Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This fulfilled...

Matthew's infancy narrative describes Joseph taking his young family to Egypt until it was safe to come back. And Matthew says, "In this way what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet was fulfilled: 'I called my Son out of Egypt'" (Matt 2:15; quoting Hos 11:1). It's interesting to note that Hosea wasn't even making a prediction; he was describing history that was already about seven centuries gone by.[1]

It's not a prediction, so Matthew's idea of fulfillment has to be broad enough to include some other dynamic than prediction and its fulfillment. Perhaps the shorthand for explaining this is to speak of typology. If you will, Israel was a type of Jesus Christ; or Jesus is the antitype of Old Testament Israel. One of my old seminary professors once said, "Jesus was the 'remnant' of Israel reduced to One."[2] Matthew saw in God's pattern of preserving Israel in the Old Testament a foreshadowing of his preservation of Jesus in the New.

Maybe Matthew learned this way of reading the Old Testament from course notes taken during the Emaeus Road lesson in Christological hermeneutics, or Christocentric biblical theology (Luke 24:25-27, 44-47). I'm thinking that Paul must have found a copy of those lecture notes too, since he said, "Every one of Godʼs promises are 'Yes' in [Christ]" (2 Cor 1:20).
And Paul drew conclusions that we should also follow: "therefore also through him the 'Amen' is spoken, to the glory we give to God." From Genesis to Revelation, it's all ultimately about Christ.
1. If we see the Exodus occurring in the 15th century BC (1446-1406 BC) and see Hosea as an 8th century prophet.
2. Raymond Dillard. I think you can find that in the Dillard & Longman Old Testament Introduction.
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