2018 Summer Academic Series: The Importance of the Old Testament
Dr. Bennett: Well, good evening to everyone. How is everybody? Good, good, good. That’s good to hear. Also, welcome to all those who watch via the internet and the mobile app. As many of you all are aware — and we’re still having people come in, so I’ll maybe just wait just a second so that everybody can get seated. I don’t want anybody to miss what’s going on. As many of you all are aware, the academic series here at Grace has been hugely successful over the summers that we’ve done this. It’s really hard to fail when you do these type of events when you have people in like Dr. Warren Gage.
I want to take just a minute here and tell you a little bit about Warren. Many of you all know Warren, but many of you do not. Warren is one of our board members here at the church, but I want to brag on Warren a little bit. Warren is an Old Testament scholar. There is absolutely no question about that. He is a Hebrew scholar. He has a juris doctorate, which means he’s an attorney. He’s got that degree from SMU. He has a PhD in literature and philosophy. I don’t know, in being honest with you, that I’ve met anybody at this particular point in my life in the academic world that has the scope of education and the diversity of education that Warren has.
Not only is Warren very brilliant, Warren was my advisor for my doctorate at Knox Theological Seminary. He not only is a mentor, probably the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. Please don’t tell him I said that. But he’s brilliant. He’s been a father-like figure in many ways. I probably learned more from him than anybody else that I’ve ever had the pleasure of studying under, and I’ve had a lot of great, great professors in my lifetime. And so, I just want to say we’re very, very, very — it’s a gift and it’s an honor to have Warren here with us this weekend. So, can we give it up for Warren being here and taking up his time to —
So, I want to thank everybody, once again, for being here and supporting education in the local church. This is the second of the three evenings that we will do this summer. The original vision behind this academic series was to bring academic scholarship to the local church. If you’ve been in church and you’ve also experienced higher education, a lot of times those two things don’t meet. I wanted to make sure that not only here at Grace did we get really good biblical teaching and preaching, but I wanted to make sure that we also interacted in many ways in the academic world.
So, that was the whole idea behind this thing, and we’re doing it. We will continue to do these evenings. They’re informative evenings. I want to make sure that everybody understands that. We are not up here to indoctrinate anybody. We’re not up here to tell everybody you have to believe the way that we do. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to do these types of evenings as a pastor is I want Christians to learn how to think through issues and not be so nasty to each other. What I call a “charitable theology.” Can we all at least agree that would be great for the church to do? Right? Amen? Good. Good. Okay. That’s awesome.
So, all that being said, we hope that you’re going to wrestle with the subject matter presented this evening. And we want people of faith, people in the community, we want non-believers to interact with these academic issues. And I really do hope that you’ll continue to come out and support these evenings. So, we’ll get to learning. But before we do, I do want you to do one thing if you would. Would you please look at this handout that you have on your chair? Please take this with you and look at this in your free time.
This is a brief explanation of the Alexandrian Forum. Warren is the president and he is the originator, the starter of this forum. I want to introduce you to it. The mission is to provide biblical teaching that emphasizes seeing Christ in all of Scripture. The reason Warren wants to do that is because there’s a problem. And you may not know this, but 64% of all regular churchgoers admit that they read their Bible rarely or never. That’s shocking. I don’t know that that’s true here at Grace. If it is, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. No. I’m just kidding. But I would say that that’s just — there’s a real biblical illiteracy in the church today, and the Alexandrian Forum exists to get people excited about those things.
So, it gives you a little bit of history about what they’re doing, and it also tells you what they’re doing and what their ministry needs are. You can see here who the board is. I mean, fantastic people. One of the things that we’re going to be doing is Warren and I both will be recording a large portion of the curriculum that will be distributed to churches and other places and online over the next several years. So, I am a part of this. I don’t benefit from it financially, but I am a part of it in the fact that I am working with Warren on these things. And I just would like to ask you, because we do, at the end of the evening, take up an offering. I would just like for you to consider not only giving tonight more than tipping, but I’d like for you to consider helping Warren on a regular basis at the Alexandrian Forum. This is a great place to give, and people are always looking for good places to give.
So, would you at least consider that? We’ll take up an offering at the end. But please consider this and take this with you and look over this. If you have any questions, you can get online and go to the Alexandrian Forum and type them up an email and ask the question. So, that being said, let’s get to work. Right before we do, I would like to just stop for a moment and I’d like to have a word of prayer. Then we’ll get into the main portion of the evening tonight. Let’s pray.
Dear Lord, I come to You this evening asking that You would bless our time together. As we do our best to present Your people Your truth, I pray that You would be with all of us here this evening. I pray that we would be intellectually challenged, spiritually engaged, but, most importantly, that we would leave here with a greater appreciation for You. Jesus, we love You, we lift You up. This is Your church and we are Your people. We’ve gathered not only to be taught from the Word of God, but to receive Your Word.
I pray that You would be especially with Dr. Gage this evening as He is Your chosen instrument for this particular evening to help us understand a very difficult and tough issue in the church. Give him Your words and Your Spirit to help us navigate through some of these challenging waters. Give us, Lord, ears to hear. Lord, I pray that, as always in these evenings, we would lay down our agendas and our opinions and just listen, Lord, with open hearts to the things that are said tonight. And I pray that, ultimately, everything that we do here will not only lift up, but ultimately lead us to our Lord and Savior Jesus. It’s in His name that we pray, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Well, let’s get to work here. It doesn’t take long, if you’ll agree with me, to be in church for any period of time to be confronted with what we call the “Old Testament.” It usually starts out, for most of us, when we decide at the beginning of the year to do that Bible reading plan. Genesis is going pretty good. A little difficult at times. There are some things in there that seem a little crazy. We get to Exodus and we all remember Charlton Heston and we’re sort of going along. And then we start getting into these books like Leviticus, and we move to Matthew.
Pretty much. So, that is one complication. The other complications are when people start asking, “Don’t you think the God of the Old Testament is a little different than the God of the New Testament? Can we honestly read both of them together? What in the world is the Old Testament?”
You know? And I think those are questions that get asked regularly, and I think that they need to be answered in a competent manner. So, tonight, we’re going to sort of do some Q & A. I’m going to let Warren do a lot of the answering. I’ll chime in when I feel appropriate. But I’ve got some questions that I’m going to ask Warren that I feel are important, and questions that you may want to hear answered. Let’s see if we can, together, leave here with a better appreciation for the Old Testament. I think that we will.
So, here’s the first question. When I went to college — and I remember going to college like it was yesterday — I remember all I wanted to do, when I went to college, I wanted to be a New Testament scholar. That was like of all the things in the world that I could be was a New Testament scholar, and if I could somehow, one day teach systematic theology, it would have been like the greatest thing in the world. And if I could somehow master the Pauline literature, I would have arrived. I mean, that was like — and as I met and talked with other students, it was all about learning the New Testament and everything else. There was nobody — like, nobody — that was like, “Hey, I want to go learn the Old Testament.”
You know? Nobody. And so, what got you interested in the Old Testament? Because you’ve been doing this forever. Can you walk us through the process of why you chose the Old Testament?
Dr. Gage: I was very similar to Chip when I first went to seminary. I wanted to know the New Testament. It speaks so clearly about Christ. I wanted to know Paul, who’s kind of the — he certainly is the supreme theologian of the Bible, and certainly in the New Testament. But I intuited, really, that I could not understand Paul unless I understood the Old Testament. Paul’s whole background was the Hebrew Bible. When Christ comes to him on the Damascus road, it all comes together for him. But he knew the Hebrew Bible.
I just reasoned that if I’m going to understand Paul, if I’m going to understand the Scripture at all, I need to know the book that was Jesus’ Bible, which is the Old Testament. And then God, I think, reinforced that, in grace, to me because He gave me professors who had a special gift and love of the Old Testament. The way that was expressed, it wasn’t so much their scholarship or their interest in the — although it was massive, their understanding of the Bible. It was their love of Jesus.
The Old Testament faculty that I was introduced to, particular Bruce Waltke, his love of Jesus, the tenderness with which he spoke of Him, and his appreciation from the Old Testament, which speaks all about Jesus. Jesus Himself says that. And so, I realized that three quarters of the Bible is Old Testament, isn’t it? Approximately. It is all the Word of God, but it all speaks about Him. So, I wanted to know about Jesus. I guess, counterintuitively, I wanted to understand the Old Testament so then I could understand the New Testament far better.
I think that’s really true. My study has validated that. I think yours has, too. You understand. If you focus on the New Testament, you miss a lot of the background and richness that helps you to understand Jesus and who He is.
Dr. Bennett: Okay. This next question is going to be loaded. We may have to go back to it a couple of times. Okay? It’s quite massive. One of the earliest heresies in the early church was the renunciation of the Old Testament by Marcion. I’m not quite sure that many Christians know who Marcion was, but Marcion was a person who felt primarily that the Old Testament God was nothing like the New Testament Jesus. Do you think, in the church, because we have really done a massive separation between the Old Testament and the New Testament, are we seeing a resurgence of Marcionism in today’s church?
Is it possible that we’re susceptible to this idea of the Old Testament sort of being lesser or not as important? Maybe even unknowingly because we’ve sort of bought into this idea that the Old Testament is just sort of back there and what really matters is the New Testament. And following up with that, since we know that the Roman Empire was largely won to Christ through the preaching of Jesus which came from the Old Testament, why do we, in the church, have a tendency to separate the Old Testament and the New Testament? Why can’t we find Christ in the Old Testament? Can you give us some examples of where we can find Christ in the Old Testament? And we even have scholarship today. I mean, one of the great scholars — and you know I like him. He’s been massively important in my Christian understanding. N.T. Wright.
N.T. Wright wrote that if Christ is in the Old Testament, He’s deeply asleep. I mean, this is a very, very learned, scholarly man. Why, in the church, do we have such a tendency to separate these two things? Because you, obviously, do not, in any way, shape or form. Can you speak into that and how the church might be allowing Marcionism back into the church? Why can’t we find Christ in the Old Testament? Just feel free to share your heart on that.
Dr. Gage: Sure. I think we’re not really so much in danger of Marcion’s approach to the Old Testament. His grounds — he’s about 150-200 A.D. He was very anti-Semitic. He hated the Jews. So, for that reason, he wanted to do away with the Old Testament and focus on Jesus. How he thought that fed his anti-Semitism, I have no understanding. Jesus was certainly a Jew, and all of the apostles were Jews. But anyway, I don’t think that that, particularly that aspect of it, is what endangers us. But the effect of Marcion in terms of diminishing the Old Testament, I think that really is with us too, and that’s real.
I think it’s interesting to keep this in mind. Why are our Bibles divided into Old Testament and New Testament? Have you ever thought about that? Is there some bright line between the Old and the New? Where did that come from? It may surprise you to hear that the Bibles were not divided. Nobody even thought about old covenant and new covenant language that comes from Jeremiah 31. Nobody thought about dividing the Bible like that until about the middle of the second century. That comes with origin of Alexandria. The early church regarded the Bible as one book. The Hebrew Bible, of course, was pretty well settled by the first century.
But Peter, as early as Peter, he’s talking about the writings of Paul and he calls them Scripture. So, the Church, gradually, was adding to the corpus of the Old Testament. They saw it as one Word of God Himself, and they had equal dignity when the Gospels began to circulate in the 60s. The first century, the 60s. They circulated in small circles originally, and then wider and wider. By the 90s, all of the New Testament is pretty well composed and has some circulation. But the Church recognized that these were the words of God just as much as the Old Testament. But it was one book. You could appeal to Matthew as well as you could appeal to Jeremiah or Isaiah. There wasn’t this bright line division. That comes in the second century.
And it was not regarded as marking a continental divide. It was all understood that the same theology is in both testaments, it’s the Word of God. It’s the same in the Old Testament as in the New Testament. It’s all inspired of God. And so, that’s how it was conceived and that’s how it was considered. I think that what’s happened today is that the Old Testament is being relegated for a number of reasons that are unfortunate. I think partly it’s because the Old Testament is a challenging book. And that’s one reason that it’s disregarded. I think there are some theological issues that we have that are not exactly Marcionic, but they have the same affect in terms of diminishing the Old Testament. We think, “If I want to know about Jesus, I can know about the New Testament.”
We have what we call “red letter” versions of the New Testament. Does everybody know what that is? Have you ever seen them? I don’t have a problem with that so long as we understand that the red letters are not more inspired than the black letters. Do you understand? It’s all the Word of God, so it is all inerrant, inspired and infallible. But the red letters, the words of Christ Himself, I think, to any Christian, those have a special kind of a meaning. They speak to our heart, perhaps in a little bit of a different way, because they come from the Savior Himself. But that doesn’t mean that we look at them any differently, and I think that the New Testament is much like that.
But we will see that there are red letter words of Christ even in the Old Testament. Words that Jesus says Himself that you hear in the Old Testament that you don’t hear in the New Testament will be in the New Testament at all. We’ll look at that a little bit later on.
Dr. Bennett: Why can’t we find Christ in the Old Testament? I mean, if I were to — I mean, you know I teach. So, when I teach my homiletics class, one of the question that I ask is I take them to Luke 24 and I make the statement that in Luke 24 we have a passage where Jesus is walking with these disciples from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which is probably two-, two and a half-, maybe a three-hour walk depending upon the pace of the walk. And we’re told by Luke that for that two- to three-hour period, Jesus takes the Old Testament — Moses, the Law, Psalms — and teaches them of Himself. If you were to take most Christians in America, if you were to take most pastors in America, most scholars in America — not trying to be snarky by any stretch of the imagination here, but if you were to ask them, “Can you give us two and a half hours of Jesus out of the Old Testament?” you wouldn’t get that.
Why is that the case? Why is it so difficult for us to find Christ in the Old Testament?
Dr. Gage: Well, I think that’s really true. I think that’s a problem with, particularly, American scholarship. It’s certainly not true of the fathers of the Church; the men that wrote and were taught by the apostles. They found Christ all over the Old Testament. I think it’s a modern phenomenon and I think it’s because we don’t have the expectation that we can find Him there. I think that if you don’t look for something, you’re not going to find it. Right? And I think that when Christ Himself says, in John 5:39, you search the Scriptures, and that’s true in doing so, but, “They all speak about me,” I don’t think we necessarily take that seriously sometimes.
All the Scripture speaks about Jesus. What I found in my study is when I read the Scriptures, particularly the Old Testament, oftentimes I can’t see any connection to Jesus at all. But that’s my problem. What the Lord said still stands. So, I found if I come to a door and I’m knocking on it but I can’t find Jesus, if I keep knocking on it, eventually the Holy Spirit opens it up and you can see how this relates to Him. That’s been the story of my life. I’ve seen by believing, actually, that what Jesus says is right, and knocking on that door, you find Christ in ways that you, perhaps, didn’t know were there.
But there are plenty of resources, there are different ways, different scholars that are writing now that are looking more to this particular kind of an approach to the Old Testament that’s more Christ-centered. And it’s incredibly rich, I think, what the future holds in terms of studying the Old Testament and particularly looking for Christ.
Dr. Bennett: Could you give just some examples for everybody here of maybe a story that they know or maybe something that they’ve read or a familiar Old Testament motif that you could go, “Here’s a great example of where Jesus is front and center,” that would be easily missed by maybe a regular study of the Bible? Is there anything that you can think of?
Dr. Gage: There are so many, Chip. Let me take one that I think everybody would know, but perhaps haven’t thought about it particularly in that context. Let’s go to the sin of Israel in making the golden calf. Remember? Everybody knows that story. At Sinai, Israel sinned greatly and Aaron made, for the people, a golden calf, and said to the people, “This is Yahweh. This is the Lord who brought you out of Egypt.” And they offer sacrifice and appoint a sacred day and all of that. It’s terrible.
Anyway, when Moses comes down from the mountain, he comes with the Word of God. The first Scripture that’s written, by the way, is not Genesis 1. It’s the Ten Commandments. It’s the first time the Word of God is written down, and it’s written with the finger of God. He writes the Ten Commandments on the two tablets. That’s before Moses writes the five books that took place in the wilderness. So, here is the Word of God. The Word of God is eternal. It represents Christ Himself. We know that because John took the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word of God, written on tablets of stone.
Now, when the Word of God, which is eternal, is written on matter, on material form, when it’s written on stone, we know that matter can be composed and decomposed. So, what happens is Moses brings these precious tablets down from the mountain to give to the people, but then the people are in sin. They’re worshiping this golden calf. Moses, in his fury, in his anger at the disobedience of the people, takes the two tablets and smashes them. Do you remember that? And it shatters them.
Now, all of that teaches us something. What does that teach? Why did Moses do that? That wouldn’t be the first thing that I would think about if I’d received the law from God. I wouldn’t think about doing that. But God ordained all of this. You see, what happens is because of the sin of the people, the Word of God in physical form is broken. Think about that. The Word of God, after being given physical form, is shattered, is broken. But God will not allow that to continue because His Word cannot be broken — the Word itself. Do you follow me?
So, God commands Moses to make two new tablets, to bring them up to Sinai and God writes them again with His own finger. So, why did God ordain that particular pattern? The Word of God can be broken because of the sin of the people, but it cannot remain broken. It will be republished anew. That’s the whole history of Christ, if you think about it, isn’t it? The Word of God became flesh, was given physical form, and because of the sin of the people, what happens? Jesus says, “This is my body which is broken for you.” Right?
And why was it broken? Because of our sin. But can He remain broken? No. Because the Word is eternal. So, God then resurrects Him. Do you see the logic of that? It’s something — it’s a story everybody knows, but perhaps you haven’t thought about it in precisely those terms. But you see illustrations of that all through the Old Testament. We’ve talked a good bit about this. But I think that’s a familiar story that, perhaps, you hadn’t thought about. But it shows you Christ.
There are so many like that story. You remember after the Red Sea, after the people — Paul says they’re baptized into Moses in the cloud. Well, there again, that’s talking about what we were earlier. How can I understand what Paul means? Israel was baptized at the Red Sea? I have to understand the Old Testament to understand what that means. So, Israel is baptized, he says, at the Red Sea. They go down into the sea which, for Paul, represents death, burial and resurrection. That’s what our baptism represents. It’s a picture of the Christian life and experience.
And then they’re in the wilderness. They sing the song — Exodus 15. The song of Moses. They’re praising God. They believe in God. Their faith is celebrated. God immediately puts them in a wilderness for three days where there is no water. Think of that. So, the people, their flesh — had their spirit been willing, their flesh was certainly weak, and they’re crying out and they’re bitter. They’re angry. So, after three days, they’re desperately looking for water. They come to some water. You would think it’d be like seeing a mirage, but this is water. They come to actual water. There’s a problem with the water, though. It’s filled with mineral salts. You can’t drink it.
So, in their desperation, in their anger, they cry out to Moses. They’re angry. Moses then cries out to God. They say, “Why did You bring us into this wilderness?” They’re thinking, “To kill us?” It’s three days after they were baptized, which represented death. Three days later, they come to some water. The waters are bitter, so they call them “marah,” which is Hebrew for “bitter.” And God then, when Moses cries out to God, God shows him a tree. Now, it’s interesting. It says, “God pointed out a tree.”
What does that mean? “Raah” is the Hebrew word. He pointed it out. That word “to point out” is the verbal form that becomes the noun for “torah.” The Torah. The five Books of Moses. The first five books of the Bible are called the Torah in Israel. It shows you the way to life is the idea. It points out the way to life. The way that God requires.
So, God points out a tree. Now, think of this for a minute. Moses takes that tree, throws it into the waters, and the waters are made sweet. The bitterness becomes sweetness and the people then drink the water and they’re delivered from death. See? What is that story telling you? Three days after they’re baptized, they’re delivered from death. On the third day, they’re delivered from death by means of a tree that is able to take that which is bitter and make it sweet; that which gives only death to that which gives life.
And that’s how you read the Old Testament. One story after the other, all of the Old Testament is speaking about Jesus just like I said. The whole Torah of Moses, I think, is pointing out that tree. What is that tree? The tree is the Tree of Life, isn’t it? And the Tree of Life will become the cross of the Savior. That’s the Tree of Life that we lost in Eden, but we find it again and it gives us life. It’s beautiful the way that works.
Dr. Bennett: Don’t you just want to sit all night and hear these stories? Aren’t they just fantastic? They’re great. Thank you. That’s good stuff. I’d take up an offering right now. It’s just — this is so enriching. You know, Warren’s done studies on the third day. How many references did you find? Was there —
Dr. Gage: There are about 40 clear ones and about 60 that are implied.
Dr. Bennett: So, you know, like Jesus says on the third day, if you go through the Old Testament and actually look at third day narratives, you will see this pattern. Jesus really is in the Old Testament.
This is going to be fun. They’re going to be blessed here. You’ve spent a lifetime — and when I say a lifetime, I mean from a young age — in the Old Testament. What is one of the most amazing things about the Old Testament to you?
Dr. Gage: I talked earlier about red letter Bibles. Does everybody know what that is? Raise your hand if you know what a red letter — everybody knows what that is. There are — those are the words of Christ.
Dr. Bennett: I told them if you asked any questions to raise their hands to make it look like they’re getting pastored right.
Dr. Gage: Oh, okay. I see. Okay. Alright. Well —
Dr. Bennett: They told them on the way in. They said, “Raise your hand. Anything Warren asks.”
Dr. Gage: Well, okay. That was a good response then.
Dr. Bennett: I’m just playing.
Dr. Gage: I guess that works out. It may surprise you to know that Jesus, who speaks in the New Testament, also speaks in the Old Testament. Did you know that? There are words of Jesus that you hear in the Old Testament that you never hear in the New Testament. I want to share some of those with you. The first time I found out about this, it just blew my mind. It would be like what if you heard that they uncovered a scroll in the ancient east somehow and there’s no question about its authenticity and it actually had the words of Jesus on it? Would you be curious what those were?
Well, the Old Testament has the words of Jesus, Christ Himself, who speaks in His own voice, that you have in the Old Testament many times that you never hear in the New Testament. I want to share a couple of them with you. Isaiah 49. The Servant of the Lord is speaking. This is Christ who is identified as the Servant of the Lord in the New Testament. What He’s going to tell you is how He was educated. You remember we don’t know anything about Jesus from the nativity stories until He is presented for public ministry when He’s baptized by John. Except one incident. Remember when he was 12 years old in the temple? But the rest of that time we don’t know anything about. Would you like to know something about that?
Jesus will tell you. He tells you how He was deuces. He will tell you who He is. We’ll see that when we get to Isaiah 50. But, Isaiah 49, as we will see, the Servant of the Lord is speaking. Jesus is the Servant of the Lord. So, Jesus says this. This is red letter Old Testament.
“Listen to me, O islands, and pay attention, peoples from afar.”
Dr. Bennett: What verse?
Dr. Gage: Isaiah 49:1.
Dr. Bennett: Okay.
Dr. Gage: When he says, “Listen to me, O islands, and pay attention, peoples from afar,” in Israel, when they looked out to the Mediterranean, everything looked to be like islands. You had Cypress, you had Creed, you had all of the Greek islands, Sicily, Sardinia and coastlands. And that’s all they knew. So, Jesus is speaking to the whole Mediterranean world. The remote world.
He says, to the gentiles, “The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named me.”
Remember Mary is told, “You shall call His name Jesus?”
“He has made my mouth like a sharp sword;”
That’s how John describes Him in Revelation 1.
“In the shadow of his hand he has concealed me;”
Jesus is telling here how He was kept, as it were, under wraps. People didn’t know who He was. He was raised in Nazareth. Well, who’s ever heard of Nazareth? That’s not where you expect the Messiah to come from.
“He has also made me a select arrow; he has hidden me in his quiver.”
During all those years, God was working with Him privately, teaching Him and tutoring Him.
“He said to me, ‘You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will show my glory.’”
If you want to understand Jesus, you have to understand that He is Himself through Israel. The other Israel is just an image of Him. He is Israel. Now, God is saying, “You are Israel, in whom I will show my glory.”
“But I [Jesus] said, ‘I have toiled in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity;”
What does that tell you? It tells you that Jesus Himself had days of discouragement when He was actually despairing. Isn’t that interesting? Anyone out there ever have a time or a season in life when you felt like it was all in vain? Jesus knew that. There’s a reason He knew that.
He said, “‘I have toiled in vain; I have spent my strength for nothing and for vanity; yet surely the justice due me is with the Lord, and my reward is with my God.’”
So, He encourages His heart to believe that God will accomplish through Him what He was calling Him to do.
“And now the Lord says, he who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring back Jacob to him; and that Israel might be gathered to I’m — for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God is my strength.”
He says, “But the Lord told me, the Lord called me to be the one to reconcile Jacob to God.
“He says: ‘It is too small a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved one of Israel;’ He said: ‘I will also make you a light of the nations,’” — this is His calling. He’s going to bring the Gospel to us, to the whole world, not just to Israel — “so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.’”
That was God’s calling on the life of Jesus, to bring salvation to the ends of the earth. That’s exactly what He calls us to do, isn’t it? Go make disciples of all the nations.
“Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to the despised one, to the one abhorred by the nations, to the servant and rulers: ‘Kings will see and arise; princes will also bow down; because the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, has chosen you.’”
Now, in Isaiah 50, the Servant speaks again. That begins in Isaiah 50:4. This, again, is a word of our Lord. He’s going to tell us what was in His mind when He was being tormented by the Romans, and tortured, remember, before He suffered, before He was crucified. How did He sustain Himself? This will tell you what He was thinking when He was silent and suffering.
Jesus said, “‘The Lord God has given me the tongue of a disciple,’” — He calls us to be disciples because He Himself knew what it was to be a disciple. God made Him a disciple. Why?
“That I might know how to sustain the weary one with a word.”
God taught Jesus, made Him a disciple. What? In order to teach Him, through His suffering, how He could encourage you. Isn’t that amazing? That’s why Jesus suffered. He learned obedience through the things He suffered, we’re told. He suffered all of His life. Why? The Lord God ordained that so that He might know how to sustain the weary one with a word. Anyone out there weary? I’ve known seasons of weariness. Jesus went through that too.
He said, “He awakens me morning by morning; he awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.”
Every morning, God awakened Jesus to His calling and He was teaching Him every day during those 30 years of silence.
“The Lord God has opened my ear,” — that is He spoke to His Son, He told Him what His Son was to accomplish, and how He was to go about to do it. And when He heard that word, it was a frightening word. He must suffer death and burial. He must suffer taking the consequences of sin upon Himself, of being our sacrifice. And so, He responds to that.
“The Lord opened my ear, and I was not disobedient; nor did I turn back.”
That implies that He very well might have done that when He heard what it would take to redeem the world. But He didn’t. He was obedient. The Father was telling Him what His role was to be the world redeemer, and He did not shy back.
He said, “I gave my back to those who strike me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard.”
You see, the Father was showing Jesus all that He would go through, including the scourging. I mean, He said, “I gave my back to those who strike me, and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard.” By the way, this is the only reference in all the Bible that says something specific about what the Lord looked like. Isn’t that interesting, that He had a beard? But in the context, they would be spitting upon Him and plucking out the beard.
He said, “I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting.”
He had a very clear understanding of all He was going to go through in order to redeem you and me. It was not a pretty picture.
And He says, “The Lord God helps me; therefore I am not disgraced.”
Even though He was being treated with such contempt and disregard, He said, “The Lord God helps me.”
“Therefore I have set my face like a flint,” — Luke picks up on that, how He faced His death — “and I know that I will not be ashamed. He who vindicates me is near.”
So, He trusted that God would bring justice when great injustice was being done to Him. He’s teaching us how to face injustice, too, by the way, I think, in all of that.
“Who will contend with me? Let us stand up to each other. Who has a case against me? Let him draw near to me. Behold, the Lord God helps me; who is he who will condemn me. Behold, they will wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them.”
He knows that, ultimately, He will press on to victory. That’s beautiful to me. It takes you into the mind of the Savior when He’s going through those 30 years when the Lord is instructing Him about His task and what that involved. And it is even telling you what He was thinking when He was suffering for you. That’s beautiful, I think, that He shares that. That’s in the Old Testament. Words of Jesus that you never hear in the new.
Dr. Bennett: I even think of like Psalm 22 that he quotes.
Dr. Gage: Absolutely. Yeah.
Dr. Bennett: Do you want to riff on that a minute?
Dr. Gage: Well, Psalm 22 talks about — it begins with, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” which is attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. But that incorporates, by specific reference, the rest of the Psalm. It’s called a word of dereliction, which is a word of abandonment, but if you read the Psalm, and all of the Psalm is in view, all of that, Jesus is speaking. When he cites that one verse, he’s including the entire Psalm. It goes on to speak of His confidence in resurrection.
Isn’t that wonderful? He suffered knowing that God would vindicate Him. I think that’s — even in that place where He seems most abandoned. You know, His first word on the cross is, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” And then, at the end, He says, “Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.” But in the middle, the fourth word of the cross, He doesn’t call God His Father. It’s, “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?”
There’s that word of abandonment. He begins with Father. He ends with Father. But, in the middle, when He’s making a full atonement for us, it’s like that relationship is broken. The Father, as it were, hides His face. He knows that full price that He paid for us of the wrath of God. But even in that darkest moment of those six hours on the cross, when the sun itself refuses to shine, by citing Psalm 22, Jesus is saying He trusts in the Lord. That’s beautiful. What a testimony that Jesus, our Savior, could go through all of that never doubting God would vindicate justice.
Dr. Bennett: And when you read, He says, “I am scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads. ‘He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him [...].’ Yet you are the one who took me from the womb.”
He goes on to say, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up, my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs encompass me [...]; they have pierced my hands and my feet.”
Who else could this be talking about? You know? It’s like, “Where’s Jesus in the Old Testament?” He’s all over it. I mean, it does require, though, a diligence of actually believing that these are not just two separate entities that one is like —
Dr. Gage: One book.
Dr. Bennett: The best way to explain it, I think of like the rocket ships that go up. You know? They have those tubes that break off and then the other one keeps going. It’s like the Old Testament was that gas thing that just sort of falls away, and then the New Testament just sort of keeps going. And it seems like a lot of people think that way. But, I mean, this is beautiful stuff. Let me ask you another question here.
Dr. Gage: Let me add something to that if I can.
Dr. Bennett: Sure.
Dr. Gage: When we talked about the words of Jesus on the cross, one of the last words is actually when He says, “Tetelestai.” That’s the Greek rendering of it. It means “finished.” Probably what He said was “kelal,” which would be the Aramaic. But, anyway, the Greek word is “tetelestai.” It means “it is finished.” Right there, you can’t understand what He means by that unless you know the Hebrew Bible. What does it mean, “It is finished?” What’s finished? What does that imply? Every type of Jesus in the Old Testament was fulfilled. Think about that. There are thousands of types. Remember? The Gospel writers will say, “He did all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written,” saying everything that had been prophesied about Him had to be fulfilled. That’s one thing.
The other thing is every law that God gave, every law, had to be perfectly fulfilled. And no deviance to the left hand or to the right hand. Everything perfectly checked off before He could say that word “tetelestai.” Every prophecy, every law had to be obeyed. Every Scripture had to be perfectly fulfilled. And every sacrifice on behalf of the people, on behalf of us — every sacrifice had to be perfectly, perfectly satisfied for every sin of all of the people of God from the very beginning to the end. A full atonement for all of our sin, all of that, had to be accomplished. And then He can say, “It is finished.”
What a word of triumph, the word of the Savior. “It is done.” Only God could satisfy that. If you understand what the Old Testament is requiring, you can see you can’t understand Jesus as a human alone. He goes beyond that. What manner of man is this that the wind and the seas obey Him? He breaks through just His humanity, which is perfect, but He is also divinity. And once you understand that, what the Old Testament is requiring, then you can appreciate the Savior, I think, in so much of a deeper sense; to see what He is and who He is and all that He’s done for us. It’s really wonderful just to see the love of Jesus for His Father, for the people of God and for us. And you see that by looking at the Bible as one book, not two.
Dr. Bennett: Y’all can see why I enjoyed, so much, learning from Warren. Right? Remember those times we would sit at Olive Garden next to Knox?
Dr. Gage: Yeah. I remember all of those. Yeah.
Dr. Bennett: And eat Alfredo and talk about Scripture. That was good, wasn’t it?
Dr. Gage: Those were good times.
Dr. Bennett: We need to do that again. I’m getting hungry. Anyways, this is a good one. I think this is one that will resonate with everyone. I think ears are going to perk up here too. Paul mentions, in Romans 6:14, that we are not under the law, but under grace. This has almost become a slogan in the church. You hear people go, “I’m not under the law. I’m under grace.” What are your thoughts about that very common statement? “I’m not under law. I’m under grace.” Can you expound on that a little bit?
Dr. Gage: Well, I think that that illustrates, really, something we started with a little earlier this evening, and that was how do you understand Paul, who says that, without understanding the Old Testament? I think — what does Paul mean by that? In the context, what Paul is saying is we’re not under the law with respect to justification. That is how are we made right with God? It is not by the law. How are we made right with God? It’s by God’s grace and His favor. But what has happened is, in some Christian circles, that has taken to mean we’re not under the law, so the Old Testament, which is the law that was understood to be the law, is dismissed somehow. And that cannot be.
Because, you see, even in the Old Testament, they were not justified by the law either, were they? No one is ever justified by the works of the law. Where always, from Adam, Abel, Enoch and all the way through, the only justification that we can have is by the grace of God. And the law is to show you that we need the grace of God. So, I think that that’s a real misunderstanding when we say that so cavalierly. Now, I understood it that way when I was in seminary.
Dr. Bennett: Sure.
Dr. Gage: And that was dismissive of the Old Testament. One of the things that happens is people think the Old Testament is so severe and they create these two. You’ve got God as wrathful in the Old Testament and gentle and loving in Christ in the New Testament. That’s totally to misunderstand the Old Testament.
Dr. Bennett: It’s like it’s from Rambo to Care Bear.
Dr. Gage: Yeah. It’s something like that, which makes the New Testament cast in a better light, but really casts the Old Testament in a false light, I think,
Dr. Bennett: Sure.
Dr. Gage: So, first of all, when Jesus is asked what is the greatest commandment, the discussion, of course, is of the Hebrew Bible. Now, what is the summary that Jesus endorses? The Old Testament is teaching that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart. Right? And to love your neighbor as yourself. That’s the theme of the Old Testament. Maybe it’s misunderstood, but that’s really what we’re talking about. And Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. God doesn’t change, does He? So, you find the gentleness, the love, the mercy of God in the Old Testament in a beautiful way just like you find it in the New Testament. You’ve got the holiness of God, you’ve got the wrath of God in the Old Testament, but you have that in the New Testament too. We are dealing with one God. He justifies us not by law, but by His mercy and grace. That was true in the Old Testament and it’s true in the New Testament.
Dr. Bennett: Yeah. I think that there’s maybe a misunderstanding because in Genesis 15:6 — and that’s early on. I mean, you’re just 15 chapters in. In Genesis 15:6, it says that Abraham believed God and God considered him righteous. I mean, that is the prototypical way in which we come to God. I mean, hundreds of years before the law was ever given, Abraham was justified.
Dr. Gage: Exactly.
Dr. Bennett: We’re even told in the book of Hebrews that those early forefathers were justified. They were all looking for a heavenly city, which is like a novel thing that the Old Testament patriarchs knew more about heaven and had more of a view of the heavenly city than, sometimes, we do.
Dr. Gage: Exactly.
Dr. Bennett: It just feels, when somebody says, “Don’t put me under that stuff there,” first of all, that’s a misnomer because nobody was ever under it. The only way that we could come to God was through faith, and that’s consistent all the way through the Bible. My personal opinion — and you have to walk on eggshells here on these things because people can get real upset. I think that because we’ve separated these two texts so much and we’ve said one’s for Israel and one’s for the Church, not realizing that that’s not even a biblical endorsement at all. We’ve created a real mess with trying to figure out the Old Testament.
If we could understand that God’s salvific plan was, from the beginning, that we would be justified by faith, it takes some of the sting out of that stuff and it allows us to see the law for what the law was: That we are unable to be justified by the things that we do. We have to have someone accomplish those things for us. Do you agree with that?
Dr. Gage: Absolutely. You know, the Lord is pleased to accept our faith. By that faith, He justifies us, but not by our obedience to the law. We cannot be saved. The law shows us. It sets such a standard of obedience and perfection that no man could attain it except for one, and He was the divine man. Christ, by His obedience, which He gives to us, He has earned our salvation for us, which we could never do in and of ourselves. But God is pleased in His mercy to save us by faith. That’s true in the Old Testament; it’s true in the New.
Dr. Bennett: And don’t you think seeing the Bible as not about Israel and the Church, and then you have to sort of almost have two ways of salvation and all of this? The Scriptures are about Jesus. And it’s those that are in Christ that are saved. And those that are in Christ are the true Israel.
Dr. Gage: Well, that’s what I read in Isaiah 49. God says to Jesus, “You are Israel.” He is Israel. If those who were sons of Abraham, who were in Chris by faith, they are Israel. Those who were sons of Abraham without faith and are not in Christ are cut off. Paul calls them “natural branches.” He says, “Not all Israel is Israel.” So, there are no promises just because you’re physically descended from Abraham. Paul reasons that through in Romans 9. The only benefit that comes to the Jew or the Gentile is by faith being grafted into Christ. If you’re grafted into Christ, you are true Israel. That’s Paul. Paul says that very clearly. Galatians 3 and 4. Anyone in Christ is an heir of Abraham’s faith and, therefore, a joint heir of Abraham and his promises.
If you were in Christ, you are part of Israel. If you are not in Christ, even though you’re descended from Abraham, you are not justified. Not saved.
Dr. Bennett: But even Abraham was from the Ur of the Chaldees. Abraham would’ve been a gentile.
Dr. Gage: He was a gentile, yeah.
Dr. Bennett: Yeah. So, I mean, the beauty here is that the plan of God is not bifurcated. I think that does damage to the text because then you get some of the crazy stuff like, “Well, the Sermon on the Mount is not even for people. It’s for this.” It’s like all of a sudden the Bible becomes like a Frankenstein. “Well, this is only here. This goes here. That only goes here. That goes here.”
I mean, I know for me I can speak to that. You can, too, because we both came out of that hermeneutic. I mean, I grew up in that. So, I’m not trying to be negative. I’m just saying I do think, though, that understanding the plan of God is not where God keeps going, “Oh, well, let’s try this. Oh, let’s do this. Nope. Let’s do this. Oh, okay.”
I mean, He’s not up there like this cosmic Laurel and Hardy Show trying to figure out how to make it work because it’s not working. I think that it’s a seamless deal. It can be read seamlessly. If we were to go pick 66 books off of a library shelf, any 66 books off any library shelf, we would be really challenged to find thematic unity through those 66 books.
Dr. Gage: Exactly.
Dr. Bennett: Would you agree?
Dr. Gage: Absolutely.
Dr. Bennett: Okay. But yet, there is absolute thematic unity through the 66 books that we have written by over probably 40 people over thousands of years. That means that Scripture is really not 66 books. It’s one book in sixty-six different ways, but it’s all saying the same thing about who God is and who Jesus is. Agree or disagree?
Dr. Gage: I think that’s exactly right. I’ve used the illustration that it would be like — the Bible is written over a period of, we believe, about 1,500 years. Think about that. To be perfectly unified, all of its symbols and types fitting together beautifully? Not contradiction, no error? And it would be like recording an instrumentalist in one century, and maybe one or two in another century, and three or four maybe, one or two in another century for 1,500 years, and then putting it all together and it harmonizes as an orchestral symphony. That’s what the Bible is. Well, that means the Bible wasn’t written by man. It was formally written by man, but it had to be inspired from another world in order to harmonize like that. Does that make sense?
It comes from another world. This book comes from another world. Christ Himself came from another world. And that’s the — it really speaks of the love of God for us, so carefully to lay this out, and so beautifully to magnify Christ in who He is.
Dr. Bennett: Don’t you want to go home and read Scripture now? See? This is good stuff, right? Okay. So, let’s take the “it is finished” thing. One of the things I learned in studying with you, because not only did I do Bible and biblical and hermeneutical things, but we also read the great books together. We read all the great classics. One of the things that I got from all of that was the power of story. In fact, to be honest with you, if you could go back and watch, we have catalogued probably six years at least, seven years, maybe, of preaching. We have the preaching from the old church. You will see a marked difference in the way that I’ve presented things after we started working together because I realized the power of story.
And so, my preaching, when I even go through a text or I go through a book, I do my best to put that together in a story form so it’s interesting and you want to be a part of what’s going on because stories are just powerful. I mean, they take us to another — anybody ever been in a book and it’s like you don’t even know where the hour went? You’re just like, “What happened?” You know? Sometimes you’re even in the book. It’s like you just entered into it because they’re powerful.
Can you take a little bit of time and tell us how the Old Testament completes the story of the — or how the Old Testament leads towards and, without the Old Testament, we wouldn’t understand the New Testament? But how all of that flows together to complete what we would call the story of the Bible; the overarching story? Can you just speak to that for a little bit? Give us the story to the best of your ability.
Dr. Gage: Sure. Let me summarize it, and then let me — well, let me illustrate it. I think that might be best.
Dr. Bennett: Okay. Great.
Dr. Gage: I brought some slides along that might help us. The first one: Everyone recognizes this picture, I think, right? You’ve probably seen it many times. It’s da Vinci’s —
Dr. Bennett: It’s the one where Jesus said, “Hey, everybody. Get on one side of the table because we’re going to have a picture.” Right?
Dr. Gage: Hardly. I don’t know what to do with that exactly.
Dr. Bennett: That’s funny. Come on. That’s funny.
Dr. Gage: Well, nobody is saying, “Cheese,” that’s for sure.
Dr. Bennett: Yeah. They’re laughing, though.
Dr. Gage: Yeah. In fact, very obviously, they’re not smiling because da Vinci did this painting at the very moment — he’s trying to capture the moment when Jesus says, “One of you will betray me,” at the last supper. That’s the dramatic moment that the artist has tried to capture. And you can see by that how they’re taken back by that. “What does He mean one of us will betray Him? What does that mean?” They’re all standing back. One of them is pointing. “Is it I?” You can see that. Several of them are gesturing. “What could He possibly mean?”
But I love this picture because, to me, it illustrates how we should read the Bible. There’s one artist who composes, so he’s thought it through very carefully, da Vinci has, The Last Supper. And if you notice, every line, wherever your eye lands on this painting, it will direct you to the Savior. He’s put Jesus in the very middle with a light and window background, crowned it with a kind of molding over the window. And Jesus is in red and blue, which contrasts. Your eye is drawn to the red, wherever it lands on a painting like this. And then the disciples are looking at Him for the most part. “What does He mean?” You know? They’re pointing at Him. That will draw your mind, your eye, to the Savior as well.
If you look at the tapestries on the wall and you trace out the trajectory of the line — I’ve put it here so you can kind of see how that goes. That takes you to the Savior. The beams in the ceiling. See that? And, actually, the tiles in the floor. That’s less evident because they cut a doorway through this picture some centuries ago. But, anyway, wherever your eye lands, it goes to the Savior. And I think this illustrates the way that we should read this book, especially the Old Testament. Wherever you open up the page, it’s pointing you to Jesus. So, that’s the way I want to read it. And if you read it with that expectation and that hope and that prayer, asking the Spirit to show you the Savior wherever you are, especially in the Old Testament, He will answer that. I’m confident He will.
Jesus said it all speaks about Him. So, that’s the illustration. He is the center, He is the hero of the story. He’s the only hero. We don’t have any heroes anymore. But He is our hero. Everything is about Him. So, we’ll see how that works and how the Old Testament points to that.
Let’s look at the next one. I love this because this — there’s something about when you read the last supper, and all of us know how important that is. The Lord memorializes it and has us come and, as often as we do it, we partake of the bread and the wine. Don’t we? That’s a very sacred moment to the Christian. It’s something we do consistently that reminds us of the sacrifice of Jesus. Well, the way Jesus does that, it’s just incredible. Once again, if you’re reading it through the window of the Old Testament, it goes back to the fall of man. You remember in Genesis 3 when Moses describes how we fell into sin, and Eve, when she saw the fruit, it was good for food, a delight to the eye and desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate and gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
So, that’s the beginning of sin. Everything that comes in life that’s hurtful, all of the suffering of humanity, the tears, the blood, all of the sicknesses and illnesses, the cruelty, everything that comes had that simple beginning. She took and she ate and she gave. Three verbs that describe the beginning of sin and the fall of man. And so, that’s what happens with the first Adam. We all fall into sin and the consequence is devastating throughout the Old Testament. When we come to the New Testament, at the last supper, Jesus initiates the new covenant. He’s the new Adam, Paul calls Him. And how does He do it? He takes the bread, blesses it, and he breaks it. He says, “This is my body, broken for you. Take. Eat.” And He gives it to them. Do you see what He’s doing? The echo in that is just profound. Take, eat and give. We fell into sin by eating, and He restores us by the same verbs by which we fell.
The way we fell into sin is the way He restores us. So, in Adam all day, in Christ, what does Paul say? All are made alive. See? I mean, there are echoes that really highlight the beauty of our faith. The Christian faith is beautiful. What Christ is doing is beautiful. He’s correcting everything that happened that was hurtful in Adam. He’s beginning to set it right. And that’s true with all of the Old Testament. He came to raise up the fallen tabernacle of David. He’s going to correct all of our sin and set an entirely different dynamic into play. So, that’s just one illustration of it.
Dr. Bennett: Do you want to just make a mention? I think that it’s awesome. At the Emmaus supper, where He also serves communion, if you remember in the Old Testament, Eve took, she gave and they ate. It says, “Their eyes were opened and they realized that they had sinned.” With the Emmaus disciples, when Jesus takes, gives, it says, “Their eyes were opened.” So, it’s even another restoration of what’s going on. It’s beautiful.
Dr. Gage: And they knew Him who takes away our shame and guilt.
Dr. Bennett: They knew Him. That’s exactly right.
Dr. Gage: So, the whole redemption of Christ is framed between two suppers. That’s beautiful.
Dr. Bennett: It is.
Dr. Gage: The way it works. I think this is very helpful, too, to people. Every wounding of Jesus is to remind you of Adam. Why is that important? When Adam sins, God curses the ground. He does not curse Adam and Eve. He’s already blessed them. He can’t curse them. But He judges the earth for Adam’s sins, so the earth — remember? By the sweat of his brow, Adam would earn his bread. And, also, the earth would bring forth thorns and thistles. Those were the two judgments that God put upon the earth because of Adam’s disobedience.
Well, the suffering of Jesus begins in the Garden of Gethsemane. You’re supposed to understand what’s going on here. Here was a new Adam in a garden. His suffering begins in Gethsemane and his brow begins to sweat with sweat like — it’s not blood. It’s like drops of blood. But Luke makes that comment. Why is he saying that? What is he sweating for? You see, by that sweat, He is earning, for us, the bread of life. That’s what is implied. And then, the other curse, the earth would resist man’s work, and so it would bring sweat to his brow, but the earth would also bring forth thorns and thistles. So, the Romans weave a crown of thorns, don’t they? They press it down upon that same brow. The brow of Jesus is being identified with the judgments upon the earth. He is taking upon Himself the consequences of Adam’s sin. Does that make sense? He’s very personally taking the consequences of that upon Himself.
Then He’s taken to the cross which, in the New Testament, is called a tree. The wood. The tree. “Cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree.” Paul will cite that verse. So, the cross is looked at as a tree. He’s taken to that tree and He’s stripped naked to His shame. He’s taking the nakedness of Adam, the shameful nakedness, upon Himself. And then He’s nailed to that tree and His — we now know the way they crucified, the legs were wrapped around. It’s like a telephone pole. His feet were not on a plinth with one nail or two nails, but actually wrapped around like a telephone pole. And they drove the nails through the heel.
That, too, was mentioned in Genesis 3:15. The serpent would bruise the heel of the seed of the woman. And so, that wounding has to do with Adam. And then, finally, you may recall that the pierced side — the spear that came, that the Roman thrust into His side after He had died, and the water and the blood came forth, that spoke of Adam, too, who was wounded when God intended to provide a bride for Adam. He wounded His side. Even though Adam was innocent at that point, but his side was opened and God took the substance out of the side by which He created the bride to give to Adam after He healed him of his wounding.
Well, the same thing happens to Jesus. It’s very tender. When Jesus is on the cross and is at the place of death, He bows His head and commits His spirit. Every type, I said, had been fulfilled. Right? Except for one. One thing has not been done. And do you know what that is? He knew it was going to be done, but it did not happen in His lifetime. It happened after He was sleeping the sleep of death like Adam slept the sleep of death. That is His side would be wounded. That was thrust in to prove that He was actually dead, and the blood and the water came forth.
That substance is the substance with which God creates the bride. We are that bride. We are washed in His blood, we’re redeemed and then we’re purified in the water. So, Christ was laid in the ground, the womb of Adam, and God healed Him of His wounding and then awakened Him on resurrection morning. The first thing that happens when Jesus is awakened in the tomb — do you know what that is? He notices the scar in His side, which He had no memory of in His humanity before His death. But that scar that was now healed was the pledge of God that He had fulfilled that last type. And Jesus knows, when He walks out of that grave, the Father has prepared a bride for Him, just like He had for Adam.
The tenderness with which the Scripture is written together to encourager us is just beautiful. It’s lovely how all this works. But all of the wounds have to do with Adam. Why is that important? Don’t you see? If the wounds of Jesus on the cross speak of Adam, if He’s taking Adam’s sin upon Himself, does that not then mean that perhaps He could also take my sin upon Himself? And yours, all of you who have appealed to Him for mercy. It’s an illustration. He’s saving Adam, but, so much more than that, He is saving us from all of our sin, too. He’s taking all of that upon Himself. It’s beautiful the way that works.
Christ is the new Adam, but He’s the new Warren, the new Chip. He’s making all of us new. If any man is in Christ, what does Paul say? Come back to Paul.
Dr. Bennett: New creation.
Dr. Gage: You’re a new creation. How did God create the world? Think about that. The very beginning of the Old Testament, God makes the world and it’s dead. Darkness. You can’t have life with darkness. And deep, a briny sea, a salty sea over all the earth? You can’t have life in that. And so, what does God do? He made a dead world. Why? So He can show us what He can do with that which is dead. The Spirit moves upon the surface of the waters, the Word is spoken, God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light. That’s a pattern of creation, but that’s also the pattern of redemption. Isn’t it?
All of us, Paul tells us, were dead in trespasses and sins. Isn’t that right? We were dead. And what happened? The Spirit moved upon our hearts, the Word of the Gospel was spoken, and light shined into darkness. See? The pattern of creation is anticipating the pattern of redemption. Paul says that in 2 Corinthians 4.
“God, who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shone into our hearts to show us the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”
That’s who we are. All of the Scripture is showing you the richness of your faith, Christian. It’s showing you all that God has done. Everything God has done. It’s like these love letters from another world. He’s coming. He’s assuring you of how much He loves you. And you know how much He loves you because of what? He so loved you that He gave His only begotten Son that we might have a Savior. It’s beautiful.
The Old Testament. Let me summarize quickly for you — we’ve got a few minutes left. How does the Old Testament show us the splendor of Christ? Well, think with me for just a couple of things here. What is the effect of sin? God makes Adam out of the dust of the ground, right? And He makes him a man and He gives him dominion over all things. But what happens? Adam sins. And so, what must happen? He goes back to the dust again. Dust you are, and to dust you shall return. Right? See that?
Adam is made out of dust, given dominion over all things, sins, and then returns back to dust. The same thing is true. Let’s keep that up there, if we might, for a minute. That same slide. That last one. The same thing that’s true of Adam is true of Adam’s world. God begins by creating the world out of water. It’s covered with the deep, right? And He makes it beautiful. He makes an Eden; a paradise for man. But the world is filled with sin and violence. And so, what happens? God then brings the flood of Noah. So, the world has been returned to briny sea, chaos. Do you see that pattern? Do you see how that works? God brings something out of death and gives it life, and then it sins and it falls back into its original state.
That’s a pattern with God. That’s what sin — sin is like matter and anti-matter. God creates the blessing, and then the cursing, the judgment, brings it back to its original elements. That’s true of the large story of the Old Testament. Let’s take a look at David, then. This is the history of Israel. If you notice, it begins where God calls Abraham out of the east. Do you remember? Out of Ur of the Chaldees. That’s in 2000 B.C., roughly. And then Moses leads Israel out of bondage in Egypt. That’s roughly 1500 B.C. Then Joshua conquers the land of Canaan, and it becomes Israel. David takes Jerusalem and fortifies the city. And Solomon, then — and he assembles the materials for the temple that Solomon will build. So, that’s the history of redemption of 1,000 years on the left-hand side of that column here.
A thousand years from Abraham to David. A thousand years. Then David sins. Remember? With Bathsheba against the house of Uriah. That sin destroys the kingdom. It begins the fall. And so, what happens is when we come to 586 B.C., we’re down at the bottom end of the second column, what happens? The Babylonians take Jerusalem. The first thing they do is they destroy the temple so the work of Solomon is undone. They pierce the walls of Jerusalem so the work of David is undone. The uncircumcised, the Babylonians, run over the whole land. So, what are they doing? They’re conquering the land so the work of Joshua is undone. And they put Israel in bondage, which means the work of Moses is undone. And they carry Israel into captivity in the east where they began. Which means what? The whole Old Testament — this is Matthew’s genealogy. Fourteen generations from Abraham to David. Fourteen generations from David to the Babylonian captivity.
Matthew is setting it up that way for you to understand that God took 1,500 years of redemptive history and, because Israel sinned, He wiped them out. We would never think of doing that, would we? We would think we’ve got to preserve. We’ve got to keep the thing going. God will not use an unclean instrument. He takes it all down, starts over. He can do that. It speaks to the holiness of God, but it also shows you that the Old Testament, really, there are no heroes. They’re all sinners, just like us.
So, what happens? They wait for a redeemer. And that comes. See here? Fourteen generations from Abraham to David. Fourteen generations from David to the Babylonian captivity. And then fourteen generations from the Babylonian captivity to Christ. And then what happens? We have our true hero, and His kingdom, because He does not sin, goes on forever. See how that summarizes the whole Old Testament, I think, in a very good way? But that’s showing you, when you read the Old Testament, you’re reading about the failure of different men and women. But that failure highlights how beautiful Christ is, how perfect He is. The brilliance of Christ.
If you ever go to a jeweler if you’re trying to buy a diamond — a loose diamond, perhaps — they’ll bring out a piece of black velvet. Have you ever seen that? And then they’ll put the diamond so you can see its brilliance. It’s faceted. You can see it better on that black background. And I think that the Old Testament, in many ways, is like that black background. It’s waiting for the diamond, for Christ, the true hero. And when you read about Christ through that background, you see we really do have a hero, and He’s wonderful. You see the richness of the Savior in a way that you might not be otherwise able to see it, except against that background. Then He becomes so much more precious to you.
The whole world, we’ve lost our heroes. I think this phenomenon of Marvel, these new movies that are coming out, they’re all looking for the hero. And there is no hero. Where are our heroes today? We don’t have them. Part of life is learning that there are no heroes out there and there’s no hero in here. But there is a hero. That’s the wonderful thing. That’s Christ. He’s holy, harmless, undefiled. What man can accuse Him of sin? He is perfect. He accomplishes everything that God intended for Him to do, and everything God intended for Him to do was to redeem us and to lift up our fallen tabernacles, to take all of our failures and turn them into glory, to work all things together for our glory and our redemption. That’s who He is. That’s the preciousness of Jesus. I think we can see that so much more beautifully against the Hebrew Bible.
Dr. Bennett: Was that great? We’re going to take up an offering. So, if you would — again, I can’t tell you what to do or not to do, but if you would consider — when we take up the offering, all of these offerings go to bringing people up, helping people out, paying for what we do. Warren, obviously, is easier to get here than a lot of other people. But I want to bless Warren. I just would ask for you to prayerfully consider giving, and to also take the forum home and look at that. I also want to say — and I think it’s nice of him — we have stacks of paper in the back. This is the story of the Bible. Warren allowed us to copy this and give this. You can take this with you. If you do not get one, you can email the church — Grace@GraceSarasota.com — and we will send you an email copy of it in PDF form.
But this goes through a lot of stuff here that you could read that I think would enhance your understanding of the things that are going on in Scripture. So, as we’re giving, and just continue to do that, I want to say a prayer for the offering.
Dear Heavenly Father, I believe with all of my heart that You have uniquely gifted Warren with an incredible education, an incredible mind and incredible eyes in the Spirit to see you in the Old Testament. I pray that as we take up this offering, I pray that it would be a blessing not only to him, but also to the Alexandrian Forum, that You would continue to bless the work that he is doing. Lord, I believe with all of my heart — and I say this publicly, but I say it for real. I believe this is a message the Church is in desperate need of hearing. And I pray, God, that You would help Warren to continue to share this and to help us understand how to read the Scriptures better for Your glory and for Your honor. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
Well, the offering will just continue to go. I want to say a couple of real quick things. We will be having another one of these next month. We’ll get that information to you as a church. Warren and I have committed, just because we knew we wanted to get the information out — we’re not going to keep everybody in a long Q & A thing. What we want you to know is that we will stay here as long as anybody needs. If you have questions, just come on up. Get in line. We’ll stay here. We’ll answer questions. We’re here to be servants. We know some people need to get home. So, we’re trying to balance information with Q & A. I think the information tonight was vitally important, more than Q & A. Would you agree? I mean, this is great, great information.
I also want to say that Warren and I will be doing another one of our Israel tours in February of 2020. We are planning, though we’re in the preliminary stages of that. So, if you did not get to go on the last Israel trip — who in here went on the last Israel trip? Would you put your hands up? Okay. So, you see the hands up. Just go ask them if they would tell you to go. If you went to Israel, would you tell everybody to go again? I think you would benefit greatly from seeing how all this works together. Warren and I lead that tour. So, if you’re interested, maybe you can send an email in to Grace@GraceSarasota.com and just say, “Hey, I’m a hand-raiser. I would like information as that comes out.” We’ll start getting you that information.
But I’d like to close tonight in a word of prayer. I’d like to pray for Warren. At the very least, I hope that you’ll come up and love on Warren and tell him you appreciate him. Again, I don’t really know of a better man than Warren Gage. We sit at Chili’s and he tears up talking about Jesus. It makes me go back home and go, “God, am I really even a Christian? Please help me. Help me, Lord.” You know? The tenderness, the heart, the compassion. He listens to every one of my messages and tells me what he thinks. Just very involved. We’re blessed to have, as one of our board members, Warren Gage. We are so blessed to have him here. So, let’s close tonight and we’ll get out of here.
Dear Heavenly Father, I just thank You so much that we get to do this. I think back when I was 18 years old and in college I would’ve never thought in a million years that I’d be doing, tonight, what we’re doing. Especially the subject matter and the way it’s happening. It’s just a testament to Your faithfulness over the many, many years of my life and Warren’s life and the lives of everyone here. I just pray tonight, God, that You would help us all to grow in that appreciation that, as Paul told Timothy, the Scriptures are sufficient enough for him to lead him to salvation. And those Scriptures were the Old Testament.
I just pray that we would have an appreciation for this book, that we wouldn’t look down upon it, that we wouldn’t sort of push it away, that we wouldn’t get scared of it. This is a book that testifies about You. I pray that tonight, even though we all are on a journey, and everybody’s at a different places, I just pray that You would really encourage our church to even be more forward in our study of Scripture and learning the majesty of who You are and what You’ve done in our life.
Lord, I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus. I thank You that He died on a cross and rose again on the third day, and one day is going to return. I thank You that that’s true. Lord, we confess that as Your children. We believe that. But, Lord, we believe that You’re real. We do believe one day You’re going to come back. And, Lord, what a day that’s going to be. And, Lord, as we leave, we also pray for Warren. I pray for his health. I pray for his family. I pray for his travel back to South Florida. And I just pray, God, that You would continue to richly bless him in all the ministry endeavors that he does. We just love You, we thank You and we praise You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, and everybody said, “Amen.”
God bless everybody. I’d like to just ask one last question before we leave. Are you in for another one next month? Right? Okay. Good. Good. Okay. Have a great night. Travel safe. We’re going to stay up here as long as you need us to. We’ll answer any question that you’ve got. God bless everybody. We’ll see you.