Christ in the Old Testament
Posted by kirkcaudle on January 27, 2010
“My soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for, for this end hath the law of Moses been given; and all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world, unto man, are the typifying of him” (2 Ne 11:4, italics added).
As we study the Old Testament in Sunday school this year, we will see, and undoubtedly have already seen, types and shadows of Christ. These types and shadows might come in many ways, including those of people and events.
My mind turned to this subject while reading an old Ensign article by Andrew Skinner, “Finding Jesus Christ in the Old Testament.” In his essay, Brother Skinner points to many prophets and priests “anointed in ancient Israel to perform their special duties in imitation of the Anointed One.” These prophets and priests include, but are not limited to, Adam, Abel, Melchizedek, Boaz, and Joseph. However, looking for Christ in the Old Testament is by no means a novel idea.
The Earliest Christians struggled to make sense of the Jewish Tanakh (basically our Old Testament) in light of their new found faith. Christians in the third century asked the same questions as Christians in the twenty-first century, “where is Jesus in this book?” The Early Christian historian Eusebius (260-340) had an answer.
Eusebius stated, “Every prophet, every ancient writer, every revolution of the state, every law, every ceremony of the old covenant points only to Christ, announces only him, represents only him.” Because Jesus appeared absent from the Jewish text, to find him, the early Christians turned to allegory. They turned to types and shadows. Eusebius believed Jesus was indeed in the text, just hidden. Of course not everyone agreed with this approach, but from my understanding, this method held the dominate position.
As we study the Old Testament in Sunday school this year and ask, or are asked, the question, “where is Jesus in this book,” what are we to think? When I hear this question, my mind harkens back to an answer I once heard in a gospel doctrine class, “Christ is in every page of the Old Testament we just miss him.” Eusebius would surly agree. Do we believe that Jesus is “everywhere,” or can we go too far with that thinking and make false connections? Andrew Skinner points out some great examples of those that typify Christ, but how far should we carry this idea of allegory, types, and shadows in a Sunday school setting?
PS In case anyone is wondering (and you probably are not), kirkcaudle is the same guy as KirkC. My old nick was already taken, so I have a new one.
This entry was posted on January 27, 2010 at 4:52 pm and is filed under On studying, On teaching. Tagged: Eusebius, Jesus Christ, Old Testament, Sunday school. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
3 Responses to “Christ in the Old Testament”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.