Archive for the ‘Redemptive-Historical’ Category

The Christian Doctrine of the Sabbath

February 14, 2013

The sabbath is a day of celebrating creation and redemption through rest from our ordinary work and worship of God.

Creation and Redemption can respectively be seen in the two versions of the fourth commandment:

Exodus 20:11
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Deuteronomy 5:15
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

However, Christ Jesus did a new work of Creation and Redemption and completed that on the first day of the week, when he arose from grave. Accordingly, since that time, believers have fathered for worship on the first of the seven, rather than on the seventh of the seven.

We see this is in the positive example of the apostles:

John 20:19
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

Acts 20:7
And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

1 Corinthians 16:2
Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

We also see this in the negative example of the apostles, namely that they did outreach to the Jews on the Jewish Sabbath:

Acts 13:14
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Acts 13:42
And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.

Acts 16:13
And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.

Acts 17:2
And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Acts 18:4
And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

In general, the sabbath day is a day of rest. However, the sabbath does not absolutely prohibit all work. For example works of necessity and mercy are lawful on the sabbath:

Matthew 12:1-14
At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.”
But he said unto them, “Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: and, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.”
And he said unto them, “What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.” Then saith he to the man, “Stretch forth thine hand.” And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

Mark 2:23-28
And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. And the Pharisees said unto him, “Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful?”
And he said unto them, “Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?” And he said unto them, “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.”

Luke 6:1-11
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, “Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?”
And Jesus answering them said, “Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him; how he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone?” And he said unto them, that the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him. But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, “Rise up, and stand forth in the midst.” And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, “I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it?” And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, “Stretch forth thy hand.” And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.

John 5:5-16
And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, “Wilt thou be made whole?”
The impotent man answered him, “Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
Jesus saith unto him, “Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.”
And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, “It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.”
He answered them, “He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.”
Then asked they him, “What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?”
And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, “Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

John 7:21-24
Jesus answered and said unto them, “I have done one work, and ye all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision; (not because it is of Moses, but of the fathers;) and ye on the sabbath day circumcise a man. If a man on the sabbath day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken; are ye angry at me, because I have made a man every whit whole on the sabbath day? Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

John 9:14-16
And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, “He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see.”
Therefore said some of the Pharisees, “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day.”
Others said, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?”
And there was a division among them.

The kind of work that is not appropriate for a day of rest is illustrated in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the post-exilic administration:

Exodus 16:22-25
And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, To morrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake to day, and seethe that ye will seethe; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that to day; for to day is a sabbath unto the Lord: to day ye shall not find it in the field.

Exodus 35:2-3
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.

Numbers 15:32-36
And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him. And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp. And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses.

Nehemiah 10:31
And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

Nehemiah 13:15-21
In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, “What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath.”
And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day. So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
Then I testified against them, and said unto them, “Why lodge ye about the wall? if ye do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.

Jeremiah 17:20-25
And say unto them, Hear ye the word of the Lord, ye kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, that enter in by these gates: thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; neither carry forth a burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers. But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

Nevertheless, these prohibitions should be understood contextually and as a restraint on work, not as fetters. Thus, for example, the Pharisees (and some modern Jews) overly rigidly interpreted the prohibition mentioned in Jeremiah, such as they considered the man carrying his bed to be sinning.

The sabbath rest we have is just a shadow and type of the rest that is to come.

Genesis 2:2-3
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

Hebrews 3:11
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)

Hebrews 3:18
And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?

Hebrews 4:3-11
For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, “And God did rest the seventh day from all his works.”[Genesis 2:3] And in this place again, “If they shall enter into my rest.” [Psalm 95:11] Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, “To day,” after so long a time; as it is said, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” [Psalm 95:7] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Revelation 14:13
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

By contrast, those who do not follow God will not have this rest, but will instead have eternal torment:

Revelation 14:11
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

So let us seek to enter into the ultimate Sabbath, the Lord’s Day.

Revelation 1:10 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,”

-TurretinFan

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Confessional Hermeneutic – What Man is to Believe about God and his Duty to Him

July 14, 2012

In my previous post, we saw that Jesus’ own hermeneutic with respect to the Old Testament is that all the law and the prophets hang on the two great commandments. One might wonder whether this treatment of Scripture is unique to TurretinFan, or whether others have had a similar idea. The latter is the case.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God,[1] and to enjoy him forever.[2]

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,[3] is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.[4]

Q. 3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
A. The Scriptures principally teach, what man is to believe concerning God,[5] and what duty God requires of man.[6]

[1] Psalm 86. Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Show me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me. Isaiah 60:21. Thy people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I may be glorified. Romans 11:36. For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen. 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s…. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. Revelation 4:11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

[2] Psalm 16:5-11. The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. Psalm 144:15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Isaiah 12:2. Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Luke 2:10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Philippians 4:4. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Revelation 21:3-4. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

[3] Matthew 19:4-5. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? With Genesis 2:24. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Luke 24:27, 44. And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself…. And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 1 Corinthians 2:13. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Corinthians 14:37. If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 2 Peter 1:20-21. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 3:2, 15-16. That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour…. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

[4] Deuteronomy 4:2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Psalm 19:7-11. The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. Isaiah 8:20. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. John 15:11. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. John 20:30-31. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Acts 17:11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 2 Timothy 3:15-17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 1 John 1:4. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.

[5] Genesis 1:1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. John 5:39. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. John 20:31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

[6] Deuteronomy 10:12-13. And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? Joshua 1:8. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Psalm 119:105. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. Micah 6:8. He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? 2 Timothy 3:16-17. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Notice that the catechism describes the primary teaching of Scripture as being what we should believe about God and about how we should act toward God.

-TurretinFan

Christ’s Own Hermeneutic of the Old Testament

July 13, 2012

A lot of the Old Testament relates to God’s plan of salvation, and so it is understandable that the so-called “Redemptive Historical Hermeneutic” is popular. Moreover, it is true that Christ’s mission included bringing the fullness of revelation that was then inscripturated by the New Testament authors. Thus, the New Testament is a guide to understanding the Old Testament.

Nevertheless, Christ himself explained the key to understanding the Old Testament in response to a question by one of the scribes/lawyers of the Pharisees. This account is found in Matthew and Mark. Since the Matthew account is more familiar to most people, I’ll put it first, but note that the Mark account provides some additional detail that is not included in the Matthew account.

Matthew 22:34-40

But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”
Jesus said unto him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind’ (Deuteronomy 6:5; cf. Deuteronomy 7:9, 10:12, 11:1, 19:9; 30:6, 30:16, and 30:20). This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ (Leviticus 19:18; cf. Leviticus 19:34). On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Mark 12:28-33

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
And Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:’ (Deuteronomy 6:4-5; cf. Deuteronomy 7:9, 10:12, 11:1, 19:9; 30:6, 30:16, and 30:20) this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ (Leviticus 19:18; cf. Leviticus 19:34). There is none other commandment greater than these.”
And the scribe said unto him, “Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he (cf. Deuteronomy 4:35, 1 Samuel 2:2, 2 Samuel 7:22, 1 Chronicles 17:20, Isaiah 45:5-6, and Isaiah 45:21): and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” (cf. Hosea 6:6).

Notice that the key to understanding the Old Testament, “all the law and the prophets,” so that there is “none other” commandment, is love of God and love of one’s neighbor. Thus, it is written: “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10).
If you want to properly understand the Old Testament, you need to keep this hermeneutical grid in mind as one of the primary hermeneutical grids. It is true that there is much about the person and work of Christ in the law and the prophets (Luke 24:44, John 1:45, Acts 13:15, 24:14, and 28:23), but when it come to saying what “all the law and prophets” hang on, Christ taught that it was “Love God” and “Love thy Neighbor.”

– TurretinFan

Scripture texts referenced above:

Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Deuteronomy 10:12
And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

Deuteronomy 11:1
Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments, alway.

Deuteronomy 19:9
If thou shalt keep all these commandments to do them, which I command thee this day, to love the LORD thy God, and to walk ever in his ways; then shalt thou add three cities more for thee, beside these three:

Deuteronomy 30:6
And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.

Deuteronomy 30:16
In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

Deuteronomy 30:20
That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Leviticus 19:18
Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Leviticus 19:34
But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 4:35
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.

1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

2 Samuel 7:22
Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1 Chronicles 17:20
O LORD, there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

Isaiah 45:5-6
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else.

Isaiah 45:21
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

Hosea 6:6
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.

Luke 24:44
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

John 1:45
Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.

Acts 13:15
And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.

Acts 24:14
But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Acts 28:23
And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.

Romans 13:10
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Mahershalalhashbaz and Immanuel

December 20, 2009

Mahershalalhashbaz has a name that is quite a handful. Recently, my attention was brought to a claim that Mahershalalhashbaz was the one and only fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “… a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel … .” The claim that Mahershalalhashbaz is the one and only fulfillment is plainly mistaken, since Matthew’s gospel connects the prophecy to Jesus:

Matthew 1:22-23
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

One might ask why Mahershalalhashbaz is even brought into the matter. The reason is the following flow of the passage (keep in mind that the chapter divisions are not original):

Isaiah 7:10-8:4
(10) Moreover the LORD spake again unto Ahaz, saying, (11) “Ask thee a sign of the LORD thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.”

(12) But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, neither will I tempt the LORD.”

(13) And he said, “Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? (14) Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (15) Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good. (16) For before the child shall know to refuse the evil, and choose the good, the land that thou abhorrest shall be forsaken of both her kings. (17) The LORD shall bring upon thee, and upon thy people, and upon thy father’s house, days that have not come, from the day that Ephraim departed from Judah; even the king of Assyria. (18) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria. (19) And they shall come, and shall rest all of them in the desolate valleys, and in the holes of the rocks, and upon all thorns, and upon all bushes. (20) In the same day shall the Lord shave with a razor that is hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the king of Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet: and it shall also consume the beard. (21) And it shall come to pass in that day, that a man shall nourish a young cow, and two sheep; (22) And it shall come to pass, for the abundance of milk that they shall give he shall eat butter: for butter and honey shall every one eat that is left in the land. (23) And it shall come to pass in that day, that every place shall be, where there were a thousand vines at a thousand silverlings, it shall even be for briers and thorns. (24) With arrows and with bows shall men come thither; because all the land shall become briers and thorns. (25) And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle.”

(8:1) Moreover the LORD said unto me, “Take thee a great roll, and write in it with a man’s pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.”

(2) And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. (3) And I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived, and bare a son.

Then said the LORD to me, “Call his name Mahershalalhashbaz. (4) For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother, the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria shall be taken away before the king of Assyria.


Notice that the child of the prophetess (or wife of the prophet) is described as being young at the critical point (“For before the child shall have knowledge to cry, My father, and my mother”) and there are also two kingdoms (Damascus and Samaria) who are being conquered by Assyria.

This link suggests that Mahershalalhashbaz is a primary fulfillment of the prophecy, though not the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy. What’s interesting though, is that in being the primary fulfillment, Mahershalalhashbaz also serves as a type (i.e. foreshadow) of Christ.

I noticed this in a particularly striking way when reading Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on Isaiah. In that commentary he practically ignores the historical person Mahershalalhashbaz. One reason is that apparently his version of the Old Testament in Greek did not transliterate the Hebrew name, Mahershalalhashbaz, but rather translated it. The English translation of the Greek translation that Cyril had was “Quickly plunder, rapidly pillage” which is similar to Strong’s proposed translation of “hasting (as he (the enemy) to the) booty, swift (to the) prey.”

It may be that Cyril was way off, and he himself views the passage as difficult, but he makes an interesting observation. The wise men from the east who came to Jesus brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Jesus received this booty, prey, or plunder at time when he was quite young, before he could speak.

I’m not totally convinced by Cyril’s explanation, as you can probably tell. Yet, it is an interesting idea. Those who are fond of the redemptive-historical hermeneutic should especially enjoy it.

-TurretinFan


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