Have you ever been stopped in your tracks and shaken by a spiritual shift of the plates of God’s Word, such that suddenly things line up that failed to do so before? It’s disconcerting at first, and then when you realize the full implications of this new alignment, nothing about God’s Word is ever the same again. Nothing about the way you understand His teaching, nothing about the way you apply it to your life … nothing feels the same as it did before this shift.
The crazy thing is that others may not have even perceived that which rattled your world! So what do you do? Do you point it out to others or do you hope they’ll discover it themselves?
Okay, I’m going to cut to the chase here, because there’s no point making this sound as though I have a “friend” who might or might not have experienced such a shift. It’s me. [You had that figured out didn’t you?]
Here’s the deal, I’m kind of freaking out because what if I try to articulate what this “discovery” is and all of you roll your eyes because, unbeknownst to me, it is so elementary that it will illicit smirks from those of you who are scholars and “spiritual saints.” Will you whisper behind your hands about the fact that it took me so long to catch on to something that you’ve always known? What if you think I’m flat out wrong, because this isn’t exactly what Beth Moore or Kay Arthur have said about this subject … and I know that some of you hold them up as THE standard bearers for interpretation of the Word. [I don’t think they’d like that, by the way, but suit yourself.] There are a couple of scholars out there who are brilliant and writing about this. While it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in this, I’m trying to transliterate their scholar-ese into language for all of us whose brains are already cluttered with kids’ schedules, ministry responsibilities, homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, writing, speaking … [Insert Superwoman Theme Song here!]
Spoiler Alert: Vicki is about to begin thinking out loud – with a bit of trepidation …
As I’ve studied the Bible … frankly, since Sunday school as a school-ager … I’ve been taught that the prophets spoke predictions of a coming Deliverer, and that these predictions were fulfilled in the events of the life and mission of Jesus. This proves that both the prophets and Jesus’ mission were divine in nature.
Years ago one of my young sons told me that the Bible was “SO easy!” Then he proceeded to explain, “In the Old Testament God said He was going to send a Savior. In the New Testament, He did.”
Ha! Tell those Old Testament professors that they’ve been making it way too hard! Even the scholars have figured out that though the messianic prophecies are incredibly diverse, they all meet in the history of Jesus. All the voices crying out for the entire history of the world had all been pointing to one Man.
If this wide, varied collection of prophecies all point to a single fact, then might it be true that they all originate with a single fact … a single promise – The Promise.
In 1902, William Judson Beecher wrote …
If further study shall thus discover in them a unity at the beginning, as well as at the end, their value as evidence will thereby be increased. And this is what further study actually discovers. The more adequate idea is not that of many predictions meeting in one fulfillment, but that of one prediction, repeated and unfolded through successive centuries, with many specifications, and in many forms; always the same in essential character, no matter how it may vary in its outward presentation or in the illustrations through which it is presented.
This rattled my comfy cage. The idea of a single promise(from which everything diverged and to which everything eventually converges to point to Christ) messed with my understanding of the covenants. It messed with my understanding of the Law and the New Covenant of Christ. It messed with the division of the Old Testament (Covenant) and the New Testament (Covenant).
For crying out loud – did I know anything anymore?
Are you willing to stick with me on this little journey of discovery? Hey, girlfriend, pastors and scholars don’t have the corner market on HERmeneutics. This stuff is for everyone! Later this week I’m going to unpack this idea further.