As I was driving around with my oldest daughter (7 1/2) a few days ago, out of nowhere she strikes up a discussion about David and Goliath. She asks, “That rock could’t really have killed Goliath, could it?” Assuring her of the deadly capabilities of the rock, I explained that it was not merely the stone flung by David’s sling that brought the fatal blow, but God had helped David defeat Goliath to save His people. Then, as though a streak of lightning flashed across her mind, she said enthusiastically, “Jesus is like the rock.”
While desiring to correct her theology a little (being the doctrinal nitpicker that I am), I sought to affirm her line of thinking first. She was making the connection between an Old Testament story and Christ. This was surely laudable and I told her that it was a reason to thank God, for it is only by His help that she could begin to discern such things. After that I began to help her make a better connection, telling her that rather than the stone being like Jesus, it was David, the soon to be king of God’s people. You see, David was a type (a physical representation of some type of spiritual/physical reality for future application) of Christ. He was God’s chosen king to rule over His people in His place (the promised land). In the event of David and Goliath, we see God’s chosen man defeating the enemy of God’s people so that they may be saved. This typologically represents Christ, as He was and is God’s chosen One (1 Peter 2:4) sent to defeat the enemies of God’s people (sin, death, and the devil – Hebrews 2:14-18) that they may be saved through His life, death, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In Christ we have a much better David, a much better king, a much better victory, and all of this is foreshadowed by the Old Testament narrative.
Now you may be thinking what I just said is crazy or at least a far reach in understanding Scripture. Or maybe you are wondering how someone comes to view the Bible as a whole as well as its particulars in such a way as mentioned. Look, with me, to John 5:39 where Jesus declares:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me…
Referring to the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus rebukes the Jewish religious leaders of His day for not reading the Word of God rightly. They saw it as a book of law through which they could find eternal life rather than a drama unfolding before their eyes of the promise and fulfillment of God’s plan of redemption. You see, the Old Testament is not merely writings about laws, covenants, historical events and peoples, but it is primarily a book about the promises of, the need for, and the coming of Christ, seen in a multitude of types and symbols. To miss this inherent connection evokes a similar rebuke from Jesus as that to the Jews.
So, how do we make the connection with our kids and even ourselves? How do we keep from using the Old Testament as a book of moral/character lessons? How do we come to see, understand, and stand in awe of the revelation of God to us through Jesus Christ from the beginning of Scripture to the end?
– Principles for Making the Connection between Christ and the Old Testament:
1. Love Christ
If we are to make the connection between Christ and the Old Testament we must love Christ. What I mean is this: you are not going to see, understand, or glory in God’s unfolding plan of redemption if you have not become a partaker of the very redemption He has brought in the person and work of Jesus. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 proclaims:
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, in John 14:21:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.
When I say you must love Christ I am referring to whether you know and have come to trust Him for who He is: the divine Word become flesh, fulfiller of all righteousness, bearer of the wrath of God for sin, the innocent Lamb voluntarily led to the slaughter, risen Lord and reigning King of all, and your only hope of life everlasting. If you do not love Him in this way, you will not see Him revealed in the Scriptures, for you cannot, being blinded by your hardened heart, the deception of sin, and the work of the devil. It is only through the gospel of the glory of Christ that eyes are opened, hearts made to love, minds renewed, and the Word truly appreciated and understood as God intends. All this comes as a gracious gift from God by the work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2).
If you are going to make the connection between Christ and the Old Testament with your kids you must love Christ. They need to see and hear of your love for Him and His Word. Most people’s trouble in seeing the connections is not that they are hidden gnostic treasures but that we have had very little good examples to follow in their homes and churches.
In the next post we will look at the last two principles in making the connection between Christ and the Old Testament and some resources to aid you in this endeavor.