Last week I wrote an article about the absence of Biblical exposition in mainstream church culture, and how we desperately need a return to sound hermeneutics and line-upon-line teaching. A vast number of readers reached out in response to that post with a resounding “Yes!”
I also announced a brand-new podcast I’ll be releasing soon, focused exclusively on deeper Bible study and theology. If you’d like to get on the email list for updates about when it will go live, just click here.
With that in mind, I wanted to start a short series of posts to help lay a foundation of understanding leading up to the launch of the podcast. So here goes…
Receiving revelation from the Scriptures is not a gift; instead, it is a divinely-learned art. The Bible is a treasure box full of gold that you can unlock whenever you wish, IF you have the right keys. There are a handful of principles and concepts that are absolutely essential in properly handling the Word of God.
I want to address one here.
Over the years of teaching in churches, small groups, and Bible colleges, one of the most fundamental, yet misunderstood keys to revelation is understanding how the Old and New Testaments work together.
So often people oversimply the relationship between the two testaments like this: “Jesus came and did away with the Old Testament.”
And then that’s kinda it. No more needs to be said.
But it could not be further from the truth.
I think this is why most Christian’s Bibles are worn out in the New Testament, but remain in pristine condition with pages still sticking together and having that new Bible smell when you open up the Old Testament.
The Old and New Testaments are deeply intertwined and have a mutual dependence on each other. We will never see the beauties of the New until we have drank deeply from the foundations established in the Old.
Jesus will never make sense until you embrace Moses.
The second Adam is useless without a proper understanding of the first Adam.
The new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21 will remain obscure until we understand the original heavens and earth (along with the tabernacles of Moses and David, along with the temple of Solomon).
The Psalmist said it like this: “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.”
The purpose of the Old Testament is to introduce us to various “streams” of truth, all of which come together in fullness and consummation in the New Testament.
Here’s a brief example:
In Genesis, Adam falls in the Garden. We are originally introduced to redemption when God takes the skin of an animal and clothes Adam and Eve. So the first “stream” of truth we encounter is that redemption happens through sacrifice.
In Exodus, the stream grows wider and deeper, and we building upon what we learned in Genesis (redemption through sacrifice) and now discover the sacrifice must be a male lamb.
In Leviticus, we learn the male lamb must be without blemish.
In Numbers, we learn that none of the male lamb’s bones must be broken.
And the revelation continues to increase until we meet John the Baptist in Jordan making his pronouncement, “Behold, the Lamb of God.”
To simplify it:
Genesis = animal
Exodus = lamb
Leviticus = male lamb
Numbers = male lamb w/o bones broken
John = Jesus is the Lamb
For the sake of space and time, I did not include how the revelation continues to grow from Numbers all the way through the Old Testament.
As you can see, however, the streams of the Old progressively increased until they found completion and fullness in the New.
Do you see how the two testaments worked together?
Here’s another example:
In Genesis, an animal was sacrificed for a man.
In Exodus, an animal was sacrificed for a family.
In Leviticus, an animal was sacrificed for a nation.
But in Jesus, the lamb was the sacrifice for the world.
The various streams of understanding turn into one mighty river of truth.
This is why the book of Revelation has caused us so much trouble in the church. Because we attempt to understand the river of truth that comes to completion in Revelation, but we have little-to-no understanding of the streams that flow into it, beginning in the Old Testament.
I like to say it this way: Your Revelation theology will never be correct until your Genesis theology is correct.
We have to get the streams, before we get the river.
That is why Genesis is so important to our study of the Bible. It is the seed plot of Scripture where every great truth that will be unfolded later on finds its beginning. It’s why the Old Testament is so vital. It is the canvas, the backdrop if you will, against which God paints the picture of Jesus in all His glory and beauty.
This is gonna be a lot of fun.