Posts Tagged 2 Kings 1: 7 – 8

The Old and the New

2 Kings 1: 7 – 8

And he said to them, “What kind of man was he who came up to meet you and spoke these words to you?”  And they answer him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.”

Elijah was a prominent figure in the age before Jesus.  If you read the Old Testament accounts of him you will be inspired.  But there is an interesting New Testament chapter to the story of Elijah and I think when you consider these New Testament connections you will perceive that our Father had a plan all along to bring redemption and grace into the world, and that He hasn’t changed.  Why is that important?  There are some great promises from the Father that are recorded in what we call the Old Testament and as such many Christians stumble over whether they can rely on what they perceive as Hebrew promises.  When you see that it is all one continuous strategy then you will appreciate that God made those promises to you just as much as whatever He may tell you today.  There is no Old or New Testament to God.  To Him there are just His kids and His plan to sweep us all into eternity with Him.

Let’s begin in Matthew Chapter 17.  Jesus, Peter, James and John were coming down the mountain where the three disciples saw Jesus transfigured before their very eyes.  Interestingly enough, while Jesus was in that transfigured state, lo, Elijah and Moses appeared and engaged in conversation with him.  Elijah made a New Testament appearance.  Not only did Jesus see him but also the three disciples saw him. 

When they witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus they began to understand something about this man whom they followed.  I believe in that moment when they beheld him in his glory they became believers that he was, in fact, the son of God.  They got a revelation of this man as the Messiah.  But as so often happens with revelation knowledge it inspired them to further thought and questions.  So, on the way down the mountain they questioned Jesus.  “Why then” they asked him, “do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?  Come first before what?  Before the Christ.  You see, they just got a revelation that this Jesus was the long awaited Messiah but immediately their theology jumped up in the way.  “How can this be the Messiah,” they mused, “when we have been taught that Elijah must come first?”  Obviously, they were asserting that Elijah had not yet come which is so interesting considering they were leaving a place where they had just seen Elijah.  Anyway, Jesus answered them.  I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished.” 

Consider Matthew 3: 4, “Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair, and a leather belt about his waist.”  Now re-read today’s passage.  Do they seem similar to you?  This description of John the Baptist is in the Bible so that we can make the connection between him and Elijah, between the Old Testament and the New.  There is continuity between the two sections of the Bible and you can find many verses that have a sister scripture in the other testament.  But let’s continue on with Elijah.  There is an implication here, at the least, that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was to be the precursor of the Messiah.  Jesus does not want us to have any doubt or misunderstanding though so he comes right out and says, “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come” (Matthew 11: 14). 

So what’s my point?  My point is that the “testaments” are an artificial construct.  Just like the chapter and verse designations, the testaments have been created in order to help us in studying the bible.  They are not meant to be divisive but rather instructive. Christians do themselves a great disfavor when they consider the first thirty-nine books of the Bible as belonging only to the Jews.  I am not suggesting we should live under the Levitical law but we certainly don’t want to cast aside the Psalms and the Proverbs.  Neither do we want to make those the only two Old Testament books we ever read.  There is a bunch of great stuff back there.  Besides, we are the heirs of Abraham in Jesus and if you want to see what our inheritance is, you are going to have to go to that Old book and read.  We certainly do not want to miss out on Deuteronomy 28: 1 – 14.  So enjoy your Old Testament and take possession of the promises of God and the revelation of His will.