Christ in all the Scriptures
In every part of the Bible, Christ is to be found––dimly and indistinctly at the beginning, more clearly and plainly in the middle, and fully and completely at the end––but really and substantially everywhere. As the Lord Himself demonstrated, the Scriptures are full from end to end with “the things concerning himself” (Luke 24: 27).
Christ’s sacrifice and death for sinners, and Christ’s kingdom and future glory are what we must bring to bear on any book of Scripture that we read. Christ’s cross and Christ’s crown are the things that we must hold fast if we are to find our way through any apparent difficulties in the Word. He is the only key that will unlock the obscure and puzzling places of the Bible. Some people complain that they do not understand Scripture, but then they do not use the key provided. To them the Bible is like the hieroglyphics of Egypt.
It was Christ to whom Abel looked when he offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Not only was the heart of Abel better than that of his brother, but he showed his knowledge of vicarious sacrifice and his faith in such a work. He offered the firstlings of his flock along with their blood, and in so doing declared his belief that without the shedding of blood there is no remission.
It was Christ crucified who was set forth in every OT Sacrifice. Every animal slain and offered on an altar was a practical confession that a Saviour was looked for who would take away man’s sin by suffering in his place (see 1 Peter 3: 18). It is absurd to suppose that an unmeaning slaughter of innocent beasts without a distinct object in view could please God.
It was Christ of whom Enoch prophesied in the days of abounding wickedness before the flood: “Behold” he said “[the] Lord has come amidst his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all” (Jude 14, 15).
It was Christ to whom Abraham looked when he dwelt in tents in the land of promise. He believed that in his seed, in one born of his family, all the nations of the earth would be blessed. By faith he saw Christ’s day and was glad (see John 8: 56.).
As he lay dying, it was Christ of whom Jacob spoke to his sons. He marked out the tribe out of which He would be born, and foretold that ‘gathering together’ unto him which is yet to be accomplished: “The sceptre will not depart from Judah, Nor the lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh come, And to him will be the obedience of peoples” (Gen. 49:10).
It was Christ who was the substance of the ceremonial law which God gave to Israel by the hand of Moses. The morning and evening sacrifices, the continual shedding of blood, the altar, the mercy seat, the high priest, the Passover, the Day of Atonement, the scapegoat––all these were so many pictures, types and emblems of Christ and His work. God had compassion upon the weakness of His people. He taught them ‘Christ’ line upon line, and, as we teach little children, by similitudes. It was in this sense especially that the law was a tutor to lead the Jews “up to Christ” (Gal. 3:24).
It was Christ to whom God directed the attention of Israel by all the daily miracles which were done before their very eyes in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud and fire which guided them, the manna from heaven which every morning fed them, the water from the smitten rock which followed them––all and each were figures of Christ. The brazen serpent, on that memorable occasion when the plague of fiery serpents was sent upon them, was an emblem of Christ (see John 3: 14).
It was Christ of whom all the judges were types. Joshua and David and Gideon and Jephthah and Samson, and all the rest whom God raised up to deliver Israel from captivity––all were emblems of Christ. Weak and unstable and faulty as some of them were, they were meant to remind the tribes of that far higher Deliverer who was yet to come.
It was Christ of whom David the king was a type. Anointed and chosen when few gave him honour, despised and rejected by Saul and all the tribes of Israel, persecuted and obliged to flee for his life, a man of sorrow much of his life, and yet at length a conqueror––in all these things David represented Christ.
It was Christ whom all the prophets from Isaiah to Malachi spoke. They saw through a dim window obscurely. They sometimes dwelt on his His sufferings, and sometimes on His glory that would follow (see 1 Peter 1: 11). They did not always mark out for us the distinction between Christ’s first coming and Christ’s second coming. Like two candles in a straight line, one behind the other, they sometimes saw both the advents at the same time, and spoke of them with one breath. They were moved by the Holy Spirit to write sometimes of Christ crucified, and sometimes of Christ’s kingdom. But whether Jesus dying, or Jesus reigning, Christ was the thought you will always find uppermost in their minds.
It is Christ, I hardly need say, of whom the whole NT is full. The Gospels are Christ living, Christ speaking and Christ moving among men. The Acts are Christ preached, published and proclaimed. The Epistles are Christ written of, explained and exalted. But all through, from first to last, there is one name above every other, and that name is the name of Christ.
I charge every reader of this paper to ask himself what the Bible means to him. Is it a Bible in which you have found nothing more than good moral precepts and sound advice? Or is it a Bible were you have found Christ? If not, I tell you plainly, you have hitherto used your Bible to very little purpose. You are like a man who studies the solar system, and leaves out the sun, the centre of it all.