Recently I was asked a question that sounded so ridiculous that I thought at first it must be a joke. But then I heard it again – and again – and realized there really ARE a lot of “Christians” who are serious when they ask it:
“WHAT? Why (oh, why) do you teach from the OLD Testament?”
As if it no longer matters, now that we have something “new”. And as if the very foundations upon which ALL of Scripture rests don’t matter any more either!
But the more I thought about the question, and realized just how many self-professed “Christians” seem to think that it’s ever-so-reasonable to ASK, the more I realized what “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is in you“ really meant. (I Peter 3:15) Shouldn’t we able to do that? As it turns out, it’s not only easy, but so obvious that it is impossible to deny. And it’s incredibly important, as well.
After all, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3; old – but still True) And didn’t the Messiah Himself say that we should build not upon sand, but upon the rock? How can anyone who professes to believe Him, and His Word, think that He would come “in the flesh” just to do AWAY with everything He Wrote, and all of the very teachings which establish Who He Is? Just ask any mathematician how credible he would be trying to “prove” some theorem by denying all of the foundational postulates that SUPPORT the proof! Would you buy a product from a salesman who denies his own product halfway through the sales pitch?
Do we really think the Creator of the Universe and Author of Scripture can’t do at LEAST as well?
So, yes, we SHOULD be able to make a very clear case for His Truth, from Scripture, because that is EXACTLY what His Written Word does for us! If it is NOT True, and not consistent, then why would ANYONE “believe?” But that is also exactly what some in the so-called “New Testament Churches” try to push. If the “God of the Bible” cannot be trusted to tell the Truth until the Book of Matthew, or — worse still — not until John 1:1, then what did Paul mean by “let God be True, but every man a liar“?
The simple fact is that Scripture IS consistent, and that His word IS True, from “Genesis to Maps.” How can anyone believe that He is the “same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) but deny that YHVH told the prophet Malachi the same thing in the “old” testament? And, of course, it is the very ESSENCE of what He proved to Moses!
Most people seeking to regain a “first century understanding” of what the Messiah did will remember what He said in His first “public address”, in Matthew 5:17, that He did NOT come to “destroy the torah or the prophets,” and would not change “one yod or tiddle” of it (ie, even the smallest part of His Word — which, at that time, was obviously ONLY the “old” testament!) so long as heaven and earth still existed. But there is FAR more, just to prove the obvious point. Why would Yahushua quote those same texts literally dozens of times, saying, “It is Written,” if He didn’t mean that was important? And how would Peter, or anyone else, have known Who He was, if not for the witness of the “old” Scriptures that they already knew?
The apostle Shaul, or Paul, wrote in his second letter to Timothy (II Tim 3:16) that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness;” but too many new-testament-ONLY types conveniently overlook the glaring inconsistency of their folly: Paul was talking about what THEY knew “from childhood” to be the ONLY Scriptures they had when he wrote that letter! And even if he might have known that SOMEDAY some of his own letters would be called that as well, was he lying then, or only later, if all that “old” stuff is now no LONGER “given by inspiration of God,” and is no longer worthwhile for “doctrine, reproof, correction, or instruction?”
And when that same man wrote to convince others of what he knew to be true — that the promised Messiah had come in the flesh, and fulfilled the promises of that “old” testament; when he said “let us reason together,” what text was he reasoning FROM? Every proof, every evidence, every argument that he, and every other witness, made to that effect was based directly and specifically on the “torah, writings, and the prophets” that constitute that “old” Testament.
Those who claim that “Jesus” somehow “did away with the law” may have a good reason for denying that the “old testament” still matters: it reveals their lie. Take a look at Deuteronomy chapter 13, and the warnings against false prophets. Had He done anything of the sort, then He could NOT have been Who He WAS! Furthermore, Yahushua certainly understood His own Word better than those who claim that it has now been “replaced”. In John 5:31, He makes that clear:
“If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.”
Instead, He turned to other witnesses, and — most importantly — to “the Father Himself, Who sent me, and has borne witness of me.” …ALL of which was confirmed because “It was Written” in Scripture – in the “old testament”.
Those who would claim that all of that “old” stuff is “done away with,” no longer relevant, and should not be taught, are performing the logical equivalent of taking aim at their own foot, and pulling the trigger. They shoot out their own legs, and then wonder why they fall over.
What did John confirm that Yahushua advised, then? “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.“ And if THAT wasn’t clear enough, He continued, looking directly to the “Torah of Moses:”
“For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me.”
Why do we teach from the “old” testament? Why do we begin – as He did – in the Beginning? Because His Truth has not changed. Because His Word — ALL of it, FROM the Beginning — is the foundation:
“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
Indeed, as the “new” testament simply confirms, His torah, His INSTRUCTION, is how we know Who He Is, and what “righteousness” is.