Saturday, 19 July 2008

Childs on Jesus in the Old Testament

In our opinion, Jesus Christ is in the Old Testament to that degree in which true and obedient Israel took shape. He fulfilled by his obedience to the will of God the task unfulfilled by Israel. However, the humanity of Jesus Christ was prefigured to that degree to which Israel did respond in obedience. In the institutions of Israel, as well as in the prophets, the "Suffering Servant," the "I" of the Psalms, a reality appeared which found its wholeness in Christ. The New Testament goes far beyond the point of understanding the work of Christ in the Old Testament merely in terms of his role as the Eternal Word. Rather, the humanity of Jesus Christ, who is true Israel, was forming itself in the Old Covenant [*].
I should point out here that Glen, author of the Barthian blog Christ is the Truth, has a thread dealing with Christ in the Old Testament. Given the Barthian flavour of this quote as well as most of Childs' theology, I hope to find time to read this series in order to help me grasp Childs' theology better.

Go here for Wilhem Vischer's approach.

[*] B.S. Childs, "Prophecy and Fulfillment: A Study of Contemporary Hermeneutics," Interpretation 12 no 3 (1958), 270, 1.


Adam Luebke said...

Interesting idea that Christ's humanity was truly Israel. I am always interested in this stuff, but have found no reason to place a firm belief in any of it.

Phil Sumpter said...

Well, if you'd like to discuss the issue feel free.

Anonymous said...

Hi Phil,
Thanks for the links! I probably should say that my influences in this area are not simply (or mainly) Barthian. I'd say Justin Martyr, Calvin on OT/NT continuity (in Institutes), John Owen on Appearances of the Son of God in OT (from Christologia or from his introductory essays to Hebrews commentary) and AT Hanson on 'Jesus in the OT' are most formative for me.

But I see two Barthian themes in this view:
1) Christ is the one Word and Wisdom of the Father - Apart from knowing *Him* (I would add - in all His concrete particularity) there is no knowledge of God (in either testament).
2) We don't need to give the OT a 'second sense' in order to see it as Christian Scripture.

Anyway, happy to interact as and when.

Blessings in Him,

Phil Sumpter said...


That's a healthy mix. I actually own John Owen's systematic works. Haven't read them yet, though. Can I find something in there?

I look forward to reading your thread and seeing how you justify these two statements. They certainly sound interesting! I just don't know when. Work, work, work.