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

How much of the Bible do we need to read? Part 2

The important question that every follower of Jesus must settle in his or her mind is: what is the value of the Old Testament?  Do we need to read and accept it as part of God’s Word?  (See How much of the Bible do we need to read? Part 1)

#  Let’s consult the Holy Spirit.

We do this because He is our Counsellor.  He also knows God intimately, ‘The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God….  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God.’  He tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16, ’All Scripture is God-breathed….’   The Holy Spirit inspired Old Testament is an important part of the Bible, for various reasons:

#  Scripture says so in the New Testament.

  • ‘In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in many ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son whom He appointed as heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.’ 1
  • God spoke to the forefathers through the prophets, but what does that have to do with us?  He speaks to us through the Son in the New Testament.

#  The New Testament testifies to the need of the Old Testament.

  • It tells us ‘…everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.’ 2
  • Romans 15:13 says, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ 
  • So the Old Testament is very important to fill us with endurance, encouragement and hope, with the help of the Holy Spirit.

#  Don’t forget the heroes of faith.

The Old Testament is the source of the Faith Heroes in Hebrews 11.  They were ordinary men and women like us who did great feats and overcame great odds.  They are examples of endurance, encouragement, hope, perseverance and trust in the Lord.  We can be greatly encouraged if we read the detail of their lives in the Old Testament.

Conclusion

God uses the Old Testament writings to encourage us while we are subjected to the pressures of life with its concerns and cares.  We have to stand strong, like Abraham, while we wait for our new heavenly home, ‘For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.’ We need the Old Testament!

References

  1. Hebrews 1:1-2
  2. Romans 15:4
  3. Hebrews 11:10