The Gospel of Hosea

We come to the last twelve books of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, the section commonly called The Minor Prophets.  But let’s clarify. They are “minor” only in length, not in importance.  As I read through these books, I’m still asking the question, “How does this illustrate, prophesy or relate to the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

We’ve felt compassion for Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel, all of them witnessing the destruction of their nation, Judah, and her capital city, Jerusalem. Being a prophet of God is no easy gig, but Hosea faced what is arguably the most difficult challenge of any of the prophets,  God told him to marry a prostitute. Was she really a prostitute or did she become one after Hosea married her? Continue reading “The Gospel of Hosea”

The Gospel of Daniel

Next up is Daniel in our journey, The Gospel in the Old Testament.  In the history and prophecy of Daniel, we discover one of the most impressive figures in all the Bible. He stands out so much that Ezekiel, his contemporary who was also exiled to Babylon in the second exile of 597 BC, refers to Daniel along with Noah and Job as the best of the best in terms of being blameless and righteous. Ezekiel 14 Further, it is Daniel, not Solomon, who is Ezekiel’s example of excelling in wisdom, Who is wiser than Daniel? Ezekiel 28:3. Continue reading “The Gospel of Daniel”

The Gospel of Ezekiel

Like his contemporary, Jeremiah, Ezekiel lived and prophesied in the darkest days of the Jewish people, during the siege and destruction of Jerusalem. Unlike Jeremiah, who was in Jerusalem during this time until he eventually ended up in Egypt, Ezekiel’s ministry was in Babylon, the capital of Babylonia.  However, through visions, he observed Jerusalem and witnessed the devastating experience of the Glory of God departing from the city. Ezekiel 11:23 .

Ezekiel was a priest, exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon in 597 BC, His call to prophetic ministry at the age of thirty was in Babylon, where he lived throughout and presumably died. He was married. He had a house in Babylon and apparently suffered no major hardship there, unlike Jeremiah’s suffering back in Jerusalem.

Similar to other prophets, but more sharply delineated, there are three sections:

1. Judgment on Judah and Jerusalem
2. Judgment on the surrounding nations
3. Restoration for Judah and Jerusalem Continue reading “The Gospel of Ezekiel”

The Gospel of Lamentations

How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.
Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.

So begins the book called Lamentations.

Powerfully descriptive language describes the city and the people that God loved, but who rejected Him for other lovers and now has reaped the consequences.

Please read it through before you go on to get a feel for the misery of it all.

But you have to wonder… How can Gospel (Good News) and Lamentations (grieving) fit in the same title? Where is there any good news in all this anguish and despair? Continue reading “The Gospel of Lamentations”

The Gospel of Jeremiah

Gospel means good news. Chapter after chapter in the book of Jeremiah is bad news.

The lonely prophet, sometimes called the weeping prophet, began preaching during the reign of Josiah, one of the best kings ever. It was a time of revival, renewal of worship, and ending the evil practices of his father and grandfather.  But the revival didn’t last. Josiah died and it was all down hill from there.  Well, not quite… Continue reading “The Gospel of Jeremiah”

The Gospel of Isaiah

If finding the Gospel in Proverbs or Ecclesiastes was a challenge, Isaiah is the opposite. It is seemingly everywhere.

One approach would be to just consult the the libretto of Handel’s oratorio, The Messiah.  In order, you will find texts from Isaiah chapters 40, 7, 40, 60, 9, 35, 40, 53, and 52. Handel’s librettist, Charles Jennens, may have taken a few liberties with the text two hundred seventy three years ago, but overall, provides convincing proof of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the prophecy of Isaiah. Continue reading “The Gospel of Isaiah”

The Gospel in the Old Testament, part 2

Last year, 2013, I started a blog series, The Gospel in the Old Testament, intent on discovering and sharing the good news that the Good News (Gospel) is found, not as a new idea for the New Testament, but is in fact evident throughout the the Old Testament.  And this is not just a few random verses fulfilled in the birth and death of Jesus.  It is the story line of the Bible.

God’s Story starts with creation and is soon followed by sin and separation between God and his image bearers (Genesis 1-3).  But starting in Genesis 3, God’s story of rescue for his image bearers is the theme all the way through the Bible until it finds resolution in the new heavens and new earth, Isaiah 65:17; 66:22; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1. I don’t mean that God and God’s Story starts and ends, fully enclosed in the Bible. No at all!  God is the alpha and the omega with no beginning and no end. Beginning and ending refer to God’s rescue story as revealed in the Bible, which does come to glorious resolution. In this sense, the Bible is not circular, but linear – History is going somewhere and it will arrive at the destination.

But do we see God’s Story when we read the Bible? Or do we only see the shorter stories of Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Samuel, David, Daniel, Jesus, Peter and Paul? Continue reading “The Gospel in the Old Testament, part 2”

The Gospel of the Song of Solomon

It’s been titled Canticles, Song of Songs, and Song of Solomon.  The first words of this work are The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s.

How could the Gospel of Jesus Christ be seen in a poetic saga that is a highly sensual, sometimes starkly sexual and with “no obvious religious content”* and doesn’t even mention God? What could this remotely have to say about the Gospel?

Ancient Jewish Interpretation set the stage for early Christian analysis.  It is not a human love story at all, but allegory, an extended metaphor, of the relationship of Yahweh (LORD) to Israel; or understood by Christians to be a description of the love between Christ and his church.  Roman Catholic teaching has strangely identified the bride with the Virgin Mary,

But how does any of this make sense of this Song? Continue reading “The Gospel of the Song of Solomon”

The Gospel of Proverbs

Okay, this may be my toughest challenge yet in The Gospel in the Old Testament series.  Proverbs is not the first place I would go to find the Gospel in the OT.  It is certainly not explicitly there nor prefigured as in the sacrifices of Leviticus or the examples of substitute sacrifice in Esther or the combination of the two concepts in the Passover account of Exodus.  So what of the Gospel is found in Proverbs?

To know wisdom, the first words of Proverbs, set the tone for the whole book. and the source of wisdom is stated explicitly, The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the holy one is understanding.” 9:10  The words “wisdom” and “wise” are found more than a hundred times, but there are numerous other near synonyms that carry the same thought, such as “knowledge, learning, and understanding.” Almost as frequent to wisdom are “righteous” and “righteousness,” about ninety examples.

What do wisdom and righteousness have to do with the Gospel? Continue reading “The Gospel of Proverbs”

False Gospel of Job’s Friends

Major space is taken in the Book of Job with the record of speeches by Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, rebuking and challenging Job, explaining the definitive cause of all his troubles and calling him to repentance. In the end, when God speaks, it is these three friends who are rebuked by God, I am angry with you…because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7

What did Job’s friends get wrong? Continue reading “False Gospel of Job’s Friends”