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October 31 Today’s Reading: John 5-6
“Testify of Me”
The Word of God is not a book about science, but the Book about Christ. It is not a book about morality, but the Book about Christ. It is not a book about history, politics, philosophy, or law. It is not even a book about prophecy, church dogma, or theology. The Scriptures, of course, address all these issues and many others; but that is not what they are about. The Book of God is a HIM-BOOK. It is all about Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. The message of Holy Scripture, in its entirety, is the Lord Jesus Christ and Him crucified. There is not a page in the Sacred Volume that does not speak of Christ, not a page!
The Son of God tells us plainly that He is the message and theme of Holy Scripture, that He is the living Word of whom the written Word speaks. This is not a matter of conjecture, speculation, or hermeneutical principal, but something plainly stated in Scripture (John 5:39; Luke 24:27, 44-47). The Apostle Paul, writing by Divine inspiration, makes the preaching of Christ to be synonymous with preaching all the counsel of God, for Christ is all the counsel of God! He said to the Ephesians, "Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). To the Corinthians he wrote, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). And Paul was not one of those men who preached one thing to one crowd and something else to another. He was not the servant of men, but the servant of God. Therefore, his message was always the same. — The Bible, the Word of God, is a Book with one message, and that one message is redemption, righteousness, and eternal life in Christ.
Old Testament Prophecy
The Old Testament Scriptures speak of Christ, point us to Christ, and call us to faith in Christ. From the moment that God announced in the Garden of Eden that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15), Christ was the central fact and figure of Old Testament prophecy. Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Solomon, and all the prophets spoke of Him. Here are a few of the many prophetic statements that pointed directly to the coming of Christ, His glorious Person, and His redemptive work (Genesis 22:13-14; 49:10; Deuteronomy 18:15-18; Psalms 2:7-8; 45:6-7; 110:3; Proverbs 8:22-23; Song of Solomon 1:2-4; Isaiah 53:8-11; Micah 5:2; Zechariah 12:10; Malachi 3:1).
Old Testament Types
In addition to the direct prophecies about the coming of Christ, God gave numerous types and pictures to foreshadow His coming. The types are so numerous that I cannot begin to name them. Let us consider just a few. They may be divided into four different categories: Typical People — Adam (Romans 5:14), Noah (Hebrews 11:7), Melchizedec (Hebrews 7:1-3), Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-18), Aaron (Hebrews 5:1-5), Joshua (Hebrews 4:1-9), Boaz (Ruth 2:1; 3:18), David (Acts 2:25-36), Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-24). Typical Things — The Ram Caught in a Thicket (Genesis 22:8-13), Jacob’s Ladder (John 1:51), The Brazen Serpent (John 3:14-16), The Paschal Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), The Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:21), The Manna (John 6:32-33), The Smitten Rock (1 Corinthians 10:4), The Altar of Sacrifice (Hebrews 13:10), The Mercy-Seat (1 John 2:1-2). Typical Events — The Coats made for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21), The Deliverance of Israel out of Egypt across the Red Sea (Exodus 14-15) The Slaying of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:38-54), The Deliverance of the Hebrew Men from the Fiery Furnace (Daniel 13-30); Daniel’s Deliverance from the Lions’ Den (Daniel 6:4-28). — Typical Places — The Tabernacle (John 1:14), The Temple (John 2:18-20), The Cities of Refuge (Hebrews 6:18). The lists could go on and on. I have not even mentioned all the instituted, ceremonial types, the sabbath days, and the many other instituted types of the Old Testament, all of which pointed to the Person and work of Christ as our Mediator. The reason we are forbidden to observe any of those carnal ordinances of Old Testament worship is that Christ has fulfilled them (Colossians 2:16-17).
The doctrine and message of the entire New Testament is the Lord Jesus Christ. As He was pre-eminent in all the types and prophecies of the Old Testament, so He is pre-eminent in all the New Testament. The Four Gospels give us four views of Christ. Matthew presents Him as the promised King. Mark presents Him as the Servant of God. Luke presents Him as the Son of Man. John presents Him as the Son of God. The Book of Acts demonstrates that our Lord Jesus Christ was the singular subject of preaching in the earliest days of Christianity. The words “preach,” “preached,” and “preaching” are used thirty-seven times in the Book of Acts. Every time they are used the subject preached was Jesus Christ and the resurrection! If the Book of Acts is to be taken for our standard, it must be concluded that unless Christ has been preached, no preaching has been done. That man who pretends to be a preacher but does not preach Christ and Him crucified mocks the people who hear him; and rather than serving their souls he destroys them! The Epistles reveal and explain the mysteries of Christ and His Gospel: Justification by His Obedience (Romans 5:1-21), Sanctification by His Blood (Hebrews 10:1-14), The Universality of God’s Mercy, Love, and Grace in Christ (Ephesians 3:1-21). Grace is for chosen sinners out of every nation, kindred, tribe, and tongue, not just for Jews. The Book of Revelation is a declaration of the sure triumph of Christ and His church by the Gospel (Revelation 1:7; 5:9-14; 19:1-6).
The only two ordinances of worship prescribed in the New Testament are designed to focus our hearts upon our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is a symbolic burial and resurrection with Him (Romans 6:3-6). The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic remembrance of Christ Jesus and His great work of redemption as our Substitute (1 Corinthians 11:24-26). Without reference to Christ, the ordinances are meaningless rituals.
Though given to religious legalists and ritualists, O Spirit of God, ever give us grace, as we search the Scriptures You have given us, to understand that the Book of God is about our Savior. Cause us to see Him in everything You have written in the Sacred Volume.