Why the Old Testament if we have the New Testament

Atheists love to confront Christians with the ‘horrible’ God of the Bible who killed babies, allowed rape, and Titus archstoned rebellious teenagers and homosexuals. Often they distort the Bible to succeed in their derision. They use the Old Testament history to prove their point.


Besides the clever distortion of facts, it is convenient to forget that God’s laws were designed to promote peace and prosperity in a nation. A nation that follows His rules, will be very orderly without theft, murder, immorality, et cetera. The laws were the physical ‘outworking’ of the holiness of God.


The Law or first covenant was made with the Israelites of old: ‘These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the Lord established on Mount Sinai between Himself and the Israelites through Moses.’ 1  That was around 1,400-1,300 BC. The Israelites that God made that covenant with (those people who approached the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with sacrifices at the Tabernacle and Temple) no longer exist.  The Temple in Jerusalem was raised to the ground by Titus in 70 AD. They could never rebuild it and the Islamic Dome of the Rock occupies the spot.  Animal sacrifices ceased with the destruction of the Temple. The Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant.


Why are the details of the Old Covenant in the Bible?

# 1. It proves that no one can keep the law. The Old Testament proves that God’s special nation, the Jews, could not obey His laws. It proved that nobody can keep God’s commandments by his or her own decision or will power.


# 2. Grace and love are the solution. God wanted to show us that grace and love are much more powerful than law. If a nation moves into fraud, robbery, murder and immorality, it is no use trying to change their behaviour with laws. A heart change is the only permanent solution. That is where Jesus, the Son of God comes in. He changes hearts and makes it possible for people to live lives that please the Lord.


# 3. Jesus made a relationship with God possible. Without Jesus there can be no eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness. Only He makes it possible for us to obey God and live in a relationship with Him. Jesus is the one essential ‘ingredient’ to make God’s future Kingdom of peace possible. Without Him, there is no hope for us to ever live with God on the new earth.


# 4. No one can please God without Jesus. The Old Testament with its narratives of basically failure to please God is very important. Nobody will appear before the Judgement throne and be able to claim that he or she could please God without Jesus. It is impossible, as the Old Testament so decisively proves.



Jesus is the only solution to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Conveniently atheists don’t mention Jesus and the New Covenant in their eagerness to promote the ‘Terrible Tyrant’ idea. They also forget that there is nobody alive to whom the Old Covenant applies. Lastly, why do they so often refer to the Old Testament without mentioning the role of Jesus in what is lacking in the Old Covenant?



1. Leviticus 26:46


Did God change His tune?

Law given at Sinai Stan Adermann posted a comment on Stone the Rebellious Child, on 7 March, 2014. It consisted of two parts:

1. ’Even though the laws don’t apply now, there was a point in time where God declared that the proper thing to do was to murder your children in a horrific way, according to the Bible. If Yahweh of the O.T. is the same as the Father of Jesus in the N.T., why can he not be held accountable for those who died on his command?’

Did God change His tune from Yahweh in the Old Testament, to the Father of Jesus in the New Testament? In the Old Testament the Israelites agreed to enter into a covenant with God, The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said.’1 The laws of God determined many aspects of Israelite society, like Hebrew servants, personal injuries, protection of property, social responsibility, and many more.

The question is, is God responsible for the people who were killed because they broke the covenant? For example, the Sabbath breaker.3 The Bible doesn’t record a specific rebellious son who was stoned. The person who was stoned knew the law and agreed to it.

What the question amounts to is: If a government changed the law of capital punishment to life imprisonment, are they responsible for the deaths of the murderers who were affected by the former law? Surely the citizens knew about the law. Was the death sentence not enacted to keep law and order in the country?

2. Stan’s other issue: ‘Also, a common Christian claim is that morals are unchanging because they come from God. But one can argue that this is an example of God changing his mind. What was moral for one group at one time, is not moral now, and on this basis morals do change.’

God demonstrated in the O.T. that nations and individuals cannot obey laws and live holy lives as He wants them to. This issued in the promise of a new covenant, a new way of dealing with disobedience through Jesus the Messiah.4

While it superficially appears as if God changed His tune, He did not. The most important law in the Old Testament was, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.5  In the New Testament Jesus agreed that it was still the most important law.6

There are people who think when you accept Jesus, your sins are forgiven, so you can live as you like, because your place in heaven is booked. That is totally, completely wrong. Jesus made the application of the law more stringent in the new covenant. For example, in the Old Testament adultery in Israel was forbidden. In the New Testament Jesus said if you look lustfully at a woman, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.7 Jesus recommended drastic measures to help you keep the law. Although judgement was not as immediate as in the covenant with Israel, judgment was still very much part of Jesus’ message.8

God never changes His tune. The morals remain the same, love God and your neighbour.


  1. Exodus 19:8
  2. Exodus 21-23
  3. Numbers 15:32-36
  4. Jeremiah 31:31
  5. Deuteronomy 6:4,5
  6. Matthew 22:37
  7. Matthew 5:27-30
  8. Matthew 5:29-30; 7:21-23; 13:41
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