Print

Why do you consider the Old Testament so important? (Part 2)

In the first instalment of this series, we saw how there are those who do not believe that the Old Testament is necessary for a Christian today.  We continue in part 2 to look at reasons why such thinking is wrong. We saw, under the first of seven points, that both the Old Testament and the New Testament combine to give revelation about God, His creation of the universe and of man.   Let us move on discussing more reasons why the Old Testament is so important.

  1. The Old Testament is vital for God’s revelation about His master plan of salvation for the whole of mankind.

In Leviticus 23:1-2, we read about God’s Holy Days: “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts.’”

It should be noted that they are God’s Feasts, not Israel’s or of the Jews.   Today, as we will know, these generally are no longer kept by professing Christians except by the true Church of God with very few others understanding their necessity. Even most Jews do not keep them in the way prescribed by God. Mainstream Christianity have their own set of days which they keep, namely Christmas, Easter and other days.    These Holy Days, and their meaning, can be studied in our free booklet God’s Commanded Holy Days” where we read on page 1, the following:

“Why did ancient Israel and Judah have to go into captivity? Was God angry with them? And why does God warn this modern world that calamity is fast approaching? Is God angry with us?  Is there a correlation?

“Could our failure to observe God’s weekly Sabbath and His annual Feast Days have anything to do with it? Before we shrug our shoulders and scoff at such an idea, let us review God’s Word—the Bible—to learn what our Maker has to say about our national, collective and individual sins.

“To suggest that God still requires man to observe the Seventh-Day Sabbath and His annual Holy Days sounds strange, indeed, to most people. After all, weren’t those days given only to the Jews, ultimately to be replaced by Christians with Sunday and with such festivals as Christmas, Easter, and even Halloween? Wouldn’t the keeping of the Sabbath and the annual Feast Days mean returning to Old Testament rituals that were done away by Christ when He died for us? Weren’t the Sabbath and the annual Festivals just part of the Old Covenant that was replaced by the New Covenant?

“Undoubtedly, these are some of the arguments you have heard over the years, intended to convince you that the observance of the original Holy Days, and especially the weekly Sabbath, is no longer required or even permitted. Are these arguments based on Scripture, or are they based on human reasoning and opinion? How can you know the truth of the matter?

“We believe this booklet will present the Biblical truth regarding the Sabbath and Holy Day observances.”

And if we fast forward, we read on page 52 under the heading “Conclusion”:

“As we have shown you throughout this booklet, God’s weekly Sabbath and His annual Festivals are still to be kept holy today. God wants EVERYONE—including YOU—to observe them. There is no Scripture in the New Testament that does away with God’s requirement to keep His weekly Sabbath and His annual Holy Days holy, as He made them holy. God had to severely punish ancient Israel and Judah for violating His commandments, including profaning His Holy Sabbaths. God is very angry with the world today—especially the modern houses of Israel and Judah, who should know better—for trampling His Sabbaths under foot. His judgment is coming soon on the whole world.”

Further information is available in the booklets: The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days and “The Meaning of God’s Fall Holy Days.” 

We would have no knowledge of God’s Holy Days were it not for the Old Testament although there are references to them in the New Testament.   Today, mainstream Christianity ignore the fact that the early Church kept these Holy Days, as did Jesus.  How much more would they be ignored (if that is possible) if Leviticus 23 was not available where it confirms to whom the Holy Days belong.

  1. The Bible is incomplete without the Old Testament.  Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament are sufficient on their own.

Under the first 2 points above, it can be clearly seen that both the Old Testament and the New Testament are needed to understand the items briefly discussed above and without both, our future would not be set out clearly as it is.

They are inter-connected and make up the Word of God. We read in Genesis 3:1-13 how God dealt with Adam and Eve’s transgression and continuing in verses 14-19: “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.’ To the woman He said: ‘I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.’  Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat of it”: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.  Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field.  In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.’”

Above we read how God addressed both the serpent and man.   The curses spelled out show how a curse came upon humanity because of sin.  In Revelation 22:1-3 we read: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.”

We read that the curse will be removed and this knowledge would be incomplete without both Testaments.   This is but one of so many connections that is necessary to get the full picture.

Another connection would be quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament.  On the blueletterbible.org website we read:

“The close connection between the Old and the New Testament is shown by the number of times the Old Testament is quoted in the New Testament. Bagster’s Bible gives 889 quotations and allusions. George F. Pentecost gives the number at 885, a few of the allusions given by Bagster’s Bible being disputed. Every book of the Old Testament is quoted except Obadiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, and Esther. There is only one quotation from the Song of Solomon.”

In the four gospels and the book of Acts, taken from the above calculations, there are around 285 quotations from the Old Testament, showing that the early Church knew the value of the Old Testament.

We read in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”

It refers to the Scriptures, that is, of the Old Testament—the writings of Moses, the prophets and the Psalms, as well as those parts of the New Testament, which had already been written by the time Paul wrote the first letter to the Corinthians. Later, Peter would refer to Paul’s writings as part of the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:14-16).

  1. The Old Testament contains many prophecies about the first coming of Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. 
  2. We read in John 1:45: “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, ‘We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’”

We further read Christ’s words in John 5:39: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”  And in verses 46-47: “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”

We find Jesus expounding the Old Testament (the only Scriptures available at His time and which we will cover later), and in Luke 24:27 we read: “And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.”

And in verses 44-46: “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day…’”

In Acts 1:3, we read about Jesus appearing to His apostles after His resurrection: “…to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.”

On the website: biblearchaeology.org, there is an article entitled, “400 Prophecies of Christ in the Old Testament” by Paul Humber, reading as follows:

“The Lord Jesus Christ made it very clear that the Old Testament spoke of Him, stating: ‘You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about Me’ (John 5:39). My recently published book, ‘400+ Prophecies, Appearances, or Foreshadowings of Christ in the Tanakh (Old Testament),’ is a conscientious effort to take Jesus at His Word and to discover Him in pages of the Old Testament.

“Many people have the idea that the Old Testament was written BC (‘before Christ’). It was indeed written before Christ’s incarnation—but not before Christ, the Son of God. Nothing was ‘before’ Christ. In fact, He is the Creator of all—including even time itself. Thus, Jesus often even appears in the OT pages. In addition, there are many prophecies of His coming into the world to fulfil His unique role as Messiah.

“There are at least 117 prophecies, appearances, or foreshadowings (PAF’s) of Christ in the Law, at least 144 PAF’s in the Writings, and at least 153 PAF’s in the Prophets.  A minimal total for the entire Old Testament, therefore, is 414.”

With such a weight of evidence, it is difficult to imagine how anyone could think that the New Testament alone is sufficient for a Christian.

(To be continued)

Lead Writer: Brian Gale (United Kingdom)