Word of Words

by John Gay

If God came down to Earth right now and opened up the Scriptures to us, what would He show us? Nearly two thousand years ago such an incident did take place. Two men were on the road to Emmaus and God appeared to them and opened up the Scriptures. What did He show them? Beginning with Moses and then all the prophets, He explained the things concerning Himself. He talked about Himself, because all of the Scriptures concern Himself, the Messiah, the Word who became flesh.

We would be quick to acknowledge that the New Testament is all about Jesus, but what about the Old? What we call the Old Testament was in fact the Scriptures opened up to the two en route to Emmaus. Consider this: if we only know Jesus from the New Testament, we do not know Him very well. We are missing over two-thirds of His autobiography. The apostle Paul understood this fact. After seeing the glory of God in the light of the face of Christ, Paul looked for the glory of God concerning Jesus in the Old Testament Scriptures. For example, when Paul read Genesis 2:24 with new eyes, he no longer saw merely a statement about earthly husbands and wives but rather a parable about the Messiah and His bride. This he called a great mystery (Ephesians 5:32). The Old Testament, like the New, contains great mysteries. In the Bible we will find treasures both old and new, but the treasures are such because they speak about Him who is most valuable: God Himself, the Word who became flesh, God's greatest mystery.

The New Testament is not alone in containing parables. Jesus' first parables are not in Mark, Matthew or Luke. He had spoken parables centuries before. A parable is a story in which a great spiritual truth is hidden. Most all of the Bible's parables deal either with the mystery of King Messiah or mysteries concerning His kingdom. Here is one such parable.

There once was a faithful father who had a son. This son was the son of promise. Through him blessing would come to all nations. The father loved the son dearly, for he was his one and only son. But the father was called upon to sacrifice his son, his one and only son. This grieved the father, but the father reckoned that the son could be raised back to life.
Do you recognize this story from the lives of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22)? It might well have been referring to God the Father and His Son. The sacrifice of Isaac is a parable in which is hidden a truth concerning the Messiah.

Here is another.

There once was a young man who knew that one day his own family would bow down before him. He knew that he would rule over them. He was also his father's favorite son. Because of all this, his brothers (the sons of Israel) became jealous. One day the young man's father asked him to go check on his flock, which was being taken care of by the young man's brothers. Seeing him at a distance, they plotted together how they might kill him. They put him in a pit and left him for dead. But one had compassion on him and saved his life. The young man who never did anything wrong then became a ruler of Gentiles, but his brothers presumed he was dead. He was separated from them for many years, until one day they cried out for his help. When they saw him, they did not recognize him as one of their own, but instead saw only a Gentile ruler. In the end, he revealed himself to them as their own brother. Thinking they would be punished by him, he consoled them with forgiveness, saying, "What men meant for evil, God meant for good." The one who was rejected by his people, turned out to be the savior of his people.
This is the story of Joseph and the other sons of Jacob/Israel. But it foreshadowed the story of King Messiah. Like Joseph, He would be rejected by the religious leaders of His day (the sons of Israel), would depart for many years, would become a ruler of Gentiles, and would one day be recognized by Israel not only as one of their own but as their Savior. What men meant for evil, God meant for good. Joseph's life is a parable about the Messiah--concerning not only His first coming (rejection by Israel) but also His second (salvation of Israel).

The life of Joseph closely parallels the life of Moses. Moses, too, was initially rejected by the children of Israel. As a result, he went away for many years. Upon his return to his people, however, he became their savior. Thus, the lives of Moses and Joseph are pictures of the Messiah. Both of these Hebrew men had two "advents" with their people. So, too, the Christ. When Stephen is called before the Sanhedrin to justify speaking in the name of Jesus (Acts 6-7), he points out the lives of Joseph and Moses as testimony that the Messiah would initially be rejected. Stephen used the Old Testament as his defense.

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The sacrifice of Isaac, the lives of Joseph and Moses--these are just a few of the many parables about Jesus given in the Old Testament. God is so awesome and so powerful that He has orchestrated events and people's lives in such a way that they would point to Himself when He took on flesh and came to Earth as the Messiah. That is the kind of God we are dealing with.

The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had their minds opened up to the Torah, the Writings and the Prophets in such a way that they could see Jesus throughout the Scriptures. The truths these otherwise common men had learned, were truths that even angels longed to look into. Suddenly the Bible took on new life. Jesus could be found in literally every story, somewhere, somehow. It had been, all along, all about Him. The entire Old Testament was the Word. It was no less Gospel than what Matthew, Mark, Luke or John would write. These disciples, seeing these things for the first time, had their hearts burned by these previously unknown truths.

The experience of the two on the road to Emmaus should tell us something; namely, that there is nothing that can build us up in the faith like seeing Jesus in the Old Testament. If God has shown us over and over again how Jesus is hidden in the Scriptures, we will know that God is real, that Jesus is the Messiah, and that God wrote the Scriptures. We will have seen God's glory in His Word. We will know that, far from being a work of men, the Bible is a supernatural work, from a divine Author.

Melchizedek, Isaac, Noah, David, Solomon, Moses, Joseph, Samson, Adam, the Jewish feasts, the Mosaic Law, the words of the prophets, bread that is also a sword, a rock that brings forth living water, a bronze snake nailed to a pole, a tree that makes bitter waters sweet--it is not a matter of where do we see Jesus in the Word, but rather, where don't we see Him? The Messiah is everywhere in the Scriptures. The more we see Him, the more certain we are that He is who He said He was. The more God reveals His hidden mysteries to us concerning Christ, the larger He becomes in our minds and hearts. The Bible does not represent the thoughts of God? When we are young in the faith, someone may convince us of that. But if we have eaten enough solid food (seen Jesus throughout the Scriptures), our faith will not be so easily shaken. We will know that God masterminded the Bible, and that Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord God of Israel and the Savior of the world.

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The preeminence of Jesus in God's plan is matched by the preeminence of Jesus in God's communication to man, the Bible. Not only is Jesus the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He is the Word of words--the Word around which all of God's words revolve. He is the Bible's most important element. This should not surprise us. Unlike men who sound foolish when they speak about themselves, it is the wisdom of God to speak about Himself. He is the focus of His Word because He knows there is nothing nor no one more important than Himself, and thus nothing nor no one more worth talking about.

Far from being falsely proud, God knows that He Himself should be the primary subject matter of the greatest Book ever written. This He does in humility, not arrogance. He does not announce the fact with trumpets, but if we study the Bible long enough with a sincere desire to understand its contents, we will discover that it is God's autobiography. The Bible is not about men. Rather, it is all about God who became man.

God knows it is in our best interest for Him to talk to us about Himself. He is God, we are not. He is one and eternal and glorious, we are many and like the grass and insignificant by comparison. Therefore, God's self-promotion is warranted. Knowing about Him is more important for us than knowing about other people. The very last thing we need as men and women is to have other men and women glorified in our minds and hearts. We do not need the glory of man. We encounter enough of that, and it does not satisfy the soul. God understands that fact more than we do. He knows we need to see His glory. Therefore, in His communication to us, whenever He speaks of mere men, it is always somehow related to Himself, related to promoting Himself, which not surprisingly is for our own good.

God does not give us stories about men to talk about those mere men. He gives us stories about men in order to talk about the man Christ Jesus. If we seek in the Scriptures to find great mysteries concerning men, we will come up empty-handed. But if we seek to find God's Word in His Word, then we will see Who the Bible is all about. It is all about the Word, the Light, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Lamb. He is God and Spirit and Word and Light in the front of the Bible, and He is God and Spirit and Word and Light at the end. He is the Aleph and the Tav, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the Author and the Perfecter, the Architect and the Builder. He is the subject matter of the Bible from start to finish, the Word of words.

Suggested reading:
John 1
Luke 24
Genesis 22
John 3:14-15 with Numbers 21:5-9
Acts 6-7
Genesis 37-50 (life of Joseph)
Ephesians 5:31-32 with Genesis 2:24
Hebrews 5 and 6
Genesis 14:18-20
2 Peter 1:20-21
Luke 10:38-42