I have often wondered why the Holy Spirit gave us the Old Testament? There must be a reason because it is at least 70% of Scripture. I found the following reasons for the Old Testament very plausible:
# The Old Testament reveals the origin of evil.
- If we ignore the Old Testament we don’t know what the origin of evil is. So many apologists have to answer questions about why there is evil in the world?
- There is also a huge amount of information on the growth of evil.
- God only gives us the wonderful news of how He will finally abolish evil at the end of this age, in the book of Revelation.
# The Old Testament describes what happens around us.
- We see historical scenario’s of the Old Testament repeated in history and in the daily lives of individuals. Even countries with their respective leaders follow either good or evil.
- Yet God never leaves His followers without hope. He promises a new heaven and earth and tells us what it will be like. How glorious it is that God clearly reveals the demise of the origin of evil, Satan. We can look forward to the miracle of eternal life without any evil at all. There will be only love, peace and harmony.
# The Old Testament proves God’s faithfulness.
People often wonder if they can trust God’s promises? The following are two of the many examples to show God’s faithfulness to His promises.
- The Old Testament covers more than 1,000 years of the history of the descendants of Abraham. God promised Abraham’s descendants the land of Canaan. They were exiled from their homeland the last time in 70 and 135 AD, but after about 1,800 years they again live in the land Israel.
- God promised in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent. Jesus did come, and He did rise victoriously from the grave. He is currently seated at the right hand of God, waiting for God’s appointed time to come for the second time to wrap up history. Then the eternal Kingdom of God will be established on earth and will last for ever.
# The Old Testament is part of the big picture of the Bible.
- We want to discuss the history of the arch rebel Satan, against God – what he tried to do to thwart God’s plans, and what we can expect in future.
- We do not do justice to God if we skip the Old Testament and then neglect the book of Revelation. Both are important to complete the big picture of God’s brilliance.
The following inspired words by the Holy Spirit are true,
‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness….’ 2 Timothy 3:16
We cannot ignore the Old Testament, because it is part of Scripture.
There are people who want to convince us to unhook the Old Testament from the Christian faith. We understand that they want to protect believers from the controversies, the restrictive laws and the so-called ‘cruel’ acts of God and His people in the Old Testament. Yet the Old Testament is vitally important to understand God’s fantastic future for us. For example,
# Four wonderful promises in the Old Testament
- To the serpent, the devil in the Garden of Eden, God promised, ’I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, he [He] will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.’ 1 That refers to Jesus.
- To Abram, God promised, ‘…and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.’ 2 That refers to Jesus.
- To David God promised, ‘Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne will be established for ever.’ 3 That refers to Jesus.
- To the Jews, God promised, ‘The time is coming…when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah….’ 4 That refers to Jesus.
All four these defining promises that a Saviour would come, are in the Old Testament. It should tell us something about how important the Old Testament is for us to grasp the significance our Lord Jesus.
# Matthew, Mark, Luke and John narrate how God fulfilled those 4 promises.
The words, ‘…to fulfil what was written’ occurs quite a few times in these books.
- The King on the Cross is the offspring of the woman, struck in His heel by Satan. The head of the devil was crushed because the sacrifice of Jesus destroyed the works of the devil. 5
- All people on earth who accept the suffering and death of Jesus, His resurrection and ascension on our behalf, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, will inherit the promised eternal life with God. What a blessing!
- The King on the throne of David sits at the right hand of His Father, the Lord God Almighty, and rules for all eternity in the New Jerusalem.
- Through the New Covenant in the Blood of Jesus on the Cross, we become the children of the Father and the Bride of Christ eternally.
# What happens if we unhook the Old Testament from the Holy Spirit inspired Book of Truth?
- We are left with a New Testament with no foundation; with no reason to believe that Jesus is that specially chosen Lamb of God; with no reason to believe the most wonderful miracle of all: God promised and everything happened.
- To unhook the Old Testament from the New, is an effort to rob us of the trust we have in God’s faithfulness and power. He promises us a glorious future with Him eternally. To unhook eventually means to unhook people from God’s plan for their lives.
We can have full confidence in God’s many promises scattered throughout the Old and New Testaments. He will take care of us, help, encourage and comfort us in this life. And in eternity we will be in His presence always.
- Genesis 3:15
- Genesis 12:3
- 2 Samuel 6:16
- Jeremiah 31:31
- 1 John 3:8
People often complain that the Old Testament is a book of violence and terror. They give the wars king David fought, the Israelites’ battles with the Philistines and many other incidents, as examples. They cannot understand why the Old Testament is so violent, while God is supposed to be a a God of love, peace and happiness. So let’s consider some aspects of the Old Testament’s violence.
# Has the world ever known peace?
There was a short period of peace for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in God’s presence. Yet that peace was shattered when the evil one arrived. By deceit he became the ruler of the world (Genesis 3). Genesis 4 begins Satan’s violent reign when Cain murdered his brother, Abel. That became the characteristic of this age: violence, murder, hatred and wars.
# Violence in history and the ‘modern’ world
The Assyrians, Babylonians and the cruelty of tyrants through the ages are examples. At present it is the violence in Iran, Iraq, Syria and other places, the destruction by ISIS and Boko Haram in Africa, the Rohingya persecution and others. There is civil unrest in many countries, and that through the ages. Why? The answer is the character of the ruler of this world, Satan.
# What is Satan like?
- In the New Testament, Jesus gave a clear answer, ‘He was a murderer from the beginning….’ 1 Why is the devil so hateful and always tries to mess things up?
- Remember he forfeited his eternal life in God’s presence when he rebelled against God’s authority. 2 For that result he hates the God of peace. He is a vengeful, warring influence, always bent of destruction, whether of families, individuals or nations.
# The Bible is a book about reality, not a religious book.
- The Bible is not a fairy tale, it tells history as it happened. Scripture explains the mess the world is in under the devil’s reign. It contrasts it to the magnificent Redeemer, the Son of God who came to earth to crush the head of the devil. 3
- Jesus came to change it all (whoever wants to, can call on God to translate them out of the devil’s kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light, through Jesus Christ’s death on the Cross 4). When Jesus comes the second time He will inaugurate a new heaven and earth, the home of righteousness. There will be no violence ever again on the new earth. What a great future awaits those who make Jesus their Lord.
God calls people in the midst of a fallen violent world, to become part of a nation under the headship of Jesus. Then the new nation will get a new dwelling, a home of righteousness where Jesus will rule eternally. 5
- John 8:44
- Mathew 25:41
- Genesis 3:15; 1 John 3:8
- Colossians 1:13
- 2 Peter 3:13