by H.G. Bishop Moussa
Have you ever wondered about the connection between the Old Testament and the New Testament? Or why we say the Bible is one perfect, seamless Testimony? Then this is the article for you! Take a journey with His Grace Bishop Moussa in this 4-part series on Christ of the Prophecies.
Some people attempt to belittle the holiness of the Old Testament, that is why I took the opportunity to connect the two Testaments through Christ’s Birth because the Christ, whom the prophets prophesied about, is the same Christ who was born in the manger. Our great teacher Jesus Christ said:
Mat 5:17-18 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled”.
And: Rev. 22:19 (NKJV) “and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book”. So if anyone claims that this applies only to Revelation, we can say that:
2 Tim. 3:16 (NKJV) “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” The book referred to here is the Holy Bible which includes both Testaments. Our teacher Peter the Apostle says: 2Pet. 1:20-21 (NKJV) “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”.
2 Pet. 1:19 (NKJV) “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts”;
The New Testament is strongly connected to the Old Testament and our Lord Jesus Christ is of both Testaments. St. Augustine said: “The New Testament is hidden in the Old Testament and the Old Testament is clarified in the New Testament.”
Some people do not consider the Old Testament as Holy as the New Testament, Why? What is the correct Christian stand on the Old Testament? Why Believe In the Holiness Of The Old Testament? Without any doubt, the Church's Christian viewpoint on the Old Testament is that it was written by the Holy Spirit. Also the writers of the Biblical Books were aided by the Holy Spirit, hence did not write of their own accord. More so, the Lord Christ and the books of the New Testament confirmed the holiness of the Old Testament. We base our reasoning on the following:
A: Sayings of the Lord Jesus.
B: The testimony of the Four Gospels.
C: The testimony of the Epistles.
D: The testimony of the Book of Revelation.
"I Came To Fulfill"
Mat. 5:17-18 (NKJV) “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
(Fulfillment, here means to continue the aim of the Law i.e. to recognise and acknowledge the Lord Christ as the Messiah. Also to empower the human race through the Holy Spirit to apply the Law. To make the human being perfect in order to form the law through renewing the human nature by the Holy Spirit. It is also completing the commandment so that it may not stop at the action itself like adultery or killing but to reach the forces hidden behind the action like desire or hatred....etc.)
Search The Scriptures
John 5:39-40 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to me that you may have life.” Mat. 22:29 (NKJV) “Jesus answered and said to them “you are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God”.
But From The Beginning It Was Not So
Mat. 19:8 (NKJV) “Moses He Said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”.
This teaching of is taken from the Book of Deuteronomy. Deu. 24:1-4 (NKJV) “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, 2 when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, 4 Then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God is giving you as inheritance”.
“That All Things Must Be Fulfilled”
Luke 24:44-49 (NKJV) “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scripture 46 Then he said to them, “ Thus is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance the remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things 49 ‘Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
“For As Jonah Was ...” Mat. 12:38-41 (NKJV) “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” 39 But He answered and said to them , “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here”.
Here the Lord is talking about Jonah, the calling of Jonah and the repentance of the people of Ninveh. The similarity is clear between the sign of Jonah and Lord Jesus Christ. This refutes the attempt to make the story of Jonah fictional and unreal.
The Queen Of the South:
Also, the Lord talked about the Queen of the South who came from the ends of the earth to hear Solomon’s wisdom. Mat 12:42 (NKJV) “The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here”. Here, the Lord is talking about the visit of the queen of the South to Solomon and about Solomon’s wisdom, and all these things are in the Old Testament.
“For This Reason A Man Will Leave His Father & His Mother.”
When teaching about marriage, the Lord emphasised marrying only one woman and no divorce except for adultery He refers to the Old Testament when He says: Mat 19:3-8 (NKJV) “The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female”; 5 and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?” 6 So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together , let not man separate 7 they said to Him, “why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so”.
It is clear that all those words are taken from the Old Testament (The Book of Genesis) and it is an invitation to read its books, “have you not read!” “What Did You Go Out into the Wilderness To See?” When our Lord praised John the Baptist, the last Prophet of the Old Testament, He referred to the Old Testament:
Mat. 11:7-11 (NKJV) “As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. “but what did you go out to see? A prophet? yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet. “For this is he of whom it is written: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You. Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of Women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he”.
In the same reference, the Lord is explaining the prophecy about His own incarnation i.e.. John the Baptist is a forerunner to Him. It is also clear that the “least” is the Lord Christ Himself, as He is younger than John by 6 months. “Woe to That Man by Whom The Son of Man Is Betrayed.”
Mat. 26:23-24 (NKJV) “He answered and said, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the dish will betray Me. 24 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.”
These are only a few examples which show that the Lord of Glory blessed the Old Testament, its books and its prophets. Indeed, He is the Christ of both Testaments. The Holy Spirit is the author of all the books, protecting their writers from making mistakes.
The Holy Gospels quoted a lot of the Old Testament verses to assure the complete sequential connection between the two Testaments. The Old Testament was the preparation, which includes the prophecies, while the New Testament is the rejoicing of Salvation through the Saviour in which all the prophecies were fulfilled.
Statistics from The Four Gospels:
St. Matthew’s gospel reported 53 quotations from the Old Testament.
St. Mark’s gospel reported 26 quotations from the Old Testament.
St. Luke’s gospel reported 26 quotations from the Old Testament.
St. John’s gospel reported 20 quotations from the Old Testament.
My beloved reader, I’ll leave you to read these Holy Gospels and record, in a special research, these quotations and they are very clear. These are only examples from one gospel which is St. Matthew’s gospel: 1:1-17, 1:22-23, 2:5-6, 2:15, 2:17-18, 2:23, 4:2,7,10; 14:14-16; 5:17; 5:21; 5:27; 5:31; 5:33; 5:38; 5:34; 5:38; 5:43; 6:29; 8:4; 8:17; 10:40; 11:9,10; 11:14; 12:3-6; 12:17-21; 12:38-41; 12:42; 13:17; 15:8; 16:3-4; 17:11-13; 18:16; 19:3-9; 19:17; 21:4&5; 21:13; 21:16; 21:25; 21:42; 22:29-32; 22:32-40; 22:21-46; 22:32-40; 22:41-46; 26:31; 26:53-54; 26:56; 26:56; 27:6-10; 27:35; 27:42; and 27:46.
The Pauline and the other Epistles (catholic) contain many quotations from the Old Testament, assuring the strong connection between the two Testaments. Here are only some examples from one Epistle, namely, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans:
From The Epistle to the Romans:
1. Rom. 1:1-2 (NKJV) “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures,
2. Rom. 2:13 (NKJV) “for not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified;
3. Rom. 2:24 (NKJV) “For “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” as it written.
4. Rom. 3:4 (4NKJV) “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That you may be justified in your words, And may overcome when You are judged.”
5. Rom. 3:9 (NKJV) “What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are under sin”.
6. Rom. 4:1 (NKJV) "What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? etc. to verse 25
7. Rom. 5:12-13 (NKJV) "Therefore, Just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned; (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law....) etc. to verse 21
8. Rom. 7:1-2 (NKJV) "Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives? for the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband, etc. to verse 6
9. Rom. 9:4-5 (NKJV) "Who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; of whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen".
10. Rom. 9:13 As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, bu1t Esau I have hated."
11. Rom. 9:17 (NKJV) "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name be declared in all the earth"
12. Rom. 9:25-33 (NKJV) "As He says also in Hosea: "I will call them My people, who were not My people, And her beloved, who was not beloved." And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, "you are not My people, There they shall be called sons of the living God." Isaiah also cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved, for He will finish the work and cut it short in righteousness, Because the Lord will make a short work upon the earth, And as Isaiah said before: "Unless the LORD of Sabaoth had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, and we would have been made like Gomorrah. What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law, For they stumbled at that stumbling stone As it is written: Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense, And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. "
13. Rom. 10:5 (NKJV) "For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, "The man who does those things shall live by them".
14. Rom. 10:11 (NKJV) "For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. "
15. Rom. 10:15-19 (NKJV) "And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says " Lord, who has believed our report? " So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, have they not heard? Yes indeed their sound has gone out to all the earth, And their words to all the world" But I say, did Israel not know? First Moses says: "I will provoke you to jealousy by those who are not nation, I will move you to anger by a foolish nation. "
16. Rom. 10:20-21 (NKJV) "But Isaiah is very bold and says on behalf of the Lord: "I was found by those who did not seek Me; I was made manifest to those who did not ask for Me. " But to Israel he says: "All day long I have stretched out My hands To a disobedient and contrary people. "
17. Rom. 11:2-4 (NKJV) "God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life? But what does the divine response say to him? " I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal. "
18. Rom. 11:8-9 (NKJV) "Just as it is written: " God has given them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that they should not see And ears that they should not hear, To this very day" And David says: "Let their table become a snare and a trap, A stumbling block and a recompense to them"
19. Rom. 11:26 (NKJV) "And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
20. Rom. 11:33-35 (NKJV) "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His Judgments and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor? " or who has first given to him And it shall be repaid to him? "
21. Rom. 12:19 (NKJV) "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written " Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, " says the Lord.
22. Rom. 13:9 (NKJV) "For the commandments, " You shall not commit adultery, " "You shall not murder, " "You shall not steal, " " You shall not bear false witness, " " You shall not covet, " and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself"
23. Rom. 14:11 (NKJV) "For it is written: " As I live, Says the Lord, Every tongue shall confess to God. "
24. Rom. 15:3-4 "For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on Me.' for whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
25. Rom. 15:8-13 (NKJV) "Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the gentiles might glorify God for his mercy, as it is written; "for this reason I will confess to you among the gentiles, and sing to your name. " and again he says : "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people! " and again : "praise the LORD, all you gentiles! Laud Him, all you peoples! " and again, Isaiah says : "There shall be a root of Jesse; And he who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, In Him the Gentiles shall hope. Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
26. Rom. 15:21 (NKJV) "but as it is written: To whom He was not announced, they shall see; And those who have not heard shall understand.
27. Rom 16:25-26 (NKJV) "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith.
Isn't it exciting to have so many quotations from the Old testament in just one Epistle!! What about the rest of the Epistles? Especially the Epistles to the Galatians and Hebrews?
St. Paul's Instructions about the Scriptures:
2 Tim. 3:15-17 (NKJV) "And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Notice how the Books of the Old Testament are divine vehicles, guiding the readers, including Timothy, to faith in Christ and His Salvation. Notice the words "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. " I wonder how some people question the holiness of the Old Testament. Also Instructions from St. Peter: 2 Pet. 1:19-21 (NKJV) "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
By considering and contemplating the previous quotation by St. Peter, we observe that:
1. The words of the prophets are stronger than the words of human beings.
2. St. Peter states that study and observance of the Old Testaments is a blessing.
3. The Scripture is a lantern in the darkness.
4. The Old Testament leads to Christ, "The Morning Star".
5. All Scriptures, and not only some, are from God.
6. The Scripture is written through the Spirit of God, not through man's wisdom.
7. The prophets are saints guided by the Holy Spirit.
8. Such precise and overwhelming evidence should dispel from our minds all doubts about the Old Testament.
Priesthood: Rev 1:6 (NKJV) "And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The Pierced Christ: Rev. 1:7 (NKJV) "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen".
The Doctrine of Balaam: Rev 2:14 (NKJV) "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality".
The Tribe of Judah: Rev. 5:5 (NKJV) "but one of the elders said to me, Do not weep Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, The Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seals".
The Remainder Of The Tribes: Rev. 7 (The tribes mentioned)
The Prophets: Rev. 10:7 (NKJV) "but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, the mystery of God would be finished, as He declared to His servants the prophets".
Elijah & Enoch: Rev 11 (NKJV)
The Jewish Nation: Rev 12 (NKJV) "the woman mentioned in Rev. 12 is the Jewish nation, it is also a sign of the pure virgin Mary".
The Lamb: The Lamb standing on Mount Zion is a sign of the Church's victory over the devil (Rev14) also the fall of Babylon (the nation which is a sign of the fights of sin and the victory of God's children over them).
The Song of Moses: Rev. 15 (NKJV) "then I saw another sign in heaven great and marvelous: seven angles having the seven last plagues, for in them the wrath of God is complete. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God".
The Fall of Babylon:
Is a sign of Old Babylon who tormented the children of God (Rev18:10). Rev. 18:10 (NKJV) "standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying , Also alas, that great city Bayblyon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come".
The New Jerusalem: Rev.21
The Tree of Life: Rev.22
Now, Who dares separate the two Testaments? We could point out to hundreds, even thousands of quotations, from the old Testament, mentioned in the New Testament. There is no doubt that no one dares question the holiness of the Old testament. Indeed we could say that the Old Testament is an inseparable part of the infallible and eternal Word of God.
Debunking the Objections to the Old Testament
Why then do some people object against the Old Testament? We will discuss below some of the major objections. Actually, these objection are not new. They are as old as mankind. The heretics cast doubts about the Old Testament imagining that God was too hard in treating people. We can see now what are called "schools for criticising and analysing the Holy Bible" as if the Holy Bible is just any history book, subject to criticism and analysis.
Thank God, these schools (although in opposition) became a means of blessing for Christianity, because through answering their objections, the holiness of the Holy Bible as a whole (both Old and New Testaments) was certified by historical and scientific researches.
From early times, many enemies of God raised objections against the Old Testament. The Church has answered all these objections.
The objections against the Old Testament could be summarised as follows:
1. The Angry God, and His favoritism towards Israel.
2. The resemblance between Old Testament stories and some mythology.
3. The apparent disagreement between Science & Religion.
4. The sensual language used in some of the Scriptures.
The Angry God Who Favours Israel
Some people wrongly imagined that God of the Old Testament was dealing harshly with people in general, and with the Gentiles in particular, giving the Jewish people special favour and particular attention.
The Christian Explanation
Our perception of God has gone through some stages as humanity passed from childhood to maturity. At the time of the Old Testament humanity was but a child in its knowledge of God. Apparently, a child would use his senses more than his mind in understanding things. God treated the people in the Old Testament according to their abilities which are sensual and materialistic. He used material measures such as wars, plagues and worldly awards suitable for the child-like spiritual stage.
By the time of the New Testament, humanity has matured and thus it is more appropriate to use more spiritual measures. In light of the above concept, we find that God in the Old Testament was as merciful as He is in the New Testament.
The Merciful God of the Old Testament
This is evident in the Old Testament in the stories of Nineveh, Ahab and the promise of Salvation. The Judgmental God of the Old Testament, is also loving and merciful.
The God of The New Testament
The God of the New Testament is still an awesome and judgmental God, although we have discovered his abundant mercy. Heb. 10:31 (NKJV) "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God". Rom. 2:4-5 (NKJV) "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God".
The Special Nation
On the other hand, the Jews were specially selected and treated in the Old Testament for the sake of general inspiration and for salvation (Romans 15:4) God wanted to prepare a girl to conceive the saviour, and to give birth to him. To prepare this special girl, God created the right environment for her. A special nation was then called and prepared through the Law and the Prophets. This nation was purified through wars, punishments and instructions. This nation was also prohibited from idolatry. John 4:22 (NKJV) “You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews”.
Evidently, children of Israel were blessed by the birth of Lord Jesus from their offspring. However, this does not mean an automatic and guaranteed salvation, for the sake of their ethnic origin. On the contrary, They are outsiders who are aliens to Christ, as they rejected and crucified Him and they are waiting for an imaginary Messiah. On the other hand, the gentiles who believed in Christ, received their salvation even though Jesus Christ was not born from their offspring.
The Resemblance Between Some Mythology & The Old Testament
There is some resemblance between what was written in the Old Testament and some of the writings of old civilisations in Egypt and Babylon. This should never be a cause of alarm, or a reason to reject the Scriptures.
Interaction of Cultures
Cultures interacted and the Jewish people were living everywhere. So some of these civilisations copied from the Jews, or transmitted some godly knowledge through our common ancestor Noah.
The Spirit of the Lord Works in Many Ways
The Spirit of God worked in the gentiles through their wise men and philosophy. St. Clement of Alexandria said: “The philosophers are the prophets of the idolaters”. This was a preparation for the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of salvation. The Common Inheritance:
The important historical stories, such as the creation and the flood, are a common heritage of all nations. This is called the oral tradition. The only difference is that the writers of the Old Testament wrote the oral tradition with the guidance of the Holy Spirit who protected them from mistakes, while the writers of the ancient cultures wrote whatever they inherited with some imagination and mistakes.
The Ancient Writings
There were old manuscripts before the Old Testament. It has been established that there was a library since father Abraham's era written on pieces of wood, leather and other materials. What we have said concerning the oral tradition applies to this written tradition. The similarity is there but the Old Testament is infallible and accurate because of the Divine author, the Holy Spirit.
Some people imagine that some of the books of the Old Testament contradict science, such as the doctrine of creation, and Jonah the prophet. Some examples showing the truth of the Old Testament incidents are given below, for example:
1. The day is an era or a period of time. We are still on the 7th day.
2. The succession of creation is correct scientifically: light followed by earth, plants, animals and then man.
As for the story of Jonah the prophet, the Lord Himself assured its truth and the ruins of the city of Ninveh is a strong witness. Also the discovery of big whales can give us an idea about that special whale which God prepared to save Jonah. Finally it is a miracle and our God can do everything. Otherwise, how can we believe all the miracles stated in the New Testament.
Some people are not quite comfortable about the sexual expressions used in some books of the Old Testament. Take as an example, The Song of Songs. This book should not be read with the carnal & the materialistic eye. This book symbolises the relation of God with the Church.
The holiness of the holy matrimony is an example in explaining the unity which takes place between God and the human soul, represented in the One Church. As for the immoral sins recorded in the Book, they are an indication of the fallen nature of man, which necessitated the incarnation and the Salvation.
Study The Old Testament?
The Old Testament is the basis and the foundation of the Christian belief. The Following reasons are listed to indicate the value of this wonderful spiritual treasure.
It is a school of experience, in which we observe God's dealing with us. Means of Spiritual Fulfillment: It is a source of spiritual satisfaction through the promises of God, and the beautiful prayers found in the Psalms and in the lives of the children of God.
An Invitation to Repentance and Purity:
The Old Testament, as well as the New, declares clearly the judgmental attributes of God, inviting people to repent. In it we notice the blessings of repentance and God's punishments for disobeying His Commandments.
A Source of Wisdom:
It is a source of Wisdom for in it we read the Proverbs of Solomon, and the wonderful wisdom granted to him by God.
A Spring of Prophecy:
It is a source of prophecies fulfilled in the Old and the New Testaments assuring that God is the author of the Book.
A Wealth of Literature:
It is a wealth of art. In it we find stories, poems, wisdom, law and art .... etc.
B- The Coptic Orthodox Church & The Old Testament
We as Orthodox Copts are firm believers in the Old Testament as a divinely inspired book. As a testimony to that, the life of the Church is richly blessed with Old Testament readings.
The Psalms in the Church Office:
Psalms are used in the Prayers of the vespers (morning & night) as well as the liturgy.
The Lectionary during the Lent:
The Church reads complete books of prophecies during Jonah’s fast and during the great Lent.
The Lectionary during the Passion Week:
Many extracts from the Old Testament are read during the Passion (Pascha) week.
The Doxologies & Songs Of The Daily Midnight Vigil.
An abundance of quotations from the Old Testament are used in the Vigil.
The Daily Office of Personal Devotions:
The Psalms are used in the book of daily prayers (Agbeya) which is divided into seven prayers to be offered by all Orthodox Copts at appointed hours.
Let us not belittle the Old Testament, because of some attacks which are leveled, not only at it, but also, at the New Testament as well.
In the final part of this series, His Grace Bishop Moussa provides an extensive and amazing catalog of all the prophecies in Old Testament that discussed Christ's birth, passion, death, resurrection and ascension. A must read! You may want to save or bookmark this excellent resource for future reference!
prophecies the Old Testament mentions all the details concerning Lord Jesus'
life on earth. That is why we say that Christ of the manger is Christ of the
prophecies. He is the One whom the wisemen were waiting for according to their
studies based on the prophecy of Balaam. The Jews also were waiting for Him.
They knew the date of His birth, through the Book of Daniel and the place of
His birth through the Book of Micah. Truly, our God is of both Testaments. Our
Christ is the Christ of the whole world. Following are some prophecies from the
Old Testament about our Lord Jesus Christ and their fulfillment in the New
Testament. These help us observe the deep connection between the two holy
Testaments; the Old and the New.
1- Born of a Woman:
2- Descendant of Abraham:
3- Descendant of Isaac:
4- The Descendant of Jacob:
5- Descendant of the Tribe of Judah:
6- The Heir Of David:
7- The Place of His Birth:
8- The Date of His Birth:
9- His Birth of A Virgin:
10- The Children’s Massacre:
11- The Flight to Egypt:
12- His Service in Galillee:
13- The Prophets Gave Signs about Him:
14- He Came As A Priest According to the Order Of Melchizadek:
15- Being Rejected by the Jews:
16- His Features:
17- His Victorious Entry:
18- The Treason of His Disciple:
20- Buying The Potter’s Field:
21- Judas’ Discipleship Shall Be Given to Another:
22- The False Witness Against the Lord:
23- His Silence Against Accusation:
24- They Spat On Him:
25- They Hated Him For No Reason
26- He Bore Our Sufferings:
27- Crucified With The Sinners:
28- They Pierced His Hands and Feet:
29- They Mocked and Insulted Him:
30- They Gave Him Vinegar and Bitters:
31- He Heard His People Mocking the Prophecies:
32- He Prayed For His Enemies:
33- They Pierced His Side With A Spear:
34- Dividing His Clothes and Casting Lots on Them:
35- Not One of His Bones Shall Be Broken:
36- To Be Buried with a Rich Person:
37- His Holy Resurrection
38- His Blessed Ascension:
If you meditate on all these prophecies about the Eternal annointment of the Lord Christ, His Incarnation, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension, you will discover the holiness of the Old testament and the importance of connecting both Testaments. For our Christ, is the Christ of the both Testaments and no doubt Christ of the manger is Christ of the Prophecies. Prov 8:23 (NKJV) “I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth”.
Micah 5:2 (NKJV) “But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The one to be Ruler in Israel, From everlasting.”
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