Overview of the Old Testament - Worldview Categories Cont...Creation, Fall, Redemption, Restoration...
Fall – CS Lewis, in his classic work The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, describes the mythical world of Narnia as existing in a state where it is always winter, but never Christmas. Narnia was in a state of perpetual coldness, underneath the power of a great evil. The world was held in its wintry bondage until the time when Aslan, the great Lion, renewed and redeemed all things. Lewis’ Christian worldview soaks the pages of his story as he understood the reality of our world. Our world, like Narnia, is too in bondage to decay, cursed long ago as the result of a treasonous revolt of our ancient ancestor, one known to us by the Hebrew name for man…Adam. The Old Testament teaches us that the first human beings, in direct contradiction to their creator, disobeyed him and reaped the consequences on the world and the human race. The Christian doctrine of the fall of humanity is established in the Old Testament in the first three chapters of Genesis. As a result of our rebellion, God himself cursed creation and human beings. The results are devastating. All people die, though we presume that we will live forever. As a result, the world is not a paradise, but rather a war zone full of disease, human atrocities, natural disasters, and our own separation from God and each other. Yet God did this in hope, (Romans 8:18-30) for his plan was just beginning. Though we had sinned, in love God set about to forgive and restore. He would win back a people from the curse and vindicate his name which had been dishonored by the very creatures he had created.
Redemption – Therefore, God set about a course of redemption, by which he would pursue and reconnect with his creatures that had rebelled against him. The plan included many people and nations, many hundreds of years and a complex matrix of events and signposts. His plan would find its fullness when God himself, incarnate as the second Adam, the person of Jesus of Nazareth, would pay the final price for sin and bring us back into relationship with God. This drama unfolded throughout the Old Testament and was ultimately fulfilled in the New Testament. It unfolds on various continents, centered in the Promised Land, through various covenants (more on that in a moment) by which God invited people back into relationship with himself. This was all extended by grace, a free gift from God who offers peace to those who now live at war with him.
Restoration – We now live at a time where God is at work redeeming a people to be his very own children. God is giving new birth to people today around the world from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. His work is on going through the church which relates to God by a new arrangement – one sealed in the blood of his own Son. An engagement ring has been given; a promise has been made in the first coming or advent8 of Jesus. We now wait for the time when Jesus will return in power to claim his bride and fully realize the Kingdom which began at his first coming. At the end of all history, when the scroll of the plan of God is fully revealed, there will be a great wedding feast with Christ. At this time the eternal, joyful, and fully realized, restored and re-created world will begin. What is spoken in the Old Testament by the prophet Jeremiah (see chapter 31) will be completed in the description found in Revelation 21:1-4:
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
To be honest, I can’t wait.
All of these important truths, creation, fall, redemption, restoration find their beginning and backdrop in the Old Testament. The Old Testament once again gives the big picture we need in order to see clearly. Yet the Old Testament also unfolds a relationship between a loving God and his people. He initiates with us over and over with the highest level of faithfulness and commitment. The word used to describe this relationship is covenant; a committed, until death, faithfully promised bond of love. This is the second way we can garner an overview of the Old Testament, through God initiated covenants with his beloved people. To this we turn.
8. The word advent comes from the Latin word adventus which means coming.
Up Next - An Overview of the Old Testament through the Covenants