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 (email@example.com).
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)
A few Romanian blogs (see Vasilica Croitor and Danut Manastireanu) picked up and translated a great prayer by Sir Francis Drake (1577). I like it a lot and I found it in English here. Here is the text:
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Francis Drake,�an adventurer and essentially a legal pirate (What else�is a second son supposed to do to make a living?), wrote this prayer as he departed Portsmouth on the Golden Hind to raid Spanish gold on the west coast of South America. He ventured at least as far north as the non-Spanish parts of�California, claiming it as “New Albion” – New England- and returned to his Queen (the long way – via circumnavigation)�with loot worth over a half million pounds sterling, and received his Knighthood for it.
I hope you enjoy it too. Many (most of the?) times I do need to be disturbed by the Lord from my complacency.
Below is the Romanian version recited wonderfully by Emil Bartosh!
As I was jogging down the hill this morning (I crawled up in the first phase) I was listening to the great messages by Keller and Clowney on preaching Christ in a postmodern world. See more about these lectures (free to download) here .
Keller mentioned a very important book in one of his lectures by Alec Motyer: Look to the Rock: An Old Testament background to our understanding of Christ .
I was very excited when I heard about this book and I was getting ready to put it on my wishlist at Amazon. UNFORTUNATELY, even though the book is only about $10-15 dollars, it is out of stock everywhere (including at IVP), and the cheapest copy at Amazon is almost $350.00.
Thank God it is available at Google books . That is not my favorite was to read a book, but at least it is available.
I hope that I will find it soon in hard copy so I can buy it. From what Keller said in his lecture, it promises to be a great book for understanding the Old Testament background of Christ.
And I like the title too: Look to the Rock! AMEN!