God’s Word for You
Luke 16:29a Moses and the Prophets
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, October 31, 2018
29 “Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets.’
By saying this, Jesus and Abraham are saying: You have the Bible. This is enough for eternal life. This is where the Law is proclaimed and the Gospel of the forgiveness of sins is revealed. There is nothing demanded of man. Only faith in Christ.
From this sentence we also learn:
- The souls in heaven have a complete knowledge of the Holy Scriptures and their place in the Bible, even in the case of those Patriarchs who lived before the Scriptures were written. Note that Abraham understands more than just who Moses is, but that Moses wrote books of the Bible, and their significance at the beginning of the canon, even though Moses lived some five hundred years after Abraham’s death. Abraham also knows about the holy Prophets, and understands their significance, even though Isaiah, Jeremiah and the others wrote more than a thousand years after Abraham’s death. This shows that even believers with special challenges in learning, reading, or other human skills, will be cured of their challenges in heaven, and they will not be required to be taught certain things, especially the content of the Word of God. We will all know it and understand it and give glory to God for it.
The categorization of “Moses and the Prophets” is a typical shorthand way of saying “Old Testament.” The five first books are the Books of Moses, and most of what follows was divided into the Former Prophets (Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, and 1-2 Kings) or the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets). The rest of the Old Testament Canon fell under the general title of either the Writings or the Psalms (Luke 24:44).
Moses and the Prophets are in complete agreement with the New Testament Scriptures, beginning with the words of Christ and continuing in the letters of Peter, John, Paul and the others. Moses pointed ahead to Christ, highlighting the law of God, the law it is impossible for fallen man to keep, and perfectly illustrating the wrath of God over our sins. Moses himself was not permitted to enter into the Promised Land because of an error he committed along the long forty-year sojourn in the wilderness, although God let him see it from a distance (Deuteronomy 32:52).
The image of Christ in the Old Testament is like the shadow of a man as he approaches the corner of a building. The closer the man comes, the more detail you can make out about him from his shadow. You might guess his height, whether he is fat or thin, whether he is wearing long sleeves or short, or a hat, or other things. But when he arrives—as Christ finally did—you see him as he is, and you no longer need the image of the shadow. Yet God is patient and merciful with us, and he still encourages us to study the Old Testament Scriptures and consider the shadow they presented of the coming Christ. Why? Because each time we do, we see Christ more clearly, more distinctly, with greater and greater conviction and faith, and in knowing these things we give glory to God.
In Christ there is forgiveness, because that is what he offers to us in his own sacrifice on the cross. The forgiveness of sins and salvation is offered to each of us personally, through baptism (Luke 3:3), through the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:28), and through faith which comes from hearing the message of the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). These things, the gospel in word and sacrament, are means through which God’s grace comes to us. This is why we call them the Means of Grace. Where the Means of Grace are carried out, there is the true Christian Church, the Communion of Saints.
The Bible is entirely sufficient for the salvation of all mankind. “These words are written,” the Apostle preaches, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
Pastor Timothy Smith
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