Friday, June 11, 2010

The New Covenant as a Fundamental Consideration of Hermeneutics

By John Ambro 5/22/2010

“Having eyes do you not see? And having ears do you not hear?” (Mark 8:18) These should be frightening words from Christ. In today's Christendom we have many that fail to see Christ as what He claimed to be, the New Covenant. Christ established a New Covenant among His people (both Jew and Gentile). Not only did the New Covenant bring a completion of the previous covenants but it brought full illumination to shine on the shadows of the Scriptures (the Old Testament). Christ as the New Covenant has Himself established the proper interpretive hermeneutic in which we must use to interpret the whole cannon of Scripture. The New Covenant of Christ reshapes the hermeneutical grid that the Old Testament was interpreted through. Christ and the Apostles used ALL of the scriptures to show the unbelieving and blinded that Christ was there (Luke 24). This is nothing “new” as some would claim, it has been that was from the foundation of the world (Gen 3:15). If Christ and the Apostles reasoned from the Old Testament scriptures that Christ was the Messiah and the fulfillment of the covenants, then shouldn't we do the same?

There are those that do not (or do not want to) see Christ in the Old Testament, and in doing so do themselves a disservice and also a discredit to Christ. Sure they will say that there are “prophetic illusions” to Christ in the Old Testament, as in Is. 53, Ps.110, Is. 11, etc... but they stop there. They don't see Christ within the whole of the Old Testament, but they rather see Israel as the main theme throughout it all. But Christ is not the “team's” water boy, going here and there where we see short little glimpses of Him doing some remedial task while waiting for the incarnation. No, we see Him as the Quarterback, the one calling the plays, organizing the players to reach the final goal of redemption for all of those in the stands, for the cheerers and the jeerers. We see throughout the whole of scripture archetypes of Christ. From Adam, to Noah, to Moses, Joseph, David, etc... all dimly lit signposts showing the redemptive path that points to Christ. Using an Israel-centric hermeneutic in order to interpret the Old Testament leaves one wanting more, as someone panting for water as they wander through the desert. When an Israel-centric hermeneutic is used, the foundational “theme” of the OT becomes Israel and not the redemptive plan of God. It removes God from the focus placing Him on a dusty shelf to be brought out when it is suits our needs. Israel is not the unifying theme of the scriptures, the unifying theme that runs through the whole cannon of scripture is redemption for those that God has called, in the Christ.

In order for one to bring God back to the focus one must see the redemptive foundation that is throughout the Old and New Testaments. The whole redemptive plan for God's people is worked out and completed through and in Christ in the Old and New (Heb. 11:24-29). One only has to look into the first chapter of Genesis to realize that Christ is and the active participant in the redemptive story. We see Christ at creation, Gen.1:26 and John 1:1ff., and more importantly we see Christ in Genesis 3:15 which is the first covenant that God makes to man and it involves Christ, the skull crusher, the serpent destroyer, as a promise to redeem His people. It involves the redemptive plan of God to bring His Messiah to the pivot point of human history. “The meaning of truth and reality is thus asserted to reside in the Christ.” (GSH, pg. 81) Not only is Christ a participant of the redemptive story He is the culmination of the redemptive story, the fulfiller of the story, and ultimately He is the Author of it all.

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