GOD, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, 2 hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; 3 who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time,
Thou art my Son,
This day have I begotten thee? and again,
I will be to him a Father,
And he shall be to me a Son?
6 And when he again bringeth in the firstborn into the world
he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith,
Who maketh his angels winds,
And his ministers a flame of fire:
8 but of the Son he saith,
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;
And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee
With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the works of thy hands:
11 They shall perish; but thou continuest:
And they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a mantle shalt thou roll them up,
As a garment, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same,
And thy years shall not fail.
13 But of which of the angels hath he said at any time,
Sit thou on my right hand,
Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?
5 For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak.
6 But one hath somewhere testified, saying,
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels;
Thou crownedst him with glory and honor,
And didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet.
For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. 9 But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one ...
IN THE accompanying chart I am endeavoring to give a panorama of the New Testament based upon its chronological development. To know when a book was written, by whom composed, to whom addressed, for what purpose sent--or to meet what conditionsis all essential for the proper understanding of the message of the given book.
We have inherited from Augustine the well-known phrase: "The New Testament is infolded in the Old, and the Old unfolded in the New." There is much truth in this statement. The New Testament is indeed infolded in the Old, but it seems too broad a statement to say that the Old is unfolded in the New. In some respects this statement is true; and in others it is not, for it goes beyond the actual facts. In line with this thought, we are sometimes told that we are to interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New. This statement, while containing truth, is by far too broad a generalization. The correctness of my assertion becomes immediately apparent when one recognizes the fact that there is outlined in the Old Testament what is properly called "Messiah's Redemptive Career." This plan consists of the first coming of Messiah; His rejection by the Jews; His ascension, at the invitation of God, to the right hand of the Majesty on high; His session there; and His return to earth at the end of the Tribulation to set up His glorious reign in the world. As set forth in the discussions of Messiah's redemptive career, such as Psalm 110, the New Testament shows that the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled the programto the point of His session at the right hand of the throne of God at the present time. But the latter part of the redemptive career of the Messiah has, as all prophetic students realize, never been fulfilled. The New Testament, therefore, has little to say regarding that portion of the program which awaits fulfillment.
This becomes immediately apparent when one recognizes that the four accounts of the gospel record our Lord's life upon earth, His crucifixion, burial, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the throne of God. Acts takes up the story where the gospel records leave it and carries it on for about thirty-three years. Thus we have the history of the early church during the first generation of its existence. At the beginning, Jerusalem was the center of Christian activity. By 50 A.D., Antioch in Syria had developed into the headquarters for the missionary enterprise, especially among the Gentiles. It was from this place that Paul was sent forth by the Holy Spirit and by the church.
In this inspired history of early Christianity, we have but a cross section of what was really done. In fact, we have the history of the labors of Peter and John when Jerusalem was the headquarters for Christianity (Acts 1-12). From the thirteenth chapter to the close, Antioch is the center, and Paul is the one apostle whose activities are recorded. As to what the others did, we have no authentic information. There arose traditions, however, concerning their ministry. But these are not to be relied upon very much.
Peter, James, John, Jude, and Paul wrote letters to individual Christians, ministers of the Word, churches, and groups of churches, explaining the fundamentals of the faith and giving instructions in Christian living. Finally, John was led by the Spirit of God to give the Revelation, whichalthough it covers the Christian Dispensation as indicated on the chart entitled, "The Message of Revelation,"focuses special attention upon the events of the closing scenes of this age. In this book we learn what will take place in the Tribulation, in the Millennium, and in the post-millennial period as well as "the ages of the ages." While there is a mass of material concerning the future found in the Book of Revelationand in scattered statements here and there in the gospel records, Acts, and the epistlesthere are many details set forth by the prophets that are not even hinted at in the New Testament. To say, therefore, that we must interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New is to overstate the case dangerously. It would be far more accurate to say that we should interpret those portions of the Old Testament which have already found their fulfillment in the rise and development of Christianity in the light of the New Testament records. But those events which are foretold in the prophets, and which have not yet been fulfilled in the New, are to be understood in the light in which they appear in the Old Testament books. Let us grasp this principle firmly and clearly and be governed accordingly.
The chart above, based purely upon a chronological conception, shows the approximate time, as acknowledged by leading conservative scholars, for the production of the various books constituting the New Testament. Above the broad, central line is given, in a word, the information concerning the various books: by whom and to whom they were written and for what purpose. Below the line, the name of the book and the date of its composition are given. These facts thus graphically presented will assist one in approaching the New Testament properly.