Sunday, October 1, 2017


Reflections on the New Testament 

The book of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ—and it is wondrous to note that the salvation message is proclaimed even in this. That our Savior should be descended from a line of sinners (not contaminated by them, for He was born of a virgin)—sinners whom God predestined to be the direct ancestors of the One who was to wash away their sin once and for all. In this genealogy, it is clearly shown that man is sinful, but God is merciful and mighty to save, able to use the meanest of vessels for His glory. Note that the first three verses make no mention of any female ancestor, but of the male only. Then note verse 3: “Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar…” and verse 5: “Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse.” Here we are compelled to acknowledge that Rahab the harlot and Ruth the Moabitess were instrumental in bringing forth the Messiah. Our God is no respecter of persons! But is able to redeem all.

Furthermore, note verse 6: “…and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” Was not David a righteous man? Yes, indeed—but in verse 6 we are reminded that his righteousness was “a gift from God, not of works”—for his own works were evil. Doubtless, if we continued down the list of names, we would find message after message of redemption and, indeed, each name reminds us that God is able to use weak and broken vessels for His glory.

The great importance of the Old Testament is continually reaffirmed throughout the New Testament—particularly in the fulfillment of the prophecies throughout the gospels. God’s orchestration of events toward that end is made abundantly clear by the writers of the gospels. Notice the following verses:
“So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us,’” Matt. 1:22-23, NKJV.

“So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel,” Matt. 2:5-6, NKJV.

“When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son,’” Matt. 2:14-15, NKJV.

“Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: ‘A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more,’” Matt. 2:17-18, NKJV.

Similar verses are found in many of the succeeding chapters. The question at hand is—what was God’s purpose in the initiation and fulfillment of these prophecies? Certainly, Jesus could just as well have fulfilled his ministry without them! Indeed, we often see Him performing seemingly unnecessary actions simply to fulfill a prophecy. Obviously, God ascribed particular importance to this aspect of the life of Christ. This may be for a number of reasons:

1)      Those who have read and studied the Old Testament with at least a small degree of vigilance are aware that every detail of it is intended to direct us to the Messiah. Is it not, then, logical that God would emphasize this by incorporating Old Testament ideas into New Testament realities, in the form of fulfilled prophecies?

2)      Furthermore, that every detail of Christ’s life was precisely as the LORD foretold (thousands of years earlier) is a testament of itself to the omnipotence and sovereignty of God.
And finally, despite the fulfillment of these manifold prophecies before the very eyes of all the Jews, the Messiah was nonetheless condemned and crucified—at the bidding of the religious leaders themselves, who were the most knowledgeable concerning the prophecies! This, surely, is testament to the gospel truth that man is not redeemed by his own works, but by the grace of God. That, though man should immerse himself in the Scriptures and be blameless according to the Law, unless he believes upon the Lord Jesus Christ, he is damned. The doctrine of election is by no means fallacious!

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