Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Foreshadowing the dawn

10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn…13 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness (Zech 12:10; 13:1).
Unbelievers allege that NT writers prooftext Jesus from the OT by ripping passages out of their original, literal context and spiritualizing them in application to Jesus. Let's examine two cases in which we see the opposite development:
1. In Ps 22, David is talking about himself. And he indulges in hyperbole and metaphor. 
Yet his descriptions are truer of Jesus than of himself. What was hyperbolic in reference to David suffered was accurate in reference to Jesus. Moreover, some of the figurative language is literally descriptive of what Jesus experienced at Calvary. Here's a case in which the original context is less fitting in reference to the type than the antitype. Ps 22 is more historical in reference to Jesus than David. More truly about Jesus than David. True of Jesus in a way it never was of David. 
2. Zech 12:10 & 31:1 employ theological metaphors and similes. There's the anthropomorphic depiction of a wounded God–stabbed in the heart. An anthropopathetic depiction of divine suffering. God is pierced in the person of the shepherd. You also have the aqueous metaphors: the outpouring of the Spirit and the cleansing spring–as well as similes of sonship. 
But in reference to Jesus, this suddenly takes on a more literal force. Jesus really was impaled. His shed blood remits sin. We shift from a metaphor (i.e. a literary device) to a concrete symbol. And what the symbol signifies, really happens. 
Likewise, Jesus is the messianic Son. The "only son," "firstborn," and "shepherd." Not just a simile (i.e. literary device). And Jesus really did suffer–physically and psychologically. 
So once again, the fulfillment is, in a sense, truer than the original setting. In both Ps 22 and Zech 12:10, in relation to their NT counterparts, you have a move from lesser to greater, more figural to more literal–as the OT type or oracle is realized in Christ. One might say, tongue-in-cheek, that the OT writers were ripping these passages of context, whereas the NT writers restored their proper context. 

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