Text: 2 Cor.5:17
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” [KJV]
Part 2A: Explaining The Scriptures.
From the beginning of the Christian Faith until now, we have had scholars who explained (and even analyzed) the Scriptures. This all began in the New Testament from Jesus Christ, then the Apostles (and early believers) and then some other believers through history till date. [I’m particular about Christianity hence, I didn’t mention the Scribes].
At this point, we need to examine what the Scriptures is: The word, “Scriptures” appears mainly in the New Testament part of the Bible (though it also appeared once in Dan.10:21). When it is used or mentioned, it refers to the collection of “writings” of the Old Testament i.e the Old Testament canon.
There is evidence in the Bible and other historical materials that the Old Testament canon of scriptures were already completed at the time Jesus was on earth. For example, Jesus declared that the Sadducees were in error because they don’t know the Scriptures:
“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.” [KJV]
Jesus further exalted the Scriptures in Matt.5:17-18 and Jn.10:35.
“17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” [KJV]
“If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;” [KJV]
Josephus, a first century A.D Jewish historian ( => he lived in the days of Jesus, and wrote down in various documents a historical account of the events and activities of the Jewish people in his days. He was not a Christian), reveals in his works that the succession of prophets in Israel ended in the days of Nehemiah with the book of Malachi (400B.C) which was about 400 years before John (the Baptist) came prophesying. (See the book, “From God To Us, How we got our Bible” by Norman L. Giesler and William E.Nix, Ch.6, page85).
The end of this prophetic succession meant the close of the canon.
This then shows why Jesus says that the Scriptures ‘must be fulfiled.’
“I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.” [KJV]
JESUS EXPLAINS THE SCRIPTURES:
“25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” [KJV]
“44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” [KJV]
Before we proceed, let’s examine an important concept; Jesus, in explaining the Scriptures used the word, “Christ”. This word from the Greek word “kristos” is an equivalent of the Hebrew word, “mashiach” which is translated “Messiah”. It means “the Anointed One”. The word Messiah appears only in Dan.9:25-26 and is used in reference to the coming ruler of Israel. For the sake of clarity in understanding the message contained there, we would read from the Easy English Version.
“25 I want you to know and understand. Someone will tell men that they must build Jerusalem again. After 49 years (in other words, 7 × 7), people will build Jerusalem city again. They will build streets and a wall. But God’s people will have much trouble during this time. Then there will be 434 years (in other words, 62 × 7) more. Then, the special ruler that God has chosen will come. 26 After the 434 years, people will kill the special ruler that God has sent. He will have nothing. Then a foreign ruler will come with his army and he will destroy the city and the holy place. The end will be like a fast river. War will continue until the end of that time. God has said that people would destroy things.” [Easy English]
There is biblical evidence that the scriptures concerning the Messiah were already known to the Jewish scholars. This becomes obvious when we examine (for example) the following scriptures: Matt.2:3-6 and Matt.22:41-46.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. [KJV]
Take note that the teachers of the Law could tell “Where the Christ (Messiah) would be born.” Even though Messiah was only spoken of in Dan.9:25-26. This means they had done much studies and research which revealed other aspects about the Messiah.
41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. [KJV]
Here, there are two things to note: First, the people knew (and agreed about) who’s son the Messiah is, and secondly, no one opposed Jesus even though He quoted Psalms 110:1 as a messianic prophecy. In fact, everyone became afraid of asking him questions. If Jesus were wrong, everyone around would have a reason to speak against Him. This is a pointer to the fact that it was accurate (or theologically correct).
Hence, it is not unapt to say that the Jewish Scholars had already concluded theologically who the Christ is and portions of scriptures that testify about Him.