26 October 2011

The New Testament's Multi-Dimensional Fulfillment of the Old

Seems to me that while it need not be the main point of every NT book, nevertheless every NT book in some way fulfills the hope of the OT, though each from its own perspective. One former prof of mine used to say that the NT is a 27-volume commentary on the OT. Truth to that.
Matthew fulfills the OT’s hope for a Messiah, a Christ, an anointed son of David who would save God’s people (1:21).

Mark fulfills the OT’s hope for a coming Son of God who would inaugurate God’s kingdom (1:1, 14–15).

Luke fulfills the OT’s longing for God to come and set right the world’s injustices—reversing rich and poor, oppressors and oppressed, satisfied and hungry, outsider and insider (19:10).

John fulfills the OT’s longing for the tabernacle/temple to do decisively what it was always meant to do—unite God and man in restored fellowship (1:14; 2:21; 14:6).

Acts fulfills the OT by bringing God’s mercy to the nations (1:8; 9:15).

Romans fulfills the OT by showing the supreme manifestation of the righteousness of God, in Jesus, bringing resolution to the constant OT tension between God’s justice and his mercy (1:17; 3:21–26).

1 Corinthians fulfills the OT by showing, in Christ, the climactic way in which God destroys the wisdom of the wise (1:19).

2 Corinthians fulfills the OT’s repeated pattern of strength through weakness (12:9–10), supremely in Christ (13:4), in whom all the promises of God are clinched (1:20).

Galatians fulfills the OT by showing that Jesus’ atoning work (3:13) at just the right time (4:4–5) is the reason that the real children of Abraham are those who are of faith (3:7–9).

Ephesians fulfills the OT by revealing the “mystery” long hidden—that Christ, by virtue of his death and resurrection, unites Jews and Gentiles in one renewed people of God (3:5–6).

Philippians fulfills the OT by showing that the church is the real circumcision (3:2–3).

Colossians fulfills the OT by showing that another Adam, likewise the image of God (1:15), has fulfilled the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to bear fruit and increase, so that we who are united to this second Adam can now do what the first Adam failed to do—bearing fruit and multiplying (1:10).

1 and 2 Thessalonians fulfill the OT’s hope of judgment on God’s enemies by showing that Jesus received this judgment, so that God’s punitive judgment, which is surely coming, now will fall only on those who reject Jesus (1 Thess 5:1–10; 2 Thess 1:5–12).

1 and 2 Timothy fulfill the OT by showing that the true warfare of God’s people is not against the Amalekites and Amorites and others but against sin and Satan (1 Tim 1:18; 6:12; 2 Tim 2:3–4), a war that cannot be lost because of the Savior anticipated in the OT (2 Tim 3:15).

Titus fulfills the OT’s underachieved efforts to redeem a people for God who are his own possession, zealous for good works (2:11–14).

Philemon fulfills the OT’s insistence that love be from the heart (v. 14).

Hebrews fulfills the OT’s longing for a perfect priest and final sacrifice to usher in the new covenant (8:1–13).

James fulfills the OT’s call for obedience to the law by showing that such obedience is fulfilled in one thing—active love (1:12; 2:8–26).

1 and 2 Peter fulfill the OT’s calling to Israel to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Pet 1:4–12)—a corporate fulfillment that happens only because of another fulfillment that is not only corporate but also individual, this time of Isaiah 52–53 (1 Pet 2:22–25).

1, 2, and 3 John fulfill the OT by showing that through Christ we are once more, like Adam, sons of God, and now able to fulfill the OT law through love (1 John 3:1 and passim).

Jude fulfills the exodus in the OT by showing that ultimately is was Jesus who provided this rescue (Jude 5; cf. 1 Cor 10:4).

Revelation fulfills the OT by showing that Jesus has conquered our great enemy, death, which was introduced in Eden (Rev 1:18; 21:4).


Mike Berttucci said...

Dane, that was awesome. Thanks friend!

Josh Lawrenz said...

Agreed. I'm printing this out. Thanks brother!

Kevin said...

This is good. I would change the Colossians one though. Jesus was not "made" in the image of God; Jesus IS the image of God.

David Schrock said...

Very helpful. A succinct reminder of how the unity of Scripture in the gospel of Jesus Christ prompts Godward adoration.

Dane Ortlund said...

Thanks Kevin, that's helpful. Revised.

Anonymous said...

One former prof of mine used to say that the NT is a 27-volume commentary on the OT.

I like that!

And the rest of the post!

Anonymous said...

It would be very true to say that Jesus is made in the image of God.

Jesus was made man, truly and fully man (the image of God). And because of his sinlessness he is the fulfillment of what man was meant to be as image bearer. Thus we are transformed after the image of Christ which is not to say we become God but we become Holy image bearers.

You would be right however to say that as the Son of God, fully divine, Jesus is and always was the image of God, the exact representation of his being and this surpasses the created image.

Jesus is the image of God (uncreated perfect image) as the Son...but when he came into the world as the Redeemer he also became the image of God...the perfect second Adam.

Dane Ortlund said...

And you are?

Trent Hunter said...

Excellent, Dane. Thank you.

n00bie51 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

So good I had to comment, but am actually speechless.

Thank you.