The entire biblical storyline from Genesis to Revelation reveals Jesus from beginning to end. According to Vaughan Roberts, “In the Old Testament God points forward to him [Jesus] and promises his coming in the future. In the New Testament God proclaims him to be the one who fulfills all those promises” (Roberts 18). In addition Roberts in his book God’s Big Picture, there are eight main sections of the Bible. In the Old Testament there is the pattern of the kingdom in which, “God’s original creation shows us a model of his kingdom as it was meant to be” (Roberts 24). Next is the perished kingdom where the fall of man came about through disobedience to God’s commands. Then after the fall of man there is the promised kingdom where “God calls Abraham and makes some unconditional promises to him: through Abraham’s descendants he will re-establish his kingdom. …That promise is the gospel” (Roberts 24). Next the partial kingdom shows “…how God’s promises to Abraham are partially fulfilled in the history of Israel. Through the exodus from Egypt, God makes Abraham’s descendants his very own people” (Roberts 24-25). In addition, the promises that God made to Abraham had not yet been entirely accomplished because sin was in the world and the people of Israel would continue to disobey God. After this there is the prophesied kingdom where “…God spoke to the people of Israel and Judah through some prophets. …The prophets pointed forward to a time when God would act decisively through his King, the Messiah, to fulfill all his promises” (Roberts 25). In the New Testament there is the present kingdom where “…Jesus dealt with the problem of sin and made it possible for human beings to come back into relationship with the Father” (Roberts 26). In the present age we live in what Roberts calls the proclaimed kingdom “…which the Bible calls ‘the last days’. It began in the day of Pentecost when God sent the Spirit to equip his church to tell the whole world about Christ”(Roberts 26). Lastly, there is the perfected kingdom when Christ returns a second time. In Revelation there is the hope that when Christ eventually returns a second time, God will create a New Jerusalem. From the beginning God has desired that his relationship with man would be restored as in the days before the fall.
In the beginning, the story of creation unfolds in Genesis chapter 1 and 2 where the pattern of the kingdom is established. According to Scott J Hafemann and Paul R House,
…God commanded Adam and Eve to refrain from eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The command is rooted in the context of God’s provisions at creation as an expression of his relationship with Adam and Eve, showing that God’s commands are for the good of human beings and are an expression of his love. God had created a world that was exceedingly good… (Hafemann and House 68).
From the beginning of creation God desired what was best for man. Then man decided that he knew what was best for him and made the choice to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These actions resultd in the fall or what Roberts would describe as the perished kingdom. Hafemann and House explains that,
Eve transgressed God’s command because she doubted God’s goodness and believed that the forbidden fruit was in fact nourishing, beautiful and the path to wisdom (Gen. 3:6). Both she and Adam fell prey to idolatry in the desire to be like God, deciding for themselves what was ‘good and evil’ (Gen. 3:5), and thereby worshipped the creature rather than the creator” (Hafemann and House 69).
In all of this Jesus is already in the picture because God promise through the Seed of woman that man will be restored (Genesis 3:14-15, NKJV). Therefore the promised kingdom is set in motion. Abraham comes on the scene and God makes covenants with him that involve restoration of His kingdom through his descendants, which is from the Seed of Eve. Hafemann and House states, “[God] promises a human seed that will destroy the serpent (Gen 3:15). …The focus on descendants explains the extra ordinary emphasis on genealogy in Genesis. It is not a backward-looking device that traces the roots of a people; it functions to create anticipation for a future descendant” (Hafemann and House 137). Therefore this promised kingdom that is promised to Abraham from the Seed of woman would one day restore man’s relationship with God. Graeme Goldsworthy would add that “The story of Noah is more than one of obedient faith in that it is part of the larger picture of God preserving a people for himself in a direct line to Abraham, and thus to David and to Christ” (Goldsworthy 144).
The partial kingdom reveals how God kept his promise with Abraham, although it was only partially fulfilled at this time through Israel. The Exodus event that is described in Exodus 12 through 14, reveal how God came down after hearing the prayer of His people and saved them out of the hand of slavery. They only had to continue in trusting and obeying God in everything and He would bless them because of the promise He made to Abraham. In addition, God used the Passover experience, which was the last experience before they were freed from slavery under Pharaoh, to foreshadow that of the crucifixion of Christ. G.K. Beale points out that,
The historical description of the requirement that the bones of the Passover lamb not be broken points forward to the ultimate Passover lamb, Jesus Christ. The Roman soldiers’ decision not to break Jesus’s bones, as they did the two criminals flanking him, is viewed as not by chance but a fulfillment of what the Passover lamb’s preparation prefigured (Exodus 12/Numbers 9) (Beale 59).
God reveals His redemptive plan through Israel’s Exodus from Egypt, which is illustrated by the events surrounding the Passover. During that time God gives the Law to His people, which ultimately points humanity to their need for a Savior. According to Goldsworthy,
The law must be understood in [a] redemptive context. …Particularly we should notice the purpose of redemption as expressed in Exodus 19:3-6. God has brought Israel to himself that they might live before him as a treasured possession: a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. They are chosen and saved in order to be God’s people and to represent him among all the nations of the earth (Goldsworthy 156).
Both the Passover and God’s Law for the nation of Israel points forward to Christ, which now leads to the prophesied kingdom.
The prophesied kingdom refers to Messianic prophecy as recorded in the prophetic books such as Isaiah and Jeremiah. These prophecies describe Christ’s first and second coming, including particular details of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. In this prophesied kingdom from Ezra to Malachi, it reveals the history of Israel declining while at the same time pointing forward to a savior who will restore all things back to the Father. One of the messages that we read from the post-exilic prophets is that “their message is much the same as their predecessors before the exile. They too have to condemn their hearers for breaking the covenant and warn of the coming judgment. But they also point to a time in the future when God will act to fulfill his promises so that his people may enjoy all the blessings of the covenant” (Roberts 109).
In the New Testament the Gospels of the present kingdom portray the promised Messiah who is revealed to the people as the one who will take away the sins of the world, which has been prophesied about in the Old Testament. According to Matthew Y Emerson,
…Matthew reiterates the importance of Abraham and David by saying ‘So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportations to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations’ (Matt 1:17). So David is the starting point in verse 1 and the mediating point between Abraham and exile in verse 17. Christ as the son of David is not a merely relational term, but one that harkens back to the promise to David that God would give David an heir whose throne would endure forever (2 Sam 7:12-13) (Emerson 45-46).
Matthew’s inclusion of this genealogy shows how Christ is the fulfillment of all prophesies and promises since the beginning. It is no coincidence that 14 generations separate Abraham, David and Jesus. Israel’s history has always been moving toward Christ’s advent into this world. In addition, Hafemann adds,
The conceptual foundation of the theology of the synoptic Gospels presupposes the schematic structure of Isaiah 40-66 as well as the salvation prophecies of the other prophets: the announcement of the good news to Israel, the forgiveness of sins, the end of exile, the restoration of Israel, the kingship of God, and the co-occurrence of these events with a figure who represents the nation, but whose work has universal implications. This figure is the servant, the Davidic king, the Son of Man (Hafemann and House 165).
So just as Jesus has been promised since the beginning, now He is finally here as promised. Jesus lived a perfect life as God in the form of man. He was crucified on the cross and was then resurrected on the third day. Then when it was time for Him to return to heaven, he did not leave us alone; he sent us a helper, The Holy Spirit who is there to guide all believers in Christ. This brings us to the proclaimed kingdom that “began [on] the day of Pentecost when God sent the Spirit to equip his church to tell the whole world about Christ”(Roberts 26).
The proclaimed kingdom is considered the last days in which we are living right now. Once Christ ascended into heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, we began the last days because only God knows when He will send Jesus again. After the Gospels and the Acts, much of the New Testament was written by Paul. In the letters of Paul, he emphasizes the idea of being a new creation in Christ through restating the gospel in Romans and explaining how the church should live. Emerson states that “…while the first part of the Pauline corpus exhorts believers to look primarily to Christ’s first coming for motivation and power for obedience and right living, the second part shifts to exhorting believers to look primarily to Christ’s second coming for that motivation” (Emerson 114). Paul’s ecclesiology reveals that since the church is a new creation in Christ, their purpose is to live as that new creation and not as they previously did in the flesh. Therefore, all believers ought to function in a way that pursues holiness and sanctification in everything they do with the attentive expectation that Christ could return at any time.
The last major section of the Bible is the perfected kingdom, which is yet to be revealed. The only knowledge we have of this kingdom is through the prophecies that we read in the Bible. Jesus is going to return a second time in order to restore all things back to the Father. In the end God is going to establish a new heaven and a new earth and the old heaven and earth will pass away. As believers in Christ, there is much to look forward to for this time. This is everything that the Bible has pointed forward to since Genesis. Roberts states, “the promises of the kingdom will all be completely fulfilled at the end of time. God’s people will consist of those, from every nation, who trust in Christ. …The throne of God and of the Lamb is right at the center of everything, and from it a river flows, bringing life and prosperity to everyone” (Roberts 159). Therefore this is everything that believers in Christ are waiting and hoping for because it is clear that a life with God is going to better than without.
In conclusion, it is clear that the entire biblical storyline from Genesis to Revelation reveal Jesus from beginning to end. To summarize the story, Pennington explains, “When Jesus goes about casting out demons and healing the broken, this itself is kingdom work, anticipating the consummation of the story line begun in creation. …Redemption is the restoration of creation itself, what the Scriptures anticipate as a new creation(Pennington 200). Jesus is clearly evident throughout the entire Bible and believers should live in a way that anticipates His return.
Beale, G.K. Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2012.
Emerson, Matthew Y. Christ and the New Creation. Eugene: Wipf and Stock, 2013.
Goldsworthy, Graeme. Preaching the Whole Bible as Christian Scripture. Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 2000.
Hafemann, Scott J and Paul R House, Central Themes in Biblical Theology. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2007.
Pennington, Jonathan T. Reading the Gospels Wisely. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2012.
Roberts, Vaughan. God’s Big Picture Tracing the Storyline of the Bible. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.