Session 3: The New Testament Authors’ Guiding Principles
In this session, we understand how Jesus finds himself representing all of Israel.
- Play: Session 3 Video
One person can represent many, so Jesus is true Israel.
Here is the basic idea: in the OT, you could speak of one person in representing all. In some sense, we have a bit of this in our culture, such as if we say, "The White House issued a statement." We mean, a group of America's highest political leaders, surroundingthe president, agree on this...
However, in the OT, it was more pervasive, and it was often connected to a person. So Judges 1:3-4: 3 "And Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So Simeon went with him.
- But these guys have been dead for hundreds of years! Well, not really. We're actually speaking of the individuals, who now represent tribes, who are now actually thousands of people each.
- 4 Then Judah went up and the LORD gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they defeated 10,000 of them at Bezek."
Later in history, the King comes to represent all of Israel.
- Thus, it stands that then Jesus finds himself representing all of Israel. This will be clearer later on.
This really helps us make sense of the OT in the NT, especially when it comes to historical texts used as Messianic Prophecies and also texts applied to Israel.
- In addition, it helps us understand how what is true of the Messiah can be true of us.
Earlier history corresponds to later history.
- People operated under the general assumption that God was sovereign. Since he was, there was a basic idea that history was cyclical, and that things which happened before also would happen again later.
The end times have begun in Jesus, so Jesus is the "goal" of history.
By "end times," we really mean "the age of eschatological fulfillment." The reality is that the NT authors see with apocalyptic imagery things God is doing in their midst. That begins with Jesus.
- This is not necessarily a Christocentric hermeneutic, where Jesus is the center of every OT passage, but a Christotelic one. This means the designs of the OT in its patterns and narratives points to Christ.
Hos 11:1 / Matt 2:15: MP Workshop
NT Context: Examples.
OT Context: Some people hear this and say, there Matthew goes again! Ripping passages out of context just because he wanted to find something that fit his idea. But I think there is much more to it than that.
Biblical development: This doesn't seem to be repeated or used as a refrain in the OT, because Hosea is pretty late. What we do see, though, is Hosea's typological usage of the Exodus to point to the reality of what God will do, indicating the probability that he intended his text to even be read typologically.
NT Author's Use: So what is Matthew doing here? Well, I don't think he's ripping Hosea 11:1 out of context. In fact, I think he is actually inferring the whole context, suggesting that Jesus is, in fact, a new Israel. We would call this typology.
In a stunning turn of events, Jesus becomes the new Israel and is, by his going to Egypt, going to represent the ways of Israel, but perfectly
- Occur in history? Yes, this is actually a description of the Exodus.
- Look forward? Yes, I think the very nature of the passage is prophetic.
- Developed? Matthew certainly thinks it does; Hosea even saw a development of the Exodus.
So what does this say about Jesus? Well, he is the Messiah, who represents his people. It also suggests that God is on the move, and he will bring his people back. God is on the move, and that is good news for the people all over the world.
In my opinion, these guiding principles, and especially this last one of Jesus being the "goal" of history, help us understand much of the NT. Especially when we read the Gospels, we may find ourselves confused...how did the people miss Jesus so royally when he was right in front of them? What's more, how can we see someone like Paul doing a complete and total 180 once he encounters this same Jesus? N.T. Wright, in his massive tome, Paul and the Faithfulness of God, pgs. 692-93: What I am suggesting is that the resurrection, demonstrating the truth of Jesus’s pre-crucifixion messianic claim, joined up with the expectation of YHWH’s return on the one hand and the presence of the spirit of Jesus on the other to generate a fresh reading of ‘messianic’ texts which enabled a full christological awareness to dawn on the disciples."
In other words, it was the combination of all of these things which presented an undeniably clear picture for the early church: Jesus was God's man, and he was the goal of history.
- So, while the people were expecting God to return and rescue his people, they weren't really expecting a dead Messiah. However, once confronted with the reality of Jesus' resurrection and the power of Jesus poured out in the Spirit upon the church, Wright explains: "texts which had been there all along but never seen in this way (except, perhaps, in sayings of Jesus himself!) sprang into life."
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