Why Should Christians Read the Old Testament?
Updated: Oct 6, 2019
Welcome to my new series of blog posts: Jesus and the Old Testament!
There will be a new post in this series each Monday. If you want to see the topics in the series, they will be listed at the bottom of each post and the links will be updated (just as I did with the Fairy Tale Fridays series)
The Short Answer (and the summary of this entire series)
Right after the Fall of Adam and Eve, God asked them to confess to Him what they had done. The result of their sin, which was the separation between God and Man, wasn’t one that could be repaired by any human person. But before God sent them out of the Garden of Eden, and before He cursed them, He extended His great mercy to them.
He promised that He would send a savior
to heal the rift between God and Man
that Adam and Eve had created by rejecting Him.
The rest of the entire Bible describes the preparation for, and revelation of, that savior.
How Do We Know that It’s True, that Jesus was Prophesied in the Old Testament?
The short answer: because Jesus said that it was, and then showed the disciples those prophecies!
After His Resurrection from the dead, He appeared to His disciples many times before He ascended into Heaven.
One of the first times He did this was on the road to Emmaus, which is recorded in the Gospel according to Luke. While walking with two of the disciples, Jesus explained this to them:
“beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.” Luke 24:27
Since this was just after His resurrection, none of the writings in the New Testament had been recorded, so He had to have been referring to what we now call the Old Testament.
Which parts of the Old Testament?
Let’s look at which parts Jesus Himself said referred to Him:
All the Prophets
All the Scriptures
In other words, the entire Bible that existed at that point.
When He said “Moses” He didn’t just mean the person called Moses, because He was referring to the scriptures themselves.
He meant the “Books of Moses” which are also called the Pentateuch. “Penta” means “five” and “teuch” means “books,” so the “5 books” or “Pentateuch” refers to the first 5 books in the Bible.
Those five books are: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
These books should be read through the lens of Moses leading the Children of Israel out of their captivity in Egypt and into the Promised Land.
After 500 years in Egypt—the latter years spent in captivity there—the Children of Israel had stopped passing on to their children the history of who they were and where they came from, so the generation that was being led out of Israel and into the Promised Land didn’t know much at all about who God is, or their history.
This is why, during their time in the desert, Moses was teaching them all that they should have been taught, so that they would know who they are, who God is, and who they are to Him.
Priests, Prophets and Kings
Of course God can, and does, reveal Himself to individuals, but the primary way He reveals Himself and His will to people is through three roles, or offices:
Each of these offices play different roles in directing, or redirecting, people towards God. Priests offer sacrifices to God as a prayer to acknowledge who He truly is; prophets speak the word of God so that His people will remember the covenant promises and repent when they need to, and kings serve the people of God by protecting them and allowing them to worship Him.
Jesus takes on all three of these roles and unites them, because He came to reveal God to us, so that we can join Him in eternal life. This is why all Christians, who are part of the body of Christ, in different ways share in His roles of priest, prophet, and king.
In this series, we’ll explore different ways that God is hidden in the Old Testament, and how He foretold what He would do to reunite us with Him despite the Fall.
Posts in the Series: Jesus and the Old Testament
Why Should Christians Read the Old Testament? (this post)
Upcoming Posts (the series will continue after Christmas):
Jesus and Moses
Jesus and Joshua
Jesus and David
Jesus and Solomon
Jesus and Jeremiah
Jesus and Elisha