Dear Christ Church,
This Sunday we kicked off our series in Nehemiah called Building from Brokenness. I am really excited about how I believe God is going to use this study in the life of our church to continue to inspire and invigorate us to join God in his great mission of renewal in our neighborhood
I received two questions sent in via text on Sunday.
Question #1 How do we know that Nehemiah was a prophet?
If you have spent some time reading the Bible, you probably think of prophets as people who were called to a life time of prophetic ministry, like Isaiah or Jeremiah. You might also think of men like Daniel who predicted the future and spoke of events yet to unfold. However, in the Old Testament a prophet is anyone who spoke the words of God. So for example, Samuel was a man who fulfilled the office of prophet and had a life time call to be a prophet, but King David also is considered prophetic in his writings of the Psalms. Also, the historical writings of the Old Testament are considered to be prophetic, not in that they record events yet to come, but in that they are the revealed words of God. The same is true for Nehemiah. His role was primarily as a civic leader for Israel. However, we will see him giving some prophecies in this book and his account of what happened is considered to be prophetic in that it is the revealed word of God intended for our instruction.
Question #2 Did Nehemiah know that he was referring to Jesus when he spoke of redemption?
Jesus said all of scripture speaks about Himself, so everything you read in the Bible can somehow be tied in to Christ. This does not mean that every Biblical author fully understood all that they were writing at the time. There are layers of meaning in every text and it is not always clear how much the author understood about what they were writing down. There was some kind of understanding though as they looked forward to the revelation of the mystery of Christ (Hebrews 11, 1 Peter 1:10). So as I said on Sunday, Nehemiah was probably writing things that meant more then he knew at the time. However, there was certainly a faith he had in God's salvation of his people which would have pointed him forward to the coming Christ.
If you are interested in studying more about the relationship between the Old Testament and New, I'd encourage you to read God's Big Picture: Tracing the Storyline of the Bible by Vaughn Roberts,or According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the BIble by Graeme Goldsworthy, or honestly even the Jesus Storybook BIble by Sally Lloyd Jones would be really helpful. If you have any desire to really get into it, the best academic resource that I've read is Kingdom through Covenant by Stephem Wellum and Peter Gentry.
See you around the neighborhood!
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