One of the most compelling lines of biblical evidence for the amillennial position is how a number of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in the New.1 Setting these matters out carefully is important when treating the subject of the millennium, especially since dispensational premillenarians insist on a literal fulfillment of these prophecies in a future millennial age. If these prophecies have already been fulfilled in Jesus Christ, much of the dispensational case for a future earthly millennium simply evaporates. Dispensationalists tell us that these prophecies remain unfulfilled until Jesus Christ returns to earth to establish his millennial kingdom. Paul, on the other hand, told us, “What Israel sought so earnestly it did not obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened” (Rom. 11:7). Thus, true Israel, those Jews who have embraced Jesus Christ through faith, has already received the inheritance promised God’s people, since they are the children of promise (Rom. 9:6–8).
Christ, the True Israel
When we use the prophetic vision of Israel’s prophets and look to the future, what do we see? The prophets anticipated a time when Israel would be restored to her former greatness. Such a prophetic vision included not only the restoration of the nation but also a restoration of the land of Canaan, the city of Jerusalem, the throne of David, and the temple. The nation had been taken into captivity, the magnificent temple had been destroyed, and the priesthood had gone some five centuries before Christ’s first advent, so these prophetic expectations spoke of a reversal of fortune—the undoing of calamity that had come upon the nation. In fact, with apostolic hindsight Peter told of how “the prophets, who spoke. searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1Pet. 1:10–12).
The prophet Isaiah spoke of a future restoration of Israel in these terms:
“But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend, I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said ‘You are my servant’; I have chosen you and have not rejected you” (41:8–9). The same promise was reiterated in the next chapter of Isaiah (42:1–7), when the Lord declared of his servant, “I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles” (v.6).Isaiah continued to speak of this servant in chapters 44 (vv. 1–2) and 45 (v.4).
Dispensationalists, who interpret such passages literally, assign the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies to a future earthly millennium in which Israel will coexist with Gentiles under the reign of the Davidic king.2 Is this how the New Testament interpreted these messianic prophecies regarding the servant of the Lord? Who is this servant of the Lord—the nation of Israel or Jesus, Israel’s Messiah? The Gospel writers interpreted these prophecies from Isaiah as fulfilled in the messianic mission of Jesus. As Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick, Matthew saw in this the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies of a suffering servant who would take upon himself our infirmities and carry our diseases (Matt. 8:17 with Isa. 53:4). Luke spoke of both Israel and David as servants of God (Luke 1:54, 69). Yet, in Acts, Luke pointedly spoke of Jesus as the servant of God (Acts 3:13). After Jesus’s crucifixion, God raised him from the dead so that people everywhere might be called to repentance (Acts 3:26). Later on, when the Ethiopian eunuch read Isaiah 53:7–8 and asked Philip to whom this prophecy referred, Philip told him that this passage was about Jesus (Acts 8:34–35). But this is not all that is in view here. The prophet Hosea quoted God as saying, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (11:1). But Matthew told us that Hosea’s prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus’s parents took him to Egypt for a time as a baby to protect him from Herod’s “slaughter of the innocents” (Matt. 2:13–18). Thus, Matthew, not the “spiritualizing amillenarian” centuries later, took a passage from Hosea that referred to Israel and told his readers that it was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
According to many New Testament writers, Jesus was the true servant, the true Son, and the true Israel of God. Recall as well that Isaiah spoke of Israel and the descendants of Abraham as the people of God. It was through the seed of Abraham that the nations of the earth would be blessed. Therefore, even as Jesus was the true Israel, he was the true seed of Abraham. Paul made this point in Galatians 3:7–8 when he said that “those who believe are children of Abraham. The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’” Paul’s words here are important for several reasons. First, they tell us that Abraham believed the same gospel that Paul preached to the Gentile Galatians. There has been only one plan of salvation and one gospel from the very beginning. This, of course, raises serious questions about the dispensational theory of distinct redemptive purposes for national Israel and the Gentiles. Paul also explained, “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). From the beginning of redemptive history, the true children of Abraham, whether Jews or Gentiles, will be heirs of God’s promise if they belong to Jesus Christ, the true seed of Abraham.3
The ramifications for this on one’s millennial view should now be obvious. The New Testament writers claimed that Jesus was the true Israel of God and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. So what remains of the dispensationalists’ case that these prophecies will yet be fulfilled in a future millennium? They vanish in Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled them.
The Land of Canaan, the City of Jerusalem, and the Mountain of the Lord
When God established his covenant with Abraham and his descendants after him “to be your God and the God of your descendants after you,” he also promised the great patriarch, “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God” (Gen. 17:7–8). According to classical dispensationalists, this promise was “an unconditional covenant made with Israel and therefore cannot be either abrogated or fulfilled by people other than the nation Israel.”4 In other words, God’s unconditional promise of a land to Abraham’s descendants is everlasting and therefore can be fulfilled only by the return of national Israel to her ancient homeland. At first glance, this appears to be a compelling argument, especially since the nation of Israel was formed in Palestine in 1948, amounting to a return of the Jews to the land of their fathers. But once again the critical question is, How did the authors of the New Testament view this prophecy?
To answer this question, we must first answer a different one. How did Israel’s own prophets understand this promise of a land that God made to Abraham? Once again, returning to the words of Isaiah, we find language such as this:
“Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the Lord, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent’s food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. (Isa. 65:17–25; cf. 66:22)
The promise of the land in Canaan made to Abraham was reinterpreted by Isaiah to mean a new heaven and a new earth, not just the land of Canaan. This is an easy claim to make, but what is the evidence for it? As we have seen, Joshua regarded God’s promise of the land of Canaan as provisionally fulfilled when Israel took possession after the exodus (Josh. 1:2–9; 21:43). Israel’s prophets, writing during the exile, when Israel had been cast from the land, universalized the promise of a land in Canaan to include a new heaven and a new earth, the fruit of the eschatological victory won by the suffering servant and conquering king.5 Because God swore the oath of ratification in the covenant of promise, God ensured that the everlasting promise entailed by the covenant would be realized. This would be true even if God’s covenant people disobeyed and lost their inheritance, receiving instead divine sanctions, such as being cast from the land.
The idea of land promised under the Abrahamic covenant was also universalized in several passages in the New Testament. In his Epistle to the Romans, Paul described the role of Abraham in redemptive history. Notice again the promise God made to Abraham: “I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. The whole land of Canaan. I will give as an everlasting possession” (Gen. 17:7–8). In Romans 4:13, Paul saw the fulfillment of this as follows: “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.” As Robert Strimple so aptly puts it, “Where in the Old Testament do you find the promise that Paul refers to here? Nowhere if you insist on a strict literalism. But you find it in Genesis 17:8 if you see that this is inspired apostolic interpretation of the Old Testament promise that Paul is giving us here.”6
The author of Hebrews made a similar point when he wrote that ultimately Abraham was not looking just to Canaan, even though he and his descendants after him lived in the Promised Land. Abraham “was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). Peter also picked up on this prophetic expansion of the Promised Land when he wrote, “In keeping with his [God’s] promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness” (2Pet. 3:13). The inheritance promised to Abraham, which was couched in premessianic terms as a reference to the land of Canaan, was, after Israel took possession of the land under Joshua, subsequently reinterpreted by Isaiah, Paul, the author of Hebrews, and Peter as a new heaven and a new earth.7
If the New Testament writers did in fact reinterpret the promise of a land in terms of a new heaven and a new earth, this raises great difficulties for premillenarians who assign these prophecies to an earthly millennial age—a halfway consummation yet to dawn—instead of understanding these promises in terms of a new creation and the final consummation. If this interpretation is correct, amillenarians are no less literal in their hermeneutic than the New Testament writers. This same pattern of a premessianic prophecy being reinterpreted in the New Testament also holds for those prophecies dealing with the city of Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord. Like the prophet Isaiah, Micah gave us the following vision of what lies ahead: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the Lord Almighty has spoken. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods; we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever. (4:1–5) In this amazing vision, Micah foresaw not only a glorious time for Israel but also a period in which the knowledge of the Lord will extend to the very ends of the earth.
Dispensationalists are clear about how this prophecy is to be interpreted. This text, they say, along with a similar passage in Isaiah 2:2–4, refers to Israel’s future exaltation during the millennial age when the city of Jerusalem is the seat of God’s millennial government.8 But this is an erroneous interpretation because it ignores an important step in the interpretive process, namely, how the New Testament writers understood this prophecy in light of the coming of Jesus Christ.The pattern for how these premessianic images were interpreted should now be clear. We ask one more time, What did the New Testament writers do with these Old Testament prophecies?
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews could not be more clear about how he understood this prophecy. Though Old Testament prophets spoke of the earthly city of Jerusalem, the New Testament writers did not say these prophecies would be fulfilled in a future earthly Jerusalem. On the contrary, the author of Hebrews said the prophecy was already fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire; to darkness, gloom and storm; to a trumpet blast or to such a voice speaking words that those who heard it begged that no further word be spoken to them, because they could not bear what was commanded: “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.” The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (12:18–24) In Jesus Christ, the heavenly Jerusalem has already come, even now.9
This point is especially problematic for postmillenarians who see Micah 4:1–5 and Isaiah 2:2–4 as important texts supporting the idea that a millennial age, in which the nations will turn to Christ, is yet to dawn in this present age. Agreeing with amillenarians that this prophecy is fulfilled before the second advent of Jesus Christ, postmillenarians see this passage as finding fulfillment in the last days in which “a spiritually renewed church attracts the nations (v.2) to the Christian faith by the vitality and depth of its worship, doctrine and life.”10
The problem with the postmillennial interpretation is simply this:
If it is self-evident that this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled, why did the author of Hebrews speak of the fulfillment as a present reality? We can go a step farther. Strimple shows us that postmillenarians “must view Christ’s kingly reign as a failure so far.”11 This, it seems to me, is highly problematic. Yet, dispensationalists will undoubtedly remind us that the same author who said that in Jesus Christ the new Jerusalem has already come also said in the next chapter, “We are looking for the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14). This is a problem for dispensationalists because they fail to distinguish between the earthly copy and the heavenly reality.12 The earthly city is a redemptivehistorical picture of a heavenly reality yet to come. A word of explanation is in order. The apostle John spoke of the new Jerusalem as though it were yet future (Rev. 21:2). When we look more closely at the text, however, we see that this heavenly city is even now coming down from heaven. The new creation, which will be consummated with the coming of Christ in judgment on the last day, has already been inaugurated and is a present reality for the people of God.13 But how can the new Jerusalem be said to be both present and future? To understand this, we need to distinguish between the earthly copy and the heavenly reality. The author of Hebrews distinguished between earthly and heavenly things: “It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (9:23–24). When we speak of the premessianic prophetic expectations regarding the city of Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord as fulfilled in Christ but awaiting a final consummation at the end of the age, we are speaking of the earthly Jerusalem serving as a type or a copy of the heavenly reality, which now is realized in principle. If true, this strikes a serious blow to the root of dispensational and premillennial expectations about Jesus reigning over an earthly kingdom from a new Jerusalem. The earthly Jerusalem was intended to point us to Jesus Christ and to serve as a shadow of the realities to come when God makes all things new.
David’s Greater Son
Dispensationalists place great weight on their interpretation of the Abrahamic covenant, but the Davidic covenant is right behind it in terms of importance. Based on God’s promise that he would establish the kingdom of David’s son forever (2 Sam. 7:12–16), dispensationalists believe this promise was partially fulfilled in the first coming of Christ, with the final fulfillment delayed because of Israel’s stubborn refusal to embrace Jesus as her messianic king. This prophecy stated that the throne of David will be established forever. Since dispensationalists believe that such prophecies must be interpreted literally, this necessitates a literal rule of Jesus Christ on the earth during a future millennial kingdom. At that time the postponed kingdom will be finally consummated. John Walvoord feels so strongly about the literal fulfillment of this prophecy that he believes amillenarians commit exegetical fraud by spiritualizing literal prophecies such as this one.15
Since no one wants to be guilty of such an offense, the safest course of action is to return to the New Testament interpretation of the Davidic covenant. Before we do so, we ought to note that the prophecy of 2 Samuel 7 does not stand alone. In the famous words of Isaiah 9:7, we read, regarding the coming Redeemer, that “of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” In Psalm 2:7–9, we find the following: “I will proclaim the decree of the Lord: He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.’” That a descendant of David would return to Israel and rule over his kingdom was a major aspect of the prophetic expectation of Israel and occupied a significant role in the New Testament. From the beginning of Jesus’s messianic mission, his identity as the heir to David’s throne was clearly established. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’s link to David was established through the use of genealogy (1:1–17). In the birth narrative in Luke’s Gospel, Luke informed his readers that the angel Gabriel told Mary: Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. (1:30–33)
According to Matthew and Luke, the prophecies of Samuel, Isaiah, and the psalmist were fulfilled in Jesus. But how does his birth fulfill the prophecy of an everlasting kingdom? The answer to this is also found in Luke’s writings, though not in the infancy narratives. When Peter delivered the Pentecost sermon, he preached to Jews who did not yet believe that Jesus was the Christ. To make his case, he had to demonstrate that Jesus was exactly who he claimed to be. The two most effective tools to do this were the apologetic arguments from fulfilled prophecy and miracle. Therefore, Peter pointed out that the eternal kingdom promised to David’s son was finally realized in the resurrection of Jesus. Because Jesus conquered death and the grave, Peter could say with confidence: Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:29–36)
It was in Christ’s resurrection and ascension, therefore, that God fulfilled his promise that David’s greater son would rule the nations with an everlasting kingdom. People’s greatest foe is death, and in his resurrection Jesus emerged victorious. This is why his kingdom is everlasting and why he is both Lord and Christ. When dispensationalists complain that amillenarians spiritualize these great Old Testament prophecies by saying they are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, perhaps they should take this up with the apostles who did the very thing of which dispensationalists are so critical.
Christ, the True Temple
Jesus declared of himself, “One greater than the temple is here” (Matt. 12:6) and told the Samaritan woman that he could give her “living water” (John 4:10–14). Such declarations give us a major clue that the authors of the New Testament reinterpreted the premessianic understanding of God’s temple in light of the coming of Israel’s Messiah. The temple occupied a principal role in the witness of Israel’s prophets regarding God’s future eschatological blessing for the nation. When we see that this imagery pointed forward to Jesus, we can better understand the nature and character of the millennial age.
Let us consider the Old Testament expectations regarding the temple of the Lord. Both Isaiah 2:2–4 and Micah 4:1–5 speak of God’s future blessing on Israel in the last days when his people will go up to the temple on the mountain of the Lord and learn his ways. In Isaiah 56, we read of those who hold fast to God’s covenant (v.4) and love the name of the Lord and keep his Sabbaths (vv. 6–8). God will bring them to the holy mountain and the temple, which will be a house of prayer for all nations (v.7). A similar vision was given in Isaiah 66:20–21, which says that the Israelites will bring their grain offerings to God’s temple, and he will renew his priesthood. In Zechariah’s prophetic vision, we learn that one day Israel will once again offer sacrifices acceptable to God (14:16–19). With all this prophetic expectation in the minds of Jews living in Palestine in the first century, it is no wonder that Jesus’s declaration of God’s judgment on the temple—“Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2)—came as a shocking offense. How dare this man say that their expectation of a glorious temple was fulfilled in him! He said, ”Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:19). It was not until after Christ’s resurrection that the meaning of these words became plain to his disciples. When he spoke of the destruction of the temple, he was speaking of his own body (John 2:22). This is what he meant when he said that one greater than the temple had come. Ezekiel prophesied that the temple will be rebuilt, the priesthood will be reestablished, sacrifices will be offered, and the river of life will flow from thetemple. How we interpret this prophecy will have a significant bearing on the question of a future millennial age on the earth. It should come as no surprise that dispensationalists believe that this prophecy will be literally fulfilled in the millennial age.
According to J. Dwight Pentecost:
The glorious vision of Ezekiel reveals that it is impossible to locate its fulfillment in any past temple or system which Israel has known, but it must await a future fulfillment after the second advent of Christ when the millennium is instituted. The sacrificial system is not a reinstituted Judaism, but the establishment of a new order that has as its purpose the remembrance of the work of Christ on which all salvation rests. The literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy will be the means of God’s glorification and man’s blessing in the millennium.16 Traditional amillenarians criticize such images of perpetual animal sacrifices and temple worship after the second advent of Christ, saying this would undercut his saving work, especially since these aspects of Mosaic economy werefulfilled at Calvary.17 So Pentecost is careful to argue that Ezekiel’s prophecy is not connected to a renewed Mosaic economy but to an entirely new order, one that commemorates the saving work of Christ in the past. But is this what the authors of the New Testament taught about these prophecies? We have already seen that the New Testament taught that Christ is the true Israel and David’s greater son. The Old Testament prophecies regarding Jerusalem and the mountain of the Lord are fulfilled in Christ’s church. The promise of a land, as we have seen, will be fulfilled in a new heaven and a new earth in the consummation. Likewise, the New Testament taught that Christ is the new temple and that a new order of commemoration involving the ceremonies typical of the earthly temple can only commemorate the types and shadows, not the reality. This presents a serious problem for dispensationalists, who argue, in effect, that redemptive history takes a U-turn in the millennial age, as the reality in Christ supposedly returns to the types and shadows of the Old Testament.
How, then, is the temple imagery from the Old Testament fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the New? In Exodus 40:34, we are told that the glory of the Lord filled his temple. When viewed against the backdrop of redemptive history, we see how this pointed to Pentecost, when, through the indwelling Holy Spirit, the glory of the Lord filled his true temple, the mystical body of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 12:12ff.).18 If Christ’s body is the true temple and as Paul put it, “We are the temple of the living God” (2 Cor. 6:16), what use remains for a future literal temple? That to which the temple had pointed is now a reality through the work of the Holy Spirit. Why return to the type and shadow?
It is also clear from Hebrews 8–10 that Jesus fulfilled the priesthood typology of the Old Testament in his death, and he put an end to the sacrificial system in his own blood once and for all. The author of Hebrews said, “We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by man” (8:1–2). If the reality to which the Old Testament sacrifices and priesthood pointed is found in this true sanctuary and tabernacle in heaven, why look for a return to the shadows in the form of an earthly temple, which pointed us to this heavenly scene? Contrary to the view of dispensationalists, the prescribed New Testament commemoration of the ratification of the new covenant will not be found in a new order of temple worship, which includes a new temple, a new priesthood, and animal sacrifices, supposedly in an earthly millennial kingdom. At the Last Supper, Jesus told his disciples, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19–20). He instituted the divinely approved method of commemorating his sacrificial work, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. In this way, the people of God feed on the Savior through faith and commemorate his dying on their behalf.
Jesus told the Samaritan woman that he could give her living water and that “whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:14). Jesus declared that he fulfilled the image Ezekiel foretold in chapter 37 of his prophecy when he spoke of water flowing from the sanctuary.19 If Jesus is the true temple of God, he alone gives us the “living water” that takes away the thirst of human sin and longing. Therefore, the dispensationalists’ insistence on a return in the millennial age to the types of the Old Testament sacrificial system amounts to a serious misunderstanding of the nature of redemptive history. By arguing for a new commemorative order based on Old Testament typology in the millennial age, dispensationalists see the future not as a consummation but as a return to the past. And this, of course, sadly obscures the person and work of Christ by seeing the ultimate reality not in him but in the types and shadows destined to perish when the reality entered the theater of redemption.