The Old and New Testaments
What are they to us?
Why are there two sections of the Bible, and if there is a New section, why don't we throw out the Old one?
You might think the Bible is separated into the "Before Christ" and the "After Christ's Death" time periods, and you would be close. Actually the New Testament begins with the birth of Jesus Christ and ends with Revelation - a prophecy about what is to come when Jesus returns to claim His people.
The Old Testament is the story of the history of the earth from creation to the birth of Jesus. It contains the particular social, religious and historical records of the Hebrew people, or Jews, (those chosen by God to keep the knowledge of the true God forever so we wouldn't forget Him).
It also contains the strict rules or laws that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai for the Hebrew people to follow to keep them separate from the world in customs, and to help teach them about God as they grew into maturity and could one day understand what a savior would mean to them. Other tribes or races of people were welcome to join the Jews, and obey those laws also. The sacrifices and feast days, Holy days and rules were to make amends to God for their sins and establish a relationship with the creator, until Jesus would come and close the gap between us with His supreme sacrifice on the cross.
These two "testaments" are the records of the two covenants God made with mankind. The first one was made officially with Abraham, although our relationship with God began with Adam and Eve. The promise that God gave to Abraham (after the flood), was that his children would outnumber the stars in the sky or grains of sand. He was to be a father of nations, and so his name was changed from Abram to Abraham, showing his position as a father of many.
Though Abraham and his wife were very old, without any children, they began living with that name change as if God's word had already come to pass. The Bible tells us that Abraham "called upon those things that were not, as though they were". We are to do that same thing to walk in faith. Whatever God has said in His word that He will do for those who seek Him, we must live it everyday, to show our belief. You've heard that actions speak louder than words?
The second covenant came when Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies of the first one. God said He would provide the savior to pay once and for all for man's sins. He did this in Jesus.
Jesus said He didn't come to do away with the law, but to fulfill it. When Jesus taught, he added to the depth and meaning of the original ten commandments. (To hate is the same as to murder in our hearts; to think sexual thoughts about someone is the same as to commit adultery in our hearts, etc.)
When He was asked what was the most important of those commandments, Jesus narrowed them all down to two commandments. 1) To love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and; 2) To love others as God loves us. He said if we truly kept these two, all the others would be obeyed as well. For instance, if you care as much about your neighbor's well being as God does, you won't do him any harm, or theft.
So are both the Old and the New Testaments important to modern Christians, even though we don't have to follow the strict rules that the Jews had to before Jesus fulfilled the law?
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