God is moving the history of his fallen creation toward redemption. This means, what God created good became bad, and God is working to make it good again. God’s fallen creation cannot make itself good again. It cannot redeem itself. God himself must do it.
The first two phases of the history of the world took place before anyone was ever born. Adam and Eve were the only two people God created as fully grown people; the rest of us were born as babies and grow to fully grown people. Adam and Eve were created good, but fell into sin; the rest of us are born in sin, in Adam.
After the fall of Adam and Eve into sin, God promised to send a Redeemer to save a chosen people from the consequences of sin (Genesis 3:15). All of this takes place in the first three chapters of the Bible. The rest of the Bible is the history of how God works in the world to save a chosen from the consequences of sin. God will choose one person and promise to give him one chosen nation from which will come One Chosen Person to redeem a chosen people out of every nation in the world. The “One Chosen Person” at the center of this plan of redemption is the Lord Jesus Christ. The story of the Old Testament is the story of how God, step by step, revealed, or uncovered, Jesus the Redeemer, first to the chosen nation of Israel and through Israel to all the nations of the world.
There are two verses from the New Testament in which Jesus shows us that the Old Testament is the history of the redemption of sinners. These verses are John 5:39 and Luke 24:27.
John 5:39 — “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.” The religious leaders thought, and many people today, think that just learning the words and facts from the Bible is what makes us good. Jesus said they are no more than the spoon that we use to feed ourselves the “food of eternal life.” The Bible reveals Jesus to us, and he is the one who saves us.
Luke 24:27 — “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Jesus taught through the entire Old Testament and showed how it reveals the truth about his person and work to redeem sinners.The Old Testament reveals three things about the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer.
The Old Testament reveals
1) the perfection of Jesus,
2) preparation for Jesus, and
3) prophecy about Jesus.
The Old Testament consists of four sections which reveal all three of these things about Jesus in many different ways. These sections are . . .
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are actually a combination of history and law. The history is told to explain the laws. But the point of these first five books of the Bible is God’s covenant with the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), his deliverance of their descendants from Egypt, and their obligation to keep the laws of God given to them at the mountain called Sinai.
God’s purpose in bringing Israel out of Egypt is that they would worship him, and become a holy nation for him. Through them, his blessing would reach all the nations of the world. According to the New Testament, this gracious promise announced to Abraham is the same gospel preached by Jesus Christ and realized through his death and resurrection.
So you see, the Law books reveals the perfection of Jesus in the Law, and prophesies and prepares the way for the coming of Jesus in the historical accounts of the first five books of the Bible.
Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther record the history of Israel from the conquest of the Promised Land under Joshua, through many ups and downs being ruled first by judges, then by kings. Judges show the perfection of Jesus in a military way, by reflecting his great power to deliver sinners from the consequences of sin; the kings prophesy and prepare the way for the coming of Jesus by reflecting his Lordship over his chosen people and also by identifying the family line from which Jesus will one day come into the world.
The overall theme of the entire history of Israel is how God blesses the obedient, curses the sinful, and saves those who confess and turn from their sin, trusting the forgiving God they have offended. This is also shown in how God sent the disobedient nation of Israel into captivity to the Assyrians and Babylonians and then returned the repentant nation to their homeland many years later. When they failed to reestablish the kingdom of the family of king David, they read these books, looking forward to the day when the great Son of David would come to rule over them and save them once and for all!
Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon specialize in revealing the perfect wisdom of Jesus. The New Testament says that in the Lord Jesus Christ are hidden all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossian 2:2-3). In these books, much of the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus is revealed through this unique collection of books. There are also many prophecies contained in these writings which foretell the coming of Jesus, our Redeemer.
The Major and Minor Prophets
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habbakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were among the many prophets that the LORD sent to disobedient Israel to call them to repent, lest they suffer the consequences of their sin. But the prophets didn’t stop with messages of judgment against the sins of the people, but looked forward to the day when at long last the Son of David would arrive to take his throne over his chosen nation and redeem Israel from her enemies once and for all. Little did they know exactly how Jesus would come and do that through his sinless life, sacrificial crucifixion, glorious resurrection and ascension to the right hand of his Father in heaven, from which he now rules over a spiritual kingdom calling the true Israel from every nation of the world until he returns to judge the world, banish sin, Satan and his followers and dwell among his redeemed, worshiping people forever!