had completely overlooked till then.

–David Murray, Jesus On Every Page (Advance Copy)

Also see:

Book Review: Jesus On Every Page by David Murray

Book Cover - Jesus On Every Page by David Murray Jesus On Every Page by David Murray

The author writes: “Some surveys put the ratio of Old Testament to New Testament sermons at 1 to 10. Some would like it nearer 0 to 10. But might this imbalance in the spiritual diet of most Christians explain many of the spiritual problems in the modern church and in modern Christians? Or as theologian Gleason Archer put it: ‘How can Christian pastors hope to feed their flock on a well-balanced spiritual diet if they completely neglect the books of Holy Scripture on which Jesus and all the New Testament authors received their own spiritual nourishment?’”

In addition to this book being about what the title says, it’s a book about recovering the Old Testament in general. I love the Old Testament and am so glad to read what David Murray has to say. In the first chapter, after the quote above, he offers a litany of reasons as to why we have lost the interest in and importance of the Old Testament. He’s not overly polite in this area, and it’s a needed admonition. At one point I thought he was being a little on the negative side, but then I’m already biased in believing how important the Old Testament is.

That’s just the first chapter. I very much appreciate the first portion of this book which is not just introductory material. In Part I: My Road To Emmaus, he writes about how when he was a younger lad, he reluctantly became a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament in a small Scottish Presbyterian denomination. This started a study of a subject he first dreaded, but quickly began to enjoy.

The way the book is written is as if he’s in a living room speaking with a variety of people. The newer believers will be able to understand him enthusiastically teaching them, and the more knowledgeable Christians will learn a great deal as well. He writes about the Old Testament from the perspective of Jesus, Peter, Paul and John, and how they utilized the Old Testament (a lot!).

In the chapter on Paul, he wrote, “I decided…” when discovering something about how the Old Testament was quoted. This sounded rather strange, as if he was going about this on his own and not using the wisdom of the church universal to confirm his findings. But this was quickly dispelled, as before this and throughout the rest of the book, he provides ample quotes from people like Christopher Wright, Jonathan Edwards, and many more. Murray is an educated learner, being a Professor of Old Testament and Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, having pastored two churches in Scotland and recently starting a new pastorate. So he is teaching us from his own knowledge gained, but providing additional sources of information, which also provides the reader with a nice bibliography. The references are contained in the oft complained about end notes, including Scripture references.

For those willing to read about this subject, this will be highly valuable in understanding the importance of reading and studying the Old Testament. (Also see: 7 Reasons To Study Your Old Testament)

I wanted to write mainly about the first portion of the book since you will find plenty of reviews about the rest of it. As I was reading the second portion, I found myself not just learning about Jesus in the Old Testament, but also how to read and interpret the Old Testament, which is fantastic. The book has more to offer than just what the title suggests. I highly recommend it.

I received an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

I also read David Murray’s short book Christians Get Depressed Too which was surprisingly good, since I expected it to be too basic. He’s also one of my favorite bloggers and Twitterers.

See the book’s web site Jesus on Every Page : Dr. David Murray

The book can also be found at Amazon.com

Why The Old Testament Law Is Important

John Calvin gives two reasons why believers need the law:

  1. The best way to more thoroughly learn the Lord’s will. (As most of you know, the OT is nearly 4/5ths of the Bible. That’s a whole lotta law. And it’s all good [Psalm 19:7-8]).
  2. By meditating on it [Joshua 1:8] we will be “aroused to obedience, be strengthened in it, and be drawn back from the slippery path of transgression.” —Institutes, BOOK II, CH. VII, v. 12

For no man as heretofore attained to such wisdom as to be unable, from the daily instruction of the law, to make fresh progress toward a purer knowledge of the divine will.

–Ibid.

I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40:8

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God;
may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.
Psalm 143:10

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1 John 5:14 NIV

Calvin next says that as it is applicable to every age (time frame), and grace sweetens what is bitter because as believers we now have a Mediator and are seen as righteous.

“We ought not to be frightened away from the law or to shun its instruction merely because it requires a much stricter moral purity than we shall reach while we bear about with us the prison house of our body. For the law is not now acting toward us as a rigorous enforcement officer who is not satisfied unless the requirements are mat. But in this perfection to which it exhorts us, the law points out the goal toward which throughout life we are to strive.”

Institutes, BOOK II, CH. VII, v. 13

The ministry that brought death was inscribed on stone. Yet, it came with such glory that the people of Israel couldn’t look at Moses’ face. His face was shining with glory, even though that glory was fading.8 Won’t the ministry that brings the Spirit have even more glory?9 If the ministry that brings punishment has glory, then the ministry that brings God’s approval [righteousness] has an overwhelming glory.10 In fact, the ministry that brings punishment lost its glory because of the superior glory of the other ministry.
2 Corinthians 3:7-11 GW

Perseverance of the Saints in the Old Testament

If you are unfamiliar with this term, Perseverance of the Saints is from Reformed teaching that means that God will make sure people are saved to the end. Preservation of the Saints may make it more clear. Here is a verse I found from the Old Testament in a list I made that I was looking at. I think it’s pretty cool (for lack of a better term). Though it’s referring to the Israelites, as seen in the context below, it shows that God does make, or cause people to do or not do things. This doesn’t make us robots as some people who believe that “love demands (complete freedom of) a choice”. There is synergy, mystery, paradox, middle area, etc.

Jeremiah 32:40
I will make an eternal promise to them that I will never stop blessing them. I will make them fear me so that they will never turn away from me.

Jeremiah 32:37-44
I am going to gather the people from all the lands where I scattered them in my anger, fury, and terrifying wrath. I will bring them back to this place and make them live here securely. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them the same attitude and the same purpose so that they will fear me as long as they live. This will be for their own good and for the good of their children. 40 I will make an eternal promise to them that I will never stop blessing them. I will make them fear me so that they will never turn away from me. 41 I will enjoy blessing them. With all my heart and soul I will faithfully plant them in this land. 42 “This is what the LORD says: As I brought all these disasters on these people, so I will bring on them all these blessings that I have promised them. 43 You have said that this land is a wasteland, without people or animals living in it. You have also said that it has been handed over to the Babylonians. But people will once again buy fields in this land. 44 They will buy fields for money, sign deeds, seal them, and have people witness the signing of the deeds. This will happen in the territory of Benjamin, in the region of Jerusalem, in the cities of Judah, in the cities on the mountains, in the hill country, and in the Negev because I will bring them back from their captivity,” declares the LORD. (God’s Word®)

Read the Old Testament in Two Years

If you haven’t read through the Old Testament and for any reason find it difficult, consider this plan which will take you through it in two years. It’s vitally important to read the whole letter that God has written for us.

Old Testament

I prefer to read it in a relatively short amount of time as far as reading through it for familiarity. Knowing how few Christians read the Bible daily, I can only imagine how few have read through the Old Testament. I hope this may help some people out.

I’m more amazed and get more out of it every time I read it.

Book Review: Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi

Haggai, Zechariah, and MalachiHaggai, Zechariah and Malachi by Iain M. Duguid

This book was given to me unsolicited by the publisher, EP Books, and I chose to review it. I had previously reviewed How to Enjoy Your Bible by this publisher.

This commentary is an exposition of the last three books of the Bible. It aims to interpret the Bible text section by section as opposed to verse by verse exegesis. At the end of each chapter is an Application section that deals with how the previous portion of Scripture applies to us today and how it points to Christ and the New Testament.

You will find that the theology is solidly evangelical and Reformed, the latter especially showing up in the Application section. If you aren’t familiar with that term, I don’t think it will be of major significance.

This popular level book is useful for pastors and laypeople who want to gain a better understanding of these three books of Scripture.

The author provides his own translation of these texts, however in the exposition, Hebrew words are mentioned sparingly but in a helpful and understandable way.

Why are these books important to study? “Gospel writers quote Zechariah 9 – 14 more often than any other biblical source in explaining Christ’s sufferings and death.” (pg 11) The commentary helps clarify many of the obscurities of the visions in Zechariah. Also, “The fundamental theological context of these books is the return from exile,”. The commentary helps bring into perspective this relatively small portion of history with equally ‘small’ but significant events.

I enjoyed reading this succinct 241 page book. Though it doesn’t go as in-depth as a more thorough and technical commentary, there weren’t any major questions left unanswered for me. I didn’t feel a need to to go another source for more information, although I wasn’t preparing a sermon or studying deeply.

The earlier mentioned Application section is very helpful. I felt these sections may have been a bit longer than necessary and stretching some things a little far. I wouldn’t have minded a little more content in the expositional portions, but that may be more of a preference than a criticism.

There are the dreaded endnotes instead of footnotes. If you want to look up a reference, to the back of the book you go.

One of the reasons I like reading good expositions like this of the Old Testament is that in almost any section, things learned help to understand other portions of the Old Testament. This is the case over and over again with this book. Whether it’s history, feasts, symbols, Christology, references to passages in other books or any number of topics, this commentary will help you not only with these three unsung but important books of the Bible, but will help you understand the whole Old Testament at least a little bit better.

I highly recommend it.

Hardcover: 255 pages
Publisher: EP Books (Evangelical Press) May 2010
ISBN-10: 085234712X

Buy it from:
Amazon.com
Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service

A listing of the other EP Commentaries can be found here:
EP STUDY COMMENTARIES

Gerhard von Rad Not Well Liked?

I bought his Old Testament Theology because its single volume (but not abridged) edition was on sale for $10 and it was recommended by a few people. I haven’t read it yet except the section on Ecclesiastes, but I’ve read nothing but negative things from other commentators when he is mentioned (Eaton, Waltke and others). His work has been praised by many but his theology always seems to come into question. Maybe it’s because I’ve  been concentrating on wisdom literature and he’s a little wonky on that? What’s the deal?

Fall Reading and Study

I’ve got to start posting more again. I know all of you have been crying yourselves to sleep every day that there isn’t a post here.

I’m going to follow Jason’s post on Fall Reading. At the same time, I’m considering combining my Scripture Zealot 2 and Suffering Christians blogs. Both of those have more personal things in them so I’m not sure. In Scripture Zealot 2 I often write about what I’m reading and studying in case I want to look back and see when I read what. So it may be better to keep it separate. I don’t know.

I’m getting near the end of finishing reading the Old Testament using NLT’s 24/7 chronological Bible, reading ahead a little. From then on HCSB will be my main Bible while using NLT quite a bit still. I’m going to be sad when I’m done. Obviously I can read it again, but I like what I learned and the process I went through and that will never be the same again. Of course, the next time may be even better.

I’m concentrating on the OT this year and because of having surgery and spending a lot of time sleeping because of medication I’ll be going at least through the first three months of next year too.

We’re going to be studying Proverbs in our small group starting next month. We will be using a NavPress study guide which is pretty good as those awful things go. I used that as an excuse to buy a two volume commentary by Waltke. I wanted to read through it while doing the study, but the study guide is more topical than going through it in the order it’s in. So I don’t know how that will work and if I’ll read the whole two volumes or just refer to parts. The introduction itself, which takes up about a fifth of the first long(er) volume, should be very good.

Then I have Haggai Zechariah Macachi by Evangelical Press which they sent me just to be nice because I reviewed How To Enjoy Your Bible. I will review that one too.

After that I’ll go through Creation and Blessing which is a commentary/exposition of Genesis and Handbook of the Pentateuch.

Then finally Finding Jesus in the Old Testament which I’m really looking forward to because I love reading anything about Jesus.

I also have Isaiah by Moyter but I’m afraid I’ll only use that for reference.

Depending on how much I can read each day, I’m guessing it will take well into next year. Then I’ll go back to reading commentaries on Luke and Acts and I have read one commentary for each book of the NT.

I just got done reading How Long O Lord by D.A. Carson which is a good theological way of looking at suffering, compatibilism and God’s providence. I will be posting a lot of quotes from that.

I’d like to read Randy Alcorn’s book on suffering, If God Is Good. I wrote to the publisher requesting a review copy and haven’t heard anything so I’m not sure if I should buy it yet. For you reviewers, maybe you know that limbo.

I’m behind on Greek vocabulary because of surgery and am trying to get that back before I get back into going through Black’s beginning book. I feel like I forgot everything. I may just read through the book from the beginning yet again to where I am which is a little more than half-way through.

I’ll stop there. More to come on these things I hope.

New Book – Roots: Let the Old Testament Speak by Alec Motyer

This new book looks very interesting.
Roots: Let the Old Testament Speak by Alec Motyer

Motyer wrote the commentary on Isaiah that I’ve heard good things about and recently purchased.

This is only about $13 for a 400 page book.

Monergism now has free shipping on orders over $25 and the prices are good.

I haven’t been doing very well this week so posts are sparse. I may stick with quotes for a bit.

What One Old Testament Commentary Would You Get?

If you like commentaries as I do, and you could only get a commentary on one Old Testament book other than Genesis or the wisdom literature, which one would it be and why if you care to take the time to tell.

I’m thinking Isaiah or Jeremiah and I’m leaning toward Jeremiah because there are many questions I have about it.

Also, if you would insist on recommending Psalms or Proverbs, please let me know what one(s) you like.

I have Genesis and Ecclesiastes covered and I know I want commentaries on Psalms and Proverbs. With a low budget I’m trying to decide what other one I’d eventually like to get. I think the Treasury of David is very good for the Psalms and it’s free.

Matthew and the Old Testament

Matthew stands as a continual reminder that being a “New Testament Christian” is not enough. The Hebrew Bible remains the Word of God for the churches. Our appreciation of the message and significance of Jesus, of God’s standards and desires for God’s people and God’s world, and of our place in the larger plan of God are all enhanced as we continue in Matthew’s tradition of anchoring the New Testament message (and our churches) in the earlier oracles of God. Matthew reminds us that the New Testament has value as the revelation that stands in continuity with the Old Testament, not as its replacement.

David deSilva, An Introduction to the New Testament, 290

An Introduction to the New Testament by David deSilva

Random Verse

If you search for “Random Verse” at Biblia Hebraica (which I’ve done for you in the link) you will find some random verses illustrating how you usually can’t just use a single verse from the OT as a platitude (or something like that). If you haven’t seen it, go over there and you might find it as interesting as I did.