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Jesus in the Old Testament – the slave’s ear

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As it has been well stated:

The Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed and the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed.

But whence comes such a statement?

From Jesus Himself who made statements such as:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me (John 5:39).

And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures (Luke 24:25-27).

In keeping with this concept of symbolism, allegory, metaphor, likenesses, etc. let us consider Exodus 21:2-6 which details litigious logistic with regards to Hebrew slave/servants:

…he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him.

If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently.

Keep in mind that we are dealing with symbolism, allegory, metaphor, likenesses, etc. and not one to one correspondence on each and every point. It is important to note this because some may be wondering what any of that had to do with Jesus.

Also, the reason that I wrote “slave/servant” is that the issue of slavery in the Bible is, rightly, a hot and very much misunderstood topic. It is not contextual for us to delve into that issue in this article and so I will direct the interested to ones that I have written on such topics:

Does God Command You to Beat Your Slaves?

Does the Bible and its God Condone Slavery?

On the evolution of marriage: “Male Slave + Female Slave”

The relevant portions of the Exodus text are that the slave/servant plainly says that he loves his master and thus, does not want to be freed, a free man.

Thus, his master is to “bring him to God” in sort of presentation and at the door or the doorpost (of the Temple or the master’s house?) the slave/servant is to have his ear pierced with an awl as a symbol of permanent service/slavery.

To begin with, note that Jesus came as a servant/slave when He incarnated:

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! (Philippians 2:5-8).

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

As a relevant side note; some claim that the persons of the Trinity are not co-equal because Jesus stated, “the Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). However, this was stated within an context sandwich as it was stated in John ch. 14 which in John ch. 13 (v. 16) Jesus stated, “I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” and after wards in John ch. 15 (v. 20) He reiterates, “Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’”

Therefore, this has nothing to do with Trinitarian theology, as such, but is about the fact that Jesus came as God’s/the Father’s servant and thus, in that role, the Father is greater (not better) than He.

So, Jesus is the slave/servant who plainly says that he loves His master God the Father and thus, does not want to be freed, a free man.

The rest of it is simple enough and writes itself: He comes before God and is pierced against a wooden background, the cross.



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