In a recent episode of Christ in Prophecy, we responded to some of the most frequently asked questions that Lamb & Lion Ministries receives concerning the integrity of the Bible.
Is it really necessary to study the Old Testament?
Dr. Reagan: The argument goes like this: “Wasn’t the Old Testament just given to the Jews? Wasn’t it replaced by the New Testament? Therefore, shouldn’t we as Christians just focus on the New Testament and forget the Old Testament?”
Tim Moore: Many of us came to faith understanding the message of the Gospel. But, we must remember that the Gospel was built on the foundation of the Old Testament. Many of the analogies and beautiful illustrations found in the Gospels are not very understandable unless you understand their foundational references. The Old Testament helps inform a believer in Jesus Christ because it is the foundation that Jesus pointed back to repeatedly in His own messages. Over and over again Jesus referenced the Old Testament, as did the other writers of the New Testament. They thought the Old Testament was important, which means so should we.Tim Moore: Over and over again #Jesus referenced the #OldTestament, as did the other writers of the #NewTestament. They thought the Old Testament was important, which means so should we. #Bible #Apologetics Click To Tweet
Nathan Jones: How one approaches the Old Testament depends often on what kind of church background you hail from. If you come from a church that is into Covenant Theology, in other words, they divide all of history into two — the Old Testament and the New Testament — then they often advocate dismissing the Old Testament as being completed. But, if you’re like me, and come from a background in Dispensationalism, you still approach the Old Testament as vitally important to understanding God’s plan for the ages.
Dispensationalism divides history into eight different time periods, and with each God progressively reveals a little more about Himself until we are back to that Garden of Eden scenario again in full fellowship with the Father. With progressive revelation we just don’t skip to this final time period; we progress towards it. We have to look to the Old Testament to learn how mankind fell. We learn how God over the centuries slowly revealed more and more of Himself to the faithful through Scriptures.
Progressive revelation also answers whether we today should be following the Mosaic Law. Are Christians today supposed to be following the rules from the Old Testament? Well, no, because Jesus gave the faithful a New Covenant to replace the Old.
Dispensationalism also reveals our own Church Age is going to finally end, because both Old and New Testaments describe the Millennial Kingdom followed by the Eternal State. In that final stage, mankind has returned to that perfect relationship with the Father again. We’ll be intimately related spiritually with our Heavenly Father. Just like the Garden of Eden, God’s children will again walk and talk and have fellowship with our Heavenly Father once more.
So, you can’t ignore the Old Testament and still fully understand God’s complete plan for reconciling man to God.Nathan Jones: You can't ignore the #OldTestament and still fully understand God's complete plan for reconciling man to #God. #Bible #Apologetics Click To Tweet
Tim Moore: Jesus Himself said He did not come to replace the Law, but to fulfill the Law. So, if we don’t understand what the Law was, and what the prophecies pointing to Him were, then His statement is of no relevance. Again, we had to delve into the Old Testament to expand our awareness and our understanding of the truths that Jesus and the other New Testament writers revealed.
Dr. Reagan: I would be so bold as to say point-blank you cannot even understand the New Testament unless you know the Old Testament. You just can’t understand it.
Nathan Jones: So true! Jesus said He would provide the sign of Jonah. Well, how would anyone know what He was talking about unless you read the book of Jonah? He was referring to three days in the grave.
Dr. Reagan: Or, over in Hebrews, the author says that Jesus is the high priest of our confession. What does Jesus being our “high priest” even mean?
Nathan Jones: And, that Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice sacrifice for our sins. Jesus was the Lamb of God. How can we understand Jesus as a sacrifice without understanding the Old Testament sacrificial system?
Dr. Reagan: Hebrews talks about the sacrificing of bulls and goats and so forth only covering man’s sins, not forgiving them. How would we know what the book is talking about unless you know something about the Old Testament?
The book of Revelation contains over 350 allusions to the Old Testament, and not a single one is identified. Not one time does the Apostle John say, “As it says in Jeremiah.” Go to the book of Matthew and it seems every other sentence says, “As Jeremiah said….” and “As Isaiah said….”
Nathan Jones: The Apostle Peter’s speech at Pentecost in Acts 2 was one giant reiteration of Old Testament prophecy. He declared one prophecy after another and finished by showing that Jesus had fulfilled them all.
Tim Moore: In doing so, Peter demonstrated the validity of Jesus’ claim as being the Messiah, all based on the fulfillment of those Old Testament prophecies. Over and over again, Paul and the other New Testament writers talked about the first Adam and Jesus being the fulfillment as the final Adam. None of these biblical references would make any sense unless you understand the Old Testament.
In the sixth part of our series arguing that the Bible is indeed the inspired Word of God, we’ll see whether the Genesis account of the Creation should be believed.