Where the Old Testament connects to you...

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Our Pathway is studying 1 Peter. In going through it, the goal is to apply the Scriptures to our lives. I'm convinced one of our greatest obstacles to application is our use of reason. Being divided ourselves, we create divisions known as "categories". If you've ever been in a home where there are clearly defined standards for cleanliness, you know any casual, uncalculated move is a cookie crumb's length away from anarchy. It isn't that the host (usually hostess) is morally opposed to cookies, it's just that crumbs on the carpet do not compute. That's not where they go, so when they end up there...an unbroken gaze fixates upon them. It isn't that she doesn't want to have a good time...it's just...cookies...crumbs...carpet. Why? Can't you see what you're doing? There's no reconciling crumbs on the carpet. That's not the point. Validating your notions of what are nice, clean, philosophically coherent categories isn't on God's agenda.

The ministry of the Old Testament prophets was a steady series of morsel-like crumbs being dropped leading somewhere. Their ministry can still be tasted today as that is exactly what God intended. The Old Testament is not a conundrum, or a problem in need of reconciliation with the New Testament. If you're a good Calvinist, you know that because you've got some pretty good categories for reconciling them in your head. The problem is we're still not tasting the morsels. We accept the continuity of the Old and New Testaments but we miss the feast because we've rejected dispensational categories and opted for "covenantal" ones. We miss that the continuity consists of...

a personal pronoun: "you".

As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 1:10-13

The Old Testament's continuity with you comes in two ways:

  1. Through the means of a messenger, and
  2. By fixing our hope on the future revelation of Jesus.

As the prophets spoke of the salvation to be revealed, we are the beneficiaries of that salvation through messengers as well. I think many read this passage and think the Old Testament was given to us...but not exactly. Through the ministry of Old Testament prophetic messengers, we receive the benefits...not by reading the Old Testament, but "through those who preached the gospel to you". We have an audible connection between the ministry of men dead thousands of years ago with what we hear today. Have you believed because you heard the message of the gospel from someone else? The morsels Isaiah left behind are what you're being fed through another messenger. 

It staggers the mind to realize the Word preached is not merely a "New Testament" word, but a continuation of the ministry from the Old Testament prophets. You see, there's no reconciling the Old with the New...there's no need to. We are connected to the ministry of those saints. Covenantal categories don't connect you. Eating the crumbs the prophets left behind does.

Secondly, while the prophets served us, and not themselves, it was still a call to action. Searching, inquiring. Anticipating the glories to follow. They looked forward. It isn't only those men who craned their necks, but angels do as well. Angels anticipate these things. They look forward. Many times the continuity of the Old and New is expressed by saying in the Old Testament, they looked forward to Christ...believers today look back. We are looking at Christ only from different points in time. The prophetic message is for our benefit, we can look back because Christ's sufferings are complete...and yet...our position is not all that different. We do look back because we know our God did take on flesh and suffered, died, and was raised. But we look forward to the revelation of Jesus Christ. We are still awaiting the grace to be delivered to us. The prophetic finger points further ahead than we realize. Stop looking back and look forward. Just like the prophets. There's a lot to do and a lot to look forward to. Preparations must be made.

Craig French is a former deacon and member at Christ the Word (PCA) in Toledo, OH. He and his wife Tai have four daughters.