September 4, 2009
From John 1 we are told of when Philip was called to follow Christ and then Philip went to get his friend Nathanael. He told Nathanael that Jesus is the Messiah whom Moses and the other prophets spoke about. Nathanael didn't believe him but Philip convinced him to go see for himself. When Nathanael approached, Jesus announced his arrival, "Behold! An Israelite indeed, within whom there is no deceit!" That was a very complimentary greeting and Nathanael was like, "Huh? You know me?" And Jesus recounted an earlier time when he was under a fig tree, and Nathanael knew Jesus couldn't have known that so he immediately believed, calling Jesus the Christ, the Son of God.
And Jesus reacted like... "Wow! You believe in me just because I recalled you were under a fig tree? Ha! You haven't seen anything yet!" And this is where Jesus said:
- "Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man."
At first glance this seems mildly interesting, maybe even confusing. I remember when I first read it (because I was advised to read the NT first, and had never been exposed to the OT); the imagery I literally had in my head was, Jesus lying on the ground and angels swooping down from the clouds upon him, and then going back up. It didn't make any sense to me, so I moved on.
So many times I've heard Christians say the Old Testament is irrelevant. Many don't like talking about it because the idea is there is a New, superior Covenant, thus the Old Covenant isn't really worth reading all that much.
But see, if you don't read the Old Testament, then you miss a lot of stuff that Jesus and the Apostles make reference to. In Genesis 28, the same exact scenario of angels ascending and descending upon something occurred. And it was the event surrounding the familiar phrase "Jacob's Ladder" where Jacob had a vision of a ladder that joined Heaven and Earth, and angels climbing up and down it. Jacob had that vision and when he woke up from it, he realized that God was there in that very place, and he didn't even realize it!
So let's tie all this together; again, which you could not do had you no knowledge of the Old Testament.
Jesus was basically telling Nathanael: HE is in fact the Christ which Nathanael had already confessed, AND, He is the bridge... the link... between Heaven and Earth. And it also coincides with the lesson Jacob learned that though you don't see the LORD around you, that does not mean he is not present in that very place.
Thoughts? Do we see why the Old Testament is so critical to the depth of meaning in the New Testament?
Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein
April 9, 2009
I think that's an interesting way of looking at Jesus, as the bridge between heaven and earth. I am drawn to those sorts of subjects whether they be in the OT or NT.
I personally believe that heaven and earth are not that far apart and Luke 17:21 is consistent with that IF the kingdom of God is heaven. btw, if the kingdom of God isn't heaven, I'd like to know what it is 😀
Though I am thinking about heaven as not so much a physical place but a way of being, instead, like Nirvana or something.
"it is easy to grow crazy"
April 9, 2009
Agreed! The New Testament is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, the Old Testament points to the New Testament. They are two halves of the same coin. Most, and I include myself in this bunch, often miss the full richness of God's Word by spending most of their time in the new Testament.