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Look to the Rock: Old Testament Background to Our Understanding of Christ (Bible speaks today) [Paperback]

Alec Motyer

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An Old Testament background to our understanding of Christ. A demonstration of how the leading themes of the Old Testament are fulfilled, and climax, in Jesus Christ.

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Compares To The Promise 9 May 2009
By Jacques Schoeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
From Genesis 3:15 redemptive history witnessed to the unfolding work of salvation, finally to terminate on the work and Person of Christ. The climactic realization of the promise was the messianic hope fulfilled, to which Christ gave testimony on the road to Emmaus. In the history of redemption Motyer readily admits 'that it was the covenant which gave coherence to each and every aspect of it.' p 16 Motyer's work is certainly not limited to OT revelation though. The prevailing hermeneutic in understanding the OT, as applied by Motyer, is to view revelation from its completed form; thus a very important consideration is the fact that the NT is the propositional grid through which OT promise is interpreted.

"That rock was Christ." 1 Cor 10:4

Motyer enters the domain where redemption and all resulting revelation is interpreted by the Christ-event, for this is what he proposes to be the superseding theme of the Bible. In studying the OT as a background to understanding Christ, Motyer elects to begin with the book of Judges as best suited to elicit faith in 'the themes of king and kingdom'. The great failures of great leaders serve to propel the divine mercy toward the institution of the monarchy. The point of this exercise is precisely to demonstrate that faith cannot be placed in earthly kingdoms nor earthly kings - a point well made by the anti-monarchic feelings of the prophet Samuel, pp. 26-7.

The theocratical disillusionment was the seed-bed for the messianic ideal, and especially the Psalms and prophets 'sample the enigma of the person of the coming king, but the solution to the enigma awaits its realization in the Lord Jesus Christ.' As the prophet responsible for delivering God's promise to David, Nathan's prophecy is 'a major link forged between David and Abraham by Nathan's description of the coming line of David and his "seed" - a key word in the Abrahamic covenant.' Motyer does not spend an inordinate amount of time contradicting critical thought. On a more acute level, he integrates the themes of Biblical Theology with both simplicity and profundity: 'It must be noted additionally that this "seed" is qualified by the description "who will come from your own body", an expression taken directly from Gen 15:4. A further link between David and Abraham is formed by the motif of "making the name great". This was the Lord's promise to David (2 Sam 7:9), but it was first made to Abraham (Gen 12:2) and is found only in these two places in the OT.' p 32

Motyer's work is not chronological, and key redemptive events are not placed in sequential order, but under minor themes that envisage Christ as the ultimate consummation. He adumbrates the argument from his earlier chapters that Christ is the central theme of Scripture through a scheduled stop-over at Mt Sinai, the setting of the decalogue. 'At two key points the initial word of the Lord to His people is the word of grace.' p 41 Motyer overwhelmingly demonstrates the divine monergism, laying the foundation for the one overarching covenant of grace. As an oath-ratifying revelation, the covenant is given immaculate treatment by Motyer. Included in the discussions are the succession of Noahic and Abrahamic covenants, covenant signs, Passover as atonement and substitution, and future covenant expectations as promised of the prophets. A proper concept of covenant by Motyer establishes the principle of unity among all the individual covenants.

Subsidized by grace, Motyer's focus in the next chapter is the important discussion on man in the image of God. Reflecting on how this interrelates to the NT, Motyer comes full circle by referring to John 4:21-24 and Eph 2:17-22 as the superstructure for the concept of 'not only rejecting the images in worship, but also rejecting the concept of the holy place.' p 78

In the next chapter, Christ As Revelation, Motyer honors a great theologian, JI Packer, who effectively refuted the criticism levelled at the progressive development of revelation through the unnatural elevation of historical criticism. Quoting Packer, 'In the case of all events of importance in the history of salvation... God did not leave their significance to be perceived during or after their occurrence, but prefaced them.' p 83 God Has Spoken The divine decree precedes and necessitates the historical redemptive fact as the fulfillment of the promise. Which leads Motyer to say: 'The cross of Christ cannot be asserted as a demonstration of divine love until it is surrounded by biblical revelations of sin and redemption, wrath and propitiation, guilt and justification.'

The two subsequent chapters on sin and death have in view Christ as our life. The first Adam's dominion was vested with God's authority and would have continued, save for this one matter: original sin. Under the covenant of works, there was only one law that needed tending to. 'To violate this prohibition was, therefore, not a small thing; it was to contradict the total will of God. To break this law is to break all the law there was!' p 111 The consequences of universal corruption, judgment and death show well man's inability to save himself. Ending his ruminations on the effects of sin, Motyer, echoing Psalm 1, upholds the moral law 'for in Christ the law becomes a minister of life to those who set their feet on its paths.' p 135

In the final chapter, Christ Our Hope, Motyer recalls that the LORD pointed forward to a coming victory and that only, through the unforgetting, unremitting faithfulness of God to effect His promise made in Gen 3:15. So the OT, from the start, awaits the promised "seed". 'The OT, then, represents both creation and history as teleological.' p 157, expressing the divine sovereignty, 'The Creator directs all things to their appointed end, the goal He has set for them.' p 161 Progressively unveiling the promise of redemption in Christ, from the fall to the final consummation, Jesus is now our spiritual Head and the source of all spiritual life and blessing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A solid foundation for Biblical Theology 2 Dec 2012
By jlake - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I had searched for this book for a while, and I was pleased to find it through Amazon from a seller in the UK for a reasonable price. After a four year search, and many influential people suggesting it, I was not disappointed.
Dr. Alec Motyer has proven his expertise in the field of Old Testament studies long before with his commentaries on Isaiah and Amos; not to mention his never exhausting fight to keep the power of the Old Testament as ever bit equally inspired as the New Testament. This book, as he introduces it, is the natural outgrowth of that fight. Dr. Motyer has brought the foundational cornerstone of Biblical Theology to the forefront. "And that Rock was Christ."
Unlike Alexander or Clowney, Motyer begins the journey with the book of Judges and the Historical books of the Old Testament. I found this a little disappointing at first, but as I read on he does not fail to touch on the Christological inferences and types from the Pentateuch throughout the journey.
His writing style is whimsical and his application pastoral. No doubt his Irish heritage, and having taught these many years in England, has given him this style of teaching and writing. However, with a little awkwardness, we Americans can gain mighty insights, not to mention examples of how to teach the Old Testament!
I recommend this book to students of the Bible, and probably most of all to pastors. Not because you would need a M.Div. to understand it, but because our Old Testaments are so neglected in the pulpits, which means the Old Testament is more neglected in the home. And if neglected in those two important arenas, then surely the mantels of our hearts are missing a divine picture.
Perhaps, through Dr. Motyer's writing, the church can regain this missing piece. They must only "Look to the Rock!" May He be exalted as the one the Scriptures testify of in "...many portions and in many ways."
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Preach Christ 13 Nov 2012
By Tray - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Great resource for studying/preaching the redemptive-historical themes of the Bible. This is a great reference for digging into the major longitudinal themes that run throughout scripture and culminate in Christ.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must For Preachers 28 Jan 2010
By Ruben Supan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you are trying to grind your teeth on how to preach Christ from the OT, then this book is a must. [...]

Read and see the glorious Christ in the pages of the OT.
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