Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Top Down Interpretation of Scripture; Redemptive Historical Hermeneutic Demands It

The introductory post explains the purposes, goals and scope of this blog. If you have not read it, I suggest you start there and then, look through the posts to get a feeling for where I have gone and where I am going. But, if you don’t have the time, feel free to read this post alone. The blog is meant to be a series however.
In the last post we looked at this passage in relation to Revelation 5:1-9 and saw good reason to believe that this passage is related to and refers to the opening of the scroll.
Luke 24:45-47  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  (46)  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,  (47)  and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
The above passage of scripture tells of the time right after the crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus had just met with disciples who didn’t even recognize him and then, as he spent time with them, he opened their understanding with regard to the scripture and how it is fulfilled in him. Notice the gospel focus. It was written or prophesied that the Christ should suffer and die and then, would be raised from the dead. It had a totally gospel message and focus. You have the gospel, i.e, the death burial and resurrection being the catalyst for the remission of sins, and it should be preached to all nations beginning with Jerusalem.
Here is what is meant by a top down interpretation of scripture. Since the scripture could not be properly understood prior to the advent of Jesus Christ and, since it took Jesus to reveal and open the understanding it must follow that Christ’s interpretation would be the only way it could be interpreted. It also follows that the New Testament writers, inspired followers of Christ, would bring about a progressive revelation that would weigh in on interpretation and many times alter the meaning of terms.
For example, take Adam; what is written about Adam in Genesis has to be interpreted in light of what is revealed about Adam by the New Testament writers. It is stated that the first Adam was a prototype of Jesus who is revealed as the last Adam. Just for clarification it should be mentioned that Jesus is called the –last- Adam and not the second Adam. So then, we are either in the first Adam or the last. In the first Adam all die but, in the last Adam all are made alive (1Cor 15:45)
The New Testament redefines many of the Old Testament terms, concepts, names, etc. To name some are the terms Israel, Word of God, Sabbath, and Temple. The point of this is that the new definitions, revealed and written in the New Testament, by those who were taught by Jesus, alter the previous view of the terms.
As far as interpretation goes, one cannot interpret anything until they understand it all. This means that the bible should be read through, from cover to cover, before any interpretation is made and then, the new definitions and altered understandings should be taken back to the interpretation of all of it.  This means that the New Covenant was actually promised to the Israel of God, redefined in Christ Jesus.

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