We hear of New Testament Christians who believe that their faith is totally supported by the Gospels and the epistles of the Apostles. As we know, the New Testament tells of the incarnation of Christ, His ministry, His crucifixion, burial and ascension. So, we see Christ as a great teacher and healer who promises eternal life to any who profess belief in Him. For many Christians, this is enough, especially the promise of eternal life which is freely given and therefore easily attained. Of course, Jesus did say that everyone who says, “Lord, Lord,” will not be recognized by Him. This is explained in the Bible where it is noted that these people worship Me with their lips but their hearts are far from me. In fact, Jesus is quoting the prophet Isaiah in His uttering these words.
Well, why should we be concerned with the Old Testament? I think the answer is found in Luke 24: 27, where Jesus joins the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” We know very well the wonderful prophecies of Jesus birth and His crucifixion. To know Jesus, the Old Testament is a virtual treasury of information, even highlighting a side of Jesus that we do not encounter in the New Testament. Perhaps, a few illustrations would help to lead us back to the only Scriptures that existed in Jesus’ day.
Perhaps, a few illustrations would help to lead us back to the only Scriptures that existed in Jesus’ day.
Personally, I think that part of the reluctance to regard the Old Testament as an integral part of the story is that we regard it as the Jewish part of the Bible and the New Testament as the Christian part. The term, ‘Jew’, first appears in the Bible when the remnant of the House of Judah was returned from Babylon. This remnant included parts of the Tribe of Benjamin, Levi and Judah. So, all of the Old Testament was not written by Jews. And any writer before the exile, such as Moses, was not a Jew but a Hebrew or Israelite, such as Samuel.
I also think some of us believe that the Old Testament reflects the actions of Jehovah, God the Spirit, and the New Testament reflects the actions of Jesus. Jesus, especially in the Gospel of John, insists that He is the Messenger of God, sent by God, doing the work of God and transmitting the words of God given to Him. Like God the Father, Jesus has many names and titles; such as, the Angel of God, the Holy One of Israel, the Lord of Hosts, the Son of David and the Prince of Peace. So, let’s examine a few of these references in the Old Testament.
I would like to begin with a quote from Proverbs 8: 22, “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old.” Ferrar Fenton translates this passage as, “The Lord formed me, the first of His plans, before He began to create.” I prefer the Ferrar Fenton translation because of its poetry. The passage is worth reading down to verse 31. It is one of my favourite passages of Scripture. This explains why God was able to say, in Genesis, “Let US make man in OUR image.” Also, it is confirmed in John, chapter one, where he states, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, the Lord is with thee.
Genesis 2:22 says, after the Lord had made a woman helpmate for Adam, “and BROUGHT her unto the man.” Jesus, who made everything that was made, BROUGHT the woman He had made to Adam. Also, it was Jesus, the Lord God, who was walking in the garden, to be with Adam when he was hiding because of his nakedness. What a tragedy! Having the ability to walk and talk with the Lord Jesus and looking for something more!! Would we have succumbed to the same temptation?
Exodus 24::9-11, “Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and they SAW the God of Israel [Jesus] and there was under His feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in its clearness. And upon the nobles of Israel He laid not His hand; Also THEY SAW God and did eat and drink. What a privilege! You may doubt that it was Jesus? Jesus told us Himself that no man has seen the Father except the Son. Do we believe our Saviour?
Joshua 5:13-15, “And it came to pass that when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a MAN over against him with His sword drawn in His hand; and Joshua went unto Him and said unto Him, art thou for us or for our adversaries? And He said Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and did WORSHIP, and said unto Him, What saith my Lord unto His servant? And the captain of the Lord’s host saith unto Joshua, Leave thy shoe from off thy foot for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Then Jesus revealed the unusual strategy for the conquest of Jericho. In this episode, Jesus is using His military title, “Captain of the Lord’s Host.”
Then in Judges chapter 6, we find the story of Gideon. In verse 12 we read, And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. Again we know that this Angel is Jesus because He accepted the act of worship by Gideon whereby he presented the Lord with a meal or sacrifice which the Lord acknowledged by touching it with His staff consuming it with fire.
There are many more examples like the Angel of the Lord destroying the army of Sennacherib camped outside Jerusalem or Jesus walking in the fiery furnace with Daniel’s friends. But the main story of the Old Testament was the establishment of the Kingdom of God at Mount Sinai, its renewal of strength during the administration of the Gentile kingdoms for 2520 years and its total renewal in the last days according to the testimony of the angel Gabriel in the New Testament, as he spoke to Mary, “And the angel said unto her, Fear not Mary for thou hast found favour with God; and behold, thou shalt conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus, He shall be great and be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the House of Jacob FOR EVER; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”
Did the Old Testament have anything to say on that subject? You bet! Consider Isaiah 9: 6 & 7, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father and The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom to order it, and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this.”
Oh, that we as a nation could repent of our sins, come back under the laws of God, receive His healing for our nation and be prepared for His imminent return to usher in His reign of peace!!