|The Portrait of Christ in the Old Covenant|
Rev. Dr. E. T. Lucksom
Nearly all the theologians have agreed on the fact that Christ undoubtedly occupies a centre stage in the divine plan of God for the salvation of the world. It is all about a theology which teaches that God's great purposes depend on Jesus Christ His Person and His works. Therefore, what is true of theology in its entirety is in particular true of eschatology also. Delving deep into the Scripture we unmistakably find the Biblical prophecies about Jesus Christ actually begin in the book of Genesis and consummate in the concluding book of the Bible: the Revelation. Accordingly, the prophecy in its revelation deals with major events of history, God's program for the nation of Israel and most importantly, His eternal plan for the Church of which Jesus Christ Himself is the head. Again, Jesus Christ is central in all these great themes as He is the Savoir, the ultimate judge of all and the final victor over sin and death. Hence, all prophecies whatever their themes are ultimately related in some way or the other to the eternal plan and purpose of God in and through Christ. Truly speaking, the prophecies concerning Christ constitute a vital link between the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament foretells Jesus Christ as Savoir and these are as such fulfilled largely in the New Testament. It should be remembered that nearly all the prophecies concerning Christ made in the Old Testament have been fulfilled save and except some, which continue in the New Testament, yet to be fulfilled before that great and awesome Day of the Lord.
The most dominant subject of prophecy, which relates to Jesus Christ, is God's divine plan of salvation. In this great mission we see Christ as the sovereign judge who guides history to its triumphant close. In all this, God's purpose is that every knee should bow to Him (Romans 14:11) and that Christ is the ultimate victor over Satan, sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). Consistent with Christ's central place in prophecy we discover the details concerning His Person and His works in both the covenants, old and new, which are principally related to two global events -His first and second coming. These prophecies reveal in an unmistakable way not only the events but also His character and majesty.
Christ's first advent:
Christ's first advent is undoubtedly the subject of the majority of books of the Old Testament. To begin with, Christ is introduced as the "offspring" of Eve (Genesis 3:15), perhaps in anticipation of the virgin birth. This and several other major passages deal with Christ's place in the prophetic program In another passage of Scripture in the Old Testament Jesus Christ is projected as God's promise to Abraham . “And in you The Messiah would be a descendant of Isaac and linked to the line of Jacob. Genesis 49:10 states that He would come as the king from Judah . . . Psalms 110:4 predict Jesus Christ as a priest saying, "You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. He would be a prophet like Moses. Deuteronomy 18:15, 1718. These prophecies point to the fact that Christ would be a descendant of David (2 Samuel 7: 12-16). In making this covenant with David, God said, "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever." Furthermore, it says-He would also be the king who would fulfil God’s promise to David that one in his lineage would reign forever.
A significant portion of Psalms reveals much about Christ, which includes His ultimate victory. (Psalms 2: 6-9). The Lord said , "I have installed my king on Zion, my holy hill" Psalms 16:10 predicts His resurrection while Psalms 22 for the most part, describes His death with exactly the same words He spoke later on the cross. Yet several other passages including Psalms 72 are devoted to His thousand-year reign.
Isaiah, one of the major prophets of the Old Testament, predicts the virgin birth of Christ. The other passage which fits so well with this is Isaiah 9: 6-7. Moving further, Isaiah 42:1-7 mentions His ministry to man in His first coming. Several other passages fore-tell His humiliation and death. The Isaiah passages deal with in detail Christ's humiliation, His agonizing suffering on the cross, the piercing of His hands and feet and so on. His crucifixion compared to a lamb being led away to be killed, His death with the wicked , and His grave with the rich are all mentioned in this passage. The prophecy prophesying 'the Spirit of God will be upon Him (Isaiah 61:1) was quoted by Christ Himself in Luke 4:16-19. Referring to Christ as the "Messiah" or "the Anointed One" who will be cut off and will have nothing refers to His death. The prophet Daniel speaks of the Son of God's first coming and His sacrificial death on the cross. Micah presents a poignant illustration of literal fulfilment of prophecy saying that Jesus Christ would be born in Bethlehem. Another prophet Zechariah prophesied the coming of Christ to Israel as their king (Zechariah 9:9). This passage speaks so eloquently about Christ's triumphal entry into Jerusalem preceding His death, which is a marvellous illustration of the literal fulfilment of prophecy. In addition, Zechariah also paints a beautiful picture of Judas' betrayal (Zech. 11: 12-13) in the final analysis, Zechariah describes the death of Christ and Malachi; the last prophet of the Old Testament prophesied the advent of John the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus Christ. Thus we see that the Old Testament prophecies concerning the first coming of Christ are amazingly fulfilled in the New Testament as His life, ministry, death and resurrection unfold with several other references in the Gospels and eventually consummate in His ascension.