This topic is most often seen when those objecting to the practices of the New Covenant of Christ bring up…
Instrumental music in worship.
Priests & Clergy Laity.
Saving the Thief on the cross.
It is true that the Old Testament was written for our learning, it is not used to be used for doctrine under the New Covenant of Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:6,11].
If we understand the OT is over, we can answer the vast majority of challenges by denominations.
The Bible Calls the Law of Moses OLD.
We don’t call it OLD or New of ourselves, God calls it OLD. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” [Heb 8:13]
The purpose of the Law of Moses was because of TRANSGRESSIONS.
If God had in mind a New Covenant, why did He make the Law of Moses? “It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator… Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” [Gal 3:19-24]
The Bible also says that the Law of Moses is LIMITED, Faulty & Weak as compared to the Law of Christ.
“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4]
“For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” [Heb 8:7]
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” [Gal 4:9]
These verses don’t teach that God made a mistake. They teach that the Old Covenant served a Temporary purpose, “to bring us to Christ.” [Gal 3:19-24].
When the Seed Promise, who is Christ, appeared, the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED on the cross.
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” [Eph 2:15-16]
What does OLD, LIMITED, ABOLISHED, & WEAK, mean to you?
Lastly, the Law of Moses WAS a SHADOW of good things to come.
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” [Heb 10:1]
“Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” [Col 2:16-17]
“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” [Heb 9:11]
“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:” [Heb 8:5]
When presented with these truths, some may ask, “Why then do we study the Old Testament?” This is a great question which God answers in His word. It is for our learning from their examples [1Cor 10:6,11]. What should we learn? Let’s read…
“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”
Just because the Law of Moses was abolished DOES NOT MEAN there is no Law nor Doctrine. That’s another mistake being made.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
“Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9; Heb 6:1]
Read that again; “…through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.” Did you catch it? Paul was referring to the Old Testament scriptures, and that those scriptures can give us comfort and hope.
I know many that find the Old Testament unpalatable, being too disgusting and violent. While it’s true that the OT is full of those things, the Holy Spirit has revealed that through them we may have COMFORT and HOPE.
The new year is upon us. Let’s renew our efforts to read for COMFORT and HOPE.
The first thing we can notice is that CHRIST is in the Old Testament. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Jesus taught of Himself to those on the road to Emmaus, and they said, “Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?” [John 5:39; Luke 24:13-27,32]
Paul wrote in two of his letters saying the scriptures were written for OUR Learning and OUR admonition upon whom the end of the age are come. We have a huge advantage in that we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11]
In the letter to the Corinthians he wrote about those God brought out of Egypt, “Howbeit withMOSTof them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. We always learn by others example or experiences. The Old Testament scriptures reveal both good and negative examples. It is foolish to try to learn from just your own mistakes. You may never recover! [1Cor 10:1-13]
A major lesson the entire world needed from the very first day of man in the Garden until now is to learn the FEAR of the Lord. Every generation, every person must learn this. The Old Testament teaches this lesson over and over through the example of those that disobeyed God. “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.” Some dislike this idea of the FEAR of the Lord, but they misunderstand. If you’re in Christ through faithful baptism, you will have a reverential fear. But if not, you ought to have a terror type fear. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” [Job 28:28; 2Cor 5:11; cr Prov 1:7; Ecc 12:13; Mat 10:28]
Another lesson is that the OLDCovenant was hard, really hard. By reading Leviticus & Deuteronomy (reading through Romans & Hebrews also) we can see that the Law of Moses went well beyond the 10 Commandments. The Jewish traditions teach that there are about 613 commandments. But now we are under the Liberty of Christ. “A better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.” We are no longer under the bondage of the OLD testament system that couldn’t remove sins, but left a reminder of sin year by year. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” [Heb 8:6; Gal 2:4; 4:3, 9, 24, 25; 5:1]
The Law of Moses has been REMOVED & REPLACED by the Love and Blood of Christ on that cross. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments. We now live under grace through the doctrine of Christ. [Col 2:12-14; Eph 2:15; 2John 1:9]
Finally, we can use both the Old and the New Testament scriptures to TEST the spirits. The Bereans were “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” Who’s teaching where they testing? It was the Apostle Paul’s delivered to him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, AND THEY ARE CALLED MORE NOBLE! [Acts 17:11; Eph 3:3-4; cr. 1Thess 5:21; 1John 4:1-4; Deut 13:1-11; 18:20-22]
We need not abhor the OT scriptures for in them is COMFORT and HOPE.
OBJECTIONS #8; Appeal to the Old Testament for doctrine.
This objection sounds like this; “David used a harp and wrote about it in Psalms.”
“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Col 2:14
I met a person once that was starting a new denomination based on all the feast days in the Old Testament Law of Moses. This is just one example of many where people look to the Old Testament to find doctrine or practices today. It becomes a buffet of picking and choosing based on personal taste, or in this case, a BBQ buffet.
How come nobody ever goes back and brings forward stoning of the disobedient? (there was one guy that wrote a book about trying to live under the Law of Moses. He carried small pebbles around and flicked them at folks.) Yet, they’ll go back and grab any number of things from the Old Testament.
The easy answer is in Galatians chapter 5:1-4; “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
As you can see, the Law of Moses has been fulfilled and if you intend to appeal to any part of it then you’re obligated to keep the entirety of it. This drops you from Christ.
Here are a few more points about why we don’t appeal to the Old Testament for authority, doctrine or practices today.
First, the Old was, well… OLD. Hebrews 8:13 speaks about the better New covenant in Christ rendering the first old.
Next, the OT was given because of TRANSGRESSIONS, “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” [Gal 3:19] Once the one promised came, fulfilling the Old Law, why would you go back and bring anything forward?
We should then note that the OT was LIMITED in that it was impossible for the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. [Heb 10:4]. Christ’s sacrifice did what the Law of Moses only foreshadowed [Heb 9:12]. The New Testament writers also calls it, ‘faulty’ [Heb 8:7], and ‘weak’ [Gal 4:9].
Continuing on, we find the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED at the death of Christ. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]. Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:15; “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;”
Finally, the Holy Spirit says that the Law of Moses WAS A SHADOW of good things to come [Heb 10:1]. If there was something good coming, and the real thing is in life of Jesus, why would you want to go back to the shadow?
There are several places in the New Testament that explain the shadows from the Old Testament and their application to Christ;
1COR 10:11 EXAMPLES.
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come;
Hagar, Ishmael, Sarah, Isaac; GAL 4:22-31.
Moses; Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22; Heb 3
We find our authority in Jesus. God said, “Hear ye Him.” [Mark 9:7]. The Hebrew writer opens the book with; “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” [Heb 1:1-2]
We find our authority from those who were given the revelation of the Lord’s will and wrote it for us in the New Testament writings. “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” [1Cor 14:37]
“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ.)” [Eph 3:1-4]
“Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” [Galatians 5:4]
This passage in Galatians is a warning for Christians that keeping any part of the Law of Moses will take you out of the grace of Christ. Some try to reinterpret it as a faith only passage. Not so. The followers of Christ are to be command keepers [Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46] of His New Covenant.
There is a reason why the churches of Christ do what they do (a Capella singing, simple worship, weekly observance of the Lord’s Supper). We recognize Christ as our Head [Col 1:18], He has all authority [Mat 28:18] and those that love Him will keep HIS commandments [John 14:15]. God the Father said this, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” [Mark 9:7] This means that we listen to Jesus, not Moses, and especially not any man nor man made religion.
Jesus promised to build His church [Mat 16:18], and that this church [which is His kingdom Col 1:13] will begin within the lifetime of those that heard him [Mark 9:1]. On the first Pentecost after His resurrection, [Acts 2:1–47] the church began. No one spoke of it being in existence before that day, and thereafter it’s spoken of as being in existence.
The guiding rules of faith and practices are found in the covenant from Jesus, as delivered by the Holy Spirit [John 16:13; Eph 3:1-4] and not the Law of Moses from Mt. Sinai.
We need to pay attention to what The Holy Spirit reveals in the New Testament about the change from the Law of Moses to the Law of Christ.
• Hear Jesus, not Moses [Mat 17:5; Mark 9:7].
• Preach the gospel [Mat 28:18–20].
• The Word of Christ Judges [John 12:48].
• Dead to the Law of Moses [Romans 7:1–7].
• “Christ is the end of the law” [Romans 10:4].
• “Engraven in stones…done away” [2Cor 3:7–14].
• Broken down the wall [Eph 2:14].
• Nailing it to His cross [Col 2:14].
• A Priesthood change required a Law change [Hebrews 7:12; 9:11].
• He is the mediator of the new testament [Hebrews 9:16–17].
• He (Jesus) taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. [Hebrews 10:9].
No longer does man offer animals to atone for sin. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4] Jesus shed His blood “once for all” and has “sat down on the right hand of God.” [Heb 10:12]
No longer does man keep the Passover, abstain from certain foods nor keep certain days [Col 2:14-17]. No longer do we need a special group of priests, for those added to the church are now a ‘royal priesthood’ [1Pet 2:9]. This new Law of Christ doesn’t require it, and to revert to it is to sin against the One who shed His blood, ‘ye have fallen from Grace.’
In the New Testament, no longer do we burn incense, build temples (we are the temple Eph 2:21), dance or play instruments. Did God leave New Testament worship up for us to decide? No, God tells us what He wants, and we do it [Mat 28:20]. We are given unleavened bread, fruit of the vine, prayers, vocal singing, giving & teaching.
The Old Testament is for our learning, not for New Testament law. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,” [Rom 15:4]. We should read the Old Testament to learn about many things, some of which is how God communicates with and how He instructs man. However, to go back to the Law of Moses to bring forward any practice (musical instruments, clergy / laity, feasts) will remove you from the grace of Christ and obligate you to do it all. You will have fallen from Grace.
We here at the Franklin & Juniper church of Christ practice New Testament Christianity with the Bible as our creed book. We Welcome you to come find out what the Bible says.
SOMETIMES IT’S GOOD to stop to take in the entire landscape. This is what we are doing with our Wednesday study of the Old Testament.
One of the primary reasons many people haven’t made the effort to get to know the Bible is that they feel it is intimidating and confusing. Without a basic understanding of how the Bible is written this can often be the case. To help develop an overall picture of the Bible, turn to the Table of Contents. You will notice that the Bible is actually a collection of 66 books that are divided into two sections, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Let’s notice how the Old Testament can be outlined.
The Old Testament is made up of 39 books. Here is how they can be grouped and categorized:
Genesis to Esther: History books (of the Jewish people), Mostly chronological, starts at beginning of time and goes to about 400 BC.
Job to The Song of Solomon: Poetry books, not chronological, all written sometime during the History section, designed to teach lessons about everyday life kinds of things: Job – trials, Psalms – worship/prayer, Proverbs – wisdom, Ecclesiastes – philosophy, Song of Solomon – love.
Isaiah to Malachi: Prophecy books, not chronological, all written sometime during the History section, basically they were preachers inspired by God to warn the people of judgment and foretell certain future events.
The New Testament is made up of 27 books. Here is how they can be grouped and categorized:
Matthew to Acts: History books, not chronological, Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John are all self-contained histories of Jesus’ life. Acts is the history of the early church (or followers) of Jesus.
Romans to Jude: Letters to churches or individual Christians, not chronological, many written during the time frame of Acts’ history, designed to teach lessons about everyday life kinds of things: worship, morality, love, relationships, trials, philosophy, wisdom, etc.
Revelation: Prophecy book, written to correct and warn early Christians.
Recognizing these things will be extremely helpful in your reading of the Bible. Simply understanding the context of what you’re reading will make the Bible less confusing. Knowing the above should give you confidence in your ability to understand God’s Word.
The Outline of the Bible:
Study the chart above. Notice that the three periods of time are divided by how God delivered His laws to mankind. The first was through patriarchs or heads of families. Second was through Moses and the prophets. And finally He delivered His will to man through Jesus.
The Patriarchal Age. This period starts in Genesis 1 at the creation of the world. Adam & Eve disobey God and are made to leave the Garden of Eden. After many years the earth is full of evil and God decides to send a flood to destroy all that will not repent. Noah and 7 of his family are the only ones who are saved. Over 400 years later a man named Abram (later Abraham) is chosen by God to become the father of the Israelite nation (Gen. 12).
From this time on the Bible specifically traces the History of that one nation. Abraham has Isaac, Isaac has Jacob, and after Jacob’s name is changed to Israel he starts the family. The Israelites (also called Hebrews or Jews) begin to grow as a family after Jacob has 12 sons who later become 12 tribes. At the end of Genesis they are a still a small family who have moved to Egypt. They are taken into captivity for a couple hundred years and grow to be a large nation.
The Mosaic Age. God chooses a man named Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. Moses leads the people out of Egypt to a mountain called Horeb (later Sanai). Here God delivers his law for the Israelites.
After the Israelites wander for 40 years in the wilderness, they go into “the Promised Land” (Canaan) under Joshua’s command. Once they settle the land God leads the people by appointing a series of Judges (who were basically military leaders) for around 350 years. After this the people want to be lead by a king like the nations around them. God warns them it’s a bad idea but grants their request by giving them Saul, David, and then Solomon. After Solomon’s reign (925 BC), the nation divides into two groups – Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The northern kingdom of Israel grows increasingly evil and at God’s decree is taken into captivity by the Assyrians in 721 BC never to return again. Later, the southern kingdom of Judah is punished by being taken into captivity by the Babylonians. After 70 years they returned to their homeland and rebuilt their nation. It is their descendants who are the Jews of today and through whom Christ came.
During the time of these two kingdoms, the Prophets wrote their books. Almost all of them spoke of the coming of a Savior or Messiah. Most of them also spoke of a new covenant that would be enacted when this Savior came.
The Christian Age. This is the final way that God has revealed His will to mankind. We are now living in this age. The Bible teaches that once the Messiah came, so did the new covenant.
According to the Bible people today are to follow the New Testament. This is one reason why there are so many churches today doing so many different things yet all claiming to follow the Bible. There are many religious groups who say they follow the Bible but for some reason have missed this important Bible teaching. Can you think of any religious practices you’ve seen before which are only found in the Old Testament?
Jesus Has All Authority:
The Bible teaches us 4 things that are NOT our authority for religious practice. 1) The Old Testament, 2) Our own initiative to change something God commanded (like Nadab & Abihu), 3) Emotion or good motives (like David & Uzzah), 4) The traditions of men. If none of these can accurately define for us what God wants from us, where must we look?