In the Present Tense

July 31, 2009

The Sign of Your coming . . .

Filed under: Uncategorized — edoutlook @ 7:52 pm

We’ve been talking about how the Bible has different pictures of the End time. In so doing, we’ve discovered that the same thing happened to the pioneers in our church, and to the disciples.

Today, I want to look at exaclty how that played out in one account.

Matthew 24 begins with Jesus remarking that the Temple will be destroyed, “not one stone left standing on another.” In response, the disciples asked Jesus an apparently simple question: “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”  (v. 3b)

In their minds, the destruction of the Temple, Christ’s return, and the End were all parts of one single event.  The destruction of the Temple would be the End, as far as they could imagine. Now, probably Jesus could have told them that some of them would live to see the Temple destroyed, but that His coming would be delayed by millennia, but he didn’t. I say ‘probably’ because there is his statement that even he did not know the precise time of his return. Even if he could have rounded it off to say, 2000 years or so, it would have been helpful–to us, maybe. But not to them.

Remember, Daniel asked a more direct question “how long?” and got a very direct answer 2300 years! But look at what it did to Daniel: “I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. .  . I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” We humans don’t deal well with extremely long time spans of say, nearly 300 lifetimes! And at the time Matthew 24 was given, the disciples had a much more stressful time just ahead of them– passion week and the crucifixion. So if Jesus had, in his superior knowledge, teased out the time differential within their question, they might well have been overwhelmed and despaired, as Judas’ fate demonstrates.

So Jesus answered their question, telling them the things they really needed to know concerning each one, but not overwhelming them with unsought and unnecessary detail. He had more to tell them, but they could not bear it right then.

Reading this passsage in Matthew makes me more tentative in my views. I may be in possession of revealed truth in answer to my questions; God may have indeed given me the answers that I sought. But this passage reminds me that, however clear and appropriate God’s answers may be, I may be mistaken about my questions!

To be honest, I see this all the time– in others, alas! more clearly than in myself. People ask what they think is one clear question, when in fact the question consists of several different issues mixed together, and/or contains assumptions which make any answer unclear or mistaken. You know, like the old riddle about why Moses did not take an bees on the Ark?

Because Moses didn’t go on the Ark. That was Noah.

July 29, 2009

Past, Future, and Imagination

Filed under: Bible study, Present Truth, The End — edoutlook @ 5:00 pm

C. S. Lewis wrote that “The past is as much an act of the imagination as the future.” What he meant, I think, is that the way we think of the past is an act of imagination. I touched on this in an earlier post. And this relates directly to Cindy’s question about changing views of the End in the Bible. We tend to think of our own past as one of settled doctrines.

In fact, as a people, SDA ideas of the End have undergone significant changes.  For a while, early pioneers believed that the gospel going to the whole world meant reaching the world through ‘hyphenated Americans,’ that is, reaching Germany through ‘German-Americans,’ China through ‘Chinese-Americans’ and so on. In the earliest days, they really didn’t have a missionary outlook in the truest sense. That came later.

These changes need not be a source of embarrassment. It’s clear that the Disciples originally expected Jesus to return, for the End to come, in their lifetimes. There are strong indications that Paul intended to “take the gospel to the whole [then known] world” all by himself! Only later, in places like Thessalonians and the writings of John do we see an awareness ( a changing awareness) that the End will not happen for some time.

This is simply part of the human condition. God knows the end from the beginning, we do not. Until it happens–and even afterwards, to some extent– our knowledge will remain incomplete, partial. No doubt a good portion of the millennium will be spent sharing stories about what we experienced in those climactic events! As we get closer to the End, our understanding will grow, and probably become clearer and more detailed, just as our image of an object grows clearer and more detailed as we approach it.

Our very name, “Adventist,” proclaims that we have an interest in the future. That is as it should be. But what really matters is what we do, how we live, how we build relationships now. The End will come. But who, and which of us, enjoy what comes after the End depends upon how we live and reflect God’s love to others today.

It is my hope and prayer that my understanding of the End continues to grow–which necessarily means change– and that my reflection of Christ’s character will increase every day. I’m 59 now, and hope to live many years. But violence, accident, or disease might take me at any time. That will be the End for me.

Leaders tell us that the best long-range plan makes clear what we should do today. In the same way, our understanding of the End should inform our daily walk with God, and with our fellow creatures.

July 21, 2009

Different Versions of the End- II

Filed under: Bible study, Culture and the Bible, Present Truth — edoutlook @ 9:45 pm

One of the great joys of my life as a teacher is dealing with children. one of the most important things when it comes to dealing with children is learning to answer their questions.  What I mean is this: all too often, we don’t answer their questions, we answer our questions.  This was pressed home to me one day many years ago as I was teaching in a one-room Adventist school, when a sixth grader looked up from his Bible workbook and asks, “Mr. Dickerson, what’s a whore?”

Two things must be kept in mind: the Bible can be quite frank and graphic in certain passages, and this was a multigrade classroom.  I wasn’t eager for the the first and second graders to become too interested in this topic. Their parents would have questions for me if I didn’t handle this discreetly.  So I simply said, “Why don’t you look that up in the dictionary?” he got up the dictionary, and began paging through it.  Looking over his shoulder, I saw that he was in the “H” section.  So I asked, “are you sure it starts with an ‘H’?”

Nodding enthusiastically, he said, pointing to his Bible, “Yes, it’s right here: hoarfrost.” This exchange impressed upon me forever the importance of providing an appropriate answer for the question — and for the questioner.  The changing understanding of the End time in the Old Testament is, I believe, an example of God doing just that.

For a group of people who had just been released from centuries of slavery, and whose belief system included an unending cycle of time, the radically different understanding we have would have made no sense at all.  So God gave them guidance appropriate to their situation.

It’s somewhat similar to a parent explaining complicated eschatology to a five year old.  It confuses and frightens them, rather than building their faith.  And so what we find in Deuteronomy is roughly equivalent to guidance given to a five year old.  Deuteronomy tells the Israelites that if they obey everything God told them to do, their lives would prosper and they would be happy; if they disobey what God told him to do they would be miserable and die.  We might say it this way, to our five-year-old, “Do what Daddy tells you to do, and things will work out all right.”

As passing time and new experiences broadened the understanding of the Israelites, giving them a more complicated view of evil, God revealed to them increasingly complex explanations of how evil would be dealt with, and a new world of righteousness brought in.  As their need grew, God’s explanation expanded and became more detailed to meet the greater need.  And that’s why we have a developing and growing explanation of the End time in the Bible.

If the message had been given to one people, at one point in time, we would not have this difficulty.  But because the Bible continually interacts with God’s people for more than a thousand years, we have recorded these varying accounts.

As Martin quoted and his comments on the previous post, and as I quoted myself in an earlier post Jesus told the disciples that he had more to tell them but they could not yet bear it.. That is a principal God repeatedly follows in his interactions with human beings.

July 17, 2009

Different versions of the End?

Filed under: Uncategorized — edoutlook @ 10:27 pm

Here’s the last question Cindy sent me (so far). And it’s a doozy!

6.  Why do there seem to be two different versions of the Messianic Second Coming?  Version one is that there will be a cataclysmic event with trumpets and angels and dead being raised.  Version two is that the righteous reign will just sort of slide in, and the earth will worship the one true God, living good long lives, but still apparently dying.  Is one version wrong?  If so, see the question about the fallicy of the Bible.

I was asked to teach a series of “Elder’s Summer Schools” in New Zealand and Australia in 1995. Specifically, they wanted me to teach from my friend Dr. Jon Paulien’s book  “What the Bible Says About the End Time.” One of the most difficult issues I faced is the one Cindy raises. Because, over time, there is a definite change in the portrayal and understanding of the End in the Bible.

Deuteronomy promises that if the children of Israel will obey all of God’s commandments, an age of peace and perfection will come in. That differs markedly from our understanding of the End. Looking at Scripture, we see a progression of understanding, beginning with Deuteronomy.

In Deuteronomy, there is no Messiah per se (no, I’m not forgetting Gen. 3:15). But as time progressed, and the Israelites repeatedly wandered away from God’s commands, it became clear that something, someone, would have to come and lead the way. And the biblical record reflects that growing awareness. The Messiah might have been a judge–remember, the time of the judges takes up about 400 years. But the judges are a mixed lot. So bad, in fact, that the people long for a king. With David and Solomon, who were after all anointed, the idea of an “anointed one” = “messiah” is identified with the King.

At that point, the understanding became that a righteous King would come and lead the people of God to the perfect society. But the kings were worse than the judges. Eventually, their corrupt reign led to the captivity. Suddenly, it became clear that it would never be true that any leader could come and simply lead God’s people to the perfect society. The problem, and the forces, of evil loomed ever stronger. Clearly, there would have to be amighty battle to defeat evil–a battle led by the Messiah.

To summarize, as time went on, the understanding of the problem of sin and evil grew. And as that understanding grew, the explanation of how it would be solved had to change as well.

That’s just the start. More later.

July 13, 2009

Why the silence on Heaven and Hell?

Filed under: Uncategorized — edoutlook @ 5:14 pm

I’ve really enjoyed working with Cindy’s questions. Anyone reading should feel free to submit their own. I can answer all your questions, because I can say “I don’t know.” But now to Cindy’s question 5.

5.  Why did the OT never speak about a Heaven or Hell?  Why was there no mention of life after death directly

I doubt if I can give a definitive answer, other than “I don’t know for certain.” However, there is an answer that makes a great deal of sense to me. It’s based on a principle enunciated by Jesus in John 16:12. “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear .”

I think this is pretty much always the case.  God is infinite, and we are finite, so he always knows more than we do, and more than we can take in.  Especially in our sinful state, there are emotional and other limitations which make it impossible for us to receive even the information we might desperately need.  I have a workshop, for instance, which talks about peoples deepest needs.  I have discovered that it works best to give the first session 1 day, and then have an intervening  evening before the second session. that’s because the emotions aroused in the first session so preoccupy the participants that they cannot receive any more information until they have time to process their emotions.

It may seem to us that a discussion of heaven, hell, and the afterlife would be fundamental, and important to deal with up front.  But God apparently thought differently.  Exactly why is never stated.  So the best we can do is consider the circumstances, and try and deduce why God made that choice.

Rather than focusing on what the Old Testament does not say, perhaps we can understand where people were at the time by looking at what God emphasized.  It seems to me that God spends a great deal of time in the Old Testament describing his nature, his purposes, and his intentions.  And when I look at ancient mythology and religion, those emphases make more and more sense.  Most ancient deities were perpetually angry, consumed by the same vices as humans, and often capricious.  By contrast, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a God of love, holiness, and unwavering righteousness.  God’s divine attributes were so alien to the prevailing contemporary culture, that they had a hard time realizing what he was like. and so he had to repeatedly state and demonstrate his true nature.,

If it is true, as we say today, that salvation is a saving relationship with God, then it was also true back then.  And how one relates to an angry, capricious God, is radically different than how one relates to a loving, constant God. I believe that the relationship God wants us to have with him is one built on trust.  But it is impossible to trust an angry, capricious God.  Instead of trusting such a deity, we try to buy him off. And in fact, that is what both ancient religions and modern legalism consist of: attempts to buy off God.  If this is true, if salvation does consist of a trusting relationship with God, then the first thing God has to do, is to establish that He is trustworthy.

It matters little what the afterlife is like, if the only way to get there is by trusting God, and the only gods you know are untrustworthy. In fact, the more vivid hell becomes, the more difficult it is to trust God, and the more likely we are to try to buy him off.  That’s one of the reasons Satan loves — if it can truly be said Satan loves anything — to make people believe that God will torture some people forever.  People rightly conclude that a God who would do such a thing is neither loving nor trustworthy.

So that’s where I come down.  I believe that the emphasis on God’s nature which I find in the Old Testament, and the relative silence on a number of other issues, arises because it is so important for us to understand that God loves us, and that He can be trusted.  If we don’t understand that, if we don’t come to trust him completely, then literally nothing else matters.  I don’t know if that’s enough for you, Cindy, I don’t know if that answers all your questions on this particular issue.  I’ll be glad to respond further if you desire.  But that’s my basic understanding.

July 9, 2009

What was nailed to the cross?

Filed under: Bible study, Law and Legalism, Present Truth, Sabbath — edoutlook @ 2:54 pm

In my last post, I promised to take up the question about what was nailed to the cross in Colossians 2. Cindy said that every argument about what was nailed to the cross could also be applied to the Sabbath. I kind of agree, except that most of the arguments about what was nailed to the cross miss what the text originally meant.

Most of the time, the Greek behind the NT doesn’t matter. We have been blessed with such excellent translations of the Bible, that the vast majority of passages can be easily understood without recourse to the Greek. And we have been blessed with many resources that help with the Greek, so that the believer does not need to feel excluded when the original language is discussed.

But the word translated “handwriting of ordinances” by the KJV in Col. 2 is a case where the Greek matters quite a lot. Some have interpreted this to mean the 10 commandments, or simply the law of Moses. But the Greek word here is not nomos, which means law, nor is it entolē, commandment. Instead, it is a word used only this one time in the Bible, cheirographon, literally “handwriting.”

As mentioned, it does not occur elsewhere in the Bible, but we know quite a lot about it from contemporary culture. The best translation, as I understand it (and I am far from an expert in Greek), is the NASB’s rendering: “the certificate of debt.” The NASB renders the full text as follows:

13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Still, this is one of those cases where we can understand all the words, but may still have difficulty with the meaning. For me, the best rendering that gets at the meaning of the text, is from the Philips translation:

You, who were spiritually dead because of your sins and your uncircumcision (i.e. the fact that you were outside the Law), God has now made to share in the very life of Christ! He has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross.

Now, there is nothing in the Greek about guilt which “hung over our heads.” That is a figure of speech missing from the Greek. But that is the sense of the Greek. We need no longer be haunted by guilt for all our failings.

So, in that sense, our violations of the Sabbath are included. But nothing in this verse indicates that we are suddenly free to fornicate, or murder, or violate any of the 10 commandments. In fact, in the very next chapter, Paul says:

But now, put all these things behind you. No more evil temper or furious rage: no more evil thoughts or words about others, no more evil thoughts or words about God, and no more filthy conversation. Don’t tell each other lies any more, for you have finished with the old man and all he did

Yes, our guilt was taken care of at the cross. No. we shouldn’t go around doing bad things–we’ve left all that behind.

Finally, as concerns the Sabbath vs. the feasts. The feasts were instituted to remember certain specific saving actions of God for Israel, and to point forward to a greater saving act in the life, death, and teachings of Jesus. The Sabbath, by contrast was woven into creation itself. God created the world in six days, (Yes, I affirm that, and I have no problem dealing with science), and set aside the seventh day to commune with us.

When Jesus died, the reason for all the sacrifices and feasts disappeared. In Paul’s language, the shadow had met reality, so why focus on the shadow? But Jesus reaffirmed the Sabbath in his death. How so?

God created the world in six days–creation week– and rested the seventh. The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the action that initiated the chain of events that led to his death, took place on Sunday–the first day of the week. We call the next seven days “passion week,” but I call it “redemption week.” For just at evening on the sixth day (the hour of the evening sacrifice, we are told) Jesus cried out “It is finished.” The context makes it clear this was a cry of triumph, not resignation. Jesus had accomplished the work of redemption, and he died. He rested in the tomb during the hours of the Sabbath. Thus redemption week mirrored creation week.

When we observe the Sabbath, we rest from our own efforts to save our selves, rest in Christ’s finished work of redemption. Far from engaging legalism, we celebrate creation, redemption (a new creation), and grace.

I hope that answers your question, Cindy.

July 7, 2009

Is “Forever” forever?

Filed under: Bible study, Culture and the Bible, Present Truth — edoutlook @ 3:16 am

Back to Cindy’s questions:

4.  If the feast days were given to be celebrated “forever” and for all generations, why do we not celebrate them now?  Granted, there were sacrifices involved, but God never actually said to stop celebrating them.  All of the Adventist arguments for the Sabbath not being “nailed to the cross” could be used for the feast days as well.

You may get tired of this, but the first step in responsible interpretation is alwasy “exegesis,” which can be reoughly described  as answering the question, “What did the author (the human author) think he was saying?”

And that always has to take his culture and historical setting, the situation into which it was written, into account. Their is a fancy theological term for this — as if exegesis wasn’t bad enough!– but it’s German and I’ll let it go.

What did the original author, and his audience, think it meant? In one way, they thought of it as ‘unending,’ just as we do. But Jude tells us that Sodom is an example of ‘eternal’ fire. Well, with Google Earth we should be able to get nearly real time images of the area around the southern end of the Dead Sea, where Sodom is thought to have been. No fire and smoke are still burning there.

So there’s a sense of ‘forever,’ ‘eternal,’ or ‘unending,’ which means, ‘as long as its purpose remains.’ Sodom’s fire was ‘never’ put out– it continued until everything flammable was consumed. In that way it was eternal. And everything regarding the Israelite cultus (that’s a technical term, not a slam) was to continue. . . as long as its purpose remained. That’s why Matthew tells us that the curtain between the Holy and Most Holy places in the Temple was torn “from the top down” — a supernatural declaration that the purpose of the the Temple no longer remained.

So all those feasts were to continue, “for ever in your generations.” that is, “to keep the purpose fresh in everyone’s minds,” until the ultimate purpose, the life and death of Jesus, made the feasts unnecessary. The pointed forward to His great work. Once He had done that work, the work spoke for itself.

Someone has said the Old Testament can be summarized by Isaac’s question at Mt. Moriah, “Where is the lamb?” and that the New Testament be summarized by John the Baptist’s answer: “Behold the Lamb of God.”

Another way of looking at it would be this.  Three years ago, BOTH my daughters got married within a 5 month period. Our calendars were full of dates in preparation; dates for the gowns, dates for measuring for tuxes (you should see me in a tux!), dates for bridal showers, dates for relatives arriving, and finally — the date for the wedding.

Well, now that they’re married, we don’t keep looking back at all those dates, all those tasks. They were preparing us for the wedding, so now we look at– the wedding pictures, of course! Why focus on the preparations, when the real event has come and gone?

That leaves the question of the Sabbath, and what was nailed to the Cross in Colossians. As it happens, I was blessed in my Seminary days to have taken a class from Dr. William Johnsson, the recently retired editor of the Adventist Revies. It was titled, “Law, Grace, and Freedom.” We went through every passage in the NT related to the law, and spent some time on what was nailed to the cross. I’ll share that next time.


Believe it or not, there is one sense in which the feasts continue. I’d like to direct your attention to the book of Revelation, chapter 21, which has these somewhat puzzling words:

1And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men. . . .

This, of course, is describing what happens after the end of sin. But it seems strange, the part about ‘no sea.’

There are two things that come into play here. In the Old Testament, water repeatedly got in the way of God’s people as they sought to reach the Land of Promise. First the Red Sea, and then the Jordan had to be parted, to let the people reach their promised home.

I believe that ‘no more sea,’ in this passage, indicates that with sin and death destroyed, there will never again be anything to separate God from His people, nothing to keep them from possessing their promised home. And, in this passage the New Jerusalem is being described.

The second part is this: All the feasts except one were celebrated before the Israelites took possession of Canaan. Only one, the feast of the Tabernacles, was saved until later. During that feast, they lived in ‘booths,’ or ‘tabernacles,’ to remember their time in the wilderness, and thus celebrate their possession of the land of Promise.

But look at the beauty and majesty of Revelation. For after the saints take possession of the New Jerusalem “the tabernacle of God is with men.” I almost cannot type the words for the awe I feel. Revelation 21 depicts God as celebrating His return to us. Exodus 25:8 has been fulfilled–He now dwells among His people. Our sins had separated us from Him–but Sin had prevented Him from fully dwelling with us. And Rev. 21 shows us the final, everlasting celebration of the feast of the tabernacles–Immanuel, God with us!

July 1, 2009

Messianic Prophecies Out of Context?

Filed under: Bible study, Inspiration — edoutlook @ 3:47 pm

One of my favorite questions. It’s a really good one, and it may take more than one post to answer.

3.  I am reading the Messianic prophecies, and many of them are entirely out of context.  David was not talking about Jesus’ death, he was talking about his own experience feeling hounded by his enemies.  Things where we point out and say, “See?  That is Jesus there!” in the OT are talking about something entirely different in context.  So in the OT, we don’t care about context, but suddenly in the NT, we care a lot about context.  Why the flip?

Several years ago, I wrote an article for SIGNS on this topic, titled ” Did Ancient Prophets Predict Jesus’ Birth?
Although constrained by the assignment I had been given, it still serves as a beginning point.

Here’s a short quote from that article

Take the passage in which Matthew quotes from Isaiah 7 about a virgin giving birth to a son: “ ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.’ ” But the birth of that Child was recorded in chapter 8. How could it also be a prophecy of Jesus, to be born centuries later? Or what about the time Matthew cites the prophet Hosea: “ ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’ ” In that passage, God told Hosea He loved Israel enough to deliver them from Egyptian slavery. How can that be a prediction about the life of Jesus, to come many years in the future?”

Matthew, in fact, is full of such hermeneutical shenanigans (Cofession time: I’m working on a Biblical narrative in which Matthew explains his gospel to a long-lost friend right now, so I’m kind of excited about this topic).

The first thing to realize is that Matthew’s Gospel is written for the Jews.  There is plenty of evidence for this idea.  Literally first of all, Matthew begins in the genealogy that demonstrates Jesus is a view, and a descendent of the royal line.  Another evidence would be the five very rabbinic sermons in Matthew.  There is a lot more evidence, and if need be, I will produce it.  But if you will accept the basic idea that Matthew was at the Jews for now, we can move forward.

This focus on the Jews makes Matthew’s Gospel different in a number of ways.  In Matthew, the Kings come to see the baby Jesus, but not the shepherds.  Only Matthew records the slaughter of the innocents.  There are many other ways where Matthew’s distinctly Jewish outlook shapes his account of Jesus’ life and teachings.  In the first five chapters of his Gospel, Matthew is endeavoring to demonstrate that Jesus is not just the fulfillment of a few Old Testament prophecies, but rather is the fulfillment of all of Israel’s history, all of God’s saving acts on behalf of his people.

In Matthew one, he shows that Jesus is the new king, and the King was always anointed, that makes Jesus the Lord’s anointed, the Messiah.  When he quotes Isaiah 7, about a virgin conceiving, Matthew was aware that the baby prophesied in Chapter 7, was born in Chapter 8.  But in Matthew’s view, that baby foreshadowed the baby Jesus.  It may seem far-fetched to us, but it made sense to his Jewish audience.  Especially when you consider the rest of the events that he notes.

In Chapter 2 of Matthew, the kings visit, seeking the newborn King, and with gifts fit for a king.  This is further evidence to Matthew and his audience that Jesus must have been a king.  Herod confirms that, by seeking to destroy his rival for the throne.  This action, for Matthew, indicates that Jesus is also the new Moses.  How can that be?  Because Jesus, like Moses, is the only one to survive in his generation.

Then Matthew tells us that Joseph took Jesus to Egypt, and thus reenacting the history of Israel. When Israel leftEgypt, it did so by passing through the waters of the Red Sea.  Matthew has Jesus returned from Egypt, and immediately passes through the waters of baptism.  He sees Jesus as reenacting all of Israel’s history.  When Israel passed through the Red Sea, it moved on to the desert.  In Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life, Jesus goes directly from baptism into — you probably guessed it—in the desert!  While there, Jesus is tempted three times.  He answers all three temptations with quotations from Deuteronomy.  Specifically, from the portions of Deuteronomy that are looking back at the 40 years wondering in the desert.  Oh yes, and Jesus stands 40 days in the desert.

Just to make things even more interesting, while in the desert, the Israelites spent a full year at Sinai.  While there, Moses brought them the law.  In Matthew, immediately after the wilderness temptations, comes the sermon on the Mount.  In other words, the new Moses climbs a new mountain and brings a new law.  Lest there be any doubt about it, Jesus repeatedly quotes the laws of Moses, and either extends for overturns them.  Repeatedly, he says, “You have heard it said… but I say.”  And every time he is quoting the law of Moses.

I could go on, but this is getting somewhat lengthy.  I hope I have demonstrated that for Matthew, Jesus is the living fulfillment of all of Israel’s history.  So, when Hosea is told, “Out of Egypt have I called my son,” Hosea understood it as a past saving action of God.  Matthew does not deny that, but rather sees that earlier action as a foreshadowing of the greater saving action to be realize in the redemptive life of Jesus.

I hope I have given some understanding the answer to your question.  I certainly welcome feedback on this issue.  Anyone wishing to explore this further should read The Israel of God in Prophecy, by Hans La Rondelle, to which I am heavily indebted.

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