By Steven J. Hogan
~ A Saturday Morning Post #20 ~
The Old Testament is the truth of God. It is a set of 39 books, that together with 27 books in the New Testament, make up the Bible, the word of God. And just like you need to read all the chapters in a book to get the whole story, so too you need to read the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments, to get the whole story, to understand God’s past, present and future working with His people, and with this entire earth.
What is the Old Testament about? It is about Jesus Christ, who He is, what He’s like, and what He’s doing – His office, character and purpose. There are many verses, types and illustrations of Christ in the Old Testament, giving us a very good picture of our Lord, Savior and King. Jesus Himself used the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms from the Old Testament to help His disciples understand who He was (Luke 24:25-27, 44-45).
The Old Testament is about the Jews. Their purpose was to write God’s word, to be recipients of God’s Laws and covenants, to carry out the temple service, and to be the “Woman” who’d give birth to the Messiah, to Jesus Christ. We also read stories about the Jews, their lives and service for God, which give us many good examples of faith, hope, love and perseverance. There’s Adam, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, Ruth, David, Isaiah, Esther, Nehemiah and many others. But these are not just saints with godly character that make for nice Sunday School lessons. The Old Testament is more than just a lot of stories with no larger context, but it’s part of the entire Bible, and therefore a necessary part of the whole story. Consider the following:
First, there were the promises, the covenants from God. Abraham knew that from his lineage would come a great multitude of descendants (Genesis 12:1-3). David knew that the Messiah would be one of his descendants, the future King of the entire world (2 Samuel 7:12-16). Jeremiah knew that a great number of Jews would be saved in the future. (Jeremiah 31:31-34). These three promises are extremely important, for they not only speak of God’s plans for the Jews, but they also relate to the church and to our future.
Second, there were the predictions of the prophets. They “predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.” 1 Peter 1:11. For example, Isaiah, Micah, Zechariah and Daniel all spoke of the coming Christ (Isaiah 9:6-7, 53; Micah 5:2-4; Zechariah 14:9; and Daniel 7:13-14). As we now know, some of their predictions literally came true at Christ’s 1st coming, but others will literally be fulfilled at Christ’s 2nd coming, and in the kingdom age to follow. For example, Jesus was literally born as a Baby on this earth, and in the near future He will literally appear and be the King over this earth.
Third, there were the parts played by godly Israelites. There was Moses, and if it weren’t for him, the Jews would never have made it to the promised land. There was Ruth, a key player in the big scheme of things, for she was the great grandmother of David. There was Esther, whom God used to preserve the Jewish race, and without her, Jesus would not have been born. And then there was Ezra, and he helped bring the Jews back to Israel, and so Jesus could be born in Bethlehem. These stories, seen on earth, were all part of God’s plans. But behind all this has been the invisible spiritual war between God and Satan. Revelation 12 tells us that Satan has been fighting like the devil to stop the work of God as it relates to both Jews and Christians, but God has defeated him again and again.
You can’t disregard the Old Testament. When you read it, you need to realize that it’s not just isolated events that took place in the past with no connection to the future. You have to see the Old Testament promises and predictions of God, all pointing to and leading to New Testament events, Christ’s 1st coming, His 2nd coming, and His kingdom age. You have to see that God’s people played key roles in the past, but were also necessary for God’s future plans. You need to see God sovereignly directing people and events in accordance with His eternal purposes and plans. “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:11
At this time in history, we are in the last part of the church age, for the Jews are back in their land. God’s working with both Jews and Christians is now in high gear, and it won’t be long before His end time plans for them will be fulfilled. Then in the next age, we will all be worshiping and serving the Lord together. Hebrews 11:13, 39 is instructive – “All these (Old Testament saints), having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had something better for us (New Testament saints), so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.”
P.S. I have an important new article for you to read – “Why Do Believers Die?” ~ A Memorial Service Message. Also, just as a reminder, we have been continuing to post new Español posts every week!