Friday, September 02, 2016

A Bigger Picture, Part Four

This is the 200th post here on Facing the Waves, peoples! :)

In 2 or more paragraphs, discuss the section titled, “The Old Testament as Christian Scripture,” at the end of chapter 1 in Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible. What does the author mean by the terms “continuity” and “discontinuity”? Do you agree? Explain your answer and provide biblical examples.

Thomas Schreiner uses the "already but not yet" phrase to help describe the biblical theology of the Old and New Testaments. Because the covenants, curses, warnings, and blessings of the OT cannot be separated from the NT, Schreiner uses this phrase to show how some of covenants were fulfilled, while others are still awaiting full completion even today. For instance, even though Christ came to earth and fulfilled the coming of the long awaited Messiah, the physical realities of some of the covenants have not yet been realized. The Davidic covenant promised a king who would rule on the earth and destroy the opposing kingdoms who had conquered and enslaved Israel. Jesus did indeed come, but He did not come to physical rule in Jerusalem. The Millennial reign and everything afterwards is still something that has not yet been realized and fulfilled here on earth. While Christ did indeed fulfill the prophecies regarding His birth, life, death, and resurrection, the Jews did not yet understand that Christ came to rule spiritually in their hearts and provide the Comforter who would be the abiding Spirit in them. The Jews expected a glorious entrance of a powerful King who would overthrow Roman tyranny and establish justice in Israel. The Kingdom of God did arrive, but it came in the form of a mustard seed (as Jesus would later describe) or of leaven in dough--imperceptible at first, but it would soon grow into something much mightier than a physical kingdom. 

The New Testament is important to view in this context, because just as the Israelites were waiting for covenants and promises to be fulfilled, so are we. While we already have the fulfilled birth, death, and resurrection of Christ, and while the spiritual kingdom of God is here alive and working in our hearts, we, too, await the physical coming of Christ at His Second Coming. We have the spiritual life already, but there is more to come. Like the universal blessing promised to Abraham, there was partial (spiritual) fulfillment of that, but we have yet to see peace reign here on earth or in Israel itself. The Kingdom was and is present in Jesus, but it is not yet consummated. We still wait for the day when Jesus does sit on an earthly throne and judges in righteousness, dividing the believers from the unbelievers, and issuing eternal peace to the world. The Old Testament points forward to Christ. The New Testament points back to Christ, but neither Testament include the covenant completely fulfilled, because that is yet to come. We live in a different age than the OT believers, but even still we can quickly identify with their longing and waiting for something better to come. We still await the resurrection and glorification of our physical bodies. We still wait for the Great White Throne Judgment, and we still await the freedom from the battle against sin. Not all has been subjected to
Christ fully, yet. Death and sin still have hold on this world. However, like those gone before us as recorded in Hebrews 11, we too look by faith towards that which isn't seen yet. We seek a better City whose Builder and Maker is God, and like the Israelites of old we recognize that we have not completely received what has been promised, but we look towards that one day at the consummation of the age, when all will be made right, and we will no longer pray "Your Kingdom come, Your will be done". His Kingdom will have come, and His will shall be done in that Last Day. 

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