There’s A Reason The Old Testament Is In The Bible

The_Holy_BibleI heard a part of a sermon today emphasizing that the whole Bible is about Christ, not just the New Testament.

This theme is something my not-so-new-any-more pastor Mike Err has reiterated throughout his first year with us.

I admit, I’m always a little taken aback. For a moment. I have been blessed to sit under some outstanding preaching as an adult, and I forget that isn’t the case for everyone.

Over at Spec Faith the issue came up in a tangential way. Regular contributor Yvonne Anderson had occasion in her article to give Wikipedia’s description of “Christianity”

a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ as presented in the New Testament.

Yvonne pointed out two things she disagreed with in that brief sketch, but my mind was drawn to that last phrase: “presented in the New Testament.” The statement directly contradicted the sermon I’d heard . . . and all the sermons I’ve heard this year from Mike Erre, and practically all the sermons I’ve heard over the years preached in my church.

And then something dawned on me. If Christianity was presented in the New Testament only, why did our Bible continue to include the Old Testament? What did the Old Testament have to say about Christianity if Christ wasn’t part of the Old Testament?

Some people accuse the Apostle Paul of making up a new religion, which is how Christianity came into being. But only someone who doesn’t know the Bible would come to such a conclusion.

All throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, He made the connection between the Old Testament and Himself.

    * He compared Himself to the bronze snake Moses lifted up to cure the people stricken by disease brought on because of their disobedience.
    * He declared His existence before Abraham.
    * In the Sermon on the Mount, He expanded commands God gave His people from of old.
    * He connected Himself to a statement David made about the Christ.
    * Upon reading a scripture about the Messiah, He declared it’s fulfillment that very day.

Further, when He was talking with the two disciples on the road to the town of Emmaus, He scolded them for not believing what the prophets taught about the Messiah:

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

“Moses” refers to the first five books of the Bible, and all the prophets would likely mean, all the prophets, from Isaiah to Malachi.

In fact, throughout the forty days Jesus remained on earth after His resurrection, He apparently spent His time, or at least some of it, teaching His followers from the Old Testament.

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are 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 He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:44-47)

Then the apostles preached about Jesus by declaring His Messiahship, based on the Old Testament. Peter’s first sermon is a good example. After quoting a prophetic passage about the Messiah which David wrote, Peter drew this conclusion (words in all caps are quotes from the Old Testament):

Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY. This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:29-32(

All throughout the letters, Paul, Peter, James, the author of Hebrews, Jude, John continue to refer to the Old Testament to clarify, support, or illustrate their points.

It’s apparent Jesus didn’t see Himself as starting something new and His followers didn’t see themselves as starting something new. Rather, Jesus is the completion of what God has been doing from before the foundations of the world. And we know about His work with mankind from the beginning because of the Old Testament.

Published in: on September 18, 2013 at 7:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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