I love movies with a good twist. I’m kind of a weird guy, though– I have a bad habit of spoiling movies for myself while I’m watching them (and even during them, sometimes). Yes, people tell me I’m weird for it. I like the twists, but I don’t like surprises. Nonetheless, I’m a sucker for masterpieces of storytelling.
Those are the kinds of movies that require rewatches. Aside from the few among us who can predict twists on their first watch, most of us regulars are caught off guard when the big reveals happen. When we return the movie knowing the ending, though, we begin to see it all much more clearly. Details we wouldn’t have thought about twice on our first watch become flashing neon signposts to the coming twist. “How could I have missed that?” we think.
Similarly, I imagine that many people from Old Testament times would share this sentiment if they held the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation, in their hands. They lived in a time in which the story was unfolding– before the big “twist” occurred– so it makes sense that they may not have been privy to all of the small, little details leading up to it.
With our hindsight, though, we’re able to see those details. As we approach Scripture now, specifically the Old Testament, it’s fascinating to trace how God was guiding us by hand toward the climax of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection throughout the early stages of the Biblical story. This narrative isn’t only fascinating; it’s deeply relevant for us as we “go on to maturity” in our faith, as the writer of Hebrews instructs us (Hebrews 6:1).
What impact would those movies have on you if you only watched the moment of the big reveal and after? Without the hour of buildup, the payoff wouldn’t mean as much. And yet, that’s what happens when even well-meaning Christians neglect the Old Testament. It’s not old and outdated; it’s the set-up for the climax!
I’ve heard it said that all roads lead to Rome. Similarly, all roads in the Bible lead to Jesus. Every seemingly obscure passage in Leviticus or Chronicles or Nahum, every single one, is there to lead us to the worship and knowledge of God in Jesus in one way or another. Unfortunately, we have been notoriously bad about traversing these roads, and as a result, I think we’re missing out on a lot.
In light of this, I’m excited for us to spend the next several months working through the Old Testament to see Christ. Let’s take the time to look at the metanarrative of history through the lens of the climax we have already seen– Jesus. In the coming months we will work through the first five books of the Old Testament, the Pentateuch, and study some of the different ways we see Christ present. We will see Christ through divine foreshadowing, through theophanies (a fancy word for visual appearances of God that point to the incarnation), through typology (a fancy word for symbols of the coming Christ), and more.
It is my prayer that this study will cultivate in you an appreciation for the Old Testament that spurs you on to read and know it intimately. May we continue to clean the lenses through which we approach Scripture, that we will be able to see more clearly how it all points to Jesus. May we, as Peter wrote 2,000 years ago, “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).