A Rich Foundation for All that Follows
The Old Testament on its own is rich with relevant content that speaks to the condition of our life in general and our relationship with God specifically. And it’s certainly filled with things God has promised to do yet are so far unfulfilled today; so it’s worth noting the ongoing work of God to come. Additionally, here are but a few building blocks from the “Old Covenant” that provide a foundation for the “New Covenant”, things that will provide a foundation of understanding for the New Testament:
- The more we study and know about Joseph, the more we’ll understand about Jesus’ first coming. The more we study and know about David, the more we’ll understand about Jesus’ second coming. (They are “types” or examples of the Messiah.)
- The southern kingdom of Judah is carried off into captivity in three distinct events and then return in three distinct events. This is a pattern replicated in Revelation. (You’re going to have to do your homework to refute/support this.)
- Christ’s lineage may be traced back to Adam but mankind’s is repeatedly traced to Noah and his three sons Ham, Shem, and Japheth. God sees nations and people in a different way than we do today. It’s important how God uses this structure throughout His messages through the Old Testament prophets. Representatives of all three branches are present at Jesus’ birth, Jesus’ death, Pentecost, and so on. Every genealogy in the Old Testament has significant meaning and helps explain the use of nations’ names in prophetic books such as Revelation. (Hint: Every time you come across the name of a person or place, look it up in your Bible dictionary.)
- The role of a prophet is actually more of an evangelist to Believers than providing predictions of God’s actions in the future. Prophets provide a measuring stick to people as to whether or not they’re in the proper obedient, loving relationship God desires or on the path leading to rejecting Him. This helps us to understand that the gift of prophecy is very much alive in the church today and how to recognize and respond to it.
- David writes entire Psalms devoted to the loving power and grace of God’s Law. Yet during his lifetime, most of the Old Testament did not exist. It can be argued that only the first five books existed, and certainly no more than 10 or 12 at most in a variety of forms that David might have been aware of. So David’s Psalms are derived from his meditation on Genesis through Deuteronomy. How is THAT possible?!? It’s the ultimate insight into how the Law was supposed to be applied to one’s life, a lesson that continues for all those today that think “obedience” is simply following a rule instead of changing one’s heart and mind. They’re the ultimate “journal” of a righteous life and the best interpretation of what was given through Moses.
- Because the Law was given through Moses we might make the mistake of assuming that Moses is the most important figure in the Old Testament. That’s the mistake the Pharisees of Jesus’ day made. As Paul will explain in greater detail in the New Testament, Abraham is far more important and it’s the promises given him and his relationship with God that we need to more greatly consider.
- Jesus spends much of His sermon time providing the correct interpretation of Old Testament Scripture. Much of the “history” provided in the Old Testament is really a personal example to us of both incorrect interpretation and application of God’s Word to our life.
Aside from more than 300 prophecies concerning Christ, here are just a few of a myriad of points from the Old Testament that have pertinent application in the study of the New:
- Why does Jesus not begin His ministry until He’s 30 years old? That’s how old you must be to become a priest according to the Law. (What’s the connection between the laws for priests and Jesus?)
- Why doesn’t God simply write the Law in His own hand? He did write three times: The original tablets given Moses, on a wall in Babylon, and in the dirt before accusing authorities. Yet He prefers to have men write for Him. What does this teach us?
- What do the temple sacrifices teach us about Christ’s need to give His life for us on the cross? (Not just the meat sacrifices but all the sacrifices and associated rituals.)
- Satan is consistently represented by two symbols: The dragon and the serpent. Personified as a dragon, he is actively engaged in persecution of God’s people; as a serpent his activities are cloaked as attempted deception of God’s people. Note how he engages in and uses these character traits.
- Signs are more for unbelievers. The role of Believers through the events fulfilling prophecy is to be an example of faith. It’s not a test of knowledge but of faith. (Luke 18:8, “…However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?”)
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