“Timothy Brindle was chosen before the foundation of the world to be a gift from the Father to the Son.”
“I wrote a couple [of] really bad, cheesy raps in middle school.” At that time, future Lamp Mode Recordings artist Timothy Brindle decided he wasn’t very good and put down the pen until he was in high school. Listening to Wu-Tang Clan and underground “Backpacker rap” he “started thinking of a bunch of punchlines, rhyme schemes so I wrote them down and would practice them. I had the audacity one day to jump into a cypher.”
His peers in the cypher encouraged him to keep rapping and “I had a little bit of an advantage because being a scrawny white kid with big glasses, I didn’t really look like I was a dope MC.” Someone said he “ambushed the cypher” so Brindle started calling himself Ambush the Animated. He learned to freestyle and started a group called The Deadly Scribes.
After graduating high school, he attended Temple University in Philadelphia so that he could do underground battle rap while in college. When he was in college, Brindle developed a drug addiction. He said that he was “really living for my own glory, which was manifested in the self-centered, self-exalting battle rhymes.”
Eventually he hit rock-bottom.
“The Lord had my heart ready to receive the gospel. A girlfriend at that time invited me to church. I took her invitation as an opportunity to win points with her.”
When Brindle got to the church, she did not show up.
“I sat in the back and cracked open the book of Luke… I saw this Christ pursuing demon-possessed people, prostitutes, blind and sick people and I knew that those people were a picture of me in my darkness.” After reading the Gospel of Luke, he knew that he needed Jesus to rescue him from his sin. “The Lord gave me faith in him. That was the first week of September 2001.”
The next month, he met a Christian rapper named Shai Linne.
“Up until meeting Shai I didn’t think that [making great Christian hip-hop] could be done. I thought I had to put the mic down permanently. Shai showed me that we can use hip-hop as a vehicle to make known biblical truth.”
Brindle had been working on a solo album before he came to Christ but now thought that his old raps and even their beats were sinful. Shai Linne showed him that “actually we can use the same beats that I was recording over.” Those beats turned into songs, which were assembled into his first album, The Great Awakening, released in 2003.
Last month, Timothy Brindle released his fourth album, accompanied by a book, both called The Unfolding. He wants listeners to have “the same experience that the disciples had in Luke 24 on the road to Emmaus.” This passage tells the story of followers of Jesus who were walking away from Jerusalem three days after the death of Jesus. They were “hoping that He was the one who was to redeem Israel and they met a fellow pedestrian on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize Him as the Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.”
Jesus was asking what they were doing and found out that they didn’t believe in the resurrection. “Jesus rebukes them not because they didn’t believe the eyewitnesses who saw Jesus risen from the dead, but because they didn’t believe the Old Testament.”
The passage says that Jesus opened the disciple’s minds to understand that the scriptures were all about him. When the disciples finally understood and recognized Jesus, He disappeared. “They said to one another, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us because He opened the scriptures to us?’”
“It must have been the most glorious bible study ever.”
Brindle’s prayer and desire for listeners and readers is that “God’s people’s hearts would burn within them with a passion for the glory of Christ, not just in the New Testament, but in the Old Testament. There’s something about understanding God’s one unfolding story from Genesis onward.”
After listening to his album, he wants bible readers to be able to connect the dots between Old Testament stories and the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Luke 24:44-47 (ESV) reads,
“’Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’”
Brindle explains that the word “thus” comes from a word in the original Greek scripture meaning “in this way” or “in this manner.”
“Instead of quoting a verse, Jesus was actually saying the manner in which the Old Testament was written, [was] with the suffering of the Messiah and his resurrection to follow. He’s summarizing the entire Old Testament with that in mind.”
Brindle says that not only the messianic prophesies of the Old Testament are about Jesus, but rather the entire collection of books. “This [Greek] word here for Christ is used in the Old Testament, in the Greek Old Testament translation for mashiak, which is the Anointed One. Anointed One is also in the plural: Anointed Ones and its used for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Israel.”
He explains how all of those figures suffered from going down to Egypt from Israel. “Going down to Egypt is a theme in the Old Testament for being away from the land of promise, being in a time of testing and trial.”
When Joseph is in Egypt in the book of Genesis, he along with the rest of God’s people are enslaved to the Pharaoh. “It means being in the pit. Being in the pit has in view a death-like suffering in which the Lord then raises Joseph up out of his sufferings, out of the pit, into an exalted place of being the ruler.”
“What Jesus is saying is, that is about Him. It’s actually pointing forward to the ultimate wilderness, wandering, suffering King, the ultimate Anointed One, who goes down not just to a pit of prison, to the pit of death… He’s raised up out of it to be the exalted King who gives life.”
The story of Joseph is one of countless Old Testament stories that foreshadow Jesus, many of which are broken down in the fourteen songs on The Unfolding.
The shortest song on The Unfolding is just under five minutes and the longest exceeds fourteen minutes, with the average far longer than a standard hip-hop song. Brindle notes the length of certain bible chapters and books, saying “the Lord Himself was not too concerned at taking lengths to unpack the glory of the Son of God in His word. I don’t think we should constrain ourselves with limitations that the world has put upon us like a three-and-a-half-minute song.”
Noting his fourteen-and-a-half-minute song, “Glory-Fire,” Brindle said,
“I limited myself. I could’ve kept going brother. That’s how glorious God’s word is. I wanted people to get a sense of the inexhaustible nature of the glory of Christ in scripture.”
Outside of music, he loves spending with his family, the community of people at his church, and being an admissions counselor at Westminster Theological Seminary.
Follow Timothy Brindle on Twitter.