The New in the Old No Longer Concealed
There is an old saying that is quite true and informative about the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. It goes like this: The New is in the Old concealed; the Old is in the New revealed. And that’s what you see in the Bible. We are accustomed to seeing the Old Testament explained by the New Testament. In so many places, we find in the gospels something like: “And this was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet.…” Then we can draw the line. We’re not as accustomed to seeing the New Testament in the Old. But actually, the New is throughout the Old. Indeed, we are to see the gospel everywhere in the Old Testament, and to read it in the light of Christ. Our risen Lord said as much when, in what was no doubt the greatest Bible lesson ever given, he explained to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). And now the New Testament shines forth in the Old, no longer concealed but revealed.
So we take up the Old Testament (specifically the Law) during the Season of Lent, beginning with Exodus, in hopes of discovering Christ. But first, remember that Lent is about self-examination. And self-examination happens when we place our lives under the magnifying glass of the Law. It’s not pretty. We see things about ourselves that we don’t see when we have our self-respecting blinders on – which is about all of the time! The Law forces me to compare myself with God’s righteous standards, indeed, His holy nature. And if I am honest with myself, I am forced to take my place alongside Job and say, “Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (42:6). The purpose of the Law is to drive us to Christ as we despair of our own righteousness (Romans 7:7-25; Galatians 3:19-29).
So here in Exodus, with our spiritual ancestors, the people of Israel, our pilgrimage both as the people of God and as sinful individuals begins. We see ourselves as slaves in Egypt, oppressed by the iron fist of Pharaoh. Pharaoh is our flesh, the world, and the devil and his demonic hosts. To these we are held captive; from these we must be freed. And we are utterly unable to deliver ourselves. We become complacent under our cruel taskmasters, and accustomed to our humiliating servitude. Such is the one blinded by sin. Eventually, we will even prefer slavery to sin to the glorious freedom of the children of God. O how we need a Savior!