The Old Testament consists of:
i. the Laws of the Torah
ii. the writings of the Prophets
iii. the Psalms.
Jesus called it simply, “The Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms” (Luke 24:44), or in other words, “Scriptures”. (Luke 24:45).
What does it contain? Many people think it is a list of DO’s & DON’TS to be followed. That is inaccurate.
The Old Testament (OT), penned by the prophets, is an inspired record of creation, the history of a nation and their need for salvation through a universal savior, beginning with Israel, known as The Messiah, and the prophecies regarding His future coming.
The OT is a record of God’s covenant and workings with one nation, Israel. The Law of Moses was given to Israel, and no one else.
Then where do Gentiles fit in?
Gentiles are included in the covenant with Abraham. In Genesis 12:3, “…and ALL the families of the EARTH will be blessed through you.”
“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and foretold the gospel to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”Galatians 3:8
That is where Gentiles come in. They’re not in the Mosaic covenant. That was meant for the Hebrew slaves, freshly liberated from Egypt, wandering in the desert and nervously heading into a new land that Yahweh was giving to them. The 613 Mosaic laws were for THEM! They knew nothing except how to be slaves! They now needed to become a free nation with brand new rules and regulations and laws that would, not only teach them how to live as a free nation but also to keep them separate from the numerous wicked cultures and idols around them, so that they do not follow their pagan customs and practices and be led away from Yahweh.
The OT reveals how the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was going to use Israel as a blessing to the whole earth. How? By the coming of the Messiah from Israel, from Judah, from the line of David, the promised seed of Abraham.
“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:18
The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say, “and to seeds,” meaning many, but “and to your seed,” meaning One, who is Christ.Galatians 3:16
This is why Matthew saw it necessary to open his book with these epic words: “This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1)
Matthew was basically telling his readers, “This is it! He’s finally here! The promised Messiah, spoken of to Abraham, written about in The Law and prophesied in Psalms and the Prophets!” The New Testament was picking up the narrative from where the Old Testament left off!
What about the the numerous laws found in the OT? Are we to follow them? But Jesus said He didn’t come to abolish them.
The Old Covenant/Testament was a means to an end. To use an analogy, it was like a blueprint to build a house. Once the house is completed, what happens to the blueprint? Is it abolished? Of course not! It is FULFILLED! Fulfilled? Does that word sound familiar? Of course!
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. “Matthew 5:17
Jesus fulfilled the true purpose of the laws and the writings of the Prophets in the Old Testament. He accomplished it. The “house” is built. It is finished. This is what Jesus was alluding to when He spoke those very words, “It is finished” on the cross! (John 19:30).
The prophet Jeremiah prophesied this new covenant!
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD.Jeremiah 31:31-32
So did the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel.
And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary among them forever.Ezekiel 37:26
The Old Covenant was conditional. It was a covenant where God blesses His people based on the condition that they be faithful to Him. They failed. They broke the covenant repeatedly. God could not bless them. The nature and tone of the entire old covenant was “obey and you will be blessed.” The nation was destroyed, ceased to exist, conquered by Assyria and Babylon and the former slaves went into exile as slaves. Again!
“All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.” Daniel 9:11
The New Covenant is unconditional. It was all on God! God was going to rescue His people, bring them back, save them, establish Israel and bless them and all the peoples of the earth! The new covenant is reminiscent of the Abrahamic covenant.
The Old Covenant was only for Israel and had a limited scope. The New Covenant is universal and eternal. Yet, the two covenants are so interlinked that it is often described this way, “The Old is the New concealed and the New is the Old revealed.”
God speaks of both the old and the new covenant. Look…
“For thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant, …and I will establish for you an everlasting covenant.Ezekiel 16:59-63
I will establish my covenant with you….when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord GOD.”
Did you notice WHO will do the atoning? Read that last line again.
Jesus’ atoning death marked the end of the Old and the beginning of the New.
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.Hebrews 9:15
Moses instituted the first (old) covenant.
“So Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people, and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.” (Exodus 24:8)
Jesus instituted the new covenant. What did Jesus say about this new covenant?
“This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.”Luke 22:20
This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.Matthew 26:28
And this new covenant will be an eternal unlike the old one.
I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them.Ezekiel 37:26
The following are some comparisons between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant:
Wrath and Grace.
Death and Life (2 Corinthians,3:6-8).
Bondage and Freedom (Galatians 5:1).
Temporal and Eternal (Galatians 3:19 and Matthew 24:35).
Carnal and Spiritual (Hebrews 9:10 and John 4:23-24).
Guilt and Pardon (Romans 8:2 and Hebrews 9:12-14).
The Old was to Jews only (Mal.4:4) while the New is to all men (Matt.28:18-20).
So what does that mean for us? How do we see the Old Testament?
After the “house” is completed, do you still need to go back to pore over the blueprint when the blueprint has already served its purpose? No.
Is it abolished? No. Then what do we do with it?
It serves as a historical record that ushered in a new covenant after it was fulfilled. It is a reference for learning of God’s faithfulness and man’s unfaithfulness and how God Himself promised and provided SALVATION to man when man could do nothing to save himself.
“..soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed.”Isaiah 56:1
The law we are to follow today consists of Jesus’ commandments, the Apostles’ directions, and the examples of the early Christians as they lived under the direct tutorship of the inspired apostles.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men. It instructs us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live sensible, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we await the blessed hope and glorious appearance of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.Titus 2:11-14
2 thoughts on “Is The Old Testament Abolished?”
Very good. Would have like to see the alternative renderings of “It is finished, “Paid in full”. But will ask author what his take is.