The following is a crucial passage quoted directly from the Old Testament:
Huh, you say?
You can certainly read the letters. But can you understand the text? Do you know its meaning? Probably not, unless I provide the key. If I were to provide you with the key, the message would be much more meaningful.
We’ll get back to this mystery passage later, but first let’s examine “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sherlock Holmes for a moment. That story comprises 15 chapters.
Suppose I were to provide you with only the first thirteen chapters of the story. Would you know the ending? Of course not.
Now suppose I were to provide you the last two chapters also. Would you know the ending then? Of course.
Lastly, suppose that instead of providing you with the entirety of the last two chapters, I would only provide you with the first thirteen chapters plus the key to unlocking the mystery. Would you be able to figure out the ending then? Absolutely!
It is the same with the Old Testament. It is an unfinished book which ends abruptly almost in mid-thought:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Mal 4:5-6)
That’s the end; that’s all folks. It’s the classic “wait for the sequel” closure. We have a hint that our hero is coming to do great things – just enough of a hint to pique our interest – but nothing more is said about where, when, how, and so on. Clearly the book is unfinished. It’s exactly as if we only had the first 13 chapters of “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Where’s the ending?
I would suggest The New Testament is exactly what we are seeking; the evidence is overwhelming that it is the ending for the Old Testament. As it turns out, the New Testament contains not only the details of the ending, but also the key to our mystery passage: That key is the Cross. It we apply the Cross to our mystery passage, all of a sudden everything becomes crystal clear because that is the subject matter of this passage:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa 53:7).
Now that you have the answer, your challenge is to understand the key. How does the Cross unlock the true meaning of Isaiah 53? What was the key I used to convert the text itself in the example of the mystery passage?
Let me give you a hint: The key in both cases was substitution of one for another.
All is not as it looks