About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The Old Testament
again I've been reminded that many Christians have a faulty
understanding of what we call the "Old Testament".
I guess that's to be expected since on the title page of the first 39
books of our Bibles we see the words "Old Testament".
We thus conclude that's the name for those 39 books.
I know many of us don't like being Biblically technical in these
post modern days, but technically speaking, I believe Jesus understood
the Old Testament to mean something different than us.
Our misunderstanding on this issue has led many of us to favour
what we call the New Testament over what we call the Old Testament.
That's not only a mistake but a sin that I've long since repented
might think the terms "Old Testament and New Testament" came
into existence with the King James Bible, but that's not exactly so. Jesus
introduced the word "new" in reference to the word
"testament" the night before His execution. He
said, "… this cup is the new covenant (testament) in my blood
…" (Luke 22:20) Our
English word "covenant" is translated from the Greek word
"diatheke" is an agreement between two or more people.
"Diatheke" can also be translated as, contract, covenant,
or, testament. On the night
Jesus was betrayed, He took the cup and introduced a "new
agreement", a "new testament", to His disciples.
The words "new covenant" as used by Jesus implies the
existence of an "old covenant", an "old testament".
Herein lies our misunderstanding.
What is the covenant or testament that Jesus implied was old?
covenant or testament that Jesus implied was old is the agreement that
Yahweh entered into with
New Covenant in Jesus' blood finds its roots as far back as Genesis 3.
There, God shed the blood of an innocent animal.
The skin of the dead animal covered Adam and Eve's nakedness.
The shedding of this animal's blood is the basis for the Adamic
Covenant that God decreed to satan and all mankind.
This covenant was codified in the Mosaic Covenant.
So, if we don't understand the Old Mosaic Covenant, we won't
really understand the New Jesus Covenant.
In order to understand both covenants as Jesus understood them we
can't favour what we call the New Testament over the books of Genesis,
Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
I'm sorry to say this, but as hard as these books
are to read, they contain the Mosaic Covenant and therefore are
important if we want to understand the New Covenant.
you think the Old Testament refers to a period of history or the
first 39 books of the Bible, I suggest you rip Matthew, Mark, Luke,
John, and Acts chapter 1 from your Bible and stick them right after
Malachi. The gospel accounts
are actually in what we call Old Testament times, a period when Israelis
were under the rule of the Old Mosaic Covenant.
The era which we call New Testament times began in Acts 2 when
the followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit into their lives. In
one sense of the word, the words Old and New Testament that appear on
the cover of our Bibles may be a bit misleading, at least for us today;
maybe not for those in times past.
it were up to me, and you're probably glad it's not up to me, I'd name
that which we call the Old Testament "the Law and the
Prophets" because that's what Jesus called it. (Matthew 7:12,
11:13, 22:40, Luke 16:16, 24:24, John 1:45)
The first generation Christians also called these books "the
Law and the Prophets". (Acts 13:15, 24:14, 28:23, Romans 3:21) I'd
then name what we call the New Testament "Jesus and the
Apostles". Then, I'd
make sure everyone understood that the term Old Testament refers to the Old
Mosaic Covenant and the term New Testament refers to the cross of Christ.
we think of the first 39 books of the Bible as the "Old"
Testament, we tend to neglect them because we think they're old.
Each one of these 39 books is relevant to our understanding of
who God is. Without them we
know little about the God we claim to serve.
They teach us much about the very essence
of God. They are
prophetically important. They
contain historical records that show us how God interacts with
individuals, nations, and with Israel.
apostle Paul tells us that we have lots to learn from these 39 books of
the Bible. (Romans 15:4) I suggest
yourself a favour. Study the
"Law and the Prophets", for the pathway of salvation that
leads us to the Lord Jesus Christ weaves its way through every page.