The Hourglass of Biblical History

In his discussion of biblical history and the relationship between Old Testament Israel and the New Testament Church, John Bright correctly observes:

Through the Old Testament the reader senses that the focus has been continually narrowed.  It begins with the broad canvas of creation and tells of the dealings of God with the whole race of mankind (Gen. 1-11); then it narrows to the people Israel whom God had called to be the special servants of his purpose; then still further to the search for a pure Remnant within Israel fit to be vessels of the divine intention.  At the center of the Bible’s drama the focus has narrowed to one man: the Messiah, Christ. [Consider Matthew 1:1-17].  But from Christ the focus again turns outward–first to the new Israel which is his Church and then through that Church, into the entire world.  The Church is called to take up–[i.e. continue and/or fulfill, more than replace]— the destiny of the true Israel, Servant Israel, and become the missionary people of the Kingdom of God (John Bright, The Kingdom of God [Nashville: Abingdon, 1953], 232-33).

Bright’s description shapes biblical history into an hourglass with Jesus Christ at the center.  Jesus’ central place in the biblical storyline makes him the narrow and necessary passage through which all the promises of the Old Testament must come to the post-Pentecost people of God.  Well said JB.

Sola Deo Gloria, dss