As Jill and I attended Prayer Clinic meetings led by Pastor G.K. Benjamin of the New Creation embassy Church in Kampala, Uganda. The brief sprinkling of examples of the Old Testament records mirroring the New Testament which he planted in me, have now started to grow and demand my attention.
As I studied this idea of the Old Testament mirroring the New, I soon found that as Theopedia.Com says “the New Testament use of the Old Testament is a topic in New Testament Studies where scholars study why NT authors quoted various OT passages. It is an important issue within the study of the interpretation of the Bible, especially in the area of messianic prophecies concerning Jesus…. with 343 Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, as well as no fewer than 2,309 allusions and verbal parallels…” In other words, there is a lot to study!
I also found many critics of Christianity stating that Christianity borrowed its concepts from pagan sources, but as Matt Slick says: ” First of all, the writers of the New Testament were Jews. As Jews they would have nothing to do with paganism in any form. They knew specifically that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament which is why they followed Him. Second, the Old Testament has almost all the New Testament themes from which a devout Jew would refer when writing the New Testament. Third, there is no proof at all that the New Testament writers borrowed from pagan sources and incorporated them into the New Testament.” From this I see that while we can surely trust the Bible, but we need to more cautious when we start to link the Bible and bible-study, to non-biblical sources.
The mirroring, or parallels between the Old and New Testaments was not new to me, for as Jack Miles so eloquently says in his book “Christ – a Crisis in the Life of God” page 65, “The New Testament is like a skin on every square inch of which the Old Testament is tattooed. The Gospel writers, in particular, cannot move a muscle without bringing some portion of the Hebrew scripture into view.” Other writer have likened proper reading of the New Testament only under the light cast from an Old Testament Stained Glass window, or to reading the New Testament while wearing Old Testament spectacles. If we don’t, we miss so very much.
However, Pastor Benjamin’s teachings and examples were not borne from dry study in academia, but simply brought forth in wonder as they were revealed to him over the years. I hope I can share that sense of wonder with you:
|Old Testament||New Testament|
|In the beginning, the Holy Spirit hovered over the earth and brought order from chaos. Genesis 1:2||At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus and remained on him. Matthew 3:16|
|Adam was the first man and changed the world.||Jesus was the second Adam and similarly changed the world.|
|Adam’s side was opened up by God to remove a rib from which to fashion Eve. Genesis 2:21||Jesus’ side was opened up by a Roman soldier’s spear. From the wound flowed blood and water. John 19:34|
|Satan sought to overcome Adam and succeeded. Genesis 3:1-7||Satan sought to overcome Jesus and failed. Matthew 4:3-11|
|There being no sin in the Garden of Eden, Adam was the first man to exercise total free will.||Jesus, being both man and God, was able to exercise total free will.|
|Adam was born sinless, but lost that state.||Jesus was born sinless and retained that state during His life on earth.|
|Adam was born immortal, but lost his immortality as he wilfully sinned.||Jesus was born immortal, but gave up His immortality as he willingly laid down His life to save mankind.|
|Through Adam, God commissioned Man to “fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28||Through Jesus, God commissioned Christians to “make disciples of all the nations.” Matthew 28:18-20|
|To set themselves aside for God, and to establish their Covenant with God, the Hebrews were required to be circumcised. Genesis 17:10||To set themselves aside for God, and to establish their Covenant with God, Christians are required to be baptised. Acts 2:38|
|The OT looks forward to the coming of the Messiah. John 4:25||The NT looks forward to the Second coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. Revelation 22:20|
|Abraham bore the wood for the sacrifice of his son Isaac on his own back. Genesis 22:3||Jesus on His way to His sacrifice, bore the wood of His own cross on His back. Luke 23:26|
|God provided Abraham with a perfect lamb for his sacrifice. The lamb had a crown of thorns entangled around its head. Genesis 22:13||Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God was sacrificed at Calvary with a crown of thorns. John 19:2|
|God stopped Abraham sacrificing his own son, just as Abraham took the knife in his hand to do it.||God did not stop the sacrifice of His own son.|
|Abraham trusted God.||Jesus trusted God.|
|Isaac trusted his father.||Jesus trusted His Father.|
|Through Abraham, salvation comes to the Jews. Genesis 17:7||Through Jesus, salvation comes to all mankind. Matthew 26:28|
|The OT shows how God’s people failed to keep the Law.||The NT shows a saviour who kept the law and paid the price for the sins of mankind.|
There are countless other mirrors and parallels in the Holy Bible, each of which confirm that the 66 books of the Christian Bible and the events and records which they contain therein, did not just happen be chance or accident. We have a God of whom Hebrews 13:8 says “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We can therefore be assured that the principles and themes of the Bible are eternal and will come back around us.
It is important for Christians to know the Old Testament; it was indeed the Scripture which Jesus studied and taught and which all the writers of the New Testament also studied. The 66 book Holy Bible is one whole, one entity and inspired by one source, though penned by the hands of many.
It was George Santayana who wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” We do well to pay attention to his cogent observation, especially when we read and study the Bible. For sure, some of the things in the Bible are yeah and Amen….. but other parts are hard to bear. Some parts, we really do not want to repeat.
Yes, we do well to understand and remember how the Old Testament mirrors the New Testament and approach our study of the Bible with open mouthed awe. For like God, the Bible is unique and singular in every way. It is simply beyond our capability to contain or fully understand. What we wonderful God we do have!!!