Is the Old Testament necessary?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
What would we miss if we had the New Testament without the Old Testament?
We would have no idea why God sent his Son to be tortured and killed on a cross. It would make no sense and would have to be accepted in a kind of faith bubble that has nothing to do with reality. To understand why Jesus had to die, it is necessary to have the whole Old Testament background which tells about:
God’s initial perfect creation.
How the devil caused man to sin, and the infection of the world by sin.
How the relationship with God was broken.
The cause of physical death, and what spiritual death is.
Why all people have a sin problem.
God’s curse on the earth, the reason for sickness, sin, catastrophes, et cetera.
God’s promise of a Redeemer: the plan of restoration.
Marriage and why it is a relationship between one man and one woman, as well as why it is a jealous love which brooks no interference.
The flood, which illustrated God’s power to again destroy a sinful world by fire in future and renovate the earth.
The calling of Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, a powerful witness to God’s fidelity in keeping his promises.
The redemption of the Israelites out of Egypt, a picture of future redemption by Jesus Christ.
The sacrificial system pointing to the shedding of blood for remission of sins.
The failure of the Law to sanctify, so that God’s promised Redeemer was necessary.
The importance of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.
God’s character as Saviour, Helper, Counselor, Guide et cetera is revealed in this history.
We can see that without the Old Testament the New Testament has no foundation. How does one explain to an unsaved person that Jesus (fully God and Man) did not fall out of the sky, but came through a long history of ancestors? The answer is of course found in the Old Testament. God gave us both Testaments, for a reason, and it is not for us to decide to neglect the one. (If we do that we are disadvantaging ourselves.) The ‘old’ in Old Testament refers to the first covenant, when animals were sacrificed to cover the sins of the people of Israel. God is holy and He can only bless people who obey His commands. The Israelites could not keep the Law, but they were forgiven if an animal was ‘punished’ on their behalf. This remained an ‘old’ covenant, because the people could do the rituals, while they did not love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. The Old Testament with its sacrificial system pointed to the time when the Lamb of God would come and die once and for all to take away the sins of the people for ever. This new covenant (the New Testament) would change the nature and hearts of people. The Holy Spirit would be able to live in a cleansed vessel and prepare the person for eternal life with God.
How does one master such a large volume of work? Never forget to ask the Holy Spirit’s help: how to go about it, which commentary is reliable, which Bible atlas is suitable, and when is the best time to do Bible study?