Monday, May 24, 2010

The Message of the Old Testament

It seems often there is a lot of confusion about what the message of the Old Testament is. In some instances, people will even assert "that's Old Testament, and we're only commanded to follow the New". But rather than explain the flaws in such a statement; I am posting in it's simplicity what the message of the Old Testament is. But before I get a little more detailed, I would like to say in a word - the message is "Jesus". Let's look at it.

"Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy." -- Leviticus 19:2

Anytime man disobeys God’s law (the 10 Commandments - lying, stealing, lusting, hating, etc.), he deviates from God's holiness, he violates God's standard; and this is called "sin" - which creates a problem for us:

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." Ecclesiastes (Qohelet) 7:20 (see also Psalm 53:3-4)

Since God is holy and just, He cannot allow sin in His presence.

"Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity". -- Habakkuk 1:13

Because sin is a violation of His standard and character, God must judge man's sin and reject it.

This is why sin causes spiritual death and results in separation from God.

"But everyone shall die for his own iniquity (sin)."-- Jeremiah 31:30

"Your iniquities have ever made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have caused Him to hide His face from you." -- Isaiah 59:2

As long as sin separates us from God, we are unrighteous and condemned – But; can't man solve the problem by living properly, by prayer, repentance and good deeds? No, man cannot remove the sin barrier by his own effort.

"And enter not into judgment with thy servant; for no living man can be regarded righteous before thee." -- Psalm 143:2 (see also Ezekiel 33:13)

Human effort is not adequate because "We are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousness (good deeds) are as a filthy garment." Isaiah 64:5 - Human effort is not adequate because man cannot do enough to solve the problem. "No one can in any wise redeem his brother, not can he give to God redemption for himself; for the ransom of their soul is too costly." Psalm 49:8-9

But, then how can this problem of spiritual death, separation from God, condemnation be solved?

"But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave." Psalm 49:16

How? God's Word (faith) and by having the blood of the atonement.

Abraham was an example of how the sin barrier can be removed.

"And he believed in the Lord; and He (God) counted it to him for righteousness." Genesis 15:6

And we must follow the same pattern.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever." Isaiah 26:3-4 (see also Habakkuk 2:4)

Moses said that one more thing is essential - the blood of the atonement.

"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."-Leviticus 17:11 (see also Leviticus 10:17;4:35)

But why would God want man to go through the awful procedure of killing an animal? When the offerer saw the sacrifice suffering and bleeding for the sins which he had committed, he was impressed with the awfulness of sin and the penalty of death (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) the sinner deserved.


* HOLINESS because of His hatred of all evil,
* JUSTICE because He does not leave sin unpunished,
* MERCY because of His readiness to pardon the truly repentant and believing by providing
a substitute for him.


Today there is no priesthood and no temple, and no sacrifices. However; God has provided the blood of the atonement.

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him." Isaiah 53.6

"For he was cut out of the land of the living; for the transgressions of my people was he stricken." Isaiah 53:8

"And he took off the sin of many." Isaiah 53:12

Here it is important to address Isaiah 53. In the prologue (Isaiah 52:13-15) the author identifies the “He” of these passages. He is described as God's servant who will be exalted. In other parts of his work, Isaiah equates this servant of God with Messiah. (e.g. Isaiah 42:1).

God's provision of the blood of atonement through the Messiah follows the same principles God set up in the sacrifice system.

atonement for a man by means of a sacrifice.

atonement for a family by means of a sacrifice.

atonement for a nation by means of a sacrifice.

atonement for all by means of a sacrifice.

Under the sacrifice system personal faith was necessary along with the blood of atonement. So also faith is necessary with the sacrifice of Messiah. He should be the object of our faith today.

But how can we know The Messiah is Jesus? God made sure we could recognize Him by certain specific identifying marks described by the prophets of Israel.

His ancestry was from the family of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6).
The city of his birth was Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).
He had a supernatural nature (Jeremiah 23:5-6; Micah 5:1; Isaiah 9:5-6).
The manner of his execution was crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17).
He rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10).
The time of his coming was before the destruction of Herod's Temple in 70 CE (Daniel 9:26)


During his lifetime many people called Him Messiah ("Christ" is the Greek translation) and believed in him. Many people since that time, both Jews and Gentiles, have had their sins forgiven and have gained a personal relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through Messiah Jesus. Through him one becomes righteous (not because of their own righteousness which is nothing, but because of His)

Since the blood of atonement has been provided through Messiah Jesus, there is only one thing left for you to do.

You must by faith receive Messiah Jesus into your life in order to have a personal relationship with God.

Receiving Messiah Jesus involves a moral decision to turn to God's way and from your own, to trust Messiah Jesus to forgive your sins and bring you into a right relationship with God. When you receive Messiah Jesus by faith (trusting what he has done for you), He comes into your life and is made real to you, so that you know Him.

Jesus says

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens
the door, I will come into him and fellowship with him, and he with me." Revelation 3:20

Don't let anything hold you back- invite Messiah Jesus to give you a right relationship with God. YOU can receive Messiah Jesus by faith right now through prayer.

adapted from John Fischer's booklet "L'Chaim"

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