The Bible? How can you believe in an ancient collection of fanciful myths written by a small group of Hebrews thousands of years ago? And why would you think such a collection of ancient writings should have any bearing on our lives today?
New York Times best-selling author David Limbaugh has answered those two questions adeptly in his latest two books. In last year’s Jesus on Trial, Limbaugh artfully tells of his journey from skepticism about the Bible to his realization that the Bible is actually true. It’s not a collection of fanciful myths as Limbaugh’s case amply demonstrates, but God’s written revelation to the very creatures He created and then came to save.
Now Limbaugh is making the more difficult case. In his new book, The Emmaus Code, David shows the surprising relevance of the Old Testament.
What? How could the Old Testament, even if it is part of God’s Word, have much bearing on our lives today? After all, the Old Testament is called “old” not primarily because of its age, but because it describes the history of the old covenant that God had with ancient Israel, much of which contains rules and regulations that do not apply to believers today. Not only that, there is a puzzling array of characters and events that, devoid of any historical context, make the storyline very difficult to understand and, at times, morally questionable.
“If you are confused about the historical events recorded in the Old Testament,” writes Limbaugh, “you will likely find yourself distracted and frustrated as you struggle with its theological messages while failing to perceive Christ’s pervasive presence. But once you grasp the flow of Old Testament history, you’ll be better prepared to delve more deeply into the theological concepts.”
The Emmaus Code helps you grasp the flow of Old Testament history, and highlights that Jesus is the theme of the entire Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to maps. The book is cleverly titled because that’s exactly what Jesus declared during his famous post-resurrection walk with two unwitting men on the road to Emmaus. As Limbaugh puts it, “Jesus illuminated Scripture for the two men on the Emmaus Road and did the same for His disciples. The New Testament is strikingly clear that He affirmed the Old Testament is all about Him. Therefore, if we believe in Him and that all Scripture is God–breathed, as it professes to be, we too must accept that its singular focus is on our Savior. Once you acknowledge that, your understanding and reverence for the Bible will greatly increase.”
Dr. Norman Geisler (a man who has written more than eighty books) has said that “in the Old Testament Christ is concealed; in the New Testament Christ is revealed.” Limbaugh amplifies that truth and points out that, “With the benefit of [the New Testament], we can see truths in Scriptures that weren’t evident to people in Old Testament times. Based on these revelations we understand those Scriptures in an entirely new light—we can see Christ on every page of the Old Testament as well as the New.”
This approach to discover the overarching theme of the Bible reminds me of an approach Corrie ten Boom took after hiding and saving many Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. In her public speeches after the war, Corrie ten Boom, who was a Christian, would address the question of evil by holding up the backside of a needlepoint project she had been working on. If you look at the backside, it looks like a mess. That’s our perspective when we can’t make sense out of the evil we see all around us. But if you turn the needlepoint over and look at the frontside, you can see how the messy, tangled threads come together to create a beautiful tapestry. That’s God’s perspective. When properly understood, the Bible is indeed a beautiful tapestry.
So if you’ve ever struggled to understand the unifying theme of the Old Testament and its relevance to your life today, The Emmaus Code will enlighten you. It starts with a defense and overview of the Old Testament, and then shows how Christ is woven through every book of the Old Testament. It’s like discovering the front of the needlepoint when you’ve only known its jumbled underside.
David Limbaugh has written another gem filled with ah-ha moments that will leave you marveling at the Savior woven through every page of the Bible. And it’s just in time to remind us what Isaiah foretold Christmas would be all about—God with us (Isaiah 9:6).