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Is the Old Testament relevant to the modern-day Christian?

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by G F Sladcik, Jun 21, 2021.

  1. G F Sladcik

    G F Sladcik New Member

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    Some Christians find reading the Old Testament arduous and unnecessary. All of those laws and calls for sacrifice just do not seem to have value. The God of the Old Testament seems so harsh with all that wrath and judgment -- that God does not seem to be the same God that Jesus refers to -- that God of Love.

    First, we either believe the WHOLE Bible or we don't.

    All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, II Timothy 3:14 (NKJV)
    All Scripture means ALL as in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The verse also explains the value that this inspired, God-breathed, scripture has. This alone should be reason enough tp study the Old Testament.

    As for all of those Laws, many are recorded for historical reference and do not need to be focused on. The civil and ceremonial laws are not relevant for today, but the moral laws still are valid. The Ten Commandments are valid today as they were in the days of Moses. Jesus summarizes the Commandments:

    Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Matt 22:37-40
    The First of the Great Commandments is actually found in Deut 6:5. Jesus finds value in the Old Testament, so should we. In fact, the Old Testament is referenced over 1600 times in the New Testament. For this reason, some say that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The Messianic prophesies of the Old Testament foretold of Jesus in which He has already fulfilled many.

    How do we reconcile the persona of God in the Old Testament versus the New Testament? First, God is unchanging so to see God as different is our lack of understanding. The God of the Old Testament had to deal with a rebellious and disobedient people for several thousand years. The deserved punishment, which they received, but they also received mercy by not being fully punished. Israel also received grace by God defeating their enemies, restoring them and sending them a Messiah. The New Testament covered almost 100 years -- not nearly the same time frame. Much of the New Testament is focused on Christ, his words, his teachings and the spreading this word by the apostles and disciples.

    The value of the Old Testament provides much context to demonstrate how much God loves His people in spite of their disobedience. The need for the Messiah is shown because following the Law is insufficient because no one is capable of NOT sinning. The history, poetry and wisdom of the Old Testament actually glorifies Jesus because He is all of it so that He can be the Redeemer.
     
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  2. Pavel Mosko

    Pavel Mosko Arch-Dude of the Apostolic Supporter

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    That verse means actually more than that. When Paul wrote that there was no New Testament!

    It was in the process of being written and would not be canonized until a few centuries later, and believers of that time used other terms to describe it e.g. epistles, preaching etc. The Scripture he is referring to is the Old Testament Canon and its relevance as far as understanding the Good News, which is why Paul uses so much expository preaching from the OT in some of his epistles.
     
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  3. G F Sladcik

    G F Sladcik New Member

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    Great insight and all the more reason to embrace the Old Testament. Thanks
     
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  4. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jesus Christ of Nazareth is all over the Old Testament. It answers every query about God. And guess what, He does have the perogative to change His will (mind). This is the mystery. I could go on.....Be blessed.
     
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  5. Crwth

    Crwth He must increase but I must decrease

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    Absolutely it's relevant. Utter heresy imvho to preach otherwise.

    FWIW - there are some 328 (give or take) references in the New Testament to the Old Testament. If the NT writers appealed so frequently to the OT, and especially to teach, preach, encourage, and warn, it stands to reason the value of the OT is just as precious as in the NT.

    Goodness, one obvious (I'd hope) example: every revelation about Jesus, every prophecy and prediction exists only in the OT. Are the OT naysayers really convinced the prophecies concerning Jesus are no longer relevant?
     
  6. Crwth

    Crwth He must increase but I must decrease

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    From Psalm 119 - the great psalm exalting God's word:

    153 Look at my affliction and rescue me,
    For I have not forgotten Your Law.
    154 Plead my cause and redeem me;
    Revive me according to Your word.
    155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    For they do not seek Your statutes.
    156 Great are Your mercies, Lord;
    Revive me according to Your judgments.
    157 Many are my persecutors and my enemies,
    Yet I do not turn aside from Your testimonies.
    158 I see the treacherous and loathe them,
    Because they do not keep Your word.
    159 Consider how I love Your precepts;
    Revive me, Lord, according to Your faithfulness.
    160 The sum of Your word is truth,
    And every one of Your righteous judgments is everlasting.


    The SUM is truth, not just the second half of it.
     
  7. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Church leaders were called for the first time to critically consider the basic concept of "canon" in order to judge the Marionite heresy. Marion was probably the first to propose eliminating the Old Testament (and many Christian epistles based too heavily (in his opinion) on it.

    I speculate that the only reason Marion's ideas even gained enough traction to pull church leaders together against them in the first place was because the OT was generally not being used as the law for day-to-day living, but that they were operating day-by-day according to the "memoirs of the Apostles" and the traditions already developing in the Church.

    I think it's telling in that regard that after having judged Marion a heretic, the response of the Church leaders was not "How would we know how to be Christians without the Old Testament," but "How would we know the history of our Christian beliefs without the Old Testament?"
     
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  8. CatsRule2020

    CatsRule2020 Active Member

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    Could you post a few examples of the ceremonial and Civil laws from the Law of Moses that are no longer in force.
    Also, list a few examples of moral laws that you believe are still in force from the Law of Moses.
     
  9. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    I think looking at all the covenants helps with this. The God of Abraham and the covenant of his mercy, was not disannulled by the Sinai covenant, and continued under it..
    God remembering his covenant promise to Abraham
    Again the promised seed in the covenant made with Abraham.
    Much of the apostles spoke very much on the covenant promises made to Abraham
    Yes I agree, but I see more than the covenant made with the nation of Israel in the law. The mercy of the covenant made to Abraham continued God's mercy and grace to them. It is the covenant which brought them out of bondage, which the passover feast Memorializes. Passover is a feast memorializing the fulfillment of God's promise in covenant with Abraham, for both Judaism and Christians as well.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  10. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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  11. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

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    Agreed.

    The view of which of the 600+ laws fits into which of the subcategories of moral, civil, and ceremonial law varies widely depending on whom I ask, such as with some people considering just the Ten Commandments to be God's moral laws, while others consider the greatest two commandments to also be moral laws, or laws against rape and kidnapping, so in order for someone to speak about those subcategories in way that derives their view from the Bible rather than inserts their view into the Bible, they would need to show where the Bible specifies which of those categories each of God's 600+ laws belong to, however, the Bible doesn't not even refer to any of those subcategories. If I wanted, I could categorize God's 600+ laws based on which parts of the body are most commonly used to obey/disobey them, such as with the law against theft being considered to be a hand law, however, if I were to create my own doctrine out of my subcategories without establishing that any of the authors of the Bible categorized those laws in the same manner, such as by deciding that the laws I personally consider to be hand laws are no longer valid, then I would quickly run into the same sort of error as those who are deciding that the laws that they personally consider to be ceremonial and civil laws are no longer valid. If a law is no longer valid, then it is no longer profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, or for instruction in righteousness. Furthermore, the subcategory of moral law implies that it is moral to disobey the laws that aren't in that subcategory, but there is no standard given by which to determine which laws are moral to disobey, nor do I see any reason to think that it can ever be moral to disobey God. Morality is in regard to what we ought to do and we ought to obey God, so all of God's laws are inherently moral laws.

    If God's nature is eternal, then so are all of His laws that were given to teach us how to testify about His nature (Psalms 119:160). To say that a law is no longer valid is to deny that what God revealed about His nature by giving that law is true, or in other words, it is to deny that existence of a God who has the fullness of the nature that was revealed to Israel through the giving of the Law of Moses. Likewise, the Son is the exact expression of God's nature (Hebrews 1:3), which he expressed through his actions by living in sinless obedience to the Mosaic Law, so to say that any laws are no longer valid is to reject those parts of Christ's nature.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  12. Crwth

    Crwth He must increase but I must decrease

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    Thank you for naming the Marcionite heresy.

    It is interesting just how important history is in the NT, well, and even in the old - starting with the admonition to tell the story (e.g. Exodus story) to their children generation after generation lest they forget God's grace toward them. And a number of rational appeals had their basis in recounting Israel's history (e.g. Stephen's defense).

    One of the main excuses driving this heresy today that I see is the notion that the bible presents "two Gods" - a God of the OT and a God of the New, that the OT God was vengeful, spiteful, unloving while the God of the NT is a "God of love."
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  13. ralliann

    ralliann christian

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    Ga 4:21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
    Yes the law is informative to us.
    The law Genesis to Deuteronomy however contains a witness of several "testaments" (Covenants). I think to speak as though the law were only two covenants, makes things difficult.
     
  14. Gary987

    Gary987 Grace to Keep Pace

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    So the Old Testament is utterly important to reconcile our old nature to God. We can not understand our state and find a desire to change if we are not experiencing grace and learning about his character.

    the NT delivers the spirit to inform the believer of the prophets messages
     
  15. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

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    The plan of salvation is revealed in the sanctuary system. All of it was pointing to Jesus.
     
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  16. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    What the bible presents is two covenants, one lesser and one better. A covenant is an agreement of promises made by two parties, an agreement of two sets of performances. The New Covenant is built on better promises...from both parties.
     
  17. Blade

    Blade Veteran Supporter

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    Op read you question and I caught my self laugh. Well its like a given no. The 12 (with Paul) all they had was the Torah (OT) and look what the sweet sweet holy Spirit revealed to them. Thank you for this!
     
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  18. Fervent

    Fervent Well-Known Member

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    Interesting observation. Likely you're correct that the OT was largely neglected, especially as the church became increasingly less Jewish and the polemics against Judaizers gained force. The cultural differences between the Semitic tribes and the Greek thought that permeates the NT certainly gives a wall of separation that allows for gnosticism to be a serious threat within certain sectors of the church. Even today there are those who rarely venture into the rich tapestry of the law and the prophets and get the vast majority of their theology from Romans alone.
     
  19. Clare73

    Clare73 Blood-bought

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    Jesus is in every book of the OT.
     
  20. EmethAlethia

    EmethAlethia Newbie

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    Indeed, the foundations of all the New Testament are found in the Old. All the definitions of words and terms are found there. Want to know what God's definitions of fornication are? Look at all the things God says were sexual sin in the O.T.. Look at His responses when people did violate His laws... And the lack thereof when they didn't, even if our modern definitions of words and terms do not line up with what was taught, lived and enforced.

    Indeed the very foundations of truth are laid there. Build on a different foundation and you will end up believing in a vastly different Jesus, if you end up believing in Him at all.

    2Pe 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

    This is why we cannot neglect the foundations of our faith lest we, like the lost religious leaders of Jesus day, end up nullifying what God did command, while teaching as doctrines the precepts of men. Distort the meaning and everything good becomes bad, and everything bad ends up being good. Indeed, all of us can believe anything we want to believe "as" truth, if we do what belief groups do to hold fast to their beliefs.

    Indeed, everyone from every belief group n the world knows they love truth and have the truth from the Atheists to the Jews, Moslems, Buddhists, Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists ... Yes, every belief group knows they have the truth believe the truth and live the truth to the best of their capability. Why? They do what it takes to hold fast to their beliefs as truth and to prove all opposing beliefs false, comparing themselves with themselves and by themselves. think about it. Which person in any belief group does not:

    1.) Gather whatever they can “use” to prove what they “want to believe” to be truth.

    2.) Accumulate all evidence they feel might prove all opposing views incorrect.

    3.) Assume their beliefs are unquestionable truth, interpret everything in such a way as to make it all support, or at least not negate, their beliefs. Indeed, all “valid” data, must support … or at least not negate, their infallible beliefs.

    4.) Reinterpret, ignore, discredit, invalidate … anything that doesn’t seem to fit with their views, Why? their beliefs are “Fact”. All "Valid" data, interpreted correctly, can’t contradict the facts.

    5.) They also gather all the other experiences, feelings, data … to solidify their beliefs such as signs, wonders, spiritual gifts or facts about their belief group. Things like: we have a burning in the bosom, we speak in tongues, we perform signs or wonders, a statue of Mary came to life and told us our belief groups views are correct, we have prayed to God for the truth and received “feelings” or even signs from heaven. Or, on a more concrete level: Our belief group is the oldest, largest, fastest growing, wealthiest, has the most experts with doctorates… Include anything that adds assurance that your views and belief group have the most truth.

    Indeed, if we do these things, all we can do is harden ourselves into whatever it is we want to believe "as" truth. Do more of any of these and it will result in closing your eyes and ears to even considering that any other position might be valid.

    How come the Methodology above is so effective for every belief group on the planet? God designed it this way.

    2Th 2:10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

    Contrast this with what we do if we really do want truth:

    1.) We Avoid “Methodology One”(Mentioned prior): Proving your beliefs true and holding fast to them, is not the same as, “Proving all things over and over again as a habit and way of life, and holding fast to what is good/true.” Look at that 2Th. 2:10-13 passage. Paul said that the lost in the end times failed, and Paul used the same standard and judged that those he was writing to were held to the same standard but passed the test and received a love of the truth and were true Christians making this a timeless truth.

    2.) Open-mindedness: We remain open-minded to altering any, or all of our beliefs in the light of the fullness of the word of God rightly divided. All belief groups believe in being open minded … “until” you accept their beliefs. Then they believe in being as closed as possible. If you love truth, you will continually remain open-minded to altering any or all of your beliefs in the light of the fullness of the truth, when everything that “might” pertain to the topic at hand is rightly divided. How many passages are there about closing your eyes and ears lest you see or hear. Look at Methodology One again. What is it designed to do?

    3.) Habitual ongoing Labor/ Getting Every Piece of Data that Might Pertain: If you Love Truth, you, personally, must become a manual laborer and keep on gathering every fact anyone thinks might pertain to every topic at hand. Then gather all the data that “might pertain” no belief group gathers because they can’t use that information to prove their beliefs true or opposing beliefs false. Yes, that’s every piece of data that proves all your current beliefs false that the opponents to your beliefs have gathered, and every fact that might prove beliefs you believe to be wrong to be truth on that topic as well. We are commanded to be habitual, ongoing, never stopping laborers who are approved by God and won’t stand ashamed before Him. How do we determine what that outcome will be? We habitually “Cut-straight” every single piece of the word of God that “might” apply to the topic at hand. This is way different than looking for passages of scripture to prove true what we want to teach on a topic.

    CONSISTENCY IN INTERPRETATION: If God, God’s word, and God’s people are not consistent in what they say and do and DON’T SAY AND DON’T DO, then looking for truth in the bible is a waste of time. Holding to consistency includes:

    4.) Consistency with Background Context: Pick a meaning that fully aligns with the historical, legal, architectural, agricultural … context.

    5.) Consistency of Meaning of words/root words/figures of speech: Hold to a meaning for all words, root words, and figures of speech consistent with their usage throughout the Old and New Testament. We have a Greek Old and New Testament and a Hebrew Old Testament, pick a meaning fully fitting everywhere the same word, root word, and figure of speech is used.

    6.) Consistency with the Surrounding Discussion: Hold to a meaning consistent with the entire discussion surrounding the verse or passage being considered, hold to the flow of thought, flow of arguments, meaning of points made …

    7.) Consistency with conscience: Example: If your interpretation would be a sin if a man did likewise and your interpretation results in believing God does what would be sin for us, your interpretation is wrong. i.e., there are no illustrations in the Bible where God says He commits adultery. If your chosen meaning for the word adultery would make God an adulterer, and by His own admission, you picked the wrong meaning for the word.

    8.) God, God’s People and God’s Word are 100% consistent: Pick an interpretation for all the data that makes God, God’s people and God’s word 100% consistent in “all” they say and do and “all” they don’t say and don’t do. Any inconsistencies, are proof of incorrect beliefs/definitions.

    9.) Always apply logic, reason, and rational thinking: Pick an interpretation fully fitting with all logic, reason, and rational thinking. (i.e., if the writer spent a whole chapter saying all gifts are equal and necessary, that none are greater than any others, … do not choose an interpretation for the very next verse that would command us to desire what God spent the previous 30 verses saying doesn’t exist, and that you can’t get, period, regardless of your desire. “Earnestly desire the greater gifts”, contradicts everything prior. Look for the “other” possible meaning. Note: There is one.

    10.) Start with the Easiest/Clearest … data on the topic: Interpret the clearest, easiest understood, most straightforward data/passages first—then the more complex or difficult passages. The complex, convoluted, and difficult passages are easy to distort to fit beliefs.

    11.) It ALL fits together: Pick a meaning for the parts that fully fit with the whole of the data that might pertain without adding meaning, subtracting meaning, or distorting anything to force it to comply with your beliefs. If everything gathered (#3 above) does not fully fit with everything in #4-10 above, you have the wrong meaning, and you are forcing the scriptures to fit what you want to believe “as” truth.

    12.) Keep on continuously proving all things over and over again as a habit and way of life and never stop … and hold fast to what is good/true. Getting to truth is an ongoing process that never ends. One single verse, one fact you missed, one slight change in interpretation … can force a complete reevaluation and even a complete a change of beliefs. That is, if you love truth, and obey what God commands all His people to be continuously doing for and by themselves. If not …

    13.) It’s all on You! Trusting others to get to truth “for” you, is like trusting others to have a relationship with your wife / husband / kids “for” you. It cannot be done. Your failure to keep on habitually doing as God commands all His people to keep on habitually doing, proves you have gathered enough using Methodology One to hold fast to what you want to believe and fall short of 2Th. 2:10-12

    I always tell everyone: Understand, “Agreement with me might only make us both wrong.” Why? Because it's true. It only takes one verse I missed, in context, cut straight, to change my beliefs.

    This verse is in the present tense meaning ongoing continuous action:

    “Keep on continuously proving all things over and over again as a habit and way of life and always hold fast to what is good/true.” If you love truth, and not a specific belief, you will constantly look for and reevaluate everything you can find, and yes, you will be willing to alter any and all of your beliefs to fit what the fullness of the word of God really says and means with nothing left out, and nothing distorted to try and prove “what you want to believe” true.

    Starting from beliefs, and then going to those who have the same ones to get all the passages they use to prove their beliefs to be fact, opposing beliefs false, and to understand how they interpret everything to hold fast to those beliefs always results in the affirmation of those beliefs. If your goal is to do something like that, pick the beliefs you want to have first. If you want to be Mormon gather their data and use their interpretations. If you want to be a Calvinist use their passages, Roman Catholic ... you get the idea.

    Everyone gets what they really want. That which we love least is always forced to conform to that which we love most. Everyone either loves the truth or their beliefs. But the "Many on the Broad path of destruction in Mat. 7 is the same many that believe Jesus is their Lord God and Savior at the end of the chapter to whom Jesus said, "Depart from Me ye who work iniquity for I never knew you."

    Everyone using Methodology One, while they will get an unshakeable, unquestionable belief that they have the truth, are really seeing God at work hardening them into what they want to believe because they just love what they want to believe. Everyone picks one, and the Methodology you use proves what camp you are in.

    And, indeed the foundations of all that is true are laid in the O.T. want God’s definition of adultery, find every passage that discusses it. How many wives did David have “before” he committed adultery? How many more did he take afterwards? How many times does it say Solomon committed adultery? God says His wives committed adultery against Him. Twice.

    If Jesus changed it during His discussion on divorce, did God the Father not get the memo? If only the first marriage was approved of by God and is valid, is Jesus approving divorce for all wives past the first born in His commentary on divorce? Do you even have to divorce them? Can you just kick them to the curb?

    What’s only the first wife being God’s will do to inheritance, rights to rule as king? Is Jesus disqualified? Look at the answers and the replies. If Jesus was changing all of the foundations for valid marriage in the eyes of God, or stating that only the first wife you had sex with was approved, what does this do to everything in the O.T.? Should God the Father never have taken His second wife?

    But if all it means is, you have sex with them you are considered married. PERIOD! And no divorce is ever approved of “except” in the case of adultery (And that because of your own hard heart.) then the response makes sense …It is better never to get married in the first place if that is the way it is.

    But it goes deeper than that. “If any man looketh at a woman to lust after her, he has committed adultery with her in his heart.” Yes, the only word translated for married woman, or all women in general, is used. But again, when did David commit adultery? On wife 8? The next 10-20 wives God said nothing, but the consequence for adultery was the death of David and Bathsheba’s son. If all the other cases were adultery as well, God is either unjust or downright evil for killing the child of just one of the children of his many adulteries.

    If God’ God’s people and God’s word are not consistent in all they say and do, and all they don’t say and don’t do, then there is no truth to find. We can make it up and be just as righteous as everyone else who makes up doctrines and teaches them as the commandments and precepts of God.
     
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