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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7021 church, OT anticipations of
7021 church, OT anticipations of

7021 church, OT anticipations of

As the people of God, the Christian church is continuous with Israel. The OT provides important anticipations of the church.

OT terms for the people of God

The descendants of Abraham 2Ch 20:7; Isa 41:8-9; Ro 4:16; Gal 3:7 “children of Abraham” in the NT refers to those who, like Abraham, put their faith in God

The saints The term for “saints” means “set apart for God”, “made holy”, and is the most frequently used NT term for Christians: 1Sa 2:9; 2Ch 6:41 pp Ps 132:9; Ps 16:3; Ps 31:23; Da 7:18

The assembly “assembly” means “a community gathered together in response to God’s call to serve and worship him”. Its NT equivalents include the synagogue and the church: Ps 1:5; Ps 107:32; Ps 149:1

The scope of the OT people of God

Israel as God’s people Ex 6:7 See also Ex 19:5-6; Lev 26:12; Jer 30:22; Eze 36:28; Hos 2:23

Not all Israelites are God’s people Ro 9:6-7 Even within Israel there are believers and unbelievers. See also Ezr 9:8 Those Israelites who believed were sometimes called “a remnant”; Isa 1:9; Isa 11:11,16; Jer 23:3; Eze 14:22; Mic 2:12

God’s people included non-Israelites Isa 2:2-3 pp Mic 4:1-2 See also Ex 12:38,48-49; Dt 31:12; Ru 4:10-11

The formation of the OT people of God

God’s people are formed through God’s promises Ge 12:2 See also Ge 15:5; Ge 17:5-6; Ge 22:17-18; Ex 1:7

God’s people are chosen and called Dt 7:6 See also 1Ch 16:13 pp Ps 105:6; Ps 33:12; Eze 20:5

God’s people have been redeemed Dt 5:6 pp Ex 20:2 See also Ex 6:6; Ex 19:4; Eze 20:6

God formed a covenant with his people Ex 24:8 See also Ex 19:5; Ex 34:10,27; Dt 4:13; Jdg 2:1; Jer 31:31

OT images of the people of God

As God’s bride Jer 2:2 This OT image is taken up in the many references to Jesus Christ as the bridegroom and the church as his bride. See also Isa 62:5; Hos 2:16,19-20; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 21:2

As God’s vine Isa 5:1-7 These passages form the background to Jesus Christ’s claim to be the true vine (Jn 15:1): Ps 80:8; Jer 2:21; Eze 17:5-6; Eze 19:10; Hos 10:1

As God’s flock Ps 95:7 See also Ps 74:1; Ps 77:20; Ps 100:3; Isa 40:11; Zec 9:16; Mt 26:31; Zec 13:7; Lk 12:32; Jn 10:16 The NT church is also described as a flock: Ac 20:28-29; 1Pe 5:2-3

As God’s inheritance Dt 4:20 See also Ps 28:9; Ps 33:12; Isa 19:25; Mal 3:17

As God’s family Am 3:1-2 See also Ex 4:22-23 Israel was sometimes called God’s “firstborn son” as well as his children; Dt 1:31; Dt 32:6; Ps 103:13; Isa 1:2; Isa 30:9; Hos 11:1; Mal 2:10

Requirements of the people of God

To obey God’s word Dt 5:1 See also Ex 24:3; Dt 6:1-3; Dt 13:4; Jos 1:7; 1Sa 15:22

To remember their redemption Dt 5:15 See also Dt 7:18; Dt 15:15; Dt 16:12; Ps 105:5

To commemorate their redemption Ex 12:25-27 The focus of Israel’s commemoration of their redemption was the Passover, which is one of the ceremonies lying behind the Lord’s Supper. See also Nu 9:2-3; Dt 16:1; Lk 22:14-20

To love God wholeheartedly Dt 6:5 See also Dt 10:12; Dt 11:1; Dt 19:9; Jos 23:11

The marks of the people of God

Circumcision as a mark of God’s people Ge 17:10-14; Lev 12:3 Circumcision had to be internal as well as external, as a sign of spiritual commitment to God: Dt 10:16; Dt 30:6; Jer 4:4; Ro 2:27; Col 2:11

The presence of God Ex 25:8; Ex 33:15-16; Ex 40:35; Nu 10:33-36; 2Ch 5:14

See also

1193glory, revelation of
7115children of God
7130flock, God’s
7135Israel, people of God
7141people of God, OT

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