Introduction: The Old Testament and New Testament
The Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament, and the New Testament exemplifies the Old Testament. The Old Testament reveals God’s covenant and the New Testament reveals the fulfillment of that covenant. What is prophesied in the Old Testament is fulfilled in the New Testament. Therefore, by comparing the Old and New Testaments, we can clearly see God’s wise providence and confirm the fulfillment of His promises. If the Old Testament is like money in a bag, then the New Testament is like taking the money of foreshadowing out of the bag and experiencing its value. If the Israelites of the Old Testament felt the significance of the Passover ritual, the saints of the New Testament have enjoyed the riches and true grace of this ritual.Stephen Charnock (1628–27 July 1680)
The relationship between the Old and New Testaments is a profound, intricate, and sacred journey that reveals the wisdom and providence of God’s divine plan.
The Old Testament, often referred to as the “Old Covenant,” lays the foundation for the New Testament, known as the “New Covenant.” Together, they form a seamless narrative of God’s covenantal relationship with humanity.
In this blog post, we will explore how the Old Testament foreshadows the New Testament, and how the New Testament exemplifies the Old Testament.
We will delve into the fulfillment of God’s promises, citing relevant Bible verses and theological works to underline the significance of studying both Testaments.
We will also address the fallacy of neglecting the Old Testament in favor of the New, as it diminishes our understanding of God’s divine plan.
The Old Testament: Foreshadowing God’s Plan
The Old Testament serves as a treasure trove of divine foreshadowing. Throughout its pages, we encounter countless prophecies and symbols that point towards the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the New Covenant. One of the most profound foreshadowings is found in the sacrificial system of the Old Testament.
In the book of Leviticus, we are introduced to the rituals of animal sacrifices, particularly the Day of Atonement.
This sacred observance foreshadows the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who would serve as the Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world.
Leviticus 16:15-16 (ESV) underscores this foreshadowing:
“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.”
The New Testament, notably the book of Hebrews, beautifully explains the fulfillment of this Old Testament foreshadowing.
Hebrews 9:11-12 (ESV) tells us,
“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
The New Testament: Fulfilling God’s Promises
The New Testament is the dawn of the fulfillment of God’s promises. It introduces us to Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, and his redemptive work on the cross. One of the central themes of the New Testament is the establishment of the New Covenant, prophesied in the Old Testament.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 (ESV) foretells this New Covenant:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts.”
The New Testament, particularly in the Gospels and the Epistles, reveals the fulfillment of this promise through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Last Supper, as described in the Gospels, represents the inauguration of this New Covenant. In Luke 22:20 (ESV), Jesus proclaims,
“This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
The Wisdom in Comparing Both Testaments
To fully appreciate the depth of God’s divine plan and the significance of the New Covenant, it is imperative to study both the Old and New Testaments.
They are intrinsically linked, with the Old foreshadowing and the New fulfilling. Neglecting the Old Testament means missing out on the rich tapestry of divine promises and symbols that find their ultimate meaning in the New.
A common fallacy among some Christians is the tendency to focus solely on the New Testament while neglecting the Old.
They may argue that the Old Testament is outdated or less relevant, but this perspective is fundamentally flawed. It overlooks the foundation upon which the New Covenant stands.
Consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:17 (ESV):
“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.”
Jesus himself emphasizes the continuity between the Old and New Testaments. He fulfills the promises and prophecies of the Old, making it an indispensable part of the Christian faith.
The Old Testament provides the historical context, moral framework, and theological foundation for the teachings of the New Testament.
It reveals God’s character, His covenantal relationship with His people, and the need for redemption. Without this understanding, the depth and beauty of the New Covenant may be lost.
In the divine symphony of the Old and New Testaments, we find the harmonious interplay of foreshadowing and fulfillment.
The Old Testament lays the groundwork, revealing God’s promises and foreshadowing the coming of the Messiah. The New Testament, in turn, fulfills these promises, bringing the redemptive work of Jesus Christ to the forefront.
To neglect the Old Testament is to miss out on the profound depth and wisdom of God’s divine plan.
It is to disregard the very foundation upon which the New Covenant is built. As Christians, we must recognize the sacred unity of both Testaments, understanding that they work in tandem to reveal God’s character and His redemptive love for humanity.