Is the Old Testament Now Obsolete? :: By Gene Lawley

There seems to be a strong and purposeful trend to cancel out the Old Testament of the Bible since Christ has come into human history. It takes off on a theme that Christ took charge and all prophecy of the future from past utterances of the prophets are no longer relevant.

It takes on the appearance of a “Kingdom Now” theology, and the next thing to come is a new heaven and new earth coming down to replace the present heaven and earth. Chronologically, that won’t happen until the end of the Millennium, at least one thousand and seven or more years, according to Revelation 21:1.

Those false teachers cancel out the coming of Jesus to “ingather” His body of believers just before the seven years of the tribulation begins, now looming on the immediate horizon. That missing 70th week of Daniel, told by the angel Gabriel to Daniel and reported at Daniel 9:23 and following, can be none other than the seven-year tribulation period.

A major fault that openly defies Scripture is their claim that Jesus did not die on the cross for the whole world but just for those who believe. Scriptures that deny that claim are readily seen, as in 1 John 2:2: “And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the whole world.” John 3:16 is even changed to mean “For God so loved the world [of believers] that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Does “whosoever” mean anyone, or how did that “world of believers” get belief before Christ died for them?

Furthermore, Romans 5:6 says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly!” He died for sinners, and I was one of that ungodly bunch. Romans 5:8 further establishes that His death came first, before the believers, saying, “But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

But Romans 5:18 then brings the reason that the death of Christ was necessary in order that mankind would have access to everlasting life by choice if he wanted it: “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life.”

An available gift is not automatically effective until it is accepted, so this does not mean all mankind is saved. Mankind must choose Christ’s provision of redemption. He is that gift for salvation. And twisting Scriptures to mean something else is obviously promoting a false doctrine. The Scripture is clear in 1 John 5:11-12: “And this is the record that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” The gospel is an Old Testament promise.

Another Old Testament command also speaks out. When did the Great Commission actually begin? In Psalm 107:2 it says, “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy.”

The foundations of our faith are told in the Old Testament, and God never made a promise He did not intend to fulfill. It has been reported that at least 300 or more prophecies and promises of Jesus and His coming into the world have been fulfilled.

Paul, the Apostle, was well-versed in the Holy Scriptures and said so in his testimony in Philippians 3. His declaration in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 was based on Old Testament Scriptures, for none of the New Testament writings had been brought into formal observance yet.

In his epistles, Paul made two worthy observances that testify to the value of the Old Testament in our theology today. In 1 Corinthians 10:11, he reported this: “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

God has not changed one bit since the beginning, before time began and eternity past was incomprehensible to mortal minds.

Not only does Paul point us to the Old Testament for examples of sinfulness we must avoid, but he also looks there for the Lord’s affirmations of positive qualities. Romans 15:4-5 tells us of those: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus.”

The shedding of blood as the requirement for salvation is recorded in Genesis 3 and is later codified in the law in Leviticus 17:11, saying, “The life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for sin, for it is the blood that makes the atonement.”

It is further established in Hebrews 9:22 with this: “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” And, of course, that final blood sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as One without sin confirmed and fulfilled that law in its perfection.

Concerning the fulfillment of “every jot and tittle of the law,” as claimed of Christ, we see in Hebrews 4:15 how His response to temptations reveals His deity: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

Two passages that are so detailed of the coming Messiah’s crucifixion that they cannot be called as no longer relevant Scriptures. Psalm 22 is the first one, and Isaiah 53 is the other one.

That first one details the horror of dying on a cross. You may recall that account in the gospels when Jesus was nailed to the cross on the third hour, that is, at 9:00 a.m. Then, at the ninth hour, or 3:00 p.m., He was pronounced dead. He was hanging there for six hours!

He had just said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” then, “It is finished,” and, “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.”

It is an unimaginable and horrible way to die, hanging nailed to an upright cross for six hours, and for the two thieves, having their legs broken to complete their deaths. But for Jesus, a prophecy was fulfilled that none of His bones would be broken.

The Isaiah 53 prophecy tells of His suffering at the hands of the religious leaders as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” and His hanging between two thieves. It is too truthful to be relegated to nothing worth remembering, as it seems this new “revelation” is promoting.

Another prophecy that stands out in its fulfillment is found in Psalm 16:9-10, saying, “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

In John 11, in the account of the death of Lazarus, his sister cautioned Jesus about the condition of her brother’s body, for it had been in the grave for four days, and she said, “Now He stinks.” That is, his body had begun to experience corruption.

Thus, Jesus had maintained that He would follow the example of Jonah who had been in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights. Jesus said, “I will be three days and three nights in the belly of the earth.” Then Peter writes that “He went and preached to the spirits in prison” (1 Peter 3:19).

One of the less recognized considerations of the Old Testament is its place in the four revelations of God to mankind. His first way of identifying Himself was by His audible voice, for no man can see God face to face and live, as the Word declares. And encounters with heavenly beings by people that are recorded in the Old Testament show their responses of great fear as they fall on their faces.

Secondly, “He revealed Himself in the law.” How was that, you wonder? As Jesus is later identified, it is the character of His being, as He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the law.

Then, Hebrews 1 reveals Him in the person of His only begotten Son, as Jesus declared to Phillip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” and, “Before Abraham was, I AM!”

Finally, He comes into the world at the end of those seven years of tribulation and reigns for a thousand years from Jerusalem, “ruling with a rod of iron” in a theocracy not known to mankind from their prior history.

The “whole counsel of God” is a principle of biblical study that tests whether or not the student is allowing for contradictions that might exist in his basic doctrine discoveries. Just as the Bereans did, as told in Acts 17:11, the Old Testament is necessary to learn of the whole counsel of God. Proverbs is a book of great wisdom with such truths as, “Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10).

And, Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will guide your steps.”

When Jude wrote his letter, he was going to write about their common salvation, but he “found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Since he quoted Peter’s second letter, dated about 66 A.D., Jude possibly wrote his document not long after that time.

Those New Testament letters were not based on new writings, per se, but had to have been founded on Old Testament Scriptures. As the Bereans readily searched the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was so, and that was all they had, it remains that “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” came out of Old Testament Scriptures.

Read the angel’s message to Daniel of that missing 70th week that so well describes the purpose of God’s plan to punish Israel for their disobedience and to restore them to His grace and fellowship in an everlasting righteousness.

You who would hijack the promises and prophecies of God for these last days to create doctrines of your own making, get ready for a sudden awakening to a God of judgment. When the flesh of Adam’s heritage injects its tongs into the plan of God and twists Scripture to its own understanding, God must make necessary corrections and exact judgment.

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About the Justice of God with Mankind: Part 1 :: By Gene Lawley

Searching out and exploring this topic may take some time to find the whole counsel of God that we must have. Why do I say that? Because we believers in God know that He is a just God in all things, for He is morally perfect in His being. Otherwise, He is not wholly God, yet the creation of all things, including mankind, testify differently—that He is God.

Some basic truths about God are necessary to begin this search: “God is not a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Has He said and shall He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).

“God is spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

“… the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23b).

“…He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being…” (Acts 27b-28a).

Therefore, it is not that God in Spirit moves about in His creation, but His creation moves about in His fullness, which fills all things! But we see that His attributes are in action in all things having to do with the world and mankind. For example, “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2b). This was before the world was fully created, the very beginning of it. Then, God’s entry into moral history with the advent of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, therein a major example.

Psalm 90:2 divides the earth’s creation first, then the world: “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting You are God.” Of course, in its first creation, the earth was without form and void, as Genesis 1:2 tells us. The world came alive as God began its creation, and the creation of time as well.

Those broad attributes of God, which are always in effect, are found in Psalm 139. He is all-knowing, “omniscient” (Psalm 139:1-6). He is everywhere present, “omnipresent” (Psalm 139:7-12). He is all-powerful, “omnipotent” (Psalm 139:13-18).

Now we come to the point of finding out how God’s justice remains intact for all matters that concern His creation, in particular, mankind. Let’s look at doctrinal issues where it appears that justice is not considered or seems to have been forgotten.

In Calvin’s TULIP acronym, Total Depravity is defined as man being totally without any spiritual content whatsoever. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23 tells us. And leading up to that conclusion is a list of rejections of God found in Romans 3:10-18:

“As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit;
The poison of asps is under their lips;
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Sinfulness of man in his actions springs out of his heritage of death from Adam. A man sins because he is a sinner by nature. That’s what he does and why he does it. It says above, “There is none who seeks after God,” yet God says in Jeremiah 29:13, “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” How, then, is that “seeking” accomplished? Let’s continue that search.

John wrote in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” It is an echo of Satan’s temptation of Eve in Genesis 3 and of Christ’s temptation in Matthew 4:4 and following.

Then, in the TULIP acronym, the “U” represents Unconditional Election, as Peter addressed those believers, “To the … elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1 Peter 1:1-2). The question that must be answered is how is God’s justice satisfied so that the election can be “unconditional,” which is the point of this article. (A hint: “Be born again?”) This is confirmed by the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:10: “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” We will come to this in our search further.

We must look to the attributes of God and their effect upon His actions with mankind. His justice must be satisfied, for otherwise, any claim not justified in Him is automatically a false claim. It is contrary to His nature. That is the meaning of Psalm 9:10b, “Knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

It is mind-boggling to think on how and why God created mankind in His own image but left out the knowledge of good and evil. They acquired that knowledge through their own disobedience, along with death. (Genesis 3 tells what happened.) And why that way? Look at the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning God…” He was all there was, and He filled all things. Only His morally perfect being existed. There was only good, and no evil existed to challenge that good. Then, He “created the heavens,” including all of the host of heaven, the angels, and Lucifer at the head of that host.

In Ezekiel 28:2 and following, the Lord gives a detailed account of how the highest angel of the host, with all his glory, became proud of himself and rebelled against God. He chose to oppose God with the purpose of taking God’s throne and authority. Note that this one, Lucifer, had the ability to choose to rebel against God. Why did God create him with that freedom of choice and not mankind? Isaiah tells in detail his purpose in his rebellion:

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:12-14).

This introduction of evil into existence brings about that principle in physics known as “for every action, there is an equal reaction.” Therefore, it becomes true that when we sin, the just reaction is righteous judgment. It becomes apparent that all confrontations between members of the human race are traceable to that warfare between God and Satan. Consider the account of Job’s testing after the taunting of Satan to God that His greatest creation, made in His own image, would crumble under Satan’s testing. In short, Satan lost; God won! It is to God’s glory that Satan is defeated and will be thrown into the fires of hell for ever and ever.

It is a long story, but in God’s plan, it looks like His desire is to have a large family of adopted sons and daughters who have been redeemed from a Satanic captivity by that one who has opposed God from the very beginning of that evil one’s rebellion in heaven. Had God given Adam and Eve the knowledge of good and evil when they were created, would it have been likely that they would have gone the way of Lucifer and chosen evil without redemption?

When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they then received the knowledge of good and evil; that is, they would know when they would do evil works that it was evil. And all mankind after them were to know that also. In James 4:17, it is written, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (I have told this example that when two drivers, one a believer and one a nonbeliever, run a red traffic light, both will look around to see if a traffic cop has seen them.) Again, as James said, “He who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

The passage that seems to be overlooked when Total Depravity of mankind is discussed is this one that brings into the picture how that Total Depravity transcends the gap to become an elected saint. It is Romans 2:13-16, and it gives God the opportunity to show His justice in His dealing with mankind:

“(For not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified; for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.”

It is the knowledge of good and evil which has been ingrained in the consciences of every person born of Adam. This hook, so to speak, in man’s conscience is God’s way to bring man to really know his sin and be drawn to accept Christ to save him. And I am saying that this is the missing link between Total Depravity and Unconditional Election. It is the meaning of what Jesus tells us in John 6:44: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Follow the account of Saul of Tarsus when he was saved on the road to Damascus, told in Acts 9. Likewise, it was the same manner in yours and my own consciences when you and I were born again in Christ.

And as James 4:17 says above, “he who knows to do good and does it not” is sinning before God. Those who never hear of Christ and His gospel are under this principle or natural rule as well, and God’s justice is served as the person does not do what he knows is right, even in far-off places. Mankind is responsible to God for his actions. But His attributes are also positive always for those who turn to Him in their struggles.

(Part 2 will continue these thoughts.)

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