Ever since we started reading and hearing the contents of the Bible, we only saw it as an ethical instruction set given by God. For example, we have been taught that it teaches us
- To love others,
- To not to be angry,
- To not to commit adultery,
- To not to be envious of the success of people around us,
- Do not kill,
- Do not steal and so on.
Every Sunday, the Pastor or the clergy brother will stand on the pulpit and tell us one story from the bible. Then he will draw moral conclusions from it and say “We should not be like this” or “WE should be like this.” No matter what part of what story of the bible is taken for meditation, the final conclusion that we draw is – do not commit negatives or do positive like him/her.
Let us do a thought experiment. Let us imagine that we gather two groups of 100 people in two different locations – one group in Delhi and the second group in Chennai. We make a TPM pastor stand in Delhi and preach from “Daniel-not-defiling-himself-from-kings-meat-(chapter1).” Then we make “Ramdev Baba” stand in front of another group and ask him also to preach from Daniel chapter 1. Do you think Ramdev Baba will preach a different message than what the TPM pastor preached? I am cent percent sure that his moral conclusion will not differ from what the TPM center pastor preached.
So, are we saying that the message of “be pure: do not be defiled” cannot be concluded from Daniel chapter 1? Absolutely not! The point is that the Bible is not primarily an ethical/moral guidance book! When you walk in a public place and see a man staring at a woman and he realizes that you are watching him stare a woman, he will stop staring at her. He may probably feel ashamed. Deep down in his heart, even he knows that he is doing something wrong. He hasn’t read the bible, but he knows he shouldn’t have done it. God has given a conscience to every man that tells us all if something is wrong or right (Rom 2:14-15). You don’t need a textbook (bible) to tell you what is wrong and right. No wonder many atheists tell us we don’t need religion to tell us the right and the wrong. If that be so, then how do we use the bible? Or what is the purpose of the bible?
That brings us to the point with which we started the last paragraph. That bible is not merely a book of ethical guidance. Bible is primarily a gospel book – which has the message of God on how we are led to eternal life. But you may argue that this message begins only in the 40th book of bible onwards. This is not true! Every book of the bible preaches the same message. OLD is NEW revealed and NEW is OLD concealed. It means “Old Testament has contents of the New Testament hidden inside it, and the New Testament reveals what has been spoken in the Old Testament. Therefore if the New Testament is about Jesus and the Gospel of Jesus, the Old Testament also has the same message, albeit in concealed form. And therefore Old Testament is not merely a book for ethical guidance, but a book which has Gospel or way of eternal life hidden inside it. We need an opening of our eyes of understanding by the Holy Spirit, to see the light of Gospel in the Old Testament (Luke 24:32,45, Isaiah 29:10). If we follow TPM we may never see Gospel in the Old Testament. They will bring back from new to Old to make the bible an ethical book.
Here are some verses in the bible which clearly inform us of Gospel-centric nature of the Old Testament.
- And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself (Luke 24:27).
- To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43).
- Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you (1Pe 1:10).
- For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them (to Israelites in the wilderness) (Heb 4:2).
- And the scripture, …… preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed (Gal 3:8).
- For he (Apollos) mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly shewing by the scriptures, that Jesus was Christ (Act 18:28).
We are starting a new series to de-poison our understanding from old ways of reading the bible. Probably every week or every ten days, we will try to show you the gospel in every book of the Old Testament. We plan this series to be quite a big series. We do claim not to say we can see the Gospel in scriptures as clearly as it is to be seen. We know in part. Just like all who were before us and all who come after us, we know only in part. When the queen of Sheba visited Solomon, she said, “I was not told even half of your glory (I Kings 10:7).” Such is our state. We are like queen Sheba. We don’t even know half of the bible and things concerning one who is greater than Solomon (Matt 12:42). But we are quite convinced that when we shall behold him, that which is part shall be completed (I Corinthians 13:9, 12). So the lengthy series that we are planning will not even be half of Glory of Christ.
Keep us in prayer so that we may be able to fully share all that we have gained freely. Freely we received freely we will share. At the start of the series, we are grateful to God for raising people to guide us on this subject. Few of the sources we took help in understanding this subject are
- Book by Jonathan Edwards (History of Redemption)
- Book by A. M. Hodgkin (Christ in all scriptures)
- Book by Graeme Goldsworthy (Goldsworthy Trilogy)
- Gospel coalition (website https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/)
Many websites we don’t remember
Before we begin our part 2 of introduction, we have a picture Quiz for you. Below is painting by xyz painter. We have not named the painter on purpose. You have to give an explanation of the painting as you can understand. You can either mail us or comment us in the comment section below. We have put numbers 1,2.. up to 11 for ease of explaining various elements in the painting.