Theology: New Bible Glasses!

One of my favorite and most life-changing things I learned this last semester in Old Testament and New Testament was the story of the Bible as a whole. The Bible contains the story of Israel (God’s People) and their relationship to God. In order to fully comprehend the Bible, these stories must be understood. Before taking these classes, I had a distorted view of the Bible. Although I understood it as the inspired Word of God and accounts of various people along with knowing it had great value in my life today, I still had a limited knowledge of what it truly was. After those two classes, I have a more full and realistic understanding of the Bible.

The basis of this story is the faithfulness of God. Yeah, I knew that characteristic of God, but I didn’t understand that trait of God was the core of the whole story. I’m sure you know the story of Creation and the fall: in the beginning, God created a perfect Creation, which by its own rebellion, idolatry, became corrupt. After the Creation became corrupt, God makes a promise to Abraham that He will make him a great nation in Gen 12:2-3:

“… I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will make your name great, and you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those you bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

This promise continued through Abraham, Moses, and then the line of David. Through David, the Savior Israel is to come.

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom…”

The foundation of Christian belief rests on this promise that He would redeem Israel and bring His people back to Himself through a Savior, Messiah. All the importance of Christianity is dependent on the Messiah, who was prophesized as the Savior of the world and came in the New Testament.

God proves Himself faithful with the coming of Christ, the Messiah. The gospel by Matthew tells us the story of the gospel as Christ being the “divine Davidic king (Jesus and Community by Gerhard Lohfink)” as well as incorporate the prophesies to connect it to the earlier prophecies told by the prophets within the Old Testament. The Messiah was the promise, the fullness and intensity of the fulfillment of God’s promise, that would end Israel’s exile from God, unify her, and give her rest from her enemies. Through Christ’s character, He taught her how she (God’s people) ought to live in community; and on the cross, He exemplified the epitome of love by showing us that “greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).” In His resurrection, He showed God’s power over death and fulfilled God’s promise to restore Israel. Christ, the Messiah, was the One who made eternal life feasible to us through His sacrifice, like in Hosea 6:2: “He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.” Our sin was put to death on the cross, and we were brought to new life through the resurrection.

Through the teachings of Christ presented throughout the New Testament, we are encouraged to pursue the continuation of the Jewish messianic movement. Since the Messiah taught us how to live, we are to follow Him and the ways that He taught. This way of living is the image of life in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God includes love towards Him as well as love towards one another as Christ taught, and obedience is the manifestation of faith. When you believe and have faith in something, you do what it asks of you. Hebrews reminds us the trials and suffering others went through before us and encourages us to persevere. Christ took the ultimate extremity of suffering on the cross, showing that our faithfulness to God does not stop at death.

We all know that Revelation is full of apocalyptic stories, but I realized it goes beyond all the bizarre happenings and unveils portions of the story of Israel and God’s promise and faithfulness. Eventually, Revelation presents this time and place where God’s holy people will worship Him seated on His throne in His holy land, the gathering and community of God’s people in worship and praise. Christ is the central key that restored us back to God and turned the whole story of the Bible into a story of creation and new creation. God created us in the beginning and will restore us in the end. Through the crazy and strange stories of the apocalypse, Revelation reveals the perfect and complete creation that is to come, the “consummation of holiness,” the glorious end of our story.

This definitely ended up longer than I thought it would be, but I just found it all so outstanding. Just seeing it all come together in its unity amazed me. The whole story of the Bible revolves around God’s faithfulness and God restoring Israel, His people. I hope you got something out of this… God bless!
-Sean NicDao

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