Some interesting tidbits about the Old Testament

The Jews believed firmly in the Shema, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ 1  So when Jesus said, ‘I and the Father are one,’ 2 they questioned Him.  Jesus answered, ‘… If He called them ‘gods’ to whom the word of God came – and Scripture [Old Testament] cannot be broken….’’ 3

#  Jesus declared:

  • The word (Word) of God is Scripture.
  • Scripture is the Word of God.
  • Scripture cannot be broken.

#  Why can’t Scripture be broken?

Besides that it is the Word of the eternal God, it must be available to all people in all ages.  It is imperative that people since about 400 BC (Malachi is the last book of Old Testament) have the same document that expresses the will of God.  The Bible is the map that shows the way to eternal life on the new heavens and earth.

#  Jesus never once doubted the Old Testament Scriptures,

When Judas Iscariot led the crowd, sent from the chief priests and the elders, to arrest Him, Jesus said, ’But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, never doubted the truth and accuracy of the Old Testament.

#  It never once says the word of God came to Jesus.

The reason is that Jesus is God, revealed to us in the New Testament.  He is ‘the Word of God,’ according to John 1:1 &14 and Revelation 19:13, who spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and the apostles in the New Testament, by the Holy Spirit.  So the word of God did not come to Him, He is the Word.

#  The Old Testament teaches about Jesus.

Paul wrote, ‘…from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures [Old Testament], which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.’ 5

#  God exalted His Word:

It is written, ‘…For you [Lord] have exalted above all things your Name and your Word.’ 6

#  What should our attitudes be?

Followers of Jesus who are filled with the Holy Spirit should have the same attitude as our Lord Jesus.  The Old Testament is the Word of God and thus important for us to hear what God says to us.

Conclusion

Let’s agree with the psalmist, inspired by the Holy Spirit, ‘I have put my hope in your word.’ 7

References

  1. Deuteronomy 6:4
  2. John 10:30
  3. John 10:35
  4. Matthew 26:54
  5. 2 Timothy 3:15
  6. Psalm 138:b
  7. Psalm 119:74, 81, 114, 147

How to answer questions about Jesus

People often ask whether the Old Testament (75% of the Bible) is necessary?  There are churches who concentrate only on the New Testament message that Jesus Christ saves from sins.  It is a true statement, but the problems begin when people in those congregations have to answer why they believe it.  It is a difficult question to answer when you concentrate only on the 25% of the New Testament.

#  Possible questions 

  • Why is a person born in sin and why does he need to be forgiven?
  • Why can’t Jesus just forgive all people their sins?
  • If your sins are forgiven, does that mean you can live as you like, with the ‘guarantee’ to enter heaven?
  • If Jesus forgives sins, what about Allah, Buddha and others?

#  Possible answers

You can only answer those question, and many others like them, if you take a Kingdom view of Scripture (Old + New Testament), instead of a New Testament view only.   The differences in broad terms are the following:

  • The ‘Jesus saves’ view,  ‘She [Mary] will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ 1 
  • The Kingdom view, ‘The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; His Kingdom will never end.’ 2

In broad terms, we can say the Matthew version is the New Testament one, Jesus saves.  The Luke version is the Kingdom view, which includes both testaments.  Note the references to Jacob and David in the Old Testament.

#  Answers from both testaments

The complete Bible gives a more comprehensive view of Jesus’ work on earth.  Look at some aspects:

  • Adam was banished from Eden because of his disobedience.
  • Eden, which represents God’s ideal Kingdom, expects obedience from its citizens.
  • The Old Testament proves that eventually obedience is an elusive concept, because the Israelites failed most of the time.  The Gentiles also failed.
  • God’s New Covenant was in Jesus.3  He would cleanse people’s hearts by forgiveness, and fill them with the Holy Spirit who lives in a ‘clean’ house.
  • Only the Holy Spirit can help a person to be obedient to God, based on what the Bible teaches.
  • Only through Jesus are we reconciled to God.  The fellowship was broken by Adam’s disobedience.

Conclusion

The Kingdom view of Jesus’ work on earth does not minimize Jesus’ work.  On the contrary, through the failure of Adam, one understands how important Jesus is.  Only He reconciles us with God, only He can give God children.  Only by taking into consideration the whole message of the whole Bible can we answer why Jesus had to die to forgive our sins.

References

  1. Matthew 1:21
  2. Luke 1:32
  3. Jeremiah 31:31-34

What to do when someone insults Jesus, Scripture or Christians

We never need belittle and scorn people who fight against the Word of God. With the help of the Holy Spirit, identify and address the spirit behind the person(s).

These days criticism and antagonism against anything to do with the Bible is fairly common in our  technologically, relatively wealthy Western society.  What influences people who interrupt and shout down speakers, criticise Scripture and harass followers of Jesus?  Let’s look at what Jesus said in two such situations.

#  Jesus discerned that a spirit spoke through the man.

  • When a man in the synagogue interrupted Jesus, He, led by the Spirit, discerned who the voice belonged to.  “‘Be quiet!’ said Jesus sternly.  ‘Come out of him!’” 1
  • When Peter rebuked Him, “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling-block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’”  2
  • In both cases Jesus focused on the demon instead of on the man.  It is because our struggle is not against flesh and blood (people).  Scripture tells us,  ‘Our struggle is against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.’ 3

# What does Jesus’ example teach us? 

  • Jesus equipped us to engage in this struggle, ‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and to overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing will harm you.’ 4
  • We have the authority to engage the spirit, not the person.  We cannot go wrong if we follow our Lord’s example in Scripture.

#  Let’s use the Sword of the Word.

  • Ephesians 6:17 tells us to, ‘Take …the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.’
  • God says in Isaiah 55:11, ‘…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire – and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.’  God promises that His words in Scripture, if proclaimed by believers, will be effective.
  • He says, ‘…I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.’ 5

Conclusion

We never need belittle and scorn people who fight against the Word of God.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, identify and address the spirit behind the person(s).

References

  1. Mark 1:25
  2. Matthew 16:22-23
  3. Ephesians 6:12
  4. Luke 10:19
  5. Jeremiah 1:12b