The Old Testament is often ignored in many churches without people realizing it holds the key to many New Testament references. At first, the only Bible New Testament preachers could use was the Old Testament. This meant they were continually seeking Jesus in Old Testament texts. Even Jesus referenced the Old Testament testimony of Him. He taught two disciples on the road to Emmaus immediately after He arose from the tomb. He explained the Old Testament text beginning at Moses and the prophets to show them He was the true promised Messiah.
In the New Testament era, God speaks through the living word, Jesus Christ, as revealed in the written word, the Bible. We have no other way of knowing Him in the fullness of His splendor except as we understand Him through scripture. We need not expect any other revelation because scripture testifies to its sufficiency. It tells us everything God wants us to know in this present day. Yet, God spoke in various ways in times past. Sometimes He gave dreams and visions. Sometimes He appeared in theophanies. These were manifestations of His presence through other forms. For example, He spoke to Moses in a burning bush or appeared as a stranger conversing with Abraham. Joshua saw Him as an angel and Jacob wrestled with Him at Peniel. Those were unusual occurrences even for Old Testament times. The more common way of God teaching about Himself was through the pictures of worship.
God gave Moses the plan for the tabernacle, a tent-like structure, made from a pattern of the divine in heaven. Each part of the building, the materials, the articles of furniture, the superstructure, the surroundings, and the priests who served were types of the Lord Jesus Christ. There were also many sacrifices classified as either sweet savour or non-sweet savor.
I am convinced there is no better way to learn the person and work of Christ than to study Old Testament worship. If Jesus used the Old Testament to teach His work to confused people, and if the apostles had nothing but what they learned from the Old Testament to guide them at first, surely an examination of Old Testament worship is time well spent. As the authors wrote the New Testament, it gave life to the types the Old Testament portrayed. The Israelites could not see it as well as we do today. The recognition of a type requires the unveiling of the antitype. We more recognize the types/antitypes because we have a completed Bible. But what good does it do to have the antitype if we do not recognize the type? You see, the dilemma is the same. If you do not know the Old Testament, the antitype is largely unrecognized.
There are many of these in the scriptures. We miss much meaning if we do not take time to study and learn them. As the Old Testament and New Testaments complement each other, so does Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon at Berean. Sunday afternoons are usually the deeper of the two services and affords the opportunity to increase your understanding of scripture. How much you grow in the Lord depends on how much you know about scripture. If you don’t know about the sacrifices of the Old Testament, you are missing important information you really need to know.
Christ taught Himself and the apostles taught Him by using the Old Testament. If the New Testament is all you know about Christ, you haven’t learned enough. Be sure to study the Old to find Him in more ways than you can imagine.
Pastor V. Mark Smith