Genesis tells us to think BIG.
So, you are upset with the way the world is? Genesis is like, you are right! You were made for something more. What is it? It’s God big plan, the kingdom. And Genesis tells us the problem as well, it’s human rebellion and then it gives us the promise that God’s going to send someone to overcome Satan and reverse the curse and even explains later, that he’s going to be ruler of the universe.
This obviously is huge.
But can God do it?
Exodus makes clear no one can stop Him. It gives us a picture of God’s ability to set His people free and a glimpse of why exactly God’s saving this way, and then, it goes on and gives us this idea of a tabernacle, God wanting to dwell with man, and also again the problem, that man can’t see God and live.
So, then there’s Leviticus. As you read your Bible, it’s like there all these little pieces to help us understand what we need in Messiah. And Leviticus sets us up by showing us just how impossible it is for us as we are right now in this sin cursed world to live in the presence of God, because He’s so holy and right, and everything around him has to be holy and right, and we are just so sinful and broken, and so we begin getting this idea that we need something to atone for us and something to be able to make us clean again, and that’s going to involve blood and sacrifice.
Then Numbers. Numbers shows us what is wrong with Israel. And of course what’s wrong with us. It’s a real life example why we are not going to be able to set up the kingdom as we are, right now. And then it gives us one of the most important prophecies about the Messiah, in Numbers 24, as it talks about him crushing God’s enemies and establishing a kingdom for Israel.
And Deuteronomy. There are too many things in Deuteronomy. But when it comes to the work of the Messiah. There’s one Moses saying, he’s going to be a great prophet like Him. We are supposed to expect a Second Moses. And then, it gives us what you call the law of the king, and so that’s a standard to evaluate future would be Messiahs, you can know whether they are the Messiah, whether they live up to that or not.
Joshua keeps us hoping in God’s promises about the Messiah, because it shows God’s able to do what He said, and then Judges, proves once and for all, we need a hero who is going to be a king. Ruth, the very last word, I think is David, so Ruth, you combine it with Judges, we need a king, a specific Davidic king.
1 and 2 Samuel begins with a prayer that is a prophesy about how God is going to break His adversaries to pieces and judge the ends of the earth, through the future Messiah. And then, of course, we get this whole idea about, a kingdom that lasts forever, and a king who represents the people, and through his obedience, God’s going to bring all these blessings. And then 1 and 2 Kings, and I am just going to give you the general punchline. It tells us that this Messianic king has to be perfect and should cause us to anticipate, that if this is going to work, He’s also going to have to live forever.
1 and 2 Chronicles, same story.
Only to add to that, we need a perfect king and we need a perfect priest.
The next few books in our Bible, come from a time, after Israel was sent into exile, so it’s like toward the end of the Old Testament story. And Ezra and Nehemiah, show us that, even with all God’s done, and with people who are saying they want to obey God’s law, as they are, they are not going to be able to establish God’s kingdom, so it gets us longing again, for the Messiah, like, ok, Israel has been kicked out of the land and God’s kept His promise and brought them back into the land, but there still is a major problem.
Esther, gives us hope, that God’s working behind the scenes even when you can’t see him, and one really cool thing about Esther is the way it ends, because you’ve got this guy Mordecai, who at the beginning was attacked and it looked bad for him, but God raises him, and gives him this important position of authority, which parallels in some ways what happened in Genesis with Joseph, and so it’s sort of a hint, like God’s people are in a bad space right now, but this has happened before, and God sent a rescuer, and He’s going to do it again, and so it’s pushing the story forward.
And then Job.
Job actually takes us way back. It might even be the first book of the Bible that was written, and yet Job’s got all this information that helps us understand the work of the Messiah, as Job struggles with the suffering in this world, and he’s got some things that he’s longing for. First of all, he’s longing for God to deal with the problem of sin. Job 7:20 and 21. Second of all he wants a go-between, someone to be a mediator between God and man. In Job 9:33, he says he wants someone who is able to lay his hand on God and man. So that’s like I need a hero with a unique relationship with God and man.
And then, He’s longing for someone to deal with the problem of death in Job 14. “If a man dies shall he live again.” Job knew that he had a redeemer actually, Job 19, but he didn’t know how God was going to go about, he just knew what he needed, in a Messiah, and the rest of the Bible tells us God’s answers to Job’s desires.
Then Psalms. And Psalms is the book that tells us the most about the work of the Messiah. But let me just highlight Psalm 2, which says that He’s God’s Son and that God is going to make the nations His heritage and the ends of the earth His possession.
And I am just trying to give you a big picture view of the Old Testament work of the Messiah. Proverbs and Ecclesiastes are a little more difficult of course, you have got to do a little work to see how they fill in the picture, but the best I can do, is Proverbs is Solomon teaching his son about wisdom, and for the most part, he’s talking about applying God’s law to the everyday situations of life, and that’s of course, the kind of Messiah, we need ultimately, someone who is wise enough to know how to obey God in the nitty gritty, and then, Ecclesiastes just puts the problem of death in our face again, that the world’s so broken, there’s no way it is going to be fixed unless that problem is dealt with.
Song of Songs is about marriage! And yet of course, marriage is an analogy the Bible uses to describe the Messiah’s love for his people, so it’s not about that in the Song of Songs, but the book does provide maybe some categories for appreciating the Messiah’s concerning.
Isaiah gives us three different pictures of the Messiah. In the first 39 chapters, Messiah as Glorious King, in chapters 40-55, Messiah as Suffering Servant, and then 56-66, Messiah as Conquering Warrior, and you come out of Isaiah wondering how are all these going to be put together. Jeremiah, actually gets us wondering about the Messiah as actually being someone more than just another man. Because in Jeremiah 23, he talks about raising up for David a branch, which is a term for the Messiah, and then you know the name he uses for this Messiah, Jeremiah 23, verse 6. “And this is the name by which he will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’”
And there’s so much more but Lamentations is a book written about the suffering God’s people would experience as they were being judged for their sins, and there are some ways Jeremiah who wrote Lamentations points us to the Messiah, as he so identifies with the nation and their suffering, it’s like he takes their suffering upon himself.
And then of course Ezekiel 34. God promises He’s going to be like a shepherd and He’s going to seek out His sheep from all over the world and he’s going to feed them and rescue them and “He’s going to set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them, he shall feed them and be their shepherd.” And that’s talking about the Messiah.
He’s a Satan crusher. He’s going to enable us to dwell with God. He’s going to rule over the universe. He’s going to be a prophet even greater than Moses. He’s the fulfillment of God’s promises.He’s the king we need. He’s going to rule forever. He’s going to obey God’s law perfectly. He’s God’s Son. He represents God’s people. He is King, Servant, Warrior. He is called the same names as God. He so identifies with God’s people, he suffers with them. He is the Good Shepherd.
And then, there’s Daniel. Daniel is the one who describes the Messiah as the Son of Man, and him coming on the clouds of heaven and being given dominion and glory and a kingdom that all peoples, nations and languages should serve him, forever and ever.
Then all the Minor Prophets. Hosea talks about a second Exodus, a second great deliverance, and of course that leads you to expect a second Moses. Joel, shows us how big God’s plan is, as it talks about this Day of Lord, and even we start to see there’s going to some outpouring of the Spirit, that’s connected to it. Amos, promises even though the times coming when the Davidic dynasty is going to look it’s over, God’s going to raise up a second David who is going to return the earth to basically Garden of Eden like conditions. Obadiah, that God’s going to be faithful to promises He made in Genesis, and that He’s going to judge all the nations. Jonah gives us hope, that God is concerned about people who aren’t Jews, and actually shows us what Israel’s attitude should be toward the nations, which gives us hope this hero God’s sending has a bigger agenda than just saving that one nation. Micah promises the Messiah is going to stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God, he’s going to be great to the ends of the earth, and he’s not actually just going to bring peace to the world, he’s going to be peace. Nahum, is the flip side of Jonah. It pictures God as a Warrior, reminding us that while God does have a heart for the nations, there’s hope in the Messiah, there’s also judgment for those who don’t repent. Habakkuk reminds us God knows what He’s doing, in the middle of confusing, we just need to keep trusting His promises about the Messiah, and gives us hope one day the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord. Zephaniah talks about a day, when the king of Israel is standing in the middle of his people, and they never have to fear again. Haggai gives hope, that God’s going to dwell in His temple again, and so when we put that together with everything else, we are expecting the Messiah, to be the one who makes that possible. In fact he describes, the Messiah as accomplishing a worldwide victory, like the one he did over Pharaoh, but with absolutely every evil nation. Zechariah’s got too many things to add, but one important thing he tells us about the Messiah is that He is going to be a King and Priest, who rules over the nations. You can read Zechariah 6:9-15, and then of course there’s Malachi, who describes the Messiah as someone who will purify God’s people and will provide healing for them.
I mean, you can see, the Old Testament. Yeah, there are parts that are hard to understand, but, it’s not hard to see it’s driving us to put all of our hopes in this coming hero. It’s stripping us of tendency to depend on ourselves and pushing us to trust completely in Him, and it takes everything we could possible long for, and says over and over, that it all depends on him coming.
Forgiveness. World peace. Prosperity. Our relationship with God. Final justice.
All hang on the coming Messiah.
And the New Testament tells us that Messiah is Jesus.
*I thought to try to work my way through the Old Testament like this after listening to a clip from Abner Chou. He does it better! If you want to listen, click this link.