Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament, Part 20

“For this reason it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ ” Ephesians 5:14 (NAS)

Here is another quote from the Old Testament found in the New. That’s what it means when Paul, through the Holy Spirit wrote, ‘for this reason it says”.

You know what? You won’t find this statement verbatim in the Old Testament if you go looking. This is but one example of verses in the New Testament where the Spirit of Christ moves men to pull key parts of Old Testament verses together to convey vital concepts to the people of God. You’re probably asking, “Well, what are the Old Testament passages to which the apostle Paul refers?” There at least two verses in the book of Isaiah and one in Ezekiel that would seem the best candidates from which the Holy Spirit borrows. They are Isaiah 52:1 & 2: “Awake, awake, clothe yourself in your strength, O Zion; clothe yourself in your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city. For the uncircumcised and the unclean will no more come into you. Shake yourself from the dust, rise up, O captive Jerusalem; loose yourself from the chains around your neck, O captive daughter of Zion.” (NAS) If you consider the preceding context to Ephesians 5:14, you’ll notice that the apostle Paul has been working on encouraging the saints at Ephesus to “be imitators of God, as beloved children” (Eph 5:1) and reminding them who they are in Christ: “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),” Eph. 5:8-9.(NAS) Notice how the exhortations of Isaiah 52:1 & 2 fit very well (when spiritually appraised) with the context of Ephesians chapter five. Now let’s consider Isaiah 60, verse one:”Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.” (NAS) Sounds vaguely familiar to “Christ will shine on you” doesn’t it? In both cases the prophet Isaiah was looking ahead to the Messianic Holy City, Jerusalem, also called Zion. We know that Messianic city according to the New Testament is the church. Concerning the “arise from the dead” portion of Paul’s God breathed proclamation, the vision of the prophet Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones that come to life should vault to the forefront of the believer’s mind. “Therefore prophesy, and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD,” Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people. And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,” declares the LORD.’ ” (Ezekiel 37:12-14) ┬áNow imagine yourself as a first century Christian hearing the letter from the apostle Paul read for the first time and excitedly searching through the Old Testament for the verses that Paul infers. To begin to piece these verses together along with New Testament revelation and comprehend that God did all this for you and the church. That in Christ, he opened your spiritual eyes from a carnal slumber, raised you from the dead, and by faith seated you with Him in glory where His light continues to transform and strengthen you! Amen


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