Many believers are at sea when reading the Old testament. The questions that ravage the mind are diverse – “Has God changed?”, “Are these laws applicable?”,”What is old, and what stays new?”, the questions go on. Jesus however did not leave us in doubt of how to use the old testament, or his responsibility to the law.
While this is not an exhaustive list of things to consider when reading the old testament, it would very well help you to begin the journey of finding meaning in God’s timeless words.
1. Realize that the entire old testament was about one person – Jesus Christ. Now this statement sounded absurd to the Jews in Jesus’ days, and probably still sounds absurd today, but Jesus made it abundantly clear that He was before the beginning, and that even Abraham longed to see His day! In John 5:39 Jesus makes it clear that all scriptures are about him, and that all that men seek for in scriptures particularly eternal life only comes through him. If you read the scriptures and zone into any issue without eyes on Jesus, you’ll miss the forest for the trees. The application of this reality significantly changes the use of the scriptures and the paradigms of studying scriptures. (Ref Luke 24:27, 44,45)
2. The events and narratives of the old testament were written for our examples. They were God’s solved sums teaching us about God’s nature, God’s person, God’s ideals and values. We are meant to know who God is from His word, not from our lenses or how the world makes us interpret Him. God left us with 2 key witnesses about Himself – His book, and His handiwork. Day and Night utter speech, no language is exempt from understanding them, God’s word was also documented, so we can look at those examples from the eye lens of Jesus and take instruction. 1 Cor 10: 1-13 offers a classical example of how the activities of the Old testament is an example to Christ’s body today! The end of the age has come upon us, we must realize that there is direct spiritual application from the physical events that happened to God’s chosen people – who we are.
3. Once your eyes are on Jesus, then you’ll see the necessary parallels. The instructions and the promises are not literal, Israel was a type of God’s people, the law was a type of the law code that would be available in the spirit, as Canaan was the promise of God for His people, the people of God today, must ask what is God’s promise to us? The old testament has types and shadows, but quite easy to decode once your eye is on Christ. Whenever you see Israel in the Old testament, think Church. Whenever you hear about Egypt think life of bondage and slavery to sin. When you think about Canaan think about Christ in us, the life of the matured son. When you think about human characters, ask how the purpose of Christ was served. When you see Children realize that God’s people could only expand biologically, in New testament era it would interpret as disciple. When you see the law, realize it’s a type of the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus. When you hear idolatry don’t think about carved or wooden images, think about anything that competes for your wanting. The list is endless and you can discover them as you study God’s word.
The word of God ought to be exciting. It’s the feed that makes us grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. A good discipleship environment ought to leave you craving God’s word, and desiring to know more. Have you experienced this?
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