Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Of Him all the prophets bear witness (Acts 10:43)

Acts 10:43 Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins. (NASB)

I haven't been able to get away from the radical implications of this verse for the last 6-7 years. I keep coming back to it again and again. Our reading of the OT is very non-Petrine; at least mine has been.

Contextually, "Him" and "His name" refer to Jesus. So we can reword the verse this way, "Of Jesus, all the prophets bear witness that through Jesus' name everyone who believes on Jesus receives forgiveness of sins."

Does that sound as strange to you as it does me? Here are the questions that come to my mind:

1. All the prophets? Really?
2. The prophets talk about believing on Jesus? Where? I've never seen His name mentioned in any of the prophets.

So I went looking ... and what I found was that the prophets repeatedly call upon people to believe in the name of Yahweh (i.e., the LORD). See, for example, Isa. 50:10; Joel 2:32; Zeph. 3:12.

That means that Peter believes Yahweh is Jesus. In other words, Peter sees the prophetic call to turn to the LORD/Yahweh (Isa. 45:22), as a call to turn to Jesus.

Which leads to the questions ... When does Yahweh have reference to the Son and when does it refer to the Father? How often should we be reading Yahweh as Christ in the OT? What does Yahweh's existence as one in three, and three in one mean for understanding which person(s) of the Trinity are in view when His name Yahweh is used?

Bottom line: All the prophets talk about Jesus. Are we reading them the way Peter was? Yahweh must refer to Jesus in the OT much more than I am used to thinking.

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