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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 18: Psalm 110:1 and Contextual Fulfillment

With my last blog I offered my thoughts on the use of Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:33–35. I argued for a contextual understanding with Peter’s use of Psalm 110:1 being a case of Direct Literal Prophetic Fulfillment. With this blog I want to make some comments about Psalm 110 and verse 1 of this psalm in particular. Psalm 110:1 is the most quoted OT verse in the NT, with at least 22 separate references to this book in the NT. Psalm 110:1 states:

The LORD says to my Lord:
         “Sit at My right hand
         Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”

As I argued earlier, Psalm 110 is an explicit prophetic messianic passage in which David consciously discussed the coming eternal King-Priest. Hebrews 1:13 also quotes Psalm 110:1:
           
            But to which of the angels has He ever said,
             “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
            UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES
            A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET”?

Within the context of Hebrews 1, the writer of Hebrews is arguing that Jesus is superior to angels. The writer uses Psalm 110:1 to show that Jesus is God’s designated King, a role that no angel has ever possessed nor ever will possess. Thus, he is making the point that Jesus is superior to angels since He has a role and position that no angel could ever have.

With Matt 22:41–46 we see another reference to Psalm 110:1 by Jesus:

Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,

‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
“SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET”’?

“If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
Jesus uses Psalm 110:1 to stump the skeptical Pharisees. For our purposes, two things are worthy of note. First, Jesus viewed David as the author of Psalm 110. Second, Jesus uses this passage to establish both the humanity and deity of David’s “Lord.” David’s Lord is human because he is David’s son, but He is also divine since He is David’s Lord. Jesus clearly sees this Psalm as applying to himself even though the Pharisees would not admit it. Again, this appears to be another case of contextual use of Psalm 110:1.

References to Psalm 110:1 can also be seen with Matt 26:24; Mark 12:36; 14:62; 16:19; Luke 20:42, 43; 22:69; Acts 5:31; 7:55-56; Rom 8:34; 1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:20; 2:6; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12–13; 12:2; Rev 3:21. Most of these references indicate that Jesus is at the right hand of God.

My main point here is that when it comes to the most quoted OT verse in the OT, the uses are consistently contextual. Psalm 110 is an explicit messianic psalm and this psalm is applied to Jesus in the NT.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 17: Acts 2:33-35/Psalm 110:1 and Literal Prophetic Fulfillment

In Acts 2, Peter has been making an argument for establishing the identity of Jesus as both Lord and Messiah. His argument continues in Acts 2:33–35 where he quotes Psalm 110:1:

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: “THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, ‘SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET.’”

Then immediately in 2:36 Peter makes his closing argument: “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter had already declared that David was a “prophet” (2:30) and that David “looked ahead” to Christ (2:31). So when Peter quoted Psalm 110:1 in reference to Jesus, he clearly viewed Jesus as the literal fulfillment of what Psalm 110:1 says.

Peter’s use of Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:34–25, therefore, is a case of direct literal fulfillment of an OT prophetic/messianic text. While it appears fashionable in more recent times to view none of the psalms as explicitly messianic, Psalm 110 is a clear instance where David himself had the coming Messiah explicitly in mind when he wrote the psalm. The reasons for this are several.

First, Jesus viewed Psalm 110 as a case where David was referring to Jesus. In Matt 22:41–46, Jesus stumped the Pharisees by showing that the Messiah was both the son of David and David’s Lord. Thus, this figure that David spoke of was both human and divine. Jesus viewed Psalm 110 as messianic and referring to himself.

Second, the figure in Psalm 110 is an eternal priest-king (Psalm 110:1, 4) like Melchizedek, the priest-king. This "forever" aspect fits the picture of the coming Messiah, Jesus, better than David.

Third, Peter, in Acts 2:33–35, explicitly states that David viewed Jesus’ exaltation to the right hand of God as being the fulfillment of what David meant in Psalm 110:1. This is the case because the second “Lord” of Psalm 110:1 is at the right hand of God sharing Yahweh’s authority. But David, unlike Jesus, never ascended to the right hand of God. So like Acts 2:25–28 and its use of Psalm 16:8–11, we have an explicit case of inspired commentary from an apostle (Peter) on what an OT author (David) meant.

In sum, Acts 2:33–35 is a case of direct literal fulfillment of an OT prophetic text. Again, we see another contextual use of the OT by the NT persons.

Friday, March 25, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 16: Acts 2:25-28/Psalm 16:8-11 and the Resurrection of the Christ

Guys and Gals, I’m sorry for the delay in offering this post, but it has taken me several days to really think through this passage. This is a tough one.

Peter’s use of Psalm 16:8–11 in Acts 2:25–28 offers the interpreter significant challenges. The passage reads:

For David says of Him, “I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE; FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN. THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE; BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.”

As Peter is speaking to the “men of Israel” (Acts 2:22) he is trying to convince them of the resurrection of Jesus. Verse 24 states that God raised Jesus up since it was impossible for death to keep Him in its power. What is also significant is that Peter explicitly declares that David, the author of Psalm 16, explicitly wrote about the Messiah’s resurrection:

"Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.  This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses” (Acts 2:29–32)

However, many have noted that a plain reading of Psalm 16 seems to indicate that the whole psalm including verses 8–11 (which are quoted in Acts 2) appears to be the experiences of David—not a prediction of the Messiah. Also, some have noted that the context of Psalm 16 is deliverance from premature death while the context of Acts 2 is bodily resurrection from the dead. So what do we do here?

There are several options to explain the connection between Acts 2:25–28 and Psalm 16:8–11.

First, some see this is an example of pesher hermeneutics in which an OT passage is removed from its historical-grammatical context and applied to Jesus’ resurrection. In this case Peter is not using Psalm 16 contextually.

Second, others say that Peter may be using Psalm 16 typologically and in doing so shows a divine correspondence between David’s expectation that he would not experience premature death and Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the dead. But with this view David did not have the Messiah in mind.

Third, others claim that there is a TYPOLOGICAL–prophetic aspect in which “typology” is the primary emphasis with perhaps a hint of prophecy as well. But this approach would hold that David was primarily referring to himself in Psalm 16 although there are hints of his words going beyond himself to the Messiah.

Fourth, some hold that with Psalm 16 David is writing as if the Messiah is the author of the psalm. In this case, David would be specifically and explicitly referring to the Messiah throughout the psalm. Thus Peter uses Psalm 16 contextually.

Fifth, another view is that David, as the one to whom the eternal David covenant was given, consciously understood that the ultimate King and His resurrection were coming. Thus, David understood that his words ultimately referred to the coming Messiah although they had application to him as well. This approach could be classified as PROPHETIC-typological in which the prophetic element is primary although there are some typological implications as well.

Right now I find myself agreeing with the fifth approach. I think David had the coming Messiah in mind, thus Peter’s use of Psalm 16 in Acts 2 is contextual and indicates a literal fulfillment. Yet I also believe that what David wrote in Psalm 16 has implications for David as well.

I conclude that David had the Messiah in mind because Peter explicitly tells us that David “was a prophet” and that “he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ.” This is a case where an apostle tells us what an earlier writer of the Bible meant by what he said. In essence, what we have here is inspired commentary on an earlier passage. We do not have to guess what David meant because Peter explicitly tells us what he meant.

And not only does Peter tell us what David meant, he tells us why David said what he did. It was because David understood that God had promised that one of his descendants would sit on his throne. From the beginning, David knew that the Davidic Covenant included him but it also went beyond him since there was an eternal aspect to the covenant (see 1 Sam 7:16). Thus, we should not be surprised that David knew events in his life were related to a greater fulfillment with the coming Messiah. And this is what he expected when he wrote Psalm 16:8–11.

Thus, I see Acts 2:25–28 and its use of Psalm 16:8–11 as a case of contextual, literal fulfillment with implications for a divine correspondence between David and Jesus.

What are your thoughts on this passage?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

An Update on Upcoming Publications and Conferences

I want to give an update on various writing and speaking projects I am involved with:

1.      The first printing of my book, Has the Church Replaced Israel, has sold out in four months and thus a second printing is necessary. I appreciate all who have been supportive of this effort and even those who do not agree but have given me a fair hearing.

2.       I am a contributor to a book to be released on June 1, 2011 called The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective. My chapter is “Eschatology of the Pauline Epistles.” Others with chapters in this book include Jerry Vines, Paige Patterson, Craig Blaising, Danny Aiken, David Allen, and others. It is edited by David Allen and Steve Lemke and is published by Broadman & Holman. We were pleased to land a solid endorsement from John MacArthur for this book.

3.      I am contributing three chapters to an upcoming book put out by John MacArthur, Richard Mayhue, and other faculty members of The Master’s Seminary. The book, published by Moody Press, is a defense of Dispensationalism/Futuristic Premillennialism. Two of my chapters are an explanation of dispensational theology and the other is a rationale for the purpose of Israel in God’s plans. In sum, I argue that Christ’s role as True Israel includes the restoration of national Israel for His glory and purposes. This book will be released in 2012. I’ll give more updates on this as I become aware of them.

4.      Thomas Ice and the Pre-Trib Research Center have asked me to contribute a chapter to a book that will be released in time for the twentieth anniversary of the Pre-Trib Study Group Conference this December. My chapter is, “Israel and the Church and Why it Matters to the Rapture.” 

5.      This November 4–6 I will be speaking at Foothill Christian Fellowship in Meadow Vista, California on the topic of Biblical Prophecy.

6.      My long terms plans involve writing on the subject of New Testament use of the Old Testament. I will be teaching a Th.M. seminar this summer at The Master’s Seminary on this topic.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of these endeavors.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 15: Matt 2:23 and Summation of an OT Truth or Principle

On occasion, the NT writers will appeal to the OT to summarize a general truth or principle that is found in multiple OT passages. The first example we will look at is Matt 2:23 which states:

and [Jesus] came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

The major problem for the interpreter of this verse is that there is no specific OT text that explicitly states that the Messiah would be called a “Nazarene.” Go to your concordance and look for “Nazarene” and you won’t find a reference that the Messiah would be a Nazarene. So what is going on here? Is Matthew playing fast and loose with the OT. Definitely not!

Three options (perhaps four) are possible for how Matthew can link Jesus being from Nazareth with the OT. First, Nazareth was small and insignificant and a very unlikely place to spawn anything or anyone significant. Remember when Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (John 1:46). Nazareth hosted a Roman garrison and Jews who lived there were sometimes viewed as traitors for associating with the enemy Romans. So being called a “Nazarene” was a term of derision, kind of like being called a “backwoodsman” or “hillbilly” today. Thus, Matthew could be appealing to a truth of the OT that the Messiah would have humble origins and a humble ministry (see Isa 52 and 53). Perhaps being from lowly Nazareth encapsulates what the prophets predicted concerning the righteous Servant’s lowly origins.

A second option is to link Jesus being a Nazarene with the concept of “branch” discussed in the OT prophets.  The OT prophets presented the Messiah as being a branch of David. Isaiah stated that the Messiah would come from Jesse’s roots—a “branch” (11:1). Jeremiah told of a coming “Branch of David” (Jer 33:15; see also 23:5). The Hebrew term for “branch” is neser which has consonants like those found in “Nazarene.” Thus, Matthew, with a wordplay, may be connecting the “branch” prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah with Nazareth.

Third perhaps Matthew is linking Nazareth with the concept of the Nazirite (see Num 6:1-21) to emphasize Jesus’ full devotion to God. The Nazirites were to evidence strict devotion to God—something Jesus fulfills perfectly.

There actually is a fourth option which is that Matthew is purposely ambiguous and thus elements of the three views above could all be in play—humble beginnings, “branch”, and “Nazirite.” My view is that options 1 and 2 are most likely with a slight nod to view 1—Nazareth is linked with the predicted humble beginnings of God’s Servant.

It should be noted that Matthew refers to “prophets” in the plural to indicate that the point he is making is a collective summation of several OT prophets and not just one. This is why I call this use of the OT—“Summation of an OT Truth or Principle.” Whether Matt 2:23 is referring to the truth that God’s Servant would come from humble origins or that He was the “branch” of the OT prophets, both truths have support in multiple OT passages.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 14: Matt 2:17-18/Jer 31:15 and Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus

With Matt 2:17-18 we come to another passage in Matthew’s gospel where an event in Israel’s history corresponds to an event in Jesus’ life. Matt 2:16 indicates that Herod was enraged and launched a massacre on all male children in Bethlehem. Matthew then links this occurrence with what Jeremiah discussed in Jer 31:15:

Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:
    "A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH,
         WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING,
         RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN;
         AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED,
         BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE."

Jeremiah 31 is a chapter of great hope for Israel. In fact, it is the chapter discussing the glorious new covenant that will be given to Israel some day (see Jer. 31:31-34). Yet sandwiched in the middle of this chapter is verse 15 which refers to the deportation of the sons of Israel during the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.). Ramah, just north of Jerusalem, served as a place where the exiles were gathered before departing for Babylon. The women of Jerusalem who were not exiled wept over the deportation of their young men. But certain questions arise with Matthew’s use of Jer 31:15: (1) How can a first century A.D. event be a fulfillment of another event hundreds of years earlier?; (2) How can the slaughter of infants be a fulfillment of a deportation?; (3) How can an event in Ramah be a fulfillment of an event in Bethlehem?

Now certainly Matthew is not saying that Ramah is really Bethlehem or that the Babylonian deportation is the slaughter of infants in the first century. But like Matt 1:23 and 2:15, Matthew is showing a divinely intended correspondence between an event in Israel’s history and an event in Jesus’ life to show the solidarity between Jesus and Israel.

God intended for the deportation of the sons of Israel of Jeremiah’s day to correspond to the slaughter of infants in Jesus’ day and in this sense what happened in Jesus’ day heightens what Israel experienced earlier. Both events involve sorrow in lieu of a tragedy. But also, Jeremiah 31:15 is a lament in the context of future hope. Matthew may be drawing attention to the hope element found in Jeremiah in an analogous way to the hope that Jesus brings His people. Thus, we see another example of “Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 13: Matt 2:15/Hos 11:1 and Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus

Matt 2:15 may be the most discussed and debated verse when it comes to the NT use of the OT debate. In fact, when I tell people I’m studying this topic I often hear something like, “So what’s your view of Matt 2:15 and its use of Hosea 11:1?” So let’s introduce this text and I’ll give you my thoughts.

Matthew 2:13–14 states that Mary and Joseph took Jesus to Egypt to escape Herod’s attempt to kill the child. Matt 2:15 then relates Jesus’ return from Egypt with Israel’s journey in the exodus from Egypt centuries earlier:

He [Jesus] remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON.”

Jesus’ return from Egypt is said to “fulfill” the event of Israel’s journey from Egypt at the time of the exodus. The natural question is, “How can Jesus’ return from Egypt be a fulfillment of an historical event that happened centuries earlier?” It appears that Hos 11:1 is referring to a historical event. So how can a reference to an historical event hundreds of years earlier be fulfilled in Jesus?

Some claim this is an example of Matthew using second temple Judaism hermeneutical principles in which an OT text is taken out of its original historical context and applied to the present. If this is the case, this would be a non-literal or non-contextual use of Hos 11:1. Others have said that Matthew is reinterpreting Hos 11:1 and changing a historical reference into a prophecy about Christ.

I do not believe that either option above is accurate. Instead, I believe this is a case, similar to Matt 1:22-23/Isa 7:14, where Matthew is highlighting a correspondence between an important event in Israel’s history and an event in Jesus’ life to show the strong connection between the nation Israel and her corporate head—Jesus Christ. In sum, I believe Matt 2:15 is a case of “Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus.”

Remember that the term “fulfill” (pleroo) does not always refer to a verbal prophecy. The word can refer to a strong connection between historical events. Events in Jesus’ life can “fill up” or “heighten” the significance of earlier events. So not just verbal prophecies point to Jesus; events in Israel’s history also can point to Jesus. Here are key points of correspondence between Matt 2:15 and Hos 11:1:

            --Just as the people of Israel left Egypt so too Jesus left Egypt.
            --Just as Israel was called by God, so too Jesus is called by God.
            --Just as Israel was God’s son, so too Jesus is God’s Son.
--Just as Israel needed deliverance from bondage under a leader—Moses, so too Israel again needed deliverance from bondage under the leader—Jesus Christ.

It may also be the case that Matthew intended to show Jesus as succeeding where the people of Israel failed. Thus, under inspiration, Matthew tells us there is a divine correspondence between Israel’s exodus from Egypt and Jesus’ leaving Egypt.

This form of argument may not be impressive to a 21st century reader. But such a historical connection would have been persuasive to a first century Jew. As Craig Blomberg notes, “[F]or believing Jews, merely to discern striking parallels between God’s actions in history, especially in decisive moments of revelation and redemption, could convince them of divinely intended ‘coincidence.’”[1]  He also says, “The logic is not identical to the classic ‘proof from prophecy’ arguments of much of church history, but given the theistic worldview that presupposes, it was every bit as compelling in first century Judaism.”[2]  In other words, historical correspondence may not be so impressive to a modern reader but it was a big deal to a first century Jew. To the first century audience, it could not merely be by chance that both Israel and Jesus were called out of Egypt.

But what did Hosea understand when he penned Hos 11:1? Hosea clearly was referring to the historical event of the Exodus so no further revelation can or will change this fact. But did Hosea also intend more? Is there a hint of futurity or prophecy in his statement? Some have noted that the concept of “son” is a pregnant concept loaded with messianic significance. The term has such messianic significance in 2 Sam 7:14; and Psalm 2:7. Thus, the antecedent or previous theology of which Hosea was aware may have automatically caused him to see future significance in his use of “son.” Some disagree arguing that Hosea’s other uses of “son” in his book carry no such future significance.

So whether Hosea foresaw a future aspect of his “son” reference is hard to say. I slightly lean against the view that he did. Clearly God knew that Hosea’s reference to “son” would have future significance to Jesus. And Matthew, under inspiration, recognized this relationship. Some have claimed that this is a case of sensus plenior in which God intended a meaning beyond what Hosea meant. While I agree that God knew and intended a significance that Hosea did not consciously understand, I am reluctant to call this a case of sensus plenior. I think it is always the case where God understands the full significance of OT passages more than the OT authors themselves knew, but I am reluctant to call this fuller or double meaning. In this regard I think we need to distinguish between “meaning” and “significance.” Instead, I think this is a case where Matthew understood Hosea 11:1 contextually and in doing so noted a divine correspondence between Israel and Jesus. This is not non-literal hermeneutics but the use of contextual hermeneutics to discover a correspondence or type.


[1] Craig L. Blomberg, “Matthew,” in Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, eds. G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 8.
[2] Ibid.

Friday, March 11, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 12: Matt 1:22-23 and Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus

As I stated in an earlier entry, at times Matthew quoted the OT to show a divinely intended correspondence between Israel and Jesus. This happens most often in the early chapters of Matthew’s gospel. One of Matthew’s purposes, as he wrote to a primarily Jewish audience, was to show that Jesus was God’s greater Son and the corporate head of Israel. One of the ways to do this was to show that events in Israel’s history prefigured events in the life of Jesus. This happens three times in Matthew 1 and 2.

The first example is found in Matthew’s use of Isa 7:14. In Matt 1:21 an angel tells Mary that she will bear a son who will save His people Israel from their sins. Matt 1:22–23 then states:

Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”

A major interpretive issue is whether the Hebrew term, almah, in Isa 7:14 should be translated “young woman” or “virgin.” A case can be made for the former but the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the OT) translates this term as “virgin” (parthenos). Matthew clearly interprets the word as “virgin” (parthenos) when applying it to Jesus, so clearly Matthew is indicating that Jesus experienced a virgin birth.

But almah in Isa 7:14 is not as specific. The translation of “young woman” is probably a good one although “young woman” may also include the idea that the young woman is a virgin so the concept of “virgin” should not be divorced from almah. So what is the connection between Matt 1:22-23 and Isa 7:14? In what sense is Isa 7:14 fulfilled with Jesus’ virgin birth? Four views have been offered: (1) there is no connection view (liberal); (2) prediction of Jesus only view; (3) multiple fulfillment view; and (4) divine correspondence/typology view.

The first position is the “there is no connection view.” This asserts that Isaiah was referring to a child being born in his own day that has no connection with Jesus Christ. This view is unacceptable since this perspective denies the inspiration of Bible and flatly contradicts what Matthew is claiming.

The second position—“prediction of Jesus only view”—claims that the prediction of Isa 7:14 was not fulfilled in any way in Isaiah’s day but is solely a prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus. Thus, Isa 7:14 was only fulfilled when Jesus Christ was born of a virgin centuries later. This view falls short, though, since holding it means ignoring the context of Isaiah 7. The historical figure, King Ahaz of Judah, was facing a real threat from the two predator kingdoms of Aram and Israel. Isa 7:15-17 indicates that the child to come signals the end of Ahaz’s enemies. And it is true historically that both these kingdoms were conquered and removed by the Assyrian empire. Thus, Isa 7:14 has to have some relevance to Ahaz in his day because what was stated was said to be a sign to him.

The third view—“multiple fulfillment view”—states that there are two referents with the Isa 7:14 prophecy. Isaiah’s prophecy finds an initial fulfillment with a child born in his day (first referent), but the final and full fulfillment takes place with Jesus Christ (second referent). This view is possible. I will argue that the divine correspondence/typology view mentioned below is more likely but this position is defensible. Isaiah does predict a greater Child in 9:6–7:

  6For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
         And the government will rest on His shoulders;
         And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
         Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
    7There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
         On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
         To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
         From then on and forevermore
          The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (NASB)

Isaiah understood that there would be a child born in Ahaz’s day who would fulfill the Isa 7:14 prophecy, but Isaiah also prophesied concerning the coming divine Child, Jesus Christ. To me, the presence of Isa 9:6-7 does not mean there will be a double fulfillment of Isa 7:14. It means that Isa 7:14 was a prophecy about a child to be born in Isaiah’s day who would prefigure Jesus Christ, while Isa 9:6-7 was a prophecy only about Jesus Christ.

The fourth view—the “divine correspondence/typology view”—asserts that Isaiah prophesied of a child who would be born in his time that would serve as a sign to King Ahaz of Judah that the two predator kingdoms against Judah—Aram and Israel—would be removed as threats. But in addition, this child born in Isaiah’s day to a young woman prefigures the divine child, Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin and most fully represents God’s presence among His people. Thus, the child born in Isaiah’s day prefigures or serves as a type of Jesus Christ. Not only does Matthew point this out, but Isaiah may have had this idea in mind as well since he speaks of a “child” who would be born in his day in 7:14 but then discusses a “child” who could only be the Messiah in Isa 9:6-7. Therefore, it would not be surprising to me if Isaiah viewed the child predicted in 7:14 as corresponding to the greater child of Isa 9:6-7.

In summary, the child Isaiah spoke of in Isa 7:14 was a child born in his day who would serve as a real sign to King Ahaz. But under inspiration, Matthew tells us that the child of Isaiah’s day who was born of a young woman corresponds to God’s greater Child, Jesus, who was born of a virgin. I believe this view fits nicely with the broader context of Matthew 2 in which on two other occasions Matthew will indicate that a historical event in Israel’s history prefigures or corresponds to events in the life of Jesus (Matt 2:15/Hos 11:1; Matt 2:17-18/Jer 31:15).

Thus, the use of Isa 7:14 in Matt 1:22-23 falls under the category of—“Divine Correspondence between Israel and Jesus.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My Experiences This Week at the Shepherds' Conference

I'm taking a brief break from my NT use of the OT series. I thought I’d share some thoughts on what’s been taking place recently.

First, it’s Shepherds’ Conference week here at The Master’s Seminary and Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA.  I’ve had a great couple of days of fellowship. So many old friends to talk to and new ones as well. This truly is one of my favorite times of the year. The relationships are like a little slice of what life will be on the coming New Earth. Plus visiting the book tables of the many Christian publishers here isn’t too bad either.

Those running the conference graciously allowed me to have a one hour book signing today (Thursday) for my new book Has the Church Replaced Israel? I was overwhelmed and humbled by the response today. I was expecting to sign maybe 10 books or so, but it was nonstop for a solid 70 minutes. I had a great time talking to everyone and met some great people. Near the end of my time period I was informed that my book had sold out, which was almost 200 copies that Broadman & Holman (the publisher) brought with them. I was also told by reps from Broadman & Holman that my first run of the book that was released in mid-October had sold out. This means the book will need a second printing which is exciting for me.

I do have some news in regard to my website—www.TheologicalStudies.org. Those of you who are familiar with it are aware that it is painfully behind the times in its look and layout. But there will be some significant changes in the look within the next month. I’ll keep you posted on this. This blog too will get a facelift and should be much better.

I also have some great speaking opportunities coming up as a result of contacts I made at the conference. I’ll keep you posted on these as more information develops.

Tomorrow is the last day of conference. It has gone way too fast.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 11: Some Observations Concerning Matthew's Purposes in Matt 1--2


I now want to start addressing three difficult and controversial uses of the OT in Matthew 1–2. In doing so I acknowledge that there is much debate on these three passages and I have chosen not to go into much depth on how different camps understand and interpret these texts. I mostly want to focus on my understanding of these three texts and how they fit into Matthew’s purposes.

Anyone who has spent time studying how the NT uses the OT may be aware that three texts—(1) Matt 1:23/Isa 7:14; (2) Matt 2:15/Hos 11:1; and (3) Matt 2:17-18/Jer 31:15—have tested the interpretive skills of many Bible students. The latter two have sometimes been used to support the idea that Matthew uses the OT non-contextually.

But before I address these passages individually, I want to make some observations concerning what I think is going on in the early chapters of Matthew’s gospel and why Matthew uses the OT the way that he does. In my next blog entry I will start examining the three passages more specifically.

To start off, I think it is highly likely that Matthew is pointing out divinely intended historical correspondences between events in Israel’s history and events in Jesus’ life. And in doing so Matthew intentionally links Jesus with Israel. In fact, I think it is accurate to state that Matthew presents Jesus as the true Israel, the corporate head of Israel, who recapitulates key events in Israel’s history and succeeds where Israel failed. Look at the following:

--A child born in Isaiah’s day to a young woman prefigures/corresponds to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Matt 1:23/Isa 7:14).

--Israel’s calling and exodus from Egypt as God’s son prefigures/corresponds to Jesus’ calling and return from Egypt as God’s Son (Matt 2:15/Hos 11:1).

--The mourning over the men of Israel being deported during the Babylonian captivity from Jerusalem through Ramah prefigures/corresponds to the mourning that took place in Bethlehem as a result of the slaughter of infants under Herod (Matt 2:17-18/Jer 31:15).

--Israel’s forty year wandering in the wilderness prefigures/corresponds to Jesus’ forty day temptation in the wilderness from Satan (Matt 4:1-11).

--Moses’ reception of the Mosaic Law on Mount Sinai prefigures/corresponds to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount where Jesus, the authoritative lawgiver, reveals what He expects from His followers (Matt 5–7).

These examples show that the connection between the OT and the NT goes beyond verbal predictions and prophecies. God also intends for historical events in the OT to prefigure later events in the NT. These show the divine unity in God’s workings in history and shows there is a divine author behind salvation history. This concept of historical events prefiguring later events often escapes modern readers of Scripture who usually expect “fulfillment” terminology to refer solely to fulfillment of a written prophecy. But fulfillment in the Bible can also refer to correspondences between historical events. Thus, both verbal predictions and historical events can be forward looking.

Yet there are certain errors we should avoid as we correctly acknowledge that Jesus is the true Israel whose experiences correspond to what happened in Israel’s history. One error is to claim that since Matthew is connecting Jesus with Israel this must mean that Jesus dissolves national Israel’s significance. This is an incorrect application. The belief that since Jesus fulfills Israel this must mean the non-significance of the nation Israel is a non-sequitor—it does not follow biblically or logically. Isa 49:1-6 indicates that one of the purposes of Jesus as the true Servant and true Israel is to restore the nation Israel. Plus, multiple NT passages affirm future significance to the nation Israel (Matt 19:28; Acts 1:6; Rom 11). Jesus’ relationship to Israel is that of corporate solidarity in which the One represents and restores the many without dissolving the significance of the many. I will address this point with more depth in a future blog entry.

Another error is to conclude that since Matthew is saying an event in Jesus’ life “fulfills” a historical event in Israel’s life that Matthew has abandoned historical-grammatical hermeneutics or has adopted principles of second temple hermeneutics that ignore the contexts of OT passages. Matthew uses pleroo (“fulfill”) in multiple ways and his use of this term does not always refer a direct fulfillment of a verbal prophecy. Matthew’s use of pleroo can indicate that events in Jesus’ life heighten or have a divine correspondence with earlier events in Israel’s history. In addition, we should not conclude that fulfillment language means that Matthew is reinterpreting the OT or saying that the historical events of the OT only have reference to Christ and not the original referent—Israel.

Hosea 11:1, for instance, refers to God calling Israel out of Egypt at the time of the Exodus. No later revelation can or will change that fact. But Matthew, under inspiration, can point out that this historical event has a divine correspondence with Jesus’ return from Egypt (see Matt 2:15). Thus, we can interpret Hosea 11:1 literally but also see that God intended for God’s calling of Israel during the Exodus to prefigure God calling Jesus out of Egypt centuries later. The fact that there are divine correspondences or types does not negate historical-grammatical hermeneutics. Historical-grammatical hermeneutics is consistent with divine correspondences as we will see in my next entry where we discuss more specifically verses in Matthew 1–2.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 10: Affirmation of an Old Testament Prophetic Text Whose Fulfillment Is Still Future

On several occasions Jesus quoted Old Testament texts that predicted future events and affirmed that these events would take place in the future. John the apostle also does this in Rev 1:7. This is true for events such as the reward for the righteous, the abomination of desolation, cosmic signs, the Messiah’s coming on the clouds, and the Messiah’s rule over the earth and consequent reign of His saints. We call this category of NT usage of the OT—"Affirmation of OT Prophetic Text Whose Fulfillment Is Still Future." This occurs when a NT writer or person quotes an OT passage that is still viewed as future from the standpoint of the writer or person. It should be noted that such usages reveal a strong continuity between the contextual meaning of OT eschatological passages and the expectation of the NT writers and persons. In other words, what the OT prophets predicted, the NT persons saw as needing to be accomplished in the future if the fulfillment had not happened already.

Matt 13:41-43 / Dan 13:3"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father He who has ears, let him hear." Jesus is discussing the eschatological harvest that will take place at the end of the age. When Jesus comes again He will cast out the wicked and then reward the righteous who will shine in the kingdom. The OT quote here appears to be a reference to Dan 12:3 which is an eschatological passage about what takes place in the context of God’s coming judgment.

Matt 24:15 / Dan 9:27"Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place let the reader understand)."Jesus refers to Dan 9:27, an eschatological passage that speaks of a coming abomination that will be done to the Jewish temple. Jesus refers to Daniel 9:27 when He is speaking of future events.

Mark 13:14 / Dan 9:27"But when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains." With Mark’s parallel to Matt 24:15 (see above) Jesus quotes Dan 9:27 to speak of a coming abomination that will happen to the temple.

Matt 24:29 / Isa 13:10; Isa 34:4"But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken."Jesus refers to Isa 13:10 and Isa 34:4, passages that speak of cosmic signs associated with God’s coming judgment of the nations of the earth. This is a case where Jesus asserts that eschatological events of the OT are still future from His standpoint.

Mark 13:24-26 / Isa 13:10; Isa 34:4; Dan 7:13"But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT,  AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN CLOUDS with great power and glory." A parallel to Matt 24:29 above, this section of Mark quotes Jesus in reference to Isa 13:10; Isa 34:4; and Dan 7:13. Jesus viewed the literal fulfillment of these OT passages as future from His standpoint.

Matt 24:30 / Dan 7:13"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory." Jesus refers to Dan 7:13, a passage that discusses the Son of Man coming before the Ancient of Days within the context of the clouds of heaven. Jesus links this passage with His second coming to earth.

Matt 26:64 / Psalm 110:1; Dan 7:13"Jesus said to him, ‘You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.'" Jesus appears to refer to Psalm 110:1 and Dan 7:13, both messianic passages that speak of the Messiah’s coming rule. Jesus tells Caiaphas that He is the Christ, the Son of God and that in the future Caiaphas will see Jesus coming in power on the clouds of heaven.

Rev 1:7 / Dan 7:13; Zech 12:10"BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen."The apostle John quotes Dan 7:13 for the coming in the clouds reference and Zech 12:10 for the piercing and mourning reference. Both OT passages together have significance for the Messiah’s coming, the salvation of Israel, and the mourning that will take place when the Messiah comes again. What is significant here is that John, the writer of Revelation viewed these eschatological passages of the OT as being fulfilled in the future from his standpoint.

Rev 2:26-27 / Psalm 2:8-9"He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS; AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father."With His instruction to the church at Thyatira, Jesus promises the overcomer that he will participate in Jesus’ future reign upon the earth. Jesus quotes the messianic Psalm 2:8-9 (and perhaps Isa 30:14) which speaks of God’s King ruling over the nations. Psalm 2 specifically refers to the King’s authority but Jesus states that He will delegate positions of authority under Him when His reign over the earth takes place. The reign of Messiah is closely linked with the rule of His saints (see Dan 7:27). Thus, when Jesus exercises His reign over the earth, His saints will participate in it.

This category of NT usage of the OT—Affirmation of an OT Prophetic Text Whose Fulfillment Is Still Future, indicates that the NT writers and persons viewed unfulfilled OT prophetic texts as still needing to be fulfilled in the future. This should be a corrective to any claims that the NT entirely transcends the OT eschatological expectations.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 9: Literal Restatement of an OT Passage with Intensification or Alteration

With Matt 5:21-48, Jesus quotes several statements from the Law as He is describing what He expects from His followers. On six occasions Jesus refers to an OT command but then follows these with, "But I say to you" to indicate that He was about to intensify or alter the OT commands. Thus Jesus quotes the OT passages contextually but then offers more. We will call this usage of the OT—"Literal Restatement of OT Passage with Intensification or Alteration"

Matt 5:21 / Exod 20:13
 "You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’"

This quote is taken from Exod 20:13 and represents a contextual rendering of one of the Ten Commandments. But Jesus then intensifies this command by internalizing it and indicating that hating one’s brother makes one guilty (see Matt 5:22).

Matt 5:27 / Exod 20:14
 "You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.'"

Jesus quotes Exod 20:14 in a contextual way but and then intensifies the command by internalizing it and declaring that lust was the equivalent of adultery (see Matt 5:28).

Matt 5:31 / Deut 24:1, 3
 "It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE.’"

Jesus quotes Deut 24:1, 3 to show that only unchastity was an allowable reason for divorce (see Matt 5:32). This may be an alteration to the original OT command.

Matt 5:33 / Lev 19:12; Num 30:2; Deut 23:21
"Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.'"

Jesus appears to combine two or three verses from the Law. Again this is a case of a contextual use of the OT but Jesus then alters this command by stating that oaths should not be made at all and that a simple "Yes" and "No" should suffice because of the integrity of our speech (see Matt 5:34, 37).

Matt 5:38 / Lev 24:20
"You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.'"

This quote is from Exod 21:24 and Lev 24:20. Jesus alters the ‘eye for an eye’ principle by declaring that His people should not even resist those who resist them (see Matt 5:39-42).

Matt 5:43 / Lev 19:18
"You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.'"

The quote about loving one’s neighbor comes from Lev 19:18 although the statement to "hate your enemy" has no specific reference in the OT and may reflect a Jewish tradition that was added. With Matt 5:44-47 Jesus indicates that His people are to love their enemies and do good to them who wish them harm.

I have purposely avoided some of the more difficult theological issues concerning Jesus’ relationship to the Mosaic Law. I have not addressed what it means for Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Law (see Matt 5:17) or whether these intensifications or alterations in Matt 5:21-48 are related to an ongoing Mosaic Law or a new Law of Christ that is different from the Mosaic Law. What should be noted for our purposes, though, is that Jesus quoted the OT contextually and then used these contextual understandings to intensify or alter the previous Mosaic Law commands.

Friday, March 4, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 8: Literal Application of Timeless Moral or Theological Point

A second category of NT use of the OT that we will look at now is "Literal Application of a Timeless Moral or Theological Point." This occurs when a NT writer or person applies a moral or theological point found in the OT to the present. Below is a sampling of this type of usage of the OT:

Matt 4:4-10 / Deut 8:3; 6:16; 6:13
"But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, "MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’" Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,  and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,  ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
         SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’"
 Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’" Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;  and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me."  Then Jesus said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’"

When Jesus is tempted in the wilderness by Satan, Jesus quotes the OT three times to refute Satan who also quotes Ps 91:11-12. Jesus applies Deut 8:3 to which indicates that man shall not live by bread alone. He then quotes Deut 6:16 to indicate that God should not be tested which Israel did at Massah. Jesus applies this principle to His situation. Jesus refers to Deut 6:13 and/or Deut 10:20 to show the principle that only God should be worshiped. Jesus uses the OT contextually to draw out timeless principles to refute Satan.

Luke 4:4-12 / Deut 8:3; 6:13; 10:20; 6:16
This section describing the temptation of Jesus by Satan parallels Matt 4:4-10 as discussed above. The point is the same. Jesus uses a contextual understanding of the OT to apply moral principles to refute the temptations of Satan.

Matt 9:13 / Hosea 6:6
"But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Jesus draws a principle from Hos 6:6 that God is more interested in matters of the heart than ritual in his confrontation with the Pharisees regarding eating with tax collectors and sinners.

Matt 11:29 / Jer 6:16
"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS."

Jesus applies a timeless principle from Jeremiah 6:16. Jeremiah 6 discusses the impending destruction of Jerusalem. The Lord calls on His people to "ask for the ancient paths" and in doing so they will find rest for their souls. Likewise, Jesus’ hearers can find rest for their souls if they turn to Him.

Matt 15:4 / Ezek 20:12; 21:17
"For God said, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER,’ and, ‘HE WHO SPEAKS EVIL OF FATHER OR MOTHER IS TO BE PUT TO DEATH.’"

Jesus quotes Ezek 20:12 and Ezek 21:17 in a contextual manner to highlight the eternal moral principle of honoring one's parents.

Matt 22:37-39 / Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18
"And He said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
"This is the great and foremost commandment.
 "The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’"

Jesus quotes Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18 to point out the eternal timeless principle that God requires that people love Him with their whole being.

Rom 1:17 / Hab 2:4
"For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’"

Paul applies Hab 2:4 to indicate that righteousness is linked to faith.

Rom 3:10-18 / Several Psalms
"as it is written,
         ‘THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
    THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
         THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
    ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
         THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
         THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE."
    ‘THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
         WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,’
         ‘THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS’;
    ‘WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS’;
    ‘THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
    DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
    AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.
    ‘THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.’"

Paul uses a cluster of quotes mostly from the Psalms—Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 5:9; Psalm 140:3; Psalm 10:7; Isa 59:7; Psalm 36:1, to establish the important and foundational theological point that all people are sinners.

Rom 4:3 / Gen 15:6
"For what does the Scripture say? 'ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.'"

In Romans 4 Paul is arguing that justification is based on faith not work. This is true for both the OT and NT eras. As evidence that justification is based on faith he quotes Gen 15:6 to show that the patriarch Abraham was justified though faith alone.

Rom 4:6-7 / Psalm 32:1-2
"just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
    ‘BLESSED ARE THOSE WHOSE LAWLESS DEEDS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN,
         AND WHOSE SINS HAVE BEEN COVERED.
    ‘BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT.’"

Paul quotes David’s words in Psalm 32:1-2 to affirm the theological point that salvation is through faith apart from works.

Rom 4:9 / Gen 15:6
"Is this blessing then on the circumcised, or on the uncircumcised also? For we say, ‘FAITH WAS CREDITED TO ABRAHAM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS.’"

Again, Paul quotes Abraham to make the theological point that righteousness comes through faith.

1 Cor 1:31 / Jer 9:23-24
"so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.’"

With Jer 9:23-24 the Lord declares that the wise man should not boast in his own wisdom or power but should boast in the Lord. The context of 1 Cor 1 is similar in which Paul states that boasting should be in the Lord and not in human wisdom. Thus, Paul’s quotation of Jer 9:23-24 is a contextual application of an eternal moral principle.

1 Cor 6:16 / Gen 2:24
"Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.’"

Paul quotes Gen 2:24, a passage from the creation account, to show the seriousness of the unity that takes place when two people have physical relations with each other. This is a moral warning to stay away from immoral sexual behavior.

Gal 3:10 / Deut 27:26
"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, ‘CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.’"

In Deut 27 the Levites detailed curses for the men of Israel if they did certain things. In Deut 27:26 the men of Israel were told they would be cursed if they did not keep the Law. In arguing that Christians are not under the Mosaic Law Paul quotes Deut 27:26 to show that failure to keep the Law means being under a curse. This was to be a warning to any of Paul’s readers who wanted to try to keep the Mosaic Law.

Gal 3:11 / Hab 2:4
"Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, ‘THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.’"

Paul quotes Hab 2:4 contextually to show that being in a right relationship with God has always been based on faith.

James 2:8 / Lev 19:18
 "If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,’ you are doing well."

 James applies the eternal moral principle of loving one’s neighbor found in Lev 19:18 to his readers.

James 4:6 / Psalm 138:6
"But He gives a greater grace Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’"

James applies the point that God is opposed to the proud from Psalm 138:6.

1 Pet 1:16 / Lev 11:44; 19:2
"because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.’"

This is a quote of Lev 11:44; 19:2. This is a literal application of a timeless principle that God’s people need to be holy because He is holy.

As the above passages indicate, there are many occasions in which the NT writers contextually use the OT to apply a timeless moral or theological point to the present.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

NT Use of OT Part 7: Literal Prophetic Fulfillment (2)

In my last entry I offered nine examples of Literal Prophetic Fulfillment of OT passages in the NT. Below are eleven more examples:

Matt 21:4-5 / Zech 9:9
"This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
    ‘SAY TO THE DAUGHTER OF ZION,
         "BEHOLD YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU,
         GENTLE, AND MOUNTED ON A DONKEY,
         EVEN ON A COLT, THE FOAL OF A BEAST OF BURDEN."'"

As Jesus comes to Jerusalem prior to His death, Matthew indicates that Zech 9:9 is literally fulfilled. Jesus arrives people humbly on a donkey. Matthew does not quote the next verse, Zech 9:10, which speaks of the King’s "dominion . . . from sea to sea" and to "the ends of the earth." This will be fulfilled with Jesus’ second coming. Nevertheless, Zech 9:9 was literally fulfilled when Jesus came to Jerusalem on a donkey. This is a case of Literal Prophetic Fulfillment.

John 12:15 / Zech 9:9
"FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY'S COLT."

Like the case with Matt 21:5 above, John 12:15 indicates that Jesus fulfilled Zech 9:9 when He entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt.

Luke 2:32 / Isa 9:2; 42:6; 49:6
"A LIGHT OF REVELATION TO THE GENTILES,
         And the glory of Your people Israel."

Simeon quoted a truth found in Isa 9:2; 42:6; and 49:6 that an individual (a Child and a Servant) would come who would restore Israel and bring revelation to the Gentiles. Jesus is the person who fulfills this prophecy.

Luke 3:4-6 / Isa 40:4-6
"as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
         ‘THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS,
         ‘MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD,
         MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT.
    ‘EVERY RAVINE WILL BE FILLED,
         AND EVERY MOUNTAIN AND HILL WILL BE BROUGHT LOW;
         THE CROOKED WILL BECOME STRAIGHT,
         AND THE ROUGH ROADS SMOOTH;
    AND ALL FLESH WILL SEE THE SALVATION OF GOD.’"

Isaiah 40 discusses a future hope for Israel. John the Baptist fulfills Isaiah 40:4-6 which predicted a coming "voice" who will prepare the way for the Lord.

Luke 4:17-19 / Luke 61:1-2
"And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
    ‘THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
         BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
         HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
         AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
         TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
    TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.'"

Isa 61 is a futuristic messianic passage that discusses a coming person upon whom the Spirit will reside. He will preach and bring liberty to the poor and oppressed and will also establish kingdom blessings. Jesus quotes 61:1-2 in reference to himself saying, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Luke 4:21). It is significant that the verses after verse 2 which speak of the day of vengeance and kingdom blessings were not quoted. These will be fulfilled in connection with Jesus’ second coming.

Luke 7:22 / Isa 35:5; 61:1
"And He answered and said to them, ‘Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.’"

This passage parallels Matt 11:2-5. Jesus may be referring to Isa 35:5 Isa 61:1, messianic texts that He views as being fulfilled with himself.

Luke 7:27 / Malachi 3:1
 "This is the one about whom it is written,
         ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU,
         WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’"

Jesus quotes Malachi 3:1 to show that John the Baptist is the fulfillment of the messenger who would precede the Messiah.

Acts 2:34-35 / Psalm 110:1
"For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says:
         ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD,
         "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,
    UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET."'"

Peter quotes Psalm 110:1, Psalm 110 is a psalm of David in which David viewed God’s coming Messiah as being his Lord. Peter indicates that Jesus is this "Lord" that David spoke of. This shows Jesus’ identity as King. Again, this shows Literal Prophetic Fulfillment.

Acts 3:22 / Deut 18:15, 18
"Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you.'"

In Peter’s second sermon in Acts, he quotes Deut 18:15, 18 to show that Jesus is that "prophet" Moses predicted would come. So Jesus is the literal fulfillment of Moses’ prediction in Deut 18.

Acts 8:32-33 / Isa 53:7-8
"Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this:
         ‘HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER;
         AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT,
         SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH.
     ‘IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY;
         WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION?
         FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH.'"

Rom 15:12 / Isa 11:10
Again Isaiah says,
         "THERE SHALL COME THE ROOT OF JESSE,
         AND HE WHO ARISES TO RULE OVER THE GENTILES,
         IN HIM SHALL THE GENTILES HOPE."

The messianic passage of Isa 11:10 predicted that a descendant of Jesse would someday rule over the Gentiles and give them hope. Jesus is this person who fulfills Isa 11:10.

In his discussion with the Ethiopian eunuch Philip explained that Isa 53:7-8 was a reference to Jesus. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah’s suffering Servant.

Soon I will post other examples of Literal Prophetic Fulfillment.