The Messianic Profile Cryptically Veiled

November 11, 2017

If the plan of God for the messiah’s mission had been clear, the powers of darkness would never have killed Jesus: they would have known that his death and resurrection would be the key for redemption through his blood. The Old Testament profile of the messiah was deliberately veiled. This sheds light on certain episodes in the New Testament, such as why Peter couldn’t grasp the notion of Jesus going up to Jerusalem to die. Peter believed Jesus was the messiah. When Jesus announced he was going to die in Jerusalem, Peter didn’t say, “I know. I read that in my bible.” He couldn’t read it in his bible because there was no single verse for the idea. Rather, the concept of a dying and rising messiah must be pieced together from a scattering of fragments within the Old Testament, where each taken alone, don’t seem to have anything like a messiah in mind. None of the fragments reveal the final assemblage. Even after the resurrection the disciples had to have their minds supernaturally opened to see a suffering messiah.

 

Jesus says: “‘These are the words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds so that they might understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is how it is written: the Messiah was to suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and then repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” [Luke 24:44-47].

 

The point is straightforward: Only someone who knew the outcome of the puzzle, who knew how all the elements of the messianic mosaic would come together, could make sense of the pieces.

 

The story of the cross is the biblical theological catalyst to God’s plan for regaining all that was lost in Eden. It couldn’t be brightly displayed across the Old Testament in transparent statements. It had to be expressed in sophisticated cryptic ways to ensure that the powers of darkness would be misled. Even the angels didn’t know the plan [1 Peter 1:12]. The complete messianic profile and plan of salvation was cryptically scattered and veiled throughout the Old Testament.

 

Then we see that God will bring together in the Messiah all things in heaven and on earth. There has been a significant rupture in God’s creation. Angels in heaven have rebelled against God. Sin has emerged as a power that not only enslaves God’s creation, but also causes people to revolt against him and his purposes. Paul declares here that this condition will not continue forever. All of creation [both heavenly principalities and every person] will someday be forced to submit to the righteous and all-powerful reign of the Messiah. All will be brought under the universal headship of Jesus. The initial realization of this plan has already taken place in Jesus’ incarnation, proclamation of the kingdom, death, and exaltation to the right hand of God. Believers now await the complete fulfilment.

 

Theodoret [5th century Bishop of Cyr] says: “Only God’s nature needs nothing. The whole creation stood in need of his healing order of gifts. For, since the elements came into being to serve human needs, he made them subject to corruption, for he could foresee that transgression was going to make humanity mortal also. As for the unseen powers, they were naturally aggrieved when they saw human beings living in wickedness. By recapitulation he means the complete transformation of things. For through the gift given through Christ the Lord the human nature is raised anew and puts on incorruptibility. Ultimately the visible creation, delivered from corruption, will receive incorruption. The hosts of unseen powers will rejoice continually, because sorrow and grief and sighing have fled away. This is what the divine apostle teaches through these words; for he said not simply ‘heaven and earth’ but ‘those in heaven’ and ‘those on earth.’

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