We have a new guy in our Sunday night Bible study at the jail. He’s young and seems to be having a little trouble understanding how to distinguish between the Old Testament and the New so I spent a few minutes giving the guys a quick overview.
It helps if you understand the Old Testament is really about God’s relationship to a man named Abraham. God promises Abraham he will make him into a great nation and through his seed all the families on earth will be blessed. Wow! Now that’s quite a promise don’t you think? So the rest of the story is really about God’s relationship with Abraham and his family down through the ages. God reiterates his promise to Abraham’s son Isaac and then his son Jacob and on down the line.
At one point God renamed Jacob, Israel who had twelve sons which became the twelve tribes of Israel. That is how the nation of Israel came to be. Essentially it was all of Abraham’s extended family.
Apparently the plan was for Israel to look to God and trust him to be their provider, protector, God, King and so on. If they would have simply learned to look to him for all their needs they would have had no need of a human king or government to oversee them. This is what I think God had in mind. All the other nations surrounding Israel, also known as Gentiles, would have looked at Israel and thought to themselves, “How are they doing that? Living in peace and harmony without a king or human authorities over you? If they would have asked, Israel would have said, “Well, you see we have this great and mighty God who takes care of us so we don’t have to rule over each other like that.” This is how they would be a light to the Gentiles and in turn would have opened them to become part of the Covenant with God.
Unfortunately Israel looked around and saw the Gentiles and how they ran things and wanted a king too. They said, “We want a king like all the other nations”, so God gave them one. He told Samuel the prophet to tell them what would happen. Samuel told them God was going to let them have a king but they wouldn’t like how it would turn out. He said, “He will take your sons to be his military and your daughters for cooks and bakers. Then he will take your fields, and your vineyards and olive yards and give them to his servants.” In other words he’s going to require your goods and family to serve his kingdom and you’re not going to like it. But since that’s what you want you can have it.
Throughout the Old Covenant the Temple and animal sacrifices were the means to meet with God. Finally the long awaited birth of the Messiah Jesus happens, and he begins teaching in a manner unheard of before. He starts pointing at himself as what they have been waiting for and what the Old Covenant had been pointing to all along. He was “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
At the crucifixion of Christ a New Covenant was enacted which he called the New Covenant in my blood. Now all the Old Testament prophecies and predictions found their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. He is our salvation. He is the “Seed” of Abraham that God promised, and in him all the promises of God are fulfilled. While everyone was seeing Israel, as a whole, as Abraham’s seed, and they are in the natural; it was really always pointing to Jesus Christ. Now it isn’t that the Old Covenant, or even Israel is unimportant but all of this has been leading us to Jesus Christ for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham.
Jesus said, “I didn’t come to abolish the Law and Prophets but to fulfill them.” We also read in Romans “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.” So now we look to Jesus, and the Covenant in his blood, as the completion of what God’s plan has been all along. Just as God told Abraham he would bless “All nations” through him so those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham. That includes us too if we place our faith in Christ.
Written by Louie