Thoughts on the Torah: The Mystery of Christ and the Use of the Old Testament in the Christian’s Life


Image by Lauren Moore

Standing before a dusty old scroll, a mangy and dirty Rabbi quietly unrolled and found the section from which he wished to read. Calmly he began to speak.

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Silence fell over the room. This was a passage of particular significance. It was one which was auspicious for the time. For so long they had waited for this coming Messiah of which this passage of Isaiah spoke. The people cried out to God for liberation from the oppression of the Greeks and now the Romans just as their ancestors had cried out for freedom from Egypt.

This one sent from God was to set the world in order and conquer all Israel’s enemies…

But this Rabbi stopped reading. The passage goes on to say…”and the day of vengeance of our God” (Isaiah 61:1-2)

With this he rolled up the scroll, handed it back, and sat down. All eyes were on him. Quietly he said, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

This revelation shocked all who listened.

The sacred scriptures spoke of this dusty mangy man from this backward land? This is supposed to be our Messiah?

In reality, the Torah and the other sacred writings spoke of Christ long before this day.

The mystery of the Torah, the prophets, and the poetic writings is that Jesus Christ is concealed, foreshadowed, and foretold on every page.

Unfortunately, so many Christians neglect reading the Old Testament because they feel it is somehow a waste of time. That they are “under the new covenant” so only need to read the New Testament.

Thought it is obvious, Christ and the Apostles only knew the Old Testament and were able to preach the word, prove that Christ is God, and found encouragement and truth for daily living in the old texts.

Indeed, there are 300 direct quotes and over 4000 allusions to the Old Testament in the gospels and various letters in the New Testament.

If these men found the Old Testament so useful, why do we fill that these texts are not worth our time?

Our ignorance is palpable.

Yesterday, a friend posed a curious question to me.

“When was the last time your read Hezekiah?”

“Well…it’s been a while since I read through the minor prophets but maybe a year ago.”

To this response, he chuckled.

There is no Hezekiah.

I had mistaken this for one of the nameless minor prophets which I have never studied nor have I ever had a desire to do so.

But perhaps what is more sobering is that my friend, a missionary and pastor himself, said that this question trips-up pastors and all sorts of leaders who ought to know better.

If the Old Testament is truly this important than we must devote more time to reading it.

How often do your read the Old Testament?

How about in comparison to the New Testament?

Or do you not read at all, leaving your bible in the car to be brought into church on Sunday for your weekly dose of scripture spoon-feed from the pastor?

THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!

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