The Old Testament

Because the theme of this blog is the New Covenant and all the promise and power that come with it for living the Christian life, you haven’t seen much about the Old Testament on these pages.  So where does the Old Testament fit into our new identity in Christ? How are we to read the Old Testament?

Let’s start with the word “testament”.  I don’t know about you, but “testament” is not a word I commonly use or hear in daily conversation.  And I don’t think it appears in the actual pages of Scripture as far as describing the two parts of our Bible.  So a word I prefer is “covenant”.  It is a word that the Bible itself uses referring to the Old Testament as the Old Covenant and the New Testament as the New Covenant.

So the words “testament” and “covenant” are basically interchangeable, such that our Bible can be summarized like this.  The Old Testament is describing the Old Covenant between God and man.  And the New Testament is describing the New Covenant between God and man.  But just as with “testament”, “covenant” is also a fairly uncommon word.

So a third word that I find helpful is “arrangement”.  The Old Testament = the Old Covenant = the Old Arrangement.  The Old Testament is describing the old arrangement (prior to Christ) between God and man.  And the New Testament = the New Covenant = the New Arrangement.  It describes the new arrangement (after Christ) between God and man.

And arrangement is a good word to use.  It is word that is commonly understood and it fits what a testament is.  Think about a last will and testament.  It is a description of how someone wants their affairs “arranged” after their death.  So what kind of old and new arrangement with God are we talking about?

Put in its simplest form, the old arrangement is the Old Testament Law.  When God had led His people out of Egypt, He established a law arrangement with them on Mount Sinai.  Just prior to writing the Ten Commandments on stone tablets, God described this law arrangement to Moses and the people in Exodus chapter 19.

And the people agreed to this arrangement.  “So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. And all the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do.‘ “ (Ex 19:7-8).  The old arrangement was the Law.  And the children of Israel agreed to this arrangement.

Now we know that the rest of the Old Testament is essentially the story of the children of Israel not keeping their part of the arrangement.  But that history lesson is for another day.  For now let’s just park on the fact that the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, the old arrangement was the Law.

So what about the new arrangement?  What about what comes next?  What did Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection have to do with blowing up the old arrangement?  Or did it?