We at Friendship Baptist confess, “All Scripture is a testimony to Christ.” Previous blog posts have shown that both Jesus and the apostles teach us to read the Bible in a Christ-centered way. This blog post gives examples of how both the Old Testament and the New Testament testify to Christ.
Old Testament Testimony to Christ
Three word pictures in the Old Testament are especially clear in their testimony to Christ: offspring, son of God, and prophet.
First, Christ is the offspring anticipated throughout the Old Testament. This prophecy goes all the way back to Genesis 3:15, when God judged the serpent: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” This prophecy foretold that someone would someday ultimately overcome the source of evil, though suffering in the process. Later biblical passages picked up on this prophecy (e.g., Num 24:17; Isa 28:3; Hab 3:13). Adam seems to have believed in the good news of this prophecy, based on his name of Eve (Gen 3:20). This prophecy also seems to have been handed down through the generations, as Lamech echoes it when he names his son, Noah (Gen 5:28-29). God further specifies that this offspring will descend from Abraham (Gen 22:17-18) and later David (2 Sam 7:12-13). Christ is this long-awaited offspring (Gal 3:16).*
Second, Christ is the perfect Son of God. In a previous blog, I noted the Adam-Christ typology that Paul uses in Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. In addition to being a tied to biblical covenants, the Adam-Christ typology is also rooted in both Adam and Christ’s identity as sons of God. Genesis itself portrays Adam as the son of God. God made Adam “in the likeness of God,” and Adam later “fathered a son in his own likeness” (Gen 5:2-3). “Likeness” communicates the idea of sonship. In his Gospel, Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy all the way back to Adam, whom he identifies as “Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38). Jesus is the long-awaited perfect Son of God. Jesus existed as God the Son from eternity past, and he became incarnate as the Son of God. He was Son of God in his incarnation first by virtue of his virgin birth (Luke 1:35). He was also son of God as the Davidic heir (Luke 1:32). Davidic kings were referred to as God’s sons (e.g., 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2). Davidic kings were God’s sons in that they were the representative head of Israel, which was collectively God’s son (Exod 4:22-23). All the failed sons of God in the Old Testament, from Adam to Israel to David and the subsequent Davidic kings, are foils for the one Perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Third, Christ is the perfect prophet. Moses had prophesied, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen” (Deut 18:15). Moses told the people that they would be obligated to listen to this prophet (Deut 18:19), but they should not listen to false prophets, who would be known by their immorality or by the untruthfulness of their prophecies (Deut 18:20-22). Though true prophets ministered after Moses, Deuteronomy ends with an indication that a final, perfect prophet was expected: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face” (Deut 34:10). But Jesus was this long-awaited prophet, as the Messiah (John 4:16-19, 25-26), and as the one identified as better than Moses and Elijah at the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-8). All the faithful prophets of the Old Testament foreshadowed Jesus, and all the false prophets were the inverse of him.
New Testament Testimony to Christ
It may seem obvious that the New Testament testifies about Christ, but even sermons and Bible studies based on various New Testament passages may be Christ-less and gospel-less. Such is a travesty, for indeed the New Testament testifies to Christ as the Savior and Lord of the world. For the sake of space, the rest of this post will only summarize how various sections of the New Testament testify to Christ and the gospel of his salvation.
Jesus is the long-awaited Davidic king (Matt 1-4) and new Moses (Matt 5-7) who brings about the kingdom of heaven (Matt 8-28). Christ is the Son of Man, with power over diseases, demons, disasters, and death (Mark). Jesus is the Son of God, who inaugurates God’s new covenant not only with Jews but also with Gentiles (Luke). Christ is the Word of God who inaugurates God’s new creation through the destruction and resurrection of God’s temple, his body (John). Jesus is the Lord whose gospel spreads to all (Acts). The epistles (Romans-Jude) collectively proclaim that Christ is the Lord of the church, which should submit to him by obeying all his commands. Revelation concludes the New Testament and all Scripture by identifying Jesus as the Lord who will return to judge all the earth.
We Christians should attend to all of Scripture, not only the New Testament but also the Old Testament, as testimony to Jesus Christ. We should read and apply the Old Testament to our lives today in light of Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of the Old Testament and as the head of the new covenant. Let us therefore read all of Scripture as a testimony to Christ and as a means of conforming us more into his image!
*A former pastor and professor of mine, Jim Hamilton, has written two really helpful articles about Genesis 3:15 and the identification of the offspring of Abraham with the offspring of the woman.