Monday, September 2, 2013

Jesus on Every Page

Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament. By David Murray. Thomas Nelson: Nashville. pp. 256. 2013. (List Price $16.99 Paperback | $9.99 Kindle)

The Old Testament is like a deep overgrown jungle to many Christians today. It has been little explored but for a river that cuts through the landscape and has been traveled by all who pass by there. The vast interior remains an impenetrable darkness that few have traveled and most are unwilling to explore. It seems distant, foreign, and opposed to the "civilized" society that represents our familiarity with the New Testament.

Recently, however, more and more books are appearing that seek to map out and connect the Old Testament with the New. Creation with New Creation. Promised Land with Promised One. King David with King Jesus. Jesus on Every Page is one of those books.

The book is split into two parts: the first serving as an argument for looking for Jesus on every page of the Old Testament, and the second seeking to give a methodology for doing so. The writers of the New Testament believed Jesus could be found there, so David Murray tries to show us how.

Murray presents various ways of looking at the Old Testament and seeing Jesus there. He begins with Jesus' involvement in the creation and from there moves on to character studies, theophanies (appearances of Christ in human form), the law, history, the prophets, pictures and symbols, covenants, and  finishes it out with Proverbs and Psalms.

Throughout the book Murray keeps his language simple and avoids using big theological terms when possible, and clearly defines them when he does. His observations do not necessarily spring from a detailed exposition of the text, but from a thoughtful outworking of the interconnectivity between the Testaments. For instance, in talking about creation, he says, "He made the angel that He knew would encourage Him in the desperate straits Gethsemane. When these angels came to Him, He knew them; He recognized them; He made them for this very purpose, to assist Him in His great work of redemption" (p.48).

Although I agree with most of what they has to say, I do believe he occasionally oversteps the bounds of what can be shown and proven from the Bible. For instance he says, "When David committed adultery and murder, he confessed, 'Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight.' His crimes were all the harder for him to bear because he committed them against his Savior, the Son of God, the coming Messiah whom he loved and trusted" (p.63). Although King David may have had this understanding, I do not see it conclusively from Psalm 51, and Murray doesn't bother to defend his assertion.

Likewise he also interprets the order of creation in a way that seems foreign to the context of Genesis. He says, "… Moses was using the creation account to explain to Israel, the first readers of this book, how God redeemed them from Egypt and took them to the border of the promised land. He took them from virtual nonexistence in Egypt and gave them life. He took them from darkness to light. He found them formless and empty and shaped them and filled them as a nation. Genesis 1-2 gave Israel more insight into the kind of Redeemer that God was and what the redemption from Egypt was like" (p.49). While I realize that Genesis was written to the newly liberated Israelites, I don't see the creation account as a kind of metaphorical description of their exodus from Egypt, but rather a description of creation itself.

In short, I applaud David Murray for his book. Jesus is indeed on every page of the Old Testament. We would do better to study this more.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher for the purposes of review. The opinions expressed are my own.

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