Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Christ's Coming Foretold in the Book of Proverbs

Did You Know That Solomon Also Foretold Christ's Coming?  
Neither Did I ... 

I guess all the other times I read Proverbs, I was looking for glimmers of guidance on how to live a Godly life in a secular age.  Because of the structure of Proverbs, which tends to jump form subject to subject with each passing verse, the prophecy of the coming of Jesus just never sank in.

At least for me.

It didn't sink in until last week, when I was revisiting Proverbs for the first time in three years.  When I came across Proverbs 8, suddenly the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw clearly (I believe) what Solomon was trying to tell in what may have been his only venture into prophecy (if Solomon was prophetic elsewhere, I haven't found it yet, and would welcome anyone else's insights here).

Here's what I found (in the New Living Translation version):

Proverbs 8
17 “I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me.
18 I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold, my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness, in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth. I will fill their treasuries.
22 “The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else.
23 I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began.
24 I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters.
25 Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—
26 before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil.
27 I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans.
28 I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth.
29 I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations,
30     I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence.
31 And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!

It couldn't be any planer than that, now could it?  Verses 17-21 describe some of the attributes of Christ, and of the glorious gift He offers to anyone who cares to follow him.

But the clincher is obviously Verses 22-29, which clearly evokes the beginning of the Gospel of John.  Here, in that same NLT translation, is how the Gospel of John begins:

In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God,  and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this isn't "news" to any real biblical scholar.  However, I'm not a biblical scholar - I'm a believer who is trying to understand the full nuance of the bible, and especially (in this case) how the writings of the Old Testament so accurately predicted the coming and the ministry of Christ, chronicled in the New Testament.  There are, of course, many prophetic references - from the prophets, of course - but until now, I hadn't really encountered anything quite so clear in what those scholars call the Wisdom section of the Old Testament.

The more I study, the clearer it becomes that the Trinity was foretold throughout the Old Testament (another recent and - to me - surprising discovery), and the clearer it becomes that so many of the books of the Old Testament - beyond those books of clear prophecy -  directly or indirectly refer to Christ.  Some are fairly obvious - Jonah's three-day sojourn in the belly of a Great Fish before he was returned to life, and to dry land, born anew and ready (finally) to do as God had commanded.  Others require real biblical scholarship to dig out - but for those willing to understand the life and times of the prophets, their meaning becomes clear.  

But I don't think I've seen anything that was quite so clear a direct reference as Proverbs 8, Verses 17-29, and how they relate so clearly to the Gospel of John, Verses 1-5.

This may be old news to you, but it grabbed my attention and wouldn't let go until I put it down in writing.

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