Christ in the Old Testament: VanGemeren on Calvin and Daniel
The search for Christ in the Old Testament continues unabated. This is a good thing.
For this brief post – I would like to point out a recent article published by Willem A. VanGemeren entitled “Christocentricity and Appropriation in Calvin’s Exposition of Daniel.”
The article was published in our own Torch Trinity Journal (volume 19) which hasn’t been posted online yet. I can email you the article if you would like (firstname.lastname@example.org).
VanGemeren engages a bit in the introduction with the Westminster Seminary hermeneutic (see more recently Seeing Christ in All of Scripture) and then talks about Calvin’s interpretation of the Old Testament – especially as it pertains to the book of Daniel.
I highly recommend the article. For a brief critique (yes – it has drawn criticism already) see the post by my colleague Nate Shannon here.
VanGemeren shows that Calvin was NOT a ‘Judaizer,’ but rather a careful interpreter of Scripture very much concerned with ‘appropriation’ and obedience. He specifically applied the book of Daniel to himself and his fellow persecuted Christians who were in exile away from France.
Here are some worthy quotations from VanGemeren:
We cannot understand Jesus except in the context of the Bible as a whole. To detach Jesus from this story is to create a mythical figure. In his teaching and in his action he speaks and acts as the one who brings the story of God’s dealing with Israel to its point of crisis and decision. (p. 233)
John Calvin (JC) understood that the only way to serve Christ is to have a heart aflame for the GOSPEL. (p. 234)
Fulfillment is a movie rather than a still picture. (p. 239)
CALVIN saw in Daniel a type of Christ. The prefiguration is shown in Daniel’s walk with God, his obedience to him, his confidence in God’s ability to raise him from the dead [note that Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den = like a grave], and in his witness to earthly powers. (p. 247)