The purpose of the Old Testament is to reveal God and His ways. If it does not give an accurate portrayal of God then it was written in vain.
Likewise….the New Testament.
The Old is not inferior to the New.
The New is not superior to the Old.
I am talking about the writings…the books…NOT the Covenants. The Book of Joshua is as God-breathed as the Book of Acts. The Book of Ezekial is as God-breathed as the Book of John. Remember…
2 Timothy 3:15-17
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
Paul was talking about the Old Testament. The Old Covenant Writings.
Of course the New Covenant is superior to the Old.
“For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.”
“By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”
“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
But the actual books, whether New Testament or Old Testament are fully inspired. Taken as a whole, they show an integrated design and an unfolding of the Lamb of God and the full picture of redemption.
When people pick and choose Scriptures according to their own philosphy or agenda, without the context of the whole Bible, error ensues. By picking the verses that work for them, while choosing to reject the ones that don’t, pride is allowed to formulate theology. Here’s an example.
God is love.
1 John 4:8“The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”
Now, if I take this truth and run with it according to my human reasoning without the whole Word of God, this is what happens…
I begin to remove all references to God and His ways that don’t line up with my understanding of love. Or I formulate foolish statements that sound theologically right but are really just man made declarations that sound “deep”.
I quote Romans 6:23 “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
But when I quote it, I leave out or don’t mention the fact that it also says “for the wages of sin is death.”
Why are the wages of sin death if God is only love ?
Or I quote John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”
But what about the last part? “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Could it be that in His Holiness He must turn away from sin ? That in Himself, as Love, He has to react against sin ?
The point is that the atonement, the cross of Christ, can not be understood without the Old (fully inspired) Testament writings. The Old Testament lays the foundation for our understanding of the character and nature of God. God must punish sin. The wrath of God is the barrier between the sinner and acceptance with God.
An understanding of God, that begins with man, removes the wrath of God.
An understanding of the nature of God, that removes the wrath of God, is based upon pride.
An understanding of Jesus Christ, which removes foundational truths (from the Old or New Testaments) is idolatry.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
“Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.”
Even Ephesians, the most “spiritual” and “lofty” of New Testament writings speaks of wrath.
” But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”
The Old Testament presentation of God is the foundation on which the amazing love of God, in the Cross, emits it’s full light.
The difference between the Old and the New Testaments is found in the arrangement of subjects.
The Old Testament says it this way…
God is Holy….You are sinful….therefore the wrath of God is upon you….Oh that the Redeemer would come and deliver you !
The New Testament says it this way…
He has come….He has redeemed you…. now understand how holy God is who could not save you except through the blood of Jesus Christ and understand how great and evil sin is…so great and evil that it required the astonishing sacrifice of God’s own Son to remove it.
There is no changing of the character or nature of God. It didn’t change between Malachi and Matthew.
The God of judgment in the Old Testament…
who judged Adam and Eve
who judged through the Flood
who judged at the tower of Babel
who judged the Egyptians
who judged the Canaanites
who judged even His own people
is the God of Love of the New Testament. Remember 1 Peter 1:17-21
“And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
Every act of judgment in the Old Testament was executed throught the “filter” of what was foreordained before the foundation of the world. Mercy was the root…even in the OLD days. It all pointed to the Cross.
The Old Testament is full of beautiful and loving expressions of God’s love.
-I will abundantly pardon…
-Can a woman forget her child…
-My thoughts of peace for you can not be removed…
-Ho everyone that thirsteth, come to the waters…
-With the Lord our God there is forgiveness…
-The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth…
-The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
Did you realize that the New Testament reveals a new level of sin not seen in the Old ? In the Old Testament, He told us of the evil of sin. In the New Testament, He told us what sin is….what it does…and what it leads to. Sin was exposed, defined, and remedied at the cross. Jesus Christ layed down His life. It was His to give. But man wanted to eradicate Him, erase Him, and all that He stood for. We crucified the Son of God. All of Mankind did. In our pride and our outrage…we had to kill Him. We wanted to erase God manifested in the flesh. Even in that horrible revelation of the prideful and sickening state of the heart of man…He still redeemed us. Regardless of our folly and our evil desire to destroy the Light of the world, He triumphed on our behalf…anyway. When we crucified Him, the nature of sin was truly revealed. We were the enemies of God but He still destroyed the enmity between us and Him. That is a new level, beyond the Old Testament writings.
In the New Testament, our understanding of the severity of the judgment of God increases.
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands,than to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.’
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched— where
‘Their worm does not die,
And the fire is not quenched.’
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire— where
‘Their worm does not die
And the fire is not quenched.”
In the New Testament, those outside of Christ are called sons of disobedience and by nature the children of wrath. There are no statements similar to this in the Old Testament.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.”
In the book of Revelation, we are introduced to a level of judgment and wrath that exceeds the Old Testament. He came the first time as Servant and Saviour, this time He returns as King and Judge. The Lamb of God who first came as Servant and Savior now reveals a level of judgment that man cannot fully comprehend. How do you understand the wrath of the Lamb ? Lambs don’t have wrath. They are incapable of wrath. It’s like calling peanut butter….napalm. But the whole book is an unveiling of Jesus Christ and His final judgment of the nations and kings, the systems and rulers, and the earth and it’s inhabitants. To fully understand it and see Him revealed in the midst of such terrifying events, you must use both the Old and the New Testament writings or (again) error will ensue.
The Old and the New combine to declare that God is love.
But what is God ?
The Old Testament answers that.
What is Love ?
The New Testament does a pretty good job of answering that.
But unless you know the Old Testament when you read or hear that God is love, that statement doesn’t have a foundation and therefore could mean anything.
Jesus said…”You believe in God (Old Testament), believe also in Me.”
Credit for this article goes to Adolph Saphir for his incite into end-time deception and false teaching.