I fear that I may have confused some in saying so often that we live in the New Testament (which means 'New Covenant'), NOT the Old Testament ('Old Covenant' - the words mean the same thing). This is quite true insofar as DOCTRINE (what we believe) and PRACTICE (how we live out what we believe) are concerned. To me Doctrine and Practice pretty-much cover all of practical Christian living which is what I teach. But a nice lady queried me about the Old Testament - like, was I saying that it's irrelevant? ANSWER: NO WAY!! - but I'm sure sad if I've given anyone such an impression!!
The Word of our GOD, His DEEDS, and His Revelation of Himself and His laws to mankind are in the BIBLE and NOWHERE else - THE WHOLE BIBLE!! How could it be any other way? I mean, we NEED the record of BOTH Covenants God made with men in order to be able to fully understand what He is all about - which includes our Salvation, how to live to please Him, eternity as our ultimate destination, and a lot more.
The Old Covenant was made between God and His Own Special People, the Hebrews or The Children of Israel. NOT with us. At that time THEY were His focus. He was REVEALING Himself to just them, teaching them how He wanted them to live and relate to Him, giving them His laws, and most of all telling them of the coming KING, Christ the Messiah, and what He would do for us all - for that is what it was all leading to!!!
"So if the Old Testament/Covenant was between God and the Jewish people, does that mean I shouldn't read the Old Testament?" In a word: NO! We NEED to understand the Old Testament in order to properly understand the New Testament!! - seeing that the Old was pointing TO the New! For example, what were the myriad of Sacrifices of various animals and so on in the Old Testament all about? They were about Jesus Who was to come to earth to live as one of us, the Perfect Lamb of God, willingly Sacrificing HIMSELF, once for all, so we could learn how to love and please God, and ultimately live with Him for eternity.
A DIFFICULTY WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND
But there's a difficulty. We need to understand the OLD Covenant before we can read and understand the NEW Covenant. That's TRUE! Yet, the reverse is also true!! Without a FULL and COMPLETE understanding of the New Covenant, we are highly likely to mess up (maybe SERIOUSLY!) when reading the Old. MANY HAVE! For example, most sects use OUT OF CONTEXT texts from the Old Testament, and their quotes are WRONG, leading people astray - so that many end up in hell as they simply don't know THE TRUTH!!! I ask: how can we possibly expect to understand what we're reading in the OT, if we don't know a great deal about living as a New Testament Christian Believer who follows the life and teachings of JESUS, the Christ plus those He taught, who then set it all down as our essential LIFE GUIDEBOOK!!! ANSWER: we CAN'T!!!
Yes, I understand this sounds like a conundrum. If you've been with me awhile you'll know how I say that a number of Spiritual things APPEAR to be contradictions - yet they are NOT - simply because both things can be true at the one time! The two Covenants are something like that. I've said to someone who asked about this, that the OLD and NEW COVENANTS are EQUAL (both God's Word) - but are cetainly NOT THE SAME. And being different, we MUST treat them differently!! Make sense?
The LESSONS? Just take some care when reading the OT (that is, unless you know the New Testament backwards!!!!), simply recognising it's differences from the NT. But take considerably MORE care QUOTING verses from the OT out of context. Please take note: Unless a verse/passage is confirmed by, and in COMPLETE HARMONY with the WHOLE of New Testament then quoting it may well be wrong at worst and misleading at best. PLEASE DO TAKE CARE!!
Continued in Part B...
- BM (with his Lady)