Christ is the Expectation of God’s Standard for Service

Christ who is the Lord is also the Servant of the Lord. He is the true vine, the true Son, the true Israel. Where a righteous servant of the Lord appears in Old Testament history, it is the true Servant who is prefigured. God makes his covenant, claiming his people as his, and giving them a claim on Him. “Lord” and “Servant” express that relation. The Lord’s demand to Pharaoh was, “Let my people go, that they may serve me” (Ex. 10:3).

Serving the Lord means worship and obedience. Jesus Christ consummates the covenant relation from both sides. The Old Testament promises the coming of the Lord and also the coming of the Servant of the Lord. When the Lord condemns the failure of Israel’s shepherds to care for the sheep, he declares that he himself will come to shepherd them (Ezek. 34:11-16). He also says that he will set up one shepherd, his servant David, over them to feed them: “I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them” (Ezek. 34:24, NIV).

Old Testament history is prophetic history, describing covenant blessings, the covenant curse, and the wonder of God’s great salvation to come in the latter days. For the “day of the LORD” to come, for God’s kingdom to come, the covenant must be fulfilled from both sides. The actions and roles of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David, and the rest are not to be set alongside the person and work of Jesus Christ as less effective performances of the same kind of service. The coming of the Messiah does not take us back to a golden age of the past, restoring its glories. Rather, the coming of Christ brings the fulfilment, the realisation of what was anticipated by God’s servants, the saviours, prophets, kings, priests, and judges of the Old Covenant.

The typological idea of the consummation of God’s redemptive plan appears to be the heart of the Old Testament eschatology. Thus the typological idea of consummation of salvation is the core; the concept of restoration providing the relevant form.



Categories: Theology

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