Article of the Month

October 2010

 

“NEW TESTAMENT CHRISTIANS”?

 

There are congregations, and even segments, of Christianity which seem to tout themselves as being “New Testament Christians.”  When asked what this means, the answer is something like:

                            

“The Old Testament (Hebrew) Scriptures are fulfilled.  They were fulfilled at Jesus’ first advent and have virtually no import for Christians now.  Therefore, we accept as doctrinal and prophetic proofs only Scriptures from Matthew through Revelation.”

 

This often has resulted in the publication of NEW TESTATMENTS Bibles missing everything from Genesis through Malachi.

 

This “New Testament” position seems contradicted by the fact that many Old Testament prophecies have clearly never yet been fulfilled, as well as by the fact that a huge portion of New Testament writings are quotes from the Old Testament. This is so vital a subject that anyone who rejects Old Testament testimony cannot hope to understand what God is doing or teaching.  

 

“According to the Scripture” (James 2:8)

 

The first evidence to consider is that the New Testament repeatedly admonishes the study of “the Scripture.”  The ONLY “Scripture” then in existence, and the one to which the Apostles refer, is the OLD TESTAMENT.

 

It may be argued that some of these admonishments were for FIRST ADVENT PURPOSES, like how to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.  Some, indeed, were for this purpose, although the lessons they inculcate are as applicable to new Christians NOW as they were then.  These texts would include the following examples:

 

          *   Acts 17:2, 3             Paul tries to explain Jesus to Jews

                                               in the synagogue.

 

          *   Acts 17:10-13          The Berean Jews checked the

                                                Apostle’s message by searching

                                                the Scriptures (Old Testament)

                                                daily.

 

          *   Acts 18:24-28          Apollos was “mighty in the

                                                Scriptures” (Old Testament) but was

                                                not up-to-date on their applications;

                                                but he CONVINCED Jews “by the

                                                Scriptures” that Jesus was Christ.

 

          *   Romans 1:1-4          Paul teaches that the GOSPEL was

                                                promised by Old Testament prophets

                                                and that they prophesied Jesus and

                                                his resurrection.

 

          *   Romans 16:25, 26   This repeats Romans 1, but points

                                                out that “all nations” (not only Jews)

                                                would learn the Gospel “by the

                                                Scriptures of the prophets.”  How

                                                clearly THIS goes beyond the

                                                first advent!

 

          *   II Timothy 3:14-17  Timothy learned “salvation through

                                                faith which is in Christ Jesus” from

                                                the Old Testament.  THEN Paul

                                                admonishes how these old Scriptures

                                                can “thoroughly furnish” the man of

                                                God.

 

          *   Matthew 22:28-32   Jesus rebukes the Jewish leaders of

                                                his day for “not knowing the

                                                Scriptures.” (Old Testament)  He adds

                                                that these Old Testament scriptures go

                                                far into the future to answer questions

                                                regarding the resurrection.

 

          *   Galatians 3:8           Here Paul points out that the GOSPEL

                                                itself finds its first explanation in

                                                Genesis in words to Abraham.

 

          *   Galatians 4:21-24,   Paul tells us that some Old Testament

                                   28-31    Scriptures are allegorical of things to

                                                come. What a loss if we don’t consult

                                                these Scriptures!

 

Some Old Testament texts are clearly intended for the entire Christian Age.

 

          *   James 2:8 calls part of the Old Testament “the royal law” for

               which all Christians are responsible.

 

          *   James 4:5 again demonstrates that an Old Testament text

               must live on through New Testament times.

 

          *   II Peter 1:19 is perhaps one of the most powerful New

               Testament texts which teach that Old Testament prophecy

               will be a valid foundation for Christians until Jesus’ SECOND

               ADVENT!

 

          *   Hebrews 10:1 points out the additional truth that many Old

               Testament ceremonies were TYPICAL.  They pictured in

               advance things pertaining to post-Old Testament times.  Paul

               calls them “a shadow of good things to come.”

 

          *   John 1:29 and 36 show one of these anti-typical applications

               of the Old Testament.  Why did John the Baptist call Jesus

               “The Lamb of God”?  It is because the Old Testament

               Passover account PICTURED Jesus who would deliver the

               world eventually from sin and death.  Paul refers to this in

               I Corinthians 5:7.

 

The Hole-y (not Holy) Bible!

 

If you own or have access to any of the better modern translations, you can SEE AT A GLANCE the immense percentage of the New Testament which is DIRECTLY QUOTED from the Old Testament.  Many modern translations do us the favor of setting these quotes in a type style that makes them stand out.  When we consult such visibly helpful New Testaments, we quickly see that abandoning the Old Testament would leave the New Testament FULL OF HOLES!  This should immediately awaken us to the folly of claiming that the Old Testament is no longer of use to Christians!  If, indeed, we believe the New Testament’s Apostolic writings, let us HEAR THEM:

 

Paul, in Romans 15:4, tells us bluntly that the Old Testament Scripture is for “our learning.”

 

Peter, in I Peter 1:10-12, explains beyond peradventure that the prophets DID NOT MINISTER TO THEMSELVES, BUT TO US  ―  Christians!

 

  Not Fulfilled

 

To start to list UNFULFILLED Old Testament prophecies would be to begin an enormous list!  This is the point of this article.  The Old Testament is as vital, if not more so, to our understanding as is the New Testament.  To abandon it is to abandon the majority of God’s testimony to us. 

 

But, just to make the point, let us take only a wee bit of Old Testament prophecy to see the kind of things yet to come shown in its pages:

 

          (1)    The destruction of the devil is first pictorially shown in

                  Genesis 3:14-15.

                  Do we not all await this wonderful event?

 

          (2)     The end of war and the establishment of universal peace

                   are offered to us in Isaiah 2:1-4. 

                   It has not yet come.  It will.

 

          (3)     Perfect world-wide government is at the door.

                   Isaiah 9:6, 7 predicted it. 

                   We yet watch for it.  It is not in the past!

 

          (4)     A perfect ecology accompanied by a fool-proof justice

                   system is prophesied in Isaiah 11:1-9. 

                   Who can say this is fulfilled?  But how we want it to be!

 

The list goes on and on.  He who has not considered the Divine Treasures of the Old Testament is, indeed, a handicapped Christian!  Jump in!  Enjoy the refreshing waters of the ENTIRETY of God’s Word.