When we see the glory of Christ in scripture it lifts our focus out of the cesspool of daily fears, frustrations, and futility and bolsters our joy. Sadly, each of the 39 books of the Old Testament is rarely if ever studied by individuals or families. The New Testament offers fulfillment, but the richness of this fulfillment is hard to fully appreciated apart from an understanding of the Old. I believe many people struggle to value the Old Testament because they do not read with the expectation of finding exactly what I am about to share in this article.
One of my first spiritual growth spurts came from my first study of Deuteronomy and Leviticus almost 30 years ago. By studying Deuteronomy I better understood Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in how Jesus defined the law and perfectly lived the law for me. By studying Leviticus, I came into a much deeper understanding of Jesus as the Great High Priest and fully sufficient sacrifice talked about in Hebrews. My joy in Christ was greatly enhanced from my study of these two books.
Listed below are seven ways that John Owen, in his classic book, The Glory of Christ, says that we see the glory of Christ in the Old Testament. I was so personally blessed that I wanted to pass these on to you for your own personal encouragement. But I also want to encourage you fathers to read the Old Testament to your families so that your wives and children learn these vital truths as well.
The glory of Christ under the Old Testament as revealed in the beautiful worship of the law. What was the meaning of this whole religious worship? Did they not all in one way or another represent Christ in the glory of his person or office?
The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was represented in the mystical account which is given to us of his communion with his church in love and grace. This is especially seen in the Song of Solomon. King Solomon was a type of Christ, and an instrument of the Holy Spirit in writing scripture. The Song of Solomon is a gracious record of the divine love and grace of Christ to his church with expressions of her love to and delight in him.
The glory of Christ was presented and made known under the Old Testament in his personal appearance to leaders of the church in their generations. In these appearances he was God only, but appeared in the assumed shape of a man, to signify what he would one day actually be… In this way, Christ appeared to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses, to Joshua and to others.
The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was represented in prophetic visions. So John tells us Isaiah’s vision of the glory of the Lord was a vision of the glory of Christ (Isa. 6, John 12:41). ‘The train of his robe filled the temple’ (Isa. 6:1).
The doctrine of Christ’s incarnation was revealed under the Old Testament although not as clearly as it is revealed in the gospel. One instance will suffice, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulder. And his name will be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end (Isa. 9:6-7).
The glory of Christ under the Old Testament was revealed in promises, prophecies and predictions about his person, his coming, his offices, his kingdom, and his glory.
The glory of Christ under the Old Testament is revealed under many metaphorical expressions. So Christ is called the rose, for the sweet perfume of his love, grace, and obedience. He is called the lily for the beauty of his grace and love.
The glory of Christ fuels our understanding of our union with Christ. Union is much more than a bland, dusty doctrine that only seminary students need to be concerned about. It is all our concerns as followers of Christ because it is through that doctrine that we understand what God has already done for us through Christ, but also, what he is continuing to do and how he is continuing to do it. Real understanding of these glorious truths incites lasting joy and confidence that we need each day to defeat idolatry in our lives and relationships.
If you were encouraged by this article, please forward it to a friend.