Commentary by Jack Kelley
I first heard the title phrase some years back, along with its companion, “what’s concealed in the old is revealed in the new.” They helped with my understanding that the Book we call the Bible is just that … one book. It’s not 66 or even 2 but one. Sure it has two parts (they’re actually called covenants) but it’s one book. The more we know about the contents of the first part, the better we will understand the second. It’s just like any other complex issue; an understanding of context or background is a big help in achieving comprehension. (Think of the Old Testament as background, putting the New Testament into proper context.)
What’s Black and White and Half Read?
And therein lies the problem for both Jew and Gentile. For the most part, each has read only a part of the book. The Jew knows what’s contained, but lacks the explanation; the Gentile has the explanation but lacks the context and background needed for comprehension. It’s like two people being asked to read different halves of a mystery story. The one reading the first half would know what was done but not who did it. The other would know who did it but not what he had done. Both would gain a great deal of additional understanding by reading the rest of the story.
It’s exciting to watch as a Jewish person begins to see Jesus in the Messianic promise of Isaiah and the Psalms after studying the Gospels. And when a Gentile reads these same passages knowing that they were written hundreds of years before the fact the increase in comprehension and the deepening of faith is almost immeasurable. One knew the promise but not the Person. The other knew the Person but not the promise. For both, faith becomes grounded in logic; rooted in reason. And the Bible becomes ever so much more meaningful.
Who You Calling Gentile?
I’m using the term Gentile instead of Christian because of my own experience. For nearly 40 years I attended a mainline denomination faithfully. I was an Elder, sang in the choir, attended and then taught Sunday school. Every Christmas I saw the birth of Jesus re-enacted and sang all the Christmas carols. Every Easter I heard about the resurrection.
And then someone gave me some tapes on Old Testament prophecy. Suddenly I was filled with a rush of logic. Jesus was no longer just some abstract notion I believed in without knowing why. As I listened, He literally came alive in my heart. Over 300 specific prophecies were a matter of public record hundreds of years before He came and His life was an exact and conspicuous fulfillment of all that was written. Whether you apply rules of evidence, statistical probability, or forensic logic, Jesus has to be the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the Church. As Peter said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matt. 16:16) There’s simply no other rational conclusion, and that means the Bible has to be of supernatural origin; the Very Word of God. No human prophet or seer has ever been so specific and so unerringly accurate.
I Told You So
And then I learned that the Lord promised us He would prove Himself in just this way … by predicting events and then bringing them to pass. No other so-called Holy Book makes that promise, let alone performs on it. Read for yourself from Isaiah 46:9-10;
“Remember the former things, those of long ago. I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
After 40 years of being an ignorant Gentile sitting in a church pew and not knowing why, I became an informed Christian knowing what I believed and why I believed it. At that moment in the Lord’s reckoning, I was removed from among the Gentiles and placed into the Church. I became a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
The Lord had proved Himself to me because I took the time to read the rest of the book. No longer could I be blown off course by the ill wind of false religion. My faith could not be shattered by liberal, revisionist theology that questions the Bible’s authority, and denies the need for a personal relationship with the Lord. Neither could I be seduced by the latest experiential fad, the “zeal without knowledge” spoken of by Paul.
One day my barber told me of a TV program she saw on the life of Jesus. She said that experts, trying to piece together the “lost years” between 12 and 30 now believe he had a poor relationship with his father. They also claim He was married, probably to Mary Magdalene, implying that He was only human; with personal and relationship issues just like the rest of us.
Because of my study, I was able to reply that while everyone is entitled to an opinion, they shouldn’t present opinion as fact. They either had to be talking about someone else, or were mistaken. She said, “Well what about your opinion? What if you’re mistaken?” I said, “I can prove that my position is correct, but they can’t prove theirs.”
I could say that because I have the weight of evidence supported by a 6,000-year perfect record of fulfilled prophecy. All they have is speculation. By reading the rest of the book, I was able to observe the Lord telling His people things that hadn’t happened yet, and then making them happen. Not once or twice but over and over again, thousands of times, without a single failure. That kind of evidence is irrefutable.
“I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you” (Isaiah 42:8-9). 07-02-03