The Christ of the Prophets
“‘O…slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer…and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (vv. 25–27).- Luke 24:13-34
Moses prophesied the return of Israel from exile, laying the foundation for the prophets’ preaching of the hope of restoration to the people of God (Isa. 58; Zeph. 3:14–20). If we were to read only the major restoration passages in the Mosaic law (Lev. 26:40–45; Deut. 30:1–10), however, we would miss the fullness of what was predicted in relation to the return of the Jews from the exile. As we will see in the months ahead, the true return from exile involves many events, but today we will look briefly at two of them that are hinted at in Genesis 49:10.
Throughout church history, commentators have largely agreed that Genesis 49:10 teaches that the true king of Israel is from the tribe of Judah and that this king will receive the obedience of all the peoples. In the immediate context of this verse, it is not clear that this word would find its fulfillment in Israel’s return from exile. However, the later writing prophets make reference to the exaltation of Israel’s Judahite king over all the nations in conjunction with the return from exile. (Of course, David was the first king from Judah’s line, but his sons were taken into exile along with the rest of the nation.) Amos 9:11–15 is one of the key prophetic passages that combine the restoration from exile, the exaltation of the Judahite (and Davidic king), and the king’s reign over all peoples, Jew and Gentile alike.
We do not know all the passages that Jesus interpreted for the two men on the road to Emmaus, but we are likely not making too much of a conjecture to assume that Amos 9:11–15 was one of them. In any case, living on this side of the cross, we understand that Jesus is the One to whom the prophetic promises finally point. In Him, the elect of God find the true restoration from exile, the release from the bondage to sin into which all people were sent when they fell in Adam (Rom. 5:12–21), and, finally, the return not only to blessings in Canaan but blessings in every land that will be a part of the new heaven and earth (Rev. 21:1–4). He is the Judahite and Davidic king, who, having been exiled from His Father on the cross, was raised to life for our justification, never to die again (Rom. 1:1–4; 4:22–25; Heb. 7:23–25). He is the One to whom the obedience of all nations is rendered, for despite its failures, the church of Jesus Christ has for more than two thousand years been making disciples of the Savior from every nation.
Although Jesus fulfills many individual prophecies of the old covenant, we also follow Him because He fulfills the broad hopes revealed in the Old Testament prophetic literature. He is the One who, by His death, resurrection, and return, brings about the return from exile not only of Israel but also the whole world. At His return, creation will be released from its exile into sin and darkness, and we will enjoy to the fullest extent the redemption Christ has purchased for us.
Passages for Further Study