The Christ of the Old and New
by Burk Parsons
We have all heard the ancient maxim about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments: “The new is in the old concealed, and the old is in the new revealed.” While the words concealed and revealed do not entirely accurately describe the relationship between the testaments, they do help us grasp the fundamental truth that the New Testament is found in seed form throughout the pages of the Old Testament and that the Old Testament blossoms forth as a flower in the New Testament.
Nevertheless, the New Testament is called the “New Testament” for the simple reason that it is, in fact, new. It is new revelation, not merely commentary on previous revelation. It is not simply a collection of apostolic reflections on the Old Testament from the first century. In real space and real time, in the history of God’s redemption of His people and by His superintendence of His appointed, sinful, human authors, God revealed to us His new testament, accompanying our long-awaited Messiah and His promised kingdom. However, it’s not as if the coming of the Christ and the continued revelation of God was a surprise to those who understood the Old Testament and, more importantly, the God of the Old Testament.
On nearly every page of the New Testament, God sovereignly reminds us that everything He has done, is doing, and will do is in accordance with the Scriptures of the Old Testament. The common refrain of the New Testament, “according to the Scriptures,” is by no means to be taken lightly but is to drive us over and over again to behold the faithfulness of God, the trustworthiness of His revelation, and the beautiful harmony of the testaments as God shows forth His sovereignly woven scarlet thread of redemption from creation to glorification, all according to the covenant of redemption of our triune God. In each of the three portions of the Old Testament — the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings — the Lord majestically sets forth that which Jesus Himself set forth when He was with the two men on the road to Emmaus interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
That doesn’t mean, however, that Jesus is hiding under every stone in the Old Testament, nor does it mean that we need to overturn every stone in our pursuit to find Him at the cost of sound exegesis. Nevertheless, it does mean that every stone points to Christ and beckons us to examine the manifold ways in which Christ is in the foreground and background of the landscape of every stone in all the Scriptures, by God’s sovereign orchestration and for our redemption in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.