A dilemma facing many Christians today is how to reconcile the New Testament to the Old. Many see the Old Testament as a history of expired and archaic laws that have outlived their usefulness. Yet others see it as the book of laws for a people stuck in time and too rebellious to understand God’s new plan. Some even go as far as to claim that God has given up on Israel and that the Church is now God’s people, the new Israel. Most people, however, do agree that the ceremonial laws are not for the church to observe today as they are strictly laws that pertain to Judaism.
When we compare Scriptures from the Old and New testaments, we see a startling similarity in many of the main stories. For example, Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son and heir (Genesis 22:2-18) on the same mount where God later sacrificed His Son and Heir (John 19:2, Chronicles 3:1). We see the similarity between the Jewish feasts and the ministries of Christ and the Holy Ghost. The more we study, the more we see these mirror images of the Old Testament in the New. The question many have asked is why these mirrors? Why is the New so identical to the Old?
Christ taught that He had not come to abolish the Law and prophets, but to fulfill them. If He has come to fulfill them, then his life and ministry should reflect the Law and the prophets. In John 5:39, he rebuked the people, stating that they searched the Scriptures because they thought it would bring eternal life, but they (the Scriptures) spoke of Him (Christ). The Old Testament was all about Him, but the people could not see it. The New Testament is the Old Testament unveiled and fulfilled, while the Old Testament is the New Testament hidden behind a veil.
Unfortunately today, we often read the New Testament and still cannot see the Son, because we have hid Him behind a wall of doctrine and have burdened ourselves with so much tradition. Rather than seeing Jesus, we see prosperity, victory, and a lot of other feel-good teachings. Jesus is not just a tool to achieve success and breakthroughs. He is our success and our breakthrough. Everything has meaning only in Him—the fulfillment of every Old Testament promise.
If this is true, then every truth in the Old Testament may be seen or revealed in the New, including the creation or what I call the restoration story story (see our series starting from beginning).
The New Testament has its roots in the old. God did not destroy everything and recreate man all over again. He was considering to do just that in Exodus 32:10, but Moses made intercession for the people. Like He did with the earth in Genesis 1, God salvaged the old to make the new. He started in Israel, the very heart of the Mosaic Law and the prophets. He did not give up on His people, but started the work of restoration all over again under a new covenant.
Restoration Begins With Judgment
The New Testament, according to the Gospel of John, opens with a description about the relationship between the Word and God. The Word was God and was with God there at the very beginning. They are and were inseparable (John 1:1 and 1 John 5:7). He (they?) made all things (John 1:2), and nothing was made which He did not make.
This is almost the very same word description used in Genesis 1:1: In the beginning, Elohim [plural] created the heaven and the earth. When we talk about the New Testament, we instinctively zero in on Christ and rightly so. He is the center of the Gospel and of our Christian faith, the beginning and end of all things.
We have studied His supernatural birth and ministry and we partake of the breaking of bread in remembrance of His sacrifice. The virgin birth is an act we scarcely understand and one many skeptics constantly scoff at. It is a supernatural act that reveals the power, mercy, grace, and love of God for the world as revealed in the most recited verse of all: John 3:16.
Most Christians, however, do not realize that the first supernatural act of God in the New Testament was an act of judgment (darkness). That is right. God’s first act in the new covenant was to judge Zacharias the priest for his unbelief (Luke 1:20). In the Old Testament, the Bible indicates that darkness was upon the face of the deep (Genesis 1:2). If you have been following our discussion on this blog, then you are aware that the darkness was a consequence of God’s judgement on the earth. I find it amazing that both the old and New Testaments open with signs of judgment on rebellion. As parents, raising our children right involves correcting them when they do wrong and then teaching what they should have done instead. It is a form of judgment—though we hate to use the term. It is the first step in restoring an erring child.
God is our Father and a good parent. He corrects us when the need arises and then restores us. Zacharias became dumb, but later he could speak again. God’s judgments on His children are temporary and designed to take us to the point of restoration to Him. In the Old Testament, we see the earth marred (following judgment on Lucifer’s rebellion), without form and void, and in the New, we see Zacharias judged.
Let There Be Light
The Zacharias story did not just happen abruptly or began overnight. It came at the end of a 400-year history of rebellion in which God could not find a single man to speak through. Consequently, there was silence in the heavens and not a single prophet in Israel after Malachi.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. – John 1:10-11
God came unto His own. He searched, but none could be found. He pleaded, chastised, and even threatened, but none would receive Him. Like the Spirit of God brooding over the waters in Genesis 1:2, God sifted through the spiritually dead inhabitants of the earth for any sign of life and found none. At the end of this period, He began to effect the only plan He knew could restore the earth and its people, starting from within the temple.
Judgment must begin in the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17). He then introduces the light that overpowers the darkness (John 1:5 and Genesis 1:3-4). This light shone in the dark and brought life to those who sat in darkness (Matthew 4:16). His name is Jesus.
In Genesis 1:4, the Bible records that God saw the light and it was good. The light, magnificent as it is, will be even more breathtaking when compared to the darkness. Looking upon the light, God was pleased and rejoiced, dividing the light from the darkness. He put a division between them, ensuring that light and darkness can never mingle. They will always be contrasting forces, always at war against one another.
Back to the beginning of the Genesis 1 series.