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WHY IS IT CALLED THE OLD TESTAMENT?

Jul 2

2 Corinthians 3:6-18
Memorise 2 Corinthians 3:18
“Jesus the mediator of the new covenant”

A few years back, when we were on a Holy Land tour in Israel, a few of us happened to strike up a conversation with an orthodox Jew at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. In the course of our discussion, someone in the  group asked him which Hebrew ‘Old Testament’ text he used. He looked momentarily confused, and perhaps rather offended, and clarified that there is only one Torah, and that is the only Bible they know. To them, calling their Bible old can perhaps be rather insulting.

For us, we see the Old and New together as the complete revelation of God. The Old Testament refers to the first 39 books of the Bible all written before the first coming of Christ. It is written primarily in Hebrew, with some parts of it in Aramaic, a language that is rather similar to Hebrew.

The word ‘testament’ (Hebrew berith, Greek diatheke) means ‘covenant’. A covenant is simply a formal promise, a pledge or pact made between two parties. In 2 Corinthians 3:6, Paul described himself as a minister of the New Covenant, meaning to say that his ministry was to preach Jesus Christ, to tell of how they are to simply believe the gospel by faith, and they would be saved. This was in contrast to the Old Covenant which the Jews still saw themselves in, which was to be done away with after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant or Testament which was primarily instituted by Moses, they still had an imperfect or incomplete understanding of the gospel message, being blinded as it were by a veil. They did not fully understand the significance of their system of offerings and sacrifices. Now of course we know that those things were done to help them to look forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. The contrast between the Old and New is therefore in one sense chronological, but also in terms of how much is revealed. Previously in the Old Testament, they could only look forward through types, foreshadows and prophecies. However, in the New Testament we have the direct instruction of the Word  of God, and a much clearer understanding of who Jesus Christ     is, and exactly what his life, death and resurrection means to us. Thus, both Testaments are precious to us, for together they give us a complete picture of who God is, and how we can be reconciled to Him.

Thought: Old does not mean lousy and out-dated, but simply different.
Prayer: I thank God that I have both the Old and New Testaments in my hand – the complete revelation of God