Christ and/in the Old Testament (Kuyper)

When I was a younger Christian, I would have readily admitted that the OT does contain many prophecies and promises about Christ. But the more I read Scripture, meditate on it, and read solid Christian literature about Scripture, the more I realize that the OT is Christ-centered in ways almost too deep to explain and understand.

For one example, when Christ was teaching the parable of the soils/seeds to his disciples in Mark 4:12, he quoted Isaiah 6:9-10. But Christ wasn’t just quoting that text from memory like we might do. He was actually the one who appeared to Isaiah long before he taught the disciples the parable. This is explained in John 12:41, where John says that Isaiah saw Christ’s glory. In a way, we can say Jesus was quoting himself to teach the disciples. This isn’t easy to wrap our minds around, but these are the sorts of ways we see Christ in the OT as we study Scripture.

Speaking of Christ in the OT, here’s a section of Abraham Kuyper’s devotional on Psalm 22. Notice how he explains the reality of Christ in the OT – or Christ and the OT:

This is the Christ, says the apostle Peter [1 Pet. 1:11], who governed prophecy. In prophecy and through the Holy Spirit, he revealed himself, announced his own life, and predicted his own future. He even disclosed himself in the shadows so that the church of the old covenant could already be enlivened by the everlasting beauty of the Mediator and be justified by faith.

The Scriptures of the old covenant didn’t merely announce him. He himself is the substance and content of the old covenant’s Scriptures. He animated them. He brought them. He gave them to his church as a gift of his grace.

He gave her these Scriptures not as an external jewel, but as the avenue by which he came to her. He revealed himself to her in these Scriptures before he came to her in person, sending her images of his likeness, if we may put it that way. Abraham and Moses, David and Solomon, Job and Isaiah, and whoever else you might name are instruments whom he created to convey features of his likeness. It prepared the way for recognizing him when he came. And now, in retrospect, they describe for us all the fine points and tender features of his full work as our Mediator.

 Abraham Kuyper, Ever in Thy Sight: 31 Devotions on the Psalms, trans. James A. De Jong (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2020), 17.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church, OPC
Hammond, WI, 54015

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