- Rev. Thomas Abraham
The Authenticity of the Bible - Part 6
FALSE STATEMENT 5: Jesus Christ removed the OT, so we do not accept it as the Word of God – hence, there’s no need to read it nor preach it - FALSE.
Jesus did not remove the Old Testament, rather He fulfilled the law.
What is the Old Testament law?
God called Moses on top of Mt. Sinai and gave him a set of principles for His people to be a separate and holy nation.
God’s laws are the rules of the Kingdom of God and His way of life.
They are divine and perfect in intent, equity, and administration.
Through His law, he made a covenant with His people.
Throughout the course of human history, the Bible tells us that God has been actively and deliberately directing people to him. God's method of dealing with men has been to establish covenants with them.
A covenant is an official, binding contract or agreement between two or more parties, in which each party agrees to abide by specific spelled out by the covenant.
We could cite many reasons for the Old Testament being God’s Word, but the strongest argument comes from the Lord Jesus himself. As God in human flesh, Jesus speaks with final authority and His testimony regarding the Old Testament is loud and clear.
Let us look at our Lord’s statements about the Old Testament.
Jesus believed that the Old Testament was divinely inspired, the authentic Word of God.
He said, ‘The Scripture cannot be broken’ - John 10:35
He referred to Scripture as ‘the commandment of God’ - Matthew 15:3
Jesus accepted the Old Testament as the ‘Word of God’ - Mark 7:13.
He also indicated that “it was indestructible” - ‘Until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law, until all is accomplished’ - Matthew 5:18.
Matthew 5:17-18. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.
Jesus never criticized or denied the authority of the Old Testament, instead, He said no one, not even himself, could remove any parts of the Old Testament which means it is the perfect and complete Word of God.
King David wrote in Psalm 19:7-9.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. 9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
If the Old Testament law is perfect, trustworthy, right, radiant, pure, firm, and righteous – then there is no reason it should be removed,
The apostle Paul said God’s “law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good” as well as “spiritual” - Romans 7:12,14.
Romans 7:12 - So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.
Romans 7:14 - We know that the law is spiritual
If it is holy, if it is just, if it is righteous, if it is good, and if it is spiritual - then what is the need of removing the law?
During his preaching and teaching, Jesus quoted from 24 different Old Testament books.
When Jesus was tempted by the Devil, Jesus responded and defeated the Devil by quoting powerful verses from the Old Testament. (Matthew 4:4, Luke 4:4)
The Old Testament verses to this day are powerful for us as well to overcome and defeat the Devil.
When Jesus went to the synagogue in his hometown, he read the scripture from the book of Isaiah and explained about it.
He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture (Old Testament) is fulfilled in your hearing”
- Luke 4:21
Jesus preached from the Old Testament. Even today, we rely on these verses to be preached in the church.
The next set of examples are from the “Sermon on the Mount,” in which Jesus gives ethical instruction.
Each time Jesus begins with “You have heard that it was said…” and contrasts it with “…but I say.”
He is not contradicting the Torah, about which he would have said, “It is written.”
The phrase “You have heard that it was said” referred to popular understandings of the Torah.
Matthew 22:29 - “Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures (Old Testament) or the power of God.”
Jesus wants His people to have knowledge of the Old Testament.
John 5:39 - ”You study the Scriptures (Old Testament) diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.”
Jesus said it is needed to study the Old Testament diligently because there is eternal life in the Word.
The 4 Old Testament books Jesus quotes most:
#4 - Exodus
Exodus is famous for the stories of Moses, the burning bush, the 10 plagues, and the parting of the Red Sea.
It’s the story of God calling Israel from Egypt and making them his own people in the wilderness.
Jesus quotes Exodus seven times, usually referencing the laws God gives Israel in the wilderness—especially the Ten Commandments.
#3 - Isaiah
Jesus quotes Isaiah eight times, during his ministry.
Isaiah was a prophet who wrote about virgin birth of the Messiah, the suffering and death of Messiah, the second coming of Jesus Christ, the coming judgment of both Israel’s kingdoms—and the comfort that God would bring to his people afterward and the New Millennium reign of Christ.
The book of Isaiah is called the Bible in the Bible and the Gospel in the Old Testament.
#2 - Deuteronomy
Another book of Moses—the last of the five.
Deuteronomy wraps up the story of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness. Moses calls the people together and lays out God’s expectations for them in the future, once they take the land of Canaan.
Jesus quotes Deuteronomy on 10 occasions in the gospels, and it’s the only OT book Jesus quotes when he rebukes the devil.
#1 - Psalms
Jesus quotes the Psalms on 11 occasions.
Psalms is the most-read book of the Bible, and it’s the one Jesus quotes most often.
The book of Psalms is a collection of 150 songs and poems written to God.
David penned half of them, and the rest were written by leaders (like Moses), temple worship leaders (like the sons of Asaph), wise men (like Solomon), and some other unknown poets.
Therefore, that’s why Jesus said:
Matthew 5:17-18 - “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
The New Testament, as a whole, quotes from 34 books of the Old Testament Books.
When Paul was asked to preach, he preached from the Old Testament.
After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it." - Acts 13:15
Paul preached about the Law and prophets when he was on trial before Felix.
"But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets." - Acts 24:14
Philip shared the gospel based on the book of Isaiah and ended the ministry with the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch - Acts: 8
The conclusion is that the New testament church and the apostles accepted the Old Testament as the holy scriptures, and they read, meditated, and preached it.
However, certain laws of the Old Testament have been fulfilled through Christ. Therefore, those laws are not required in order to receive salvation and we don’t follow it.
There are three main divisions within the Old Testament laws.
The Ceremonial Laws
The Civil Laws
The Moral Laws
The Ceremonial Laws
These laws were related to Israel's worship. (Leviticus 1:1-13)
These laws pointed forward to Jesus Christ and were no longer necessary after Jesus' death and resurrection.
Though we are no longer bound to them, the principles behind the ceremonial laws, to worship and love God, still apply.
The ceremonial laws included lists of things "clean" and "unclean", rules of sacrifice, dietary restrictions, ritual washings, etc.
There are over 600 Jewish ceremonial laws and rituals listed in the Old Testament.
The Civil Laws
The civil laws regulated social behavior and specified crimes, punishments, and other societal rules.
The civil laws regulated social behavior that dealt mainly with relationships between individuals, the settling of disputes, and specifications of crimes and punishments.
These laws dictated Israel's daily living (Deut 24:10-11); but modern society and culture are so radically different that some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically.
However, the principles behind the commands are to guide our conduct.
The Moral Laws
The moral laws are direct commands of God. A good example is the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17).
The moral laws reveal the true nature and will of God, and still applies to us today. We do not obey these moral laws as a way to obtain salvation, but rather to live in ways pleasing to God. The Old Testament Law is where God reveals His nature, His will/lifestyle for humanity, His moral laws, and guidelines for living.
But we cannot go to Heaven by simply keeping those laws; we must be born again and trust in Jesus.
The Old Testament Law identifies sin and teaches the need for salvation; God's grace gives us that salvation through Jesus Christ.
Many of the old laws of the Old Testament has been fulfilled in Christ. Therefore, the Lord replaced those with new laws, or the New Covenant.
The Old Covenant vs The New Covenant
Look at the differences between the old and new covenants
Exodus 24:7-8 - The blood of the Old Covenant
Luke 22:20 - The blood of New Covenant
Malachi 1:14b - God revealed Himself as a Master & King.
Matthew 5:45; 48; 6:9; 32; 7:11, Luke 11:13 - Jesus revealed God as our heavenly Father.
Hebrews 1:1 - God spoke through His prophets.
Hebrews 1:2 - God speaks directly.
2 Chronicles 7:15 - God will not be everywhere.
Matthew 18:20 - He will be in our midst no matter wherever
The Holy Spirit comes and goes.
John 14:16 - He will be with us forever.
God only dealt with one nation - Jews
John 1:12; Galatians 3:28 - All are the same in Christ.
The echo of the old law is do, do, and do.
The echo of the new law is done, done and done - it was finished on the cross.
The OT demands a sin offering
Mark 1:15 – The Lord demands repentance.
God demanded a material structure to be built to dwell in it.
1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Timothy 3:15
Each child of God is a living temple of God.
Physical sacrifices are demanded.
1 Peter 2:5 - Spiritual sacrifices.
Animals had to be sacrificed
Romans 12:1 - We surrender our bodies as a living sacrifice.
Hebrews 7:23 - High priests are many.
Hebrews 9:15 - Christ is our one and only High Priest.
To approach God, they needed mediators.
1 Timothy 2:5 - Christ is our only mediator.
There was a spirit of fear when one would
approach the throne of God.
Luke 1:74; Romans 8:15 - There is confidence with the spirit of
Only the High Priest could approach the throne only once
Hebrews 4:16 - We can approach Him any time.
Hebrews 10:1 - The OT was a shadow.
The NT is reality – the truth.
When they received the law, 3000 died.
When they received the Holy Spirit, 3000 were saved.
Hebrews 7:18 - The old law was weak and useless.
1Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 4:7 – The new law is powerful and effective.
They looked for an earthly promise land.
We look for our heavenly promise land.
Their wealth was grain, flocks, and wine.
Our wealth is more Spirit, more souls.
So, we love the Old Testament, we embrace the Old Testament, we read and meditate the law.
Without the Old Testament, the New Testament is not complete.
“Those whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his Law Day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.