The purpose of this paper is to outline and show the key points that the authors of Encountering the Old Testament make, and my opinions in relation to these truth. The authors make three main points with a few different sub points as pertaining to the connection of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. We will examine these points and sub points one at a time. I will also offer my thoughts and opinions on these points as well. By the conclusion of this paper it is I my goal, that you will have an understanding of the importance of the Hebrew Bible as it relates to the New Testament.
We will begin with the statement that the Hebrew Bible is the literary background of the New Testament. In this section, the author reveals that the New Testament has 352 verses containing 295 explicit verses linked to the Hebrew Bible. There is way too much scripture to quote here that hold this truth. The fact is though that almost every concept in the New Testament is based on scripture from the Hebrew Bible. I would like to take a look at a couple items found in the Gospels a bit more in relation to this statement. Matthew seems to have a special fondness of Messianic scripture primarily of that found in Isaiah. The following verses (1:23 ; 2:23 ; 4:15-16 ; 8:17 ; 12:17-21 in Matthew all are references taken from Isaiah). Then in verses (2:6 ; 2:17 ; 21:5 ; 26:31) Matthew references other prophets. So in summation as referencing to Matthew, it would appear that Matthew felt that the prophecies were incomplete without Jesus, and had to be told in his story for validly. Over in John in verses ( 6:49 ; 8:51-53) John is referencing Moses and the exile. The correlation I think John is making in this is that even the great Moses who brought Israel out of Egypt, was unable to save them from the ultimate enemy. That enemy I refer to is simply death. Christ was brought in to the world to defeat the enemy of death.
The Hebrew Bible is the historical foundation of the New Testament; it is what the New Testament is built upon. It is the lineage, genealogy, and the proof of all things in the new Testament from Matthew 1:1 to Revelations 22:21. Let’s look first at Matthew 1:1 “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham” The very first verse in the New Testament requires knowledge of the Hebrew Bible to understand who David, and Abraham even are. The last verse or should say the entire last book, is tied in to Daniels prophecies heavily, how can we knot Revelations to be real if we do not read and understand Daniel.
Without the texts in the Hebrew Bible we have no hope for the future, the prophecies spoken lay the groundwork for the entire New Testament. Without the preservation of the Hebrew Bible, how can we believe that Christ is a messiah when we would have no proof or mention of a messiah. He would just be another David Koresh with parlor tricks.
The Hebrew Bible is the central truth of all of our current theology. The New Testament affirms these theological truths of the Hebrew Bible. Our doctrine truths are based on mostly in part of the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament is not a new book, but it describes the climatic truths of the Hebrew Bible. The Hebrew Bible is also the literary historical matrix that the New Testament is woven around.
The idea that the New Testament is the climatic truths of the Hebrew Bible is an interesting concept to me. I never considered the New Testament as a climax from the Hebrew Bible until reading that for the first time. I now realize it is much more than just a climax of truth, but is the climax of Christianity. It can also be considered the climax of the ultimate offering.
The doctrine and theology that we believe and teach is all tied back to the Hebrew Bible. I am going to focus on two and that is salvation and death. In BCE era death was just that death it was the wages of sin as told to us by Paul in Romans, but also discussed in the Hebrew Bible. When Adam and Eve had partaken of the fruit from the tree of knowledge, death became mankind’s punishment forever. All sin had to be repented and then an offering had to be made, some sort of sacrifice, some sort of blood offering. Without these truths, then Christ’s death on the cross, the last blood offering is truly meaningless. Without the laws in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, we would have no basis to compare how truly easy we have it today. Without the Ten Commandments, then a lot of Christ’s teachings are invalidated. One could argue that the Sermon on the mount was based around the ten commandments. Our very own existence which is core to our own theology is the opening of the Hebrew Bible.
In this examination, of the link between the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament I found the authors of Encountering the Old Testament did a remarkable job in further establishing my belief that the New Testament is only valid without the Hebrew Bible. My belief has always been that the New Testament validates the Hebrew Bible just as the Hebrew Bible validates the New Testament. If either the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament is presented with out the other, you have an incomplete record of Christ.
In summation, the truths presented in this paper, should convey how important the Hebrew Bible is to Christianity. You should see the correlation and the need to read the Hebrew Bible to better understand the New Testament. You should see that both books are in actuality one large book with a division separating them, that one alone does not give the entire picture of Christianity. You should also see that the New Testament writers relied on the truths presented in the Hebrew Bible to form their books. Finally, it should be evident that today’s Christian theology and doctrine both originate from the Hebrew Bible.