Bible interpretation is a subject that fills thousands of books and libraries around the world. One area is the subject of whether the writers of the New Testament shed clarification when they quoted Old Testament scriptures. Listen to this lesson to learn that there are four main schools of interpretation. Hear examples in the New Testament where two of these are illustrated. Learn about major scholars in this field and how you can delve into this subject more fully. Appreciate the many ways the scriptures teach patterns and types about the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For additional information on Midrash/Pesher and Hermeneutics, please see Arnold Fruchtenbaum's paper from the 2009 Chafer Conference.
Did the New Testament Writers Misuse Old Testament Scriptures?
Acts 2, Joel 2
God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #15
July 1, 2014
"Our Father, we are so very grateful that we have this opportunity that we can come together three times a week to focus upon You, to study Your Word, to reflect upon the eternal principles of Your Word. That in this we are grounded in that which has eternal value. And Father, we are thankful that as we study through this series on Your Plan for the Ages it gives us focus on the past and the present, and that everything in history is driving toward a purpose that You have established from eternity past. Each dispensation has a distinct purpose, distinct characteristics, and it is designed to teach and instruct us with regard to Your grace, with regard to faith in our dependence upon You, and with regard to the way You provide for us. And above all, to emphasize that there is nothing that we can do on our own; that we have to be totally dependent upon You in order to have life work. The only way to be oriented to life is to be oriented to the reality of Your Creation as You have designed it. So, Father, as we continue our study, help us as we think through the Scriptures tonight in some different challenging ways that we can be better students of Your Word and we pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."
Let's open our Bibles initially tonight to Acts 2. We will look at a couple of different passages tonight, just pop around a little bit, but we will start with Acts 2 and I encourage you as I do on occasion to make notes in your Bible, make notes in the margins, and you can daisy chain some of the Scripture references that I go to. Acts 2, in terms of fitting this in our study of dispensations, is a critical passage in terms of understanding the church age and how the church age fits within this panorama that began in the Old Testament (OT). In Genesis 12, when God called Abram and set aside the Jewish people as a distinct group through whom He would work to bless all the nations; and that had a shift that occurred in terms of God's Plan for the Ages. As we have studied from the Creation up until the call of Abram, there was only one ethnic group essentially and that is the Gentiles. But when God called Abram that started a distinct group through whom God would work; a group through whom He would reveal Himself. He would reveal Scripture. They would be responsible for writing down Scripture and preserving Scripture down through the ages. It was through them that the Messiah would come.
As you go through the OT there is the progress and the development of an understanding of this Messianic thread that runs through the OT. From the very first protoevangelium as it is called, the first mention of the Gospel in Genesis 3:15; that through the Seed of the woman the seed of the serpent would be defeated. And you trace that word "Seed" as you go down through the OT and it relates again and again to the Messiah. There are additional prophecies that are given in relation to the Messiah and there are also prophecies given in relation to the future of God's people Israel. There are prophecies related to their future glory where they will be restored to their land. There is the warning that they would be disobedient; that they would fail; that they succumb to idolatry and God would remove them from the land. These cycles of discipline we have studied, Leviticus 26, Deuteronomy 28-29, but then there is the promise of restoration that is embedded in Deuteronomy 30. Deuteronomy 29-30, as we have studied recently, outlines the land promise, the Land Covenant that God had promised to Israel.
In the Abrahamic Covenant there were three components:
1. God promised a piece of real estate that would be the eternal possession of the Jewish people.
2. There would be a Seed, the Seed Promise, the descendents to Abraham that they would be innumerable like the stars of the sky or the sands of the sea.
3. And through them there would be worldwide blessing.
This land promise was expanded in this Land Covenant of Deuteronomy 29. The Seed promise was expanded in the covenant with David in 2 Samuel 7. That God would provide a descendent who would sit upon the throne of David, rule from the throne of David in Jerusalem, a literal throne in a literal city and establish a literal kingdom for Israel that would go into perpetuity. It was a part of the same eternal covenant as the Abrahamic Covenant. And the when that was fulfilled, as we've been studying, when the Land Covenant is fulfilled and the Jewish people are fully restored to the land, at that time the Messiah comes, we believe the second time, establishing His kingdom on the earth as the Son of David establishing His rule from Jerusalem. And the, finally, there is the establishment of the spiritual aspect of those covenants, the New Covenant, which is related to the changed spiritual life of the Jewish people. This is in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Those three come together.
Now when you get into the New Testament, as we studied last time, the time, the dispensation of the Messiah, when Jesus came and offered Himself as the Messiah; He was the One Who would bring in the kingdom. He was a descendent of David. He was qualified; He fit this prophetic parameter; that's the focal point of the Gospels that fits those prophetic parameters, then He was rejected by His people, crucified as a blasphemer for claiming to be the king of the Jews, claiming to be God, and then on the third day He is risen from the dead, a validation from God that He was indeed the promised Messiah. In Acts 2, which is on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Day of Passover, this is when the church is born as a new distinct entity. And something distinct happens there. We have studied this in the past in our study of Acts.
Starting in Acts 2:1, "When the Day of Pentecost had come they were all together in one place," that refers to the disciples not to the 120 who had met earlier. This is the disciples. "Suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind. It filled the whole house where they were sitting." So there's this huge noise like a tornado coming through the house and there is a visual element to this, "And there appeared to them as if tongues of fire, flames of fire, over each of them, over each of the disciples, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit." There is a new event that occurs spiritually. God the Holy Spirit indwelt each of those disciples and they began to speak as an objective validating aspect. They began to speak in other languages. These weren't mystical languages; this wasn't ecstatic utterance. They were speaking in other languages and then they went out from there to the temple and as they are talking to those on the temple grounds about Jesus as the Messiah and what has happened, we are told in Acts 2:6 that each one was hearing them in their own language. This is validating the fact that they were speaking a dialect or a language; they weren't just speaking in some sort of ecstatic gibberish.
They were raising the question, when they heard these supposedly uneducated Galileans speaking in these various languages. In Acts 2:8 they raised the question, "how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya, … Rome… Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs;" they hear them in their own tongues. So they come from all over and there are estimates, based upon Josephus, he may have exaggerated, that over a million Jews would come to Jerusalem during Passover or during Pentecost. The streets were just swelled with all these pilgrims that would come for these dates. So the question is what is going on here? Everybody is asking questions about the disciples and what they are saying; and Peter, who is one of the eleven, stood up and he opened up with a sermon explaining what was going on.
Acts 2:14 we have the address. He says, "Men of Judea and to all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;" nine o'clock in the morning. "but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel." Now this is really what I am focusing on. What does Peter mean when he says this is what Joel said? Because he then quotes from Joel 2:28-32; Let me go ahead and read this to you. It is a quote from Joel 2:28-32. Now Joel is one of the Twelve. In the English Bible we refer them as the Minor Prophets, not because they are less significant, but because they are small. And Joel writes specifically with regard to the End Times, the Last Days in Jewish prophetic plan. He is talking about what will happen at the "end of days." He writes and this is what Peter is quoting from the Septuagint: " 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' GOD SAYS, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY…' "
Is that what is going on here on the Day of Pentecost? No. The only thing that we see on the Day of Pentecost is that they are speaking in tongues. So Peter is reading from this in Joel 2:28, "YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY." No body is prophesying on the Day of Pentecost. "YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS," no young men are dreaming dreams or seeing visions. "YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; AND ALSO MY MEN SERVANTS AND ALL MY MAIDSERVENTS I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT ON THOSE DAYS AND THEY SHALL PROPHESY. Acts 2:19 Peter goes on to say, "AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOUVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE. 'THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.' " So what Peter is talking about in this quote from Joel 2:28-31 is what happens immediately preceding this end time cataclysmic event when the Day of the Lord comes and brings judgment on all of the enemies of Israel, rescues Israel from virtual destruction or pending destruction, and establishes them in the land.
Peter is saying in this sermon, this is what Joel is talking about. So what does it mean that this is what Joel is talking about? Because what has happened there on the Day of Pentecost with these new Christians, these Messianics, are speaking in these unlearned languages, but that is not even mentioned in Joel 2. Joel 2 mentions many other things, dreaming dreams, visions, signs in the heavens, signs on the earth, none of those things are happening on the Day of Pentecost. In fact, the only thing that happens on the Day of Pentecost is not mentioned in Joel 2. So how can Peter be saying this? What is he talking about? It is quotes like this in the New Testament (NT) that have caused, especially liberal Christians, but there are some conservatives as well, as to how they handle this, think that NT writers misused and distorted OT Scripture. And we look at passages where you read a NT writer who ways this is the fulfillment of something stated in the OT Scripture, and you go back and you read the OT Scripture and you sort of scratch your head and say I am not sure I would have gotten that out of that.
Slide #3, Hermeneutics
This has raised the issue in the study of interpretation or hermeneutics on how the NT quotes or uses the OT. This is important because in light of where we have gone, we have studied up to this point God's plan for mankind in terms of His plan leading up to the time of Abraham, from Abraham up to the time of the Cross, and now we are going to be looking at the present church age, and we will be going on into looking into God's plan for Israel, and that God is still going to fulfill these promises and these prophecies that He made to Israel. He hasn't rejected Israel; that is what is known as replacement theology. We saw a horrible example of that just recently when the Presbyterian Church of the USA voted to divest all investments in anything that the Israelis were involved in. This is an outgrowth of replacement theology. Replacement theology means that basically the Jews are no longer God's people; they are no longer biblically, prophetically, or historically significant, which is not what the Bible teaches, we believe. Therefore, that becomes and has become over history the seedbed out of which much Christian anti-Semitism came.
Now that is not true for evangelical Christians because we have a different view of the Bible. We are very similar to orthodox Jews in that we interpret the Bible literally. We believe the Bible is the direct revelation of God through the prophets of the OT and the apostles in the NT; and that God so inspired or worked through the individual writers of Scripture that without overriding their individual personalities, their individual writing style, their individual background, that God guaranteed and oversaw their writing so that He could guarantee that what they wrote was without error. So that we believe that what God revealed is inerrant and infallible both in terms of the OT and in terms of the NT. That means that we seem to have a problem, some people think, when we come to passages such as Acts 2 quoting Joel 2; that somehow the writers of the NT were playing fast and loose with the passages from the OT. Because if you go back and you read the context of these OT prophecies, sometimes it looks like, well how did they get that to apply to the situation they are talking about in the NT?
So this becomes an important thing to study. Those who do not believe as we do; those who would hold to various forms of replacement theology, believe that the NT writers just quote these OT passages in ways that completely redefine the meaning of those OT passages so that they are no longer being interpreted by the NT writers in a literal sense. We believe, much as many orthodox Jews do, that the Bible should be interpreted literally; that refers to literal, historical events that occurred in the past. Now what many Christians are unaware of is that in rabbinic literalture, in a study of rabbinic literature, the rabbis during the second temple period quoted the OT in their writings and used that in four different ways. We have studied this in the past and we see examples of all four of these different ways in Matthew
You might want to go ahead and turn with me to Matthew 2. The claim is often made that the NT authors interpret OT Texts according to a rabbinical method known as midrash or perhaps even pesher will get into the definitions of this here.
Slide #4, Midrash
In Midrashic methodology, as it is developed; let's just look at a couple of definitions and then we will narrow this down:
Midrash or Pesher is a principle in Rabbinic hermeneutics that often seems to go against the plain literal meaning of the Text, which seems to contradict the historical/grammatical interpretation of a Text.
In midrash you may look at how they have interpreted an OT passage and you say, well that doesn't seem like that goes along with the historical/grammatical principle. But essentially in midrash they don't deny the literal historical meaning. They are adding to it or applying it in another sense. Rabbi Jacob Neusner defines midrash by saying that it "corresponds to the English word 'exegesis.'"
Well we are all familiar with the word EXEGESIS. It means to study and to draw out the meaning of a Text. But there are many different ways in which people apply the principle of EXEGESIS. If you believe in a literal/grammatical-historical interpretation, then EXEGETICALLY you are going to stay within the parameters of the Text. If you don't believe in a literal-historical-grammatical interpretation of Scripture, then what is going to happen is that you are going to pretty much make it up as you go along; and that is what happens. Those are the two different ends of the spectrum.
Pesher goes beyond midrash. Pesher is an interpretation or explanation of a verse of Scripture, in which a given statement is identified with an event or personality in the present time without regard to its original literal-historical context. And so pesher goes beyond the meaning of the OT. Now liberals come along and some covenant theologians come along and they will say that that is what is going on in the NT. They are not really interpreting the Scripture literally as they should. So to just to understand a few background points on hermeneutics. Those who believe in a literal-historical interpretation of Scripture, what we would call a traditional evangelical hermeneutic:
1. First of all that the use of the OT by NT writers is under divine inspiration. So when Peter quotes from Joel 2, he is quoting that under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit and so that shows that it is an inerrant and infallible interpretation. So we believe that they are not just making it up as they go along. They are under the authority of God in the way they are quoting those passages.
2. Secondly they believe that the use of the OT is consistent with the single meaning of the Text. Now that is a principle in interpreting the Scripture. We believe that the writer of Scripture had only one meaning. Just as you often see an analogy when you sit down to fill out your income tax forms and you read the instructions. You try to ascertain the single meaning of the author. Now sometimes that is difficult. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents don't even know what the meaning of the text is. But we believe that the author has one intended meaning and God is the ultimate author of Scripture. This is also a belief that is present in rabbinical theology as well. So we believe that the use of NT writers of the OT is consistent with the single meaning of the Text in the grammatical-historical sense of the OT passages.
3. Now in this discussion one of the best students and professors in this area is a man who has been here and taught at one of our pastors' conferences several years ago , Dr. Robert Thomas. He would identify this by the term "Inspired sensus plenior Application." Now that Latin word, sensus plenior, just means a full sense. In academic language and the debate, what you see is that on one side they think, well there is sort of a fuller sense to these OT passages and under inspiration the writers of the NT are really pulling out something that otherwise you wouldn't see from the Text. They just ended it. They wouldn't use the word application. They just talk about this sensus plenior, where Dr. Thomas has added to this. He says:
First of all, it is inspired. There may be a fuller sense to the passage that God intended that is not apparent on the basis of a literal-historical-grammatical interpretation, but sense the writers of the NT are inspired they are applying; they are not denying the historicity or the original meaning of the text in the OT. They are just taking that verse and they are applying it to a present sense situation, and so he alls it ISPA (Inspired sensus plenior Application). Now what I am going to develop here when I talk about the four views is three of the views are basically what Bob Thomas identified as that Inspired sensus plenior Application (ISPA). They just get a little more precise. Now what this means in terms of our understanding of the Scripture is that every OT passage must receive its own grammatical-historical interpretation in context regardless of how the NT uses it. So that means that if the NT quotes a passage a certain way and applies it a certain way that isn't assigning a new meaning to the OT passage. We go back and read that passage in its original context and that is the meaning that is intended by that passage. The NT writer is going to apply it in perhaps a little different way but under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.
The second thing we see from this is that the OT passage does not have multiple meanings by being read by the eyes of the NT. That violates a key principle in interpretation, which is the single meaning of every Text. That is really important. Now right now I am just giving you these principles. They seem a little abstract, but I'll refer to those as we look at various examples in the OT as we go along.
Third, the OT passage must like every passage be limited to a single grammatical-historical meaning. So, as a result Dr. Thomas says that this produces two results:
The first one is that the NT writer abides by and applies the grammatical-historical sense of the passage. That is what we will refer to as a literal prophesy with a literal interpretation. That is his first category.
Second he says that sometimes the NT writer goes beyond the grammatical-historical meaning to assign a passage an additional meaning in connection with the NT context. That is what he calls by this term I introduced called the Inspired sensus plenior Application.
If you are interested in going beyond this to study this in a little more detail in terms of hermeneutics, then those lectures by Dr. Thomas are on the Dean Bible Ministries website, www.deanbibleministries.org, under the 2009 Chafer Theological Seminary Bible Conference.
4. Now just in terms of understanding the development of this, Arnold Fruchtenbaum and Michael Rydelnik have demonstrated through their writings that there is a bit more to this, thought generally they are in agreement. I want to establish that because they use different terminology, but I want us to make sure that we understand that they are really talking about the same thing. They just break it down a little differently. Arnold Fruchtenbaum, as you know, was born during the period of WWII in Siberia. His parents met just after the German invasion of Poland. They escaped into Russia and were arrested and sent as spies to Siberia. Arnold was born while they were in Siberia. They moved back to Poland. While they were back at their village in Poland there weren't very many Jews that were alive to return. Within a year there was another pogrom. A pogrom was an attempt to destroy, an attack on the Jews, to destroy the Jewish people. The Jews in this area, in these various villages, got wind of this pogrom and escaped in the middle of the night and walked out of Poland. They walked down through Czechoslovakia and across the border into Austria.
So Arnold was about four years old at the time, or five; and then they went into a displaced persons camp in Germany for a couple of years before family members were able to bring them to the United States. He grew up in Brooklyn. Not long before he bar mitzvahed he learned the Gospel of Jesus as the Messiah and became a Christian. He was never bar mitzvahed. Not long after that his family moved to southern California. After he graduated from high school he went to Cedarville College at the time; now it is Cedarville University, and then to Dallas Theological Seminary in Texas. I have always said the reason Arnold's hard to understand is because he has a Polish-Yiddish-Russian-German-Brooklyn-Texas accent and it is hard enough to understand us when we are just talking with a Texas accent. So he is very helpful.
Michael Rydelnik, on the other hand, was born of parents who were both holocaust survivors. His mother had become a Christian during WWII, but kept it secret and then made it known when he was a teenager. As a result of that his father divorced his mother. Michael was very angry with her. He sought to disprove her whole belief in Christianity, which ultimately led to him becoming convinced of the truth of Christianity. And they are both well tested scholars. Arnold Fruchtenbaum has been here many times. He has his PhD from the University of New York. And Michael Rydelnik has his Masters of Theology from Dallas and his doctorate, I believe, from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Slide # 5, Pardes
So anyway, they go back basing a lot of their work on some pioneering work by the man by the name of David Cooper, dealing with various meanings of Scripture dealing with four types of meanings that were identified by the rabbis during this period of the second temple. Now after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70, Midrashic interpretation got really wild. It would focus on a word or the shape of a letter or one little letter and then it would extrapolate from that, but it has been demonstrated by a number of Jewish scholars that during the period of the NT it was much more in line with what we would identify as a literal-historical-grammatical interpretation. And they identified four meanings of Scripture indicated by the word pardes. PRDS would be the four consonants:
1. Pshat - P stands for Pshat, which would indicate the simple or the literal meaning.
2. Remez - The second word is the R for Remez, which indicates that the passage has a suggestion or a hint of something more.
3. Drash - And the third is called Drash. You can hear that same pronunciation, midrash, okay that has a ma'amin or a m at the beginning, which turns it into a participle, drash, would be an exposition or investigation, which drew conclusions that were applied to a new situation.
4. Sod - And then the fourth way of interpretation was called Sod, which said there is a secret or a mystery and this was a very broad, general category.
So with these four categories as a background we can see using examples form Matthew 2 that this was how the NT writers interpreted and used OT Scripture. This is important to understand because what we see is that the writers of Scripture from the apostle Paul to Peter to John were all trained within the thinking of second temple period Judaism. They were approaching the Text in this same way in which someone from their culture and their background would approach the Text. So this is important because when we interpret the Scriptures when we are dealing with Paul's writing to the Romans we need to investigate the background of Rome and understanding the Gentile background there. When we are studying in Corinthians we need to understand the Gentile background in Corinth and how that impacted the letter. When we are studying in the Gospels we need to understand these things as well.
Now David L. Cooper, who did a tremendous amount of research on this whole area earlier, he influenced Arnold. He influenced Michael Rydelnik. He flourished probably in the middle of the 20th century.
1. Direct Fulfillment: He expanded these ideas just a little bit so that pshat, which referred to the simple meaning of the Text; he redefined it or gave it a new terminology, direct fulfillment. Where you have a literal prediction in the OT, a prophetic passage that would have a literal direct fulfillment in the NT. That is also Dr. Thomas' first category.
2. Typical Fulfillment: Then the second rabbinical category, which is called remez, he saw this as a typical fulfillment (I will explain that terminology in a minute) where a literal-historical event, not a prophesy but a literal-historical event, had certain typological significance. It corresponded to some event in the NT and was designed to represent that originally in the OT context.
3. Applicational Fulfillment: Then there is the third category, the drash; this was applicational fulfillment where a historical event was used to draw out and application with reference to either a future event or a present event sometime later.
4. Summary Fulfillment: Then the fourth category he called a summary fulfillment where no actual event was prophesied in the OT, but the fulfillment represents a summation of OT prophecies.
It is really helpful to understand these things so we will get into the first one, which is pretty easy to understand.
1. Pshat - This was called pshat in the rabbinical view, where you have a literal prophesy in the OT with literal fulfillment.
This is seen in Matthew 2:5. The situation in Matthew 2 is that the Magi have come to Bethlehem. They have seen the star indicating the birth of the Messiah. They've seen the star while they were in the East and so they were in Parthia. The Magi were a sect of Parthian leaders who were responsible for appointing the king of Parthia. The Parthians were feared by Herod the Great because they had tried to conquer Judea when he was first installed as the king and he had to flee for his life. He sent his family up to Masada for protection and he fled to Cleopatra in Egypt and eventually he made his way to Rome. Caesar Augustus gave him an army and sent him back to conquer and throw out the Parthians. But all his life he is paranoid about the Parthian; so one day there is a knock on his door and these Parthian kingmakers show up on his front doorstep and they say we want to see the king of the Jews. And they are not looking for Herod. So he is paranoid about this.
So they have shown up and when they show up in Matthew 2:3, when Herod heard about them he got all of his chief priests and scribes together, according to Matthew 2:4, and he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. And here is our verse:
Matthew 2:5, "And they said to him," so the "they" refers to the chief priests and the scribes. They said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what was written by the prophet.' "
So we have the passage here in verse 6:
Matthew 2:6, "And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for our of you shall come forth a Ruler, Who will shepherd My people Israel."
1. Literal Prophecy and Literal Fulfillment – Quote from Micah 5:2
And so this verse identifies the birthplace of the Messiah. Now this isn't a direct quote from the Masoretic Text; it is influenced heavily by the Septuagint, but it comes from Micah 5:2. It is Micah 5:1 in the way the Hebrew Bible enumerates the verses; and this is taken from the 1918 translation of the Tanach.
Micah 5:2 (5:1), "But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall One come forth unto Me," this is God speaking, "that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old." Now the Hebrew indicates that His "goings forth" are from eternity, "from ancient days."
Well the only One Who can live for eternity is God. So this passage indicates that the ruler who will come to Judah is not only going to be born in Bethlehem, he's indicating humanity, but the fact that He is eternal, His goings forth has been from ancient times; that He has been alive for eternity indicates that He is more than human; He is also divine. So this is an example of a literal prophecy because Micah is writing this to foretell the birth of the Messiah and Matthew is quoting it as a literal fulfillment that the Messiah has been born, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
Now another example of this initial category of a literal prophecy and literal fulfillment is found in Matthew 1:23 where the angel Gabriel is quoting now from the OT in Matthew 1:23 Matthew is writing saying, Now all this, that is the announcement of the angel of the Lord to Joseph, "Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet." And there is the quote from:
Matthew 1:23, "'Behold, the virgin shall with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, 'God with us.'"
So the lower verse indicates the quote from the OT. It is prophecy in Isaiah 7. The top verse is the Tanach translation of the Masoretic Text and it differs a little bit from most English translations of the OT and I will point that out as we go through it. In the Tanach it translates it:
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign…"
Now if we look at that context back there in Isaiah; and I have gone through this in a lot of detail in the past, but basically what is happening is that God has promised Ahaz that he is going to have victory; that the line of David is not going to be destroyed by this alliance between the northern kingdom and Assyria; and a sign of His promise, that it is going to be accurate, is that there will be this birth. Now He really gives two signs, as we have pointed out; and it is very important to understand the difference in the plural and singular pronouns in the Hebrew Text here. But there is one sign that is given individually to Ahaz and another sign that is given to the house of David that the house of David would not be destroyed. In Isaiah 7:13 Isaiah says, "Listen now, O house of David." So he is addressing the house of David. "Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?" Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign…" This is directed to the house of David, not Ahaz personally. And the sign is going to be, as it is translated in the New King James Version, "A virgin will be with child."
Now the Jewish Tanach translates it "the young woman," which is a literal translation. It is from the Hebrew hā·'al·māh, which can refer to a young woman, but it refers to a young woman, very young, of marriageable age. In various passages it is clear that she is a virgin and the rabbis who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew into Greek in Alexandria Egypt roughly around 200-250 BC understood that hā·'al·māh referred to a virgin because when the rabbis translated this, long before Jesus, translated this into Greek, they translated it with the Greek word PARTHANOS, which refers to a virgin. You have heard of the Parthenon in Athens. And so this was clearly understood to refer to a virgin. And so he is told that "she will conceive and bear a son and shall call His name Immanuel."
Now we all know that it is not much of a sign if a young girl gets pregnant. It happens every day; it happens all over the world that young girls get pregnant without benefit of marriage. That is not very miraculous. So for this to be a sign it has to be something that is miraculous. And it also has a definite article there indicating "the virgin"; that this is a sign, something that was traditional within Jewish thought at the time going back to Genesis 3:15 where God said, "The Seed of the woman" that is going to be the One Who destroys "the seed of the serpent." So there is this tradition related to this birth from a woman. And so here Isaiah indicated that it is not just a woman, it is "the woman," which connects it to a specifically understood woman, "the virgin," and that she will conceive. That is what makes it a sign; that a virgin is going to conceive and give birth to a son and the son is named Immanuel, which means "God with us." It is an indication that there is a birth, humanity, but this One Who is born is called "God." He is given the attributes of God.
Isaiah 9:6 in the next chapter specifically identifies this one who is born with titles of deity called "Mighty God"; and so that indicates that the Messiah that is promised in these OT prophecies was seen to be both human and divine.
Isaiah 11:1 is cited by Peter in Acts 13:22-23.
In Acts 13:22 we read; Paul is speaking and he says, "And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.'"
Acts 13:23 "From this man's seed," referring to David, "From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior – Jesus –."
Well this is a reference back to Isaiah 11:1 where there was a prophecy that at a future time there would "come forth a Rod", this is a branch from the stem of Jesse; Jesse being David's father. "And a Branch shall grow out of his roots."
The Davidic monarchy was seen to have figuratively been chopped down by the destruction of the southern kingdom in 586 BC. But this passage is saying no, that there will come One out of that stump; there will come a Branch out of that stump and that ancient promise to David that he would have a descendent Who would rule eternally over Israel would be fulfilled.
Another passage that we see is Isaiah 28:16 combined with Psalm 118:22. I am just going to skip through a couple of these [slides] real quickly. It is cited as literally being fulfilled in Matthew 21:42.
Isaiah 40:3-5 there is a prophecy that the Messiah, the Servant of God, would be preceded by someone who announced Him:
Isaiah 40:3 "The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of the LORD; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.' "
Luke and Matthew both quote this as fulfillment:
Luke 3:4 quotes it, "as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight." ' " And that is applied to John the Baptist.
You have another quotation, Isaiah 50:6 refers to one who would betray Jesus and how He would be mistreated and beaten and that is seen in fulfillment in Matthew 26:67 and in Matthew 27:26. He is rejected and beaten.
Slide #14 Remez
That brings us to the second category and this is a fun one. I really like this because it is complex and you really see how the Scriptures weave some things together and bring it to fulfillment in the NT.
2. Remez – Literal plus Typical example. A type is where some event or person or thing in the OT is a picture or corresponds to some eternal truth or some event or person in the NT or even later on in the OT.
The way we see this portrayed in Matthew 2 is that after the event where Jesus and Mary and Joseph are visited by the Magi, the Magi are warned by an angel to leave and not go back to Herod. An angel warns Joseph that they need to leave because Herod is going to seek the life of the Child and so they fled to Egypt. After Herod died the angel appeared to Joseph again and told him to return to Israel.
Matthew 2:15 we read, "and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord by the prophet might be fulfilled saying, 'Out of Egypt did I call My Son.' "
This is a quote form Hosea 11:1, which reads, "When Israel was a youth I loved him," God is speaking, talking about the very beginning of the Jewish nation, when God is calling them out of Egypt. So "when Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son."
Now is Hosea 11:1 a prophecy? Is that foretelling something in the future? Not at all; it is just simply talking about a historical event, God's redemption of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. But Matthew takes it and says this is a fulfillment. This is what was fulfilled from the prophet. See we use fulfillment usually only in the first sense, but the Bible has many different ways in which it uses that word fulfillment. This is where a historical event is seen to correspond to an event in the life of Christ, but this isn't random. That is what is so neat about this. Matthew isn't just sitting there going; well I've got to find a verse that sort of fits this. Jesus is coming up from Egypt; there is this verse that sounds like that in Hosea. I am going to pull them together. It is much more important than that.
Slide #15 Typology
Let's first understand typology. Typology refers to a correspondence or similarity between an OT person, such as Moses, who was a prophet and he said that there would be a prophet greater than he that would come. So Moses corresponds to the Greater Prophet, Who is the Messiah. A thing would be like the altar where a sacrifice is brought. The altar was wood, which is finite covered with gold, which is permanent that would be a picture of the union of deity and humanity in the Person of Christ; or an event, such as, Passover; such as the sacrifice of a lamb at Passover, a lamb that was without spot or blemish. In 1 Corinthians Paul said, "Jesus is our Passover." When John the Baptist saw Jesus he said, "Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world," John 1:29. The sacrificial lamb in the OT was a picture that corresponded to certain features about the sacrificial Messiah; that He would be without spot or blemish or sinless. So this is what typology is. You have a person, thing, or event, which pictures a NT person, doctrine or event, usually related to either the Person or the Work of the Messiah.
We have an example of this, a pretty simple one. When Israel was going through the wilderness and they were bitten by these various vipers and people were dying, Moses was told to make a bronze serpent, put it on a pole, lift it up, and if people just looked at the bronze serpent then they would be immediately healed, Numbers 21:9. In John 3, when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, He draws this analogy with that event and He says:
John 3:14, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man," referring to Himself, "must the Son of Man be lifted up." He is referring prophetically to the Cross.
We have some interesting things that happen as the Israelites are going through the wilderness and they are coming into the Promised Land. And as they are going through these countries across the Jordan, you have Edom and Moab. The king of Moab is extremely jealous of the Israelites and he calls upon this sort of shady character to come and prophecy against Israel. And we believe that there was this man Balaam, who was a prophet of God, but he had apostatized and he has hired by the Moabites to come and curse Israel. God says, okay you can go, but you can't say anything without My permission and you can't curse Israel. And so there are actually four oracles that Balaam announces against the Jews and in those oracles he never can curse them, but he pronounces certain prophetic things in relation to Israel. Now I want to look at one in the second vision and compare it to the third vision. In the second oracle, in Numbers 23:22, I am sorry that it is a little small, but I wanted to get both of these on the screen. God in his vision in:
Numbers 23:22 in his oracle he says, "God brings them out of Egypt;" notice the plural. To whom does the "them" refer? That refers to Israel. It says, "God brings them out of Egypt;" it is a corporate sense there, the pronoun. "He has strength like a wild ox."
Numbers 23:23 "For there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, 'Oh, what God has done!'
Numbers 23:24, "Look a people rises like a lioness, and lifts itself up like a lion; it shall not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain."
So, who is being talked about in Numbers 23? It is Israel as a corporate group. It says certain things about them that we'll look at in just a minute.
In Numbers 24:7-9 you have the third oracle; very similar things are said in the third oracle. The third oracle is talking about an individual thought. It is talking about a future king. It says: "He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters. "His king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.' So it is talking about this future king. "God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows. "He bows down; he lies down as a lion; and as a lion, who shall rouse him?' 'Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.' "
The key verse that also relates this background is that when Moses is sent to Pharaoh, Moses raises the objection, well what should I say to Pharaoh. And God tells him, "you shall say to Pharaoh, 'thus, says the Lord: "Israel is My son, My firstborn." ' " Now what is important to this is that in this verse God is identifying corporate Israel, all the Israelites, as an entity, as adopted by God as His son. Okay, that is going to be important when we come to understanding Hosea 11:1 because Hosea 11:1 says, "Out of Egypt I called My son." He is referring to the corporate entity of the Israelites.
Now in Numbers 23:21 we read, "He has not observed iniquity in Jacob, nor has He seen wickedness in Israel. The LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a King is among them."
So what we see in this oracle in Numbers 23:21 that I want to point out here is that it is using a singular pronoun, "his is God is with him", but it is talking about the nation Israel. So it is talking about the nation as a corporate entity using a third person singular pronoun to describe him. The King James Version (KJV), this is a KJV that I put up here on the screen. The Biblica Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) that is the Hebrew Bible uses a third person singular pronoun there, him, to refer corporately to Israel.
That is important to understand because in Numbers 23:22 he shifts. In Numbers 23:21 he is talking about Israel with a singular pronoun and in verse 22 he is talking about Israel with a plural pronoun. But he is still talking about that corporate entity. "God brings them out of Egypt." So there is a deliberate shift to this plural pronoun to make it clear to the reader that he is talking about the people as a whole. Then he is going to return to a singular pronoun after that, but he is still talking about all the people. Notice he then goes on to read in Numbers 23:23; it talks about "there is no sorcery against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel. It now must be said of Jacob and of Israel, 'Oh, what God has done!' But what is important is what is in Numbers 23:24, he says, "Behold or Look, a people" so he is till talking about Israel as a nation, "a people rises like a lioness, and lifts herself up like a lion;" so the way we see a description here is that Israel as a nation is described as being "like a wild ox and like a lion." They have the power of the ox and the ferocity of a lion. That is describing the nation.
This is where it gets really fun! In the next chapter (Numbers 24) in the third oracle, the shift is from the nation to a king. It is no longer talking about an individual. Look at:
Numbers 24:7, "He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters" indicating how Israel is going to grow and expand. "His king," it is talking about an individual now. It is not talking about Israel, but he has made a typology connection here. Israel in Numbers 23 is a type or a picture of the king. So typology isn't just an OT passage picturing a NT event; you also have Israel used in Numbers 23 as a type of the Messianic King in Numbers 24. And he says, "His king shall be higher than Agag." Now there is a textual variant there. In the Septuagint and in other ancient translations and versions, including Qumran, it doesn't have Agag, which is the Amalekite king. It has Gog, who is the traditional enemy of Israel mentioned in Ezekiel 38 and Ezekiel 39; God is the future enemy of Israel that will attack in the later days that them Messiah will defeat and destroy. In Numbers 24:7, His king, the Messiah, shall be higher than Gog, and his kingdom shall be exalted. Numbers 24:8, "God brings him, that is this king, out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies, that is Psalm 2, He shall break their bones and pierce them with his arrows. Numbers 24:9 He bows down like a lion.
So what we see in this chart is that in Numbers 23 Israel is said to be brought out of Egypt as a nation and this is a type or a picture of the fact that the King also will be brought out of Egypt. It is said in Numbers 23 that God is for them. That Israel is a nation like the horns of an ox. And in Numbers 24, God is for the King like the horns of an ox. In Numbers 23 Israel is like a lion, but in Numbers 24 the King is like a lion. So Numbers 24 is showing that the King is represented typologically by the nation, but the King is going to be what? He is going to be brought out of Egypt.
So when Hosea says, "And out of Egypt I called My son" what is distinct or significant there is that Matthew, not following the Septuagint, which says, "Out of Egypt I called My child." Most of the time Matthew quotes from the Septuagint, but here he quotes from the Masoretic Text because the Masoretic Text is talking about, uses the term, "My son" that is a direct correlation to the King passage in Numbers 24 that the Messianic King is going to be brought out of Egypt. So he is not just a randomly picking Hosea 11 because it is talking about somebody coming out of Egypt. He is picking Hosea 11 because Hosea 11 is talking, when he says, "out of Egypt I called My son" Hosea 11:1 is alluding to the fact that in Numbers 24 in the third Balaam oracle, Balaam says, "the King will come out of Egypt." And so that is connected also to the fact that Israel is My son. Israel as God's son is a type of the Messiah. So Matthew isn't just randomly pulling this verse out of the Scripture and applying it to Jesus. There is a specific correlation between all of these passages.
Now that just looks at the first two ways in which the writers of the NT are quoting from the OT. Next time we will look at the third and the fourth one. With our heads bowed and our eyes closed.
"Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things. To be reminded that Your Scripture is very simple in places, but in other times to really into the meaning and to see what is going on; it takes a lot of thought and a lot of study. And we are thankful that as we read in the Hebrew Scriptures we see all of these literal prophecies that are fulfilled, but we also see patterns. We see these types again and again that depict certain things about the Person of Jesus and the Work of Jesus and that gives us confidence to believe that Jesus is the promised and prophesized Messiah of Israel, Who came to save His people from their sins and that we might have salvation from our sin by simply trust in Him and believing that He is the One Who died on the Cross for our sins just as the lamb was sacrificed for the sins of Israel on Yom Kippur. So Father, we pray that you would challenge us with what we have studied tonight. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."