Herman Bavinck, reflecting on the all-important impact of Christ on history, writes in The Philosophy of Revelation,
“[R]evelation gives us a division of history. There is no history without division of time, without periods, without progress and development. But now take Christ away. The thing is impossible, for he has lived and died, has risen from the dead, and lives to all eternity; and these facts cannot be eliminated,—they belong to history, they are the heart of history. But think Christ away for a moment, with all he has spoken and done and wrought. Immediately history falls to pieces. It has lost its heart, its kernel, its centre, its distribution. … It becomes a chaos, without a centre, and therefore without a circumference; without distribution and therefore without beginning or end; without principle or goal; a stream rolling down from the mountains, nothing more” (p. 141).
From this we can draw two vital principles for understanding the relationship of Christ to the history of special revelation in the Old Testament.
First, Christ is at the center of the Old Testament. We see this confirmed when the risen Christ declares in Luke 24:44 that Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms (which is a way of speaking of the 3 parts that comprise the entirety of the Old Testament) spoke of him. He is its supreme subject matter—not moral principles, geo-political conflict, societal progress, or the evolution of religion, but Christ himself. History draws its lifeblood from him.
Second, Christ is the goal of the Old Testament. The history of the Old Testament does not arbitrarily unfold, nor is its movement in time the product of chance or mere happenstance; rather, Christ is the guiding principle of the Old Testament and upon him they consummate. If the Old Testament were an arrow, Christ would be its intended target—and God didn’t miss. For “he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:26).
At Reformed Forum we have been committed from the beginning to seeing Christ as the center and goal of all of Scripture. This is evident in the very name of our program, Christ the Center. I’ve compiled twelve of our top episodes in which we try to explain and apply this hermeneutic. We have had the privilege of interviewing some of the top thinkers and writers in the church today on this subject, and we hope that you will take advantage of them. If this topic sparks your interest, you could even develop a 6-week course for yourself or a group of friends by listening to 2 episodes each week and assigning 2 or 3 books to work through on the topic.
- Seeing Christ in All of Scripture w/ Vern Poythress and Iain Duguid
- Jesus on Every Page w/ David Murray
- Walking with Jesus Through His Word w/ Dennis Johnson
- Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutics w/ Lane Tipton
- Redemptive-Historical Hermeneutics, Divine Authorship, and the Christotelism Debate w/ Lane Tipton
- Vos Group #32: Symbols and Types w/ Lane Tipton
- Seeing Jesus in Old Testament History w/ Nancy Guthrie
- Christ in the Old Testament w/ Nancy Guthrie
- Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament w/ Nancy Guthrie
- Seeing Jesus in the Prophets w/ Nancy Guthrie
- Sacrifices and Festivals in the Old Testament w/ Ben Shaw
- Typology and Jehoiachin w/ Matthew Patton