04 March 2011

Christ in the Old Testament: introductory challenges, parameters, cautions

by Dan Phillips

In yesterday's meta, beloved bro Phil mentioned a dispensationalist writer who
says Christ is not the theme of the OT at all.

...It would be nice to have a refutation of some of Snoeberger's old-Dallas-style-dispensational arguments from your more Talbot-style dispensationalist perspective.
I haven't read the essay in question yet. So let me just weigh in with what amounts to a howdy-do to mine own perspective on the subject. For Phil. To aid his recovery.

But note: this is only a very brief introduction. And I continue to be instructed in this vast topic. But this is where years of study and thought have brought me.

You who've heard this story will be patient for the sakes of those who haven't.

It was Sunday School teacher Beulah Landogoshen's first sick day in 48 years, and her young students found themselves looking at an unfamiliar face. Annie Neophyte was bright, eager, and 48 years Beulah's junior.

As the manuals suggested, Annie came up with an activity to break the ice with her class, all of whom were still in their single digits. After a warm greeting and self introduction to the silent faces, with the air of a magician producing a rabbit, Annie drew out a stack of glossy wildlife pictures. "Start with something easy," the manual said.

"I have a piece of candy for the first person to tell me what this is," Annie bubbled, holding up a picture of a lion.

Silence. Expressionless, vast, unmoving silence. Annie was puzzled. Did these rustics never see Animal Planet? Or an MGM movie? She put away the lion, and drew out the picture of a camel.

Same response. In the corner, a cricket scraped its lonely melody.

This was going badly.

Her hand now becoming unsteady, she brought out a picture of a fluffy little squirrel.

"Surely one of you can tell me what this is?" Annie pleaded. "Anyone?"

Reluctantly, little Tommy held up a lone index finger. Annie gratefully nodded to him. "Yes, young man. What is this a picture of?" she asked.

"Well," Tommy drawled. "It sure looks like a squirrel to me. But I do want that candy, so I'm going to say, 'Jesus.'"

This sometimes feels like the dilemma of "finding" Christ in the Old Testament. We're given the impression that He's in there, all over the place; but when we look, we see dead animals, dead Canaanites, long lists of names, tales of mostly mediocre-to-nasty monarchs, plus excruciating details seemingly meant for contractors, engineers, and/or butchers. Sure looks like that to us... but should we say it looks like "Jesus," anyway? For the candy?

The imperative. Jesus sure makes it sound as if we should find Him all over the place. We read that Jesus told the Jews who were trying to kill Him,
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:45-47)
Then after the Jews did succeed in killing him with the Romans' gormless and gutless collusion, and after He rose from the dead, Jesus returned to the same theme, this time even more broadly. First He speaks to the two on the Emmaus road:
And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27)
Then to the apostles:
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44-47)
This is echoed in later words from the apostles, but I want to stop right there and make some important observations. Don't skip them, please. I'm pretty sure some good folks who are nodding right along may be about to stop nodding.

The guidelines. Here's what I think are some imperatives:
  1. Jesus leads us to expect to find signposts pointing to Him all over the Old Testament.
  2. If we believe in Jesus, we should expect to find them, too.
  3. What is more, Jesus did not instruct His followers as to how to insert, impose, or overlay such points of attestation. In fact...
  4. Jesus did not think that such points would only become compelling in light of His career, which we know because...
  5. Jesus held saved and unsaved men alike morally accountable for not already seeing what He clearly believed were the evident signposts throughout. He told the unbelieving Jews that they would be damned if they did not come to heed them, and He told the disciples that they were slow-witted fools for not already believing them. Therefore...
  6. There is some way in which the plain sense of Old Testament Scripture points to Jesus, from all of its parts.
  7. Yet this must be uncovered and expounded in such a way that still allows a city-name to be a city-name (Matthew 2:5-6), a kingdom-name to be a kingdom-name (Matthew 2:13-14), and a donkey to be a donkey (Matthew 21:1-5).
The musing. Leaving aside non-players (i.e. liberals, unbelievers, nutcases), it seems to me that the ways in which we pursue Jesus' imperative can be mapped as somewhere between two poles:

At the one pole, the virtual Docetics approach the text as if it only seems to be talking about Noah, Abram, Moses, Israel, marriage, work, morality and all that — but what it's really talking about is Jesus. We're back with little Tommy in Mrs. Landogoshen's class. It only looks like a squirrel. But really, it's Jesus. Everything means something other than what it seems.

A newly-baptized acolyte of this school, highly wrought-up over what he perceived to be my hermeneutic, scoffed to someone, "Dan probably doesn't think the book of Job is about Jesus!" Ah, yes. Silly me, allowing myself to be misled by... oh, I don't know... the title of the book? The text? Those word-thingies that God uses as units of revelation?

This school is commendable for its desire to find Christ everywhere. The fatal error in this approach, however, is that they effectively rob the OT text of authority. It no longer speaks, no matter what the NT repeatedly says about it. The authority is no longer in Scripture, but in some canon-within-the-Canon. We cannot really affirm that God spoke to the fathers in the prophets (Hebrews 1:1), if we think He was really speaking to us over their heads and winking and gesturing behind their backs the whole time.

Further, it runs to grief against Jesus' reproaches. He really should have said something more to the effect of "I can't possibly blame you for not seeing Me in all those Scriptures; here, take this decoder-ring, and I'll show you how to work it right." But He didn't. He insisted they full well should have recognized in Him the fulfillment of OT anticipation.

But at the other pole would be the virtual Ebionites, the school that says that the OT is only about Noah, Abram, Moses, Israel, marriage, work, morality and all that. There is no greater referent than the first one, ever... except maybe in a relatively tiny handful of types and direct prophecies. If I may go back to Tommy once more, this would be the "it's a squirrel, period" school.

This approach is to be commended insofar as it is born of a desire to be true to the text. But its fatal flaw is that it really doesn't end up doing honor to all of Scripture, particularly Scriptures such as those cited above and Acts 3:18, 24; 10:43, among others. These passages clearly lead us to expect that we should be able to find Christ all over Scripture while at the same time doing full justice to the text as given. There is no hint that the apostles were rewriting or overdubbing Scripture when they saw Christ in it. They were convinced that they were simply bringing out its actual meaning.

My position. So to call Tommy to the stand one last time, my position would be "It's a squirrel, and the squirrel points me to Christ." It's an imperfect analogy, but work with me here. I don't view the squirrel as a thing-in-itself and nothing more. The squirrel is not its own purpose and end. I know that the squirrel was created by Christ (John 1:3), that it was created for Christ (Colossians 1:16), that Christ is holding the very atoms of the squirrel together (Colossians 1:17), and that Christ is carrying the squirrel towards the accomplishment of His purposes in history (Hebrews 1:3). The squirrel glorifies Christ, and when I look at it in the light of what I know about it by revelation it points me to Him.

Now, I am not saying that the OT is about Christ exactly like the squirrel is about Christ. But I am saying that, like the squirrel, the objects and events and institutions and persons in the OT are what they are, and what they are by design is a master-symphony which all points to the central theme of Christ.

We are able to look at the Old Testament, from start to finish, and see that it points to Christ in a constellation of ways both direct and indirect. Some (many? most?) of these are clearer in the light of full revelation; but revelation does not insert new elements into those texts. Rather, it brings out what otherwise might have been thought obscure and not deeply significant.

There are many direct prophecies, such as Genesis 3:15; 49:10; Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:15, and a host of others. But the godly men and women point forward to Him by positive type, while in their sins and failings they point to Him in negative type. The institutions point to Him in what they accomplish, but almost more so in what they fail to accomplish. The history of the nation of Israel itself sets the stage for Him, both in its essence and in its failings.

Yet at the same time, these things are what they are.

But what they are, are pointers to Christ.

So, to try to be frontal: is the OT about the history of Israel — with all those diverse characters, institutions, morals, and prophecies — , or is it about Christ?  My answer:

The OT is about the history of Israel (etc.).

And Israel (etc.) is about Christ.

There y'go. Mend fast, Phil; everyone misses you!

UPDATE: you would swear that either I had read my friend Chris Anderson's essay on preaching Christ from Esther, or that he had read mine. Neither would be true. It is a sterling example of struggling with both text and the Christ-centered metanarrative in exactly the sort of direction I'm suggesting here.

Dan Phillips's signature


Thomas Louw said...


So what you basically getting at is to strike a balance.

Christ and the Gospel are somehow everywhere in scripture but, you still had to take each piece in account.

So we mustn’t “force” Christ into every situation or crack that we might squeez Him into.

My question however:”Iis how do you know you are taking the typology too far? When exactly does type become allegory?
For me that line has always been very thin. I do not want to cross that line into allegory because, I believe it harm the gospel.

I believe many faithful men, better than I has charged over that line and done damage to the faith.

I think every piece of scripture will be the determining factor in which way we would interpret it.

In trying to brush up on my hermeneutics, I have started reading some articles and books and listened mp3’s but, still I cannot seem to find a clear answer, as too where typology stops and allegory begins.

In your post is seems to me you are of the opinion Christ has also not given us that instruction.

I have chosen to play it safe and only apply OT scriptures to Christ, if He Himself did it but, I hear a lot of guys I respect using other scriptures to apply to Jesus.

So what guides you?

FX Turk said...


Stellar. Exactly right.


I can't speak for Dan, but I think the text guides us. I admire your real respect for the text and for God by not wanting to use it in ways Jesus does not explicitly use it, but what we can find in Jesus' use of the OT is a method for reading the OT. If we apply Christ's method to the Book, I think we are in good company and good practice.

DJP said...

Thomas, I'll always shrink from the word "balance," I think. It calls to mind (mine, anyway) a jelly-spined soul who shrinks from taking bold stands and runs for the safe middle. It goes with other cusswords like "moderate."

I've though of another way of saying what I wanted to say.

Divide folks into the "forest" crowd and the "trees" crowd. The former just wants to talk about the grand shape of the whole, without bothering itself with all those individual saplings. The other wants to examine each individual, but never discerns what they all add up to form.

An allegory is a lesson cast in the form of a story. OT history is all real, it's all history, and it tells a tale and teaches a lesson. That's the bright line of differentiation.

In Isaiah 10 we read that Assyria was God's tool, His paddle. Yet it did not mean to be. It thought and planned and acted, all on its own. Yet in so doing, if you will, it told God's tale.

I see typology like that.

DJP said...

BTW: "Gormless."

Shout-out to my Brit readers.

See? I'm already contextualizing.


Nash Equilibrium said...

There's a difference between liberals and nutcases?

DJP said...

Good question.

A liberal says, to varying degrees of thoroughness, "I don't believe the text."

A nutcase says, "I believe the text... is a message from space aliens!" or "...is a product of the Illuminati!"

There is some overlapping.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

A Via Media approach. Okay.


Fred Butler said...

Something tells me Kim Riddlebarger will be displeased.

DJP said...

Well, there goes my day.


Zachary Bartels said...

Amillennials ♥ Dan Phillips.

When you decide to come home, we'll throw you a HUGE party at my place!


spencer said...

Thank you, Dan. Great topic and your writing makes a complex issue clear.

I read and enjoyed Greidanus and Goldsworthy but their constant cheap shots at my Dispy heritage grate on me. Am currently reading Dennis Johnson Him We Proclaim and discussing w/ a friend at Subway every Thursday (sub of the month is meatball pepperoni. Its kinda gross but kinda good too)

My favorite is still good old Walt Kaiser who taught me to interpret the OT text according to authorial intent using author and audience's knowledge of preceding revelation at the time of writing to find meaning.

Keep up the good work, it is really helpful and your perspective is valuable.

James Scott Bell said...

Not to mention Christ actually showing up in the OT, in pre-incarnate appearances. E.g., Gen. 18; Josh 5, etc.) Significant bit of data, that.

bro Rod said...

I Cor. 10:4-11 seems so essential in the arena of the Lordship of Christ and His absolute equality within the Godhead and the full expression of those facts and their practical implications for faith and obedience throughout the New Testament.
Truly the Gospel magnifies the wisdom - the infinite and meticulous and wondrous intelligence of the God with which we have to do.
To Him be the glory...great things He has written!

Caleb Kolstad said...


Has some great articles on this topic.

Brad Williams said...

This article was not complete until you threw 'meta-narrative' in there. At that point, everything became clear to me.

Phil said...

How do you deal with "out of Egypt I have called my son?"

Strong Tower said...

God loves balance, he justly hates an false balance.

Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon...

If you take the names of the kings in their "literal meanings" and line them up the secret decoded message is "My Lord is Righteous who the Jehovah impels, like a wild ass as a shining sanctuary."

When you line up their kingdoms you get, "The teaching of peace is associated with the heights of the invincible calf thing."

No wonder the Lord Our Salvation killeth them.

DJP said...

Phil - short answer?

In both cases "Egypt" = "Egypt"

In both cases "son" = "son"

This is Israel foreshadowing Christ, and Christ taking up in Himself and perfecting the history of Israel.

Steve Drake said...

My estimation of Pastor Dan just went way, way up. Not that I didn't esteem him highly already.

DJ said...

Posts like this one is the reason I love reading teampyro. We get the benefits of years of experience and hours of grueling study and meditation gift-wrapped in a neat and tidy box.

Kudos, Dan.

Steve Drake said...

In lieu of your upcoming trip to England this summer to speak on Christ in the OT, may I suggest, and it's only a suggestion, 'Messianic Christology', by Arnold Fruchtenbaum. You may already be familiar with this book, or may be able to glean some tidbits out of it for fruitful thought. Blessings.

Mark Patton said...

Dan, I had just read Chris's post just before I clicked over to pyro. Both are good and speak to what I think I am trying to do as I preach through the Pentateuch.
PS. I like your article better.

(Now to go tell Chris I liked his better)

Fred Butler said...

My favorite is still good old Walt Kaiser who taught me to interpret the OT text according to authorial intent using author and audience's knowledge of preceding revelation at the time of writing to find meaning.

At the risk of throwing our live squirrel in amongst a room full of Golden Retrievers...

A few Reformed folks seem to believe trying to understand authorial intent and basing our interpretation of Scripture upon that principle was a development of the Enlightenment. Hence, those who appeal to authorial intent when uncovering the meaning of the Bible are straying from the "typological" approach taught by Jesus and utilized by the Apostles in their "interpretation" of the OT.

More on this concept of hermenuetics will be developed in a series of posts at this blog

DJP said...

Ahh, yes. So the donkey in Matthew 21 was seen as a type of a... of an... er....

Of a donkey?

Mike Riccardi said...

But He didn't. He insisted they full well should have recognized in Him the fulfillment of OT anticipation.

And as yet without the New Testament to act as a lens through which to interpret the Old Testament. I think that's significant. Evidently, Jesus thought that the intended meaning of the OT -- all which as a whole pointed to Him -- could be understood in the proper manner by those in AD 30.

Shouldn't, then, those who insist that the OT cannot be properly understood without being interpreted through the NT should tell Jesus to lighten up on these folks with the, "Have you not read?" statements? "Chill out, Jesus. Types and shadows, man. They don't have the NT yet."

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Phillips,

Yes, this post is why I love reading Pyros, in spite of its unfortunate proclivities to play kick the can when they are (perhaps?) bored with the discussion.

I loved the way the squirrel scampered back into view. It worked very well, and made me love my Savior more--He too, does all things well, in the common grace of his dear creatures.

My little daughter, however, was greatly stumbled by the picture of candy,and wanted to raid the jellybean jar. Remember the warnings for those who lead the little children to stumble! Best to burka-ize it at the soonest.

Your earnest exhorter,
Karen Butler

Paul said...

"out of Egypt I have called my son?"
Why can't that be seen as God's way of saying that Christ is inseparable from His chosen people, ie., Israel? Or, that "salvation is of the Jews." I have no problem with Christ being everywhere in the OT; question is, what is it teaching in regard to Christ? That the church is Israel? Not. That every verse in the OT is about the gospel and every verse is a personification of Christ/ gospel? Not. That because the OT is about a person - it's not instructive? Not. The belief that every verse in the OT is about the gospel/Jesus isn't an isolated error, it's an element of a much bigger problem. BTW excellent post.

Sir Brass said...

"Amillennials ♥ Dan Phillips.

When you decide to come home, we'll throw you a HUGE party at my place!"

DJP's hermeneutic is starting to look, just a little, like a covenantal theologian's... ;)

Well, that is what Ascol and others have said about Progressive Dispyism.... it's progressing towards Covenantal Theology :).

Keep up the work, Dan. Keep studying what Scripture teaches.

John said...

Dan...a fantastic article. What a blessing to read and ponder.

DJP said...

I am assuming that comments about amillennialism, covenant theology, and me are meant as friendly jabs. Otherwise, I'd be very offended — and while I'm not angry, I'm also not joking.

We have a gentleman's agreement that we don't deal with dispensationalism per se here; there's tons of other things that devote our attention.

That's a friendly note not to get off thitherwards, in case I'm being too subtle.

Anyone who cares to know my thoughts about the issue should go over to my blog and check out the dispensationalism tag. Or not. Your call.

But I've already censored myself about three times in this comment. If I can do it, others can as well.

Strong Tower said...

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?

DJP said...

Oh, and I love many amils and CTs, too, with a love that is strong and true.


Not a synonym for "ism."

Stefan Ewing said...


Not to get all sycophantic and all, but I'm learning to appreciate your hermeneutic more and more. And oddly, it happens quite often that there is something that I'm wrestling with spiritually, and then you write something on the subject and crystallize what's on my mind.

That's been the case again with this, as I've been working through over the past few months who are God's people ("I shall be your God, and you shall be my people") and the surety of His promises. It seems to be easy for some interpreters to brush it all away under the rubric of "Jesus," thereby undermining the authority of the very text they claim to hold so highly.

And these are not abstract theological questions. Our understanding of how to read the Bible; how God saves; the nature of the Church; the Last Days...all of these shape (positively or negatively)—or should shape—our daily walk with Christ.

DJP said...


ezekiel said...

Quoting AW Pink:

"No sinner was ever saved but by virtue of the new covenant and the mediation of Christ therein. The new covenant of grace (in contrast from the old covenant of works made with the human race in Adam) was extant and effectual throughout the Old Testament era. Then what is the "better covenant" with its "better promises" which the death of Christ has inaugurated? We say again, it is not a new covenant absolutely considered. There are many plain passages in the Psalms and the Prophets which show that the Church of old knew and believed the blessed truth of justification and salvation by Christ, and walked with God in the faith thereof: compare Romans 4:3-9. Let those who have access to the incomparable and immortal "Institutes" of Calvin read carefully chapters 9–11 in book 2.

I would make sure to read through the "Institutes" Pink suggests here and if Pink doesn't offend you too much, you might try his "Exposition on Hebrews" if you have the time.

Good luck though on condensing so much material into a few "talks".

Jesse said...

Dale Ralph Davis, certainly one of the most reasonable and solid OT commentators, cautions us that in the OT it is often more important to make connections to NT people than it is Jesus. IOW, 1 Cor 10 style, when preaching the OT strive to show the church what lessons are there for them, more than an often super-imposed hermenuitc that is supposed to point to Christ.

Stefan Ewing said...

Re Ezekiel's comment:

Some of the best commentaries are on Hebrews. It's a book rich in theology, but also rich in practical application.

Edith Schaeffer's book, too, that I mentioned yesterday is basically interpreting the Bible through the lens of Hebrews 11, using a plain-reading approach similar to the one advocated by Dan.

Not Ashamed said...

Great post...Seems easy enough to me.
Like a tootsie roll pop.....You don't get to the delicious center without going through that really tasty shell...I'm just sayin..

Jugulum said...


"In both cases "son" = "son""

I just noticed an irony here... In Hosea, "son" = "the people Israel".

The NT use is actually more literal than the OT!

Rachael Starke said...

I've been trying to better manage my morning time by taking my iPhone and some study notecards to the gym. Instead of memorizing the structures of the brain, I found myself pondering the connection between how one's view of the Christ in the OT translates into how we aim to display Christ in our post-NT world. (So if I don't get a good grade on my test, I'm blaming Dan. :) )

If we don't see Christ as the central figure of history, are we more or less apt to have him at the center of our words and deeds before a watching world? But if we do see Him as the central figure of God's history, including the chapter we're in, surely that informs how we see current events and our role in them.

Anyway, that's probably a tangential thread, but that's where this post took me at 7 a.m. on a stationery bike. Still thinking on it hours later. Always the sign of a good Bibley post, IMHO. Thanks.

Rachael Starke said...

Er, that would be "stationary" bike. The bike was not made of paper. Sadly.

Stefan Ewing said...

So the quiry would be whether you did reams of exercise.

Paul said...

Dale Ralph Davis--thanks

Nicholas said...

Would you consider that Jesus may be speaking more literally about the Old Testament being about Him so that the God of the Old Testament actually IS Christ and God the Father is not revealed to His people until Jesus reveals Him in the New Testament? And why or why not?


Anonymous said...

Sure, Christ is in the OT.

But He's much clearer and up front in the NT.

So I prefer to spend much more time there.


Matthew said...

I wish you'd stop using purported pictures of Christ (idols) in your posts.

timb said...


I'm a credo-baptist who went to Westminster Theological Seminary Philly, Christo-centric preaching/hermeneutics was our bread-and-butter. Because the differences are sometimes the only thing that get attention on these issues, I gotta say there is so much here that I agree with--and I think the WTS approach would agree with.

Some of the warnings you give are the same warnings I remember hearing at Westminster. For example I remember hearing: the text must guide us, we don't ignore the original context of the text, rejection of forcing things in like allegorizing, we don't turn things into a hermeneutical "where's Waldo" when it comes to 'finding Christ,' etc. They stressed that at times we can't force this person or that object to be a prophecy of Christ but we can see how the unfolding of redemptive history from this person or that institution gets us to Christ.

I love the line "by design is a master-symphony which all points to the central theme of Christ." This seems to me to capture much of the way things were framed at WTS: that Scripture is part of an unfolding redemptive history/ progressive revelation that climaxes in Christ. We don't disregard the 'old' but we also must apply it in light of the whole--which has climaxed/been fulfilled by Christ. (so they would often say if your teaching/preaching of the OT could fit in at a synagogue you haven't done your job)

It seems to me (and maybe I'm wrong) but there is a great deal of commonality that your approach and the WTS approach share. This is not to minimize differences or areas of disagreement (on this or other issues) but rather to say that there is broader Christian agreement than sometimes recognized.

I appreciated this essay. Thank you.

Tim Bertolet

timb said...

One more thought: sometimes at WTS they would use the word "Christo-telic" instead of Christo-centric. This was because as I mentioned they didn't want it to be a hermeneutical "where's Waldo" but to say that as a book the OT points forward to Christ who is the end/climax.

ezekiel said...

The quick way to get to a basic understanding of Christ in the OT is to study the names of God. There is a lot of information



"I am the LORD (Jehovah) and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by My Name, LORD (Jehovah), I did not make Myself known to them. (Exodus 6:2-3 see explanatory note)


Who is "I Am"?
Is "Jehovah" mentioned in the New Testament?

John 12:41 These things Isaiah said, because he saw His (Jesus') glory (Isaiah 6) and he spoke of Him (Jesus).

Jesus = Jehovah
(See explanatory notes below - See esp the caveats)

What did Jesus teach in John 8:24 (see note) and Jn 8:58 (note)?

Jesus declared to the Jews...

(v24) I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am (Ego eimi) He, you shall die in your sins... (v58)Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am (Ego eimi = present tense).

Jesus = I AM

Taken in this light, John 1:1-14 is amplified and Jesus is God and was God all over the OT and Lord of the Jews just as much as he is the Lord of the Gentiles.

Jesus=Jehovah=Yahweh=Lord=God of a united people. (Eph 2:11-22)

So the great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) was saved by the same God, sanctified by the same God under the same covenant of grace that we are.

Certainly different manifestations and different administrations but the same God.

Zachary Bartels said...

Can't speak for the comments on Progressive Dispensationalism, but my "coming home" comment was (obviously, I hope) indeed a friendly jab. Apart from your "that of which we do not speak" policy, I actually agree with everything you wrote in the article, particularly the danger of the two extremes (which make me think of two particular profs I had in seminary).

Anonymous said...

And the gospel is right there in Genesis (also).

How do you think God clothed those two?

Matthew Birch said...

@Frank Turk
@Phil Johnson

Im sorry to change the subject but I don't know who else to turn to.

I have many friends who are going to "Christian" colleges and after 4 years they are coming out more liberal and more worldly then ever.

Do you know where faithful Christians can get a list of great godly colleges? Can you direct me to any resources that you guys my have already compiled?

And if you haven't already made such list maybe you should think of adding a link to you site with a list of colleges that you stand behind.

Here is one more very specific question...

Off the top of your heads can you think of any good colleges near Denver?

Thanks for your time and wisdom.


Matthew Birch said...


Please add to my question SEMINARY as well as CHRISTIAN COLLEGES...

Do you know of any Seminaries in Denver that you would feel comfortable recommending?

trogdor said...

Matthew, have you asked your pastor or other godly men at your church who would know such things? That would really be the place to start.

trogdor said...

I've encountered the Docetic view on occasion - my favorite is the idea that all of David's Psalms had nothing to do with David or his emotions or circumstances, but were all only prophetic. Um, yeah, ok.

I just cannot comprehend the Ebionite view, nor can I ever remember encountering it. Who is out there teaching such a thing? Are there really people who look at, say, the Passover, and claim that it doesn't in any way point to Christ?

Jacob said...

What's up with Phil? I've read a couple hints about him not feeling well in the blog or the meta recently. Where can I learn more?
(And do get well soon, Phil!)


Tyrone said...

I couldn't agree more, spot on mate!

Jacob said...


Anonymous said...

I really appreciate this balanced and measured approach to Scripture. I always bring up John 5:39 to point people back to Jesus from Genesis to the maps in the back.

A Jesus centered hermeneutic is something every believer should learn early on in their walk. Otherwise, they will get quickly bogged down in the seemingly endless OT accounts of geneologies, building plans, levitical laws etc.

Thanks for the word.

Steve said...

Why don't we just ask The Squirrel what he is? Oh...nevermind...he's on the road to California...

ANiMaL (richard) said...


Hopefully this is late enough it doesn't derail the good of the post with a little humor involving a squirrel in a church!

Stefan Ewing said...

That's great! Catchy tune, too.

Barbara said...

My April issue of Tabletalk just arrived in the mail.

Its topic for the month?

Christ in the Old Testament.

DJP said...

Quote me a lot?


Barbara said...

Actually, parts of it should be available here:


Before too long.

Always Reforming said...

The Bible is all about balance.