Prequels are Cool: How Do the Old and New Testament Relate? Here Are Five Reasons To Read The Old Testament.

Anakin and Darth Vader (Prequels are Cool: How Do the Old and New Testament Relate? Here Are Five Reasons To Read The Old Testament.)

Prequels can help things to come full circle. For example, Star Wars Episodes I-III show us how Anakin (a little pod-racing squirt) becomes Darth Vader.

I’ve come to discover something very important about myself over the years… I love prequels.

There is something incredibly exciting about origin stories. It’s not because I like to see the younger versions of familiar characters. It’s not because they break up the repetition of sequels. No. Those are great bonuses, but they aren’t the reason why I adore prequels.

The reason I love prequels SO MUCH is because they tend to bring things full circle. They put things in context. As if all at once things are made clear. In one powerful moment you make the connection and finally understand…

  • How Anakin became Darth Vader. NOOOOOoooooOOOOO!
  • How Bilbo got the one ring.
  • How Ansem came to be evil in Kingdom Hearts.
  • Why Ganon is such a mean pig.
  • Why cute little apes are trying to take over the planet.

The moments in which these answers are revealed are astonishing. We know where things are, but now we understand how they got there too. They evoke strong emotions, because they help us to see the full picture.

None of the fictional adventures above, however, compare to the ultimate prequel. The completely true story of God’s love is spread across the pages of the New Testament. The NT isn’t where God’s love started though, and in order to bring things full circle you have to understand the Old Testament too.

So, how do the Old and New Testament relate? Keep reading to hear some thoughts!

How Do the Old and New Testament Relate?

Before we start talking about WHY you should read the Old Testament, we are going to address IF they relate. At the end of the article we will talk about HOW we can set up our own study plans.

So first off, do the Old and New Testament relate? The answer is YES. They totally relate, and in an awesome way!

The New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New

-St. Augustine

Can you find Jesus on every page of Genesis? It may seem like a stretch, but I believe that God’s redemptive plan is already in the works when man has fallen in the garden. Naysayers may wonder where I would come up with such a claim. My response: The Old Testament.

Verses about, parallels to, and prophesies of God’s redemptive work in Christ aren’t scarce in the Old Testament. They point to something that is later revealed in the New Testament. Read more about why we believe in Jesus here. Otherwise, keep reading this article for more about how the Old and New Testament relate.

5 Reasons To Read The Old Testament:

How do the Old and New Testament Relate? 5 Reasons to read Old Testament

1.The Old Testament Shows Who God is

Atheists frequently attack the character of God. One of the most common arguments against Christianity is that “God is different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament.” Critics claim that God is wrathful and mean (seeming like a bully you wouldn’t want to hang around) in the Old Testament, but when the New Testament comes He is suddenly love.

This claim, of course, is ridiculous. God doesn’t change from the Old to the New. “Well then God is still a bully, right?” You may ask. No, absolutely not. God is loving, and God was loving back then too.

The claim that God is wrathful and mean in the Old Testament,  is probably the primary assumption that leads people into confusion. That’s because people don’t strive to know and understand the Old Testament. Therefore they don’t understand the circumstances in each situation. Which means they don’t understand that God frequently displays His love throughout the OT.

In Genesis 4 we see a good example of this. When Cain becomes angry because God has shown regard for Abel’s offering but not his own, God responds in a loving way.

Genesis 4: 6-7 (ESV)

The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.

Seems pretty reasonable, right? Sounds like the words of a loving and instructive father. Yet, Cain still ends up murdering Abel. After this occurs, Cain is sent to be a wanderer of the earth. Cain is concerned that his punishment is more than he can bear, and also expresses concern that whoever finds him will kill him. Does God react to this in a wrathful way? Does God tell Cain that he deserves to be murdered? No. Let’s take a look.

Genesis 4:15 (ESV)

Then the LORD said to him, “Not so! If anyone kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the LORD put a mark on Cain, lest any who found him should attack him.

God seems to have given Cain several fair chances. I highly recommend doing a study of Genesis. I’ve found that this one is very good. Check out all of Genesis 4 to see the chapter in it’s full context.

I could go on and on about this, but for now I will close this topic with words from the Old Testament that do I better job than I could of proclaiming God’s love.

Psalm 103 (ESV)

Of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!

Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!

Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

2.The Old Testament Shows Who We Are and What We Need

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m glad you are happy with your religion, but it really isn’t my thing.” before? There’s a lot of things wrong with that sentence, (including the fact that religion isn’t about finding what makes us happy) but for the sake of staying on topic we will keep moving forward.

We all have a choice of whether or not to accept what God offers, but our choice doesn’t effect whether or not it is good for us. It’s like saying “I’m glad that drinking water works for you, but it’s just not for me. I only drink soda.”

Soda is tasty, but that is a horrible life choice. It just flat out isn’t healthy! Our bodies need water, and our bodies shouldn’t be taking in that much sugar. In a similar way, people NEED the love of God, and are better off when they aren’t self absorbed.

The Old Testament shows us many clear examples of how broken we really are, and how much need we have for a loving God. It shows us that we are often inclined to rebellion. It shows that even the “Bible heroes” had problems and made mistakes. It also shows us, however, that God is awesome and mighty. He has the power to save, and I believe He had a redemptive plan for us that was already set in motion during Old Testament times.

3.The Old Testament talks about Jesus

Some of you may be highly skeptical of this next section. “Does the Old Testament really talk about Jesus?” you might be thinking to yourself. The answer is yes, and in some remarkable ways!

The Old Testament contains many prophesies of Jesus (Read this article). These prophesies point to Jesus, and proclaim the things that He has and will fulfill!

In addition to prophesies, it would appear that the Son of God himself appears in the Old Testament. Check out all of Daniel 3 by clicking here! or at least read this excerpt.

Daniel 3: 18-26 (ESV)

But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.

And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.

Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.

 

 

4.Jesus Quotes the Old Testament

“Well, now that I have Jesus, isn’t the Old Testament kind of unnecessary?” Absolutely not. The Old Testament helps to show the power of what Jesus did, who He was, and what He taught!

Jesus regularly quoted the Old Testament, which to me indicates a good reason to understand it. For years I enjoyed the powerful verse John 3:16. I also began to develop a liking for John 3:17. I even started thinking “Everyone quotes John 3:16, but John 3:17 is powerful too! Everyone needs to keep reading!”

John 3: 16-17 (ESV)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

In some sort of strange irony, I later realized that I was missing something huge in the verses before John 3:16. That’s one reason why you should read whole chapters, or full books.

John 3:13-15 (ESV)

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

Whoa!? What’s this about Moses? Turns out, you have to go back to the Old Testament in order to fully understand how cool this passage really is.

Let’s take a look at Numbers 21! I recommend reading the whole chapter here, but we will be paying specific attention to verses 5-9.

Numbers 21: 5-9 (ESV)

And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.”

Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

And the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.”

So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

Isn’t it interesting that they have to look upon a serpent? A serpent is in many ways a symbol for sin, right? I believe, ultimately, we should all acknowledge our sin being nailed to a cross. Jesus teaches us this fantastic lesson by referring to the Old Testament. Obviously this isn’t the only instance of this happening, which is why we should continue to study both the Old and the New Testament.

5.The Old Testament Shows Us Context

Finally, the Old Testament shows us the context in which the New Testament makes sense. It shows us God at work, working to save a fallen people. It shows what led up to Jesus. It shows why Jesus is so important! It’s just flat out awesome!

I hope that you will be encouraged to start studying the whole Bible. After all, it’s dangerous to go alone!

If you want to know more about starting your own Bible study plan, click here!

I love you guys, am praying for you, and am sincerely thankful to you for reading this article! If you liked it, consider making my day by subscribing!

-Caleb

How to overcome lust Biblically

 

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Below is the Photo Source for “Prequels are Cool: How Do the Old and New Testament Relate? Here Are Five Reasons To Read The Old Testament.” These artist do not necessarily share my viewpoints, but have kindly released their work under a creative commons licence. Follow the links below to find the original artists and copyright license:

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