The Bible tells one story; the Old Testament and the New are both part of that story. The message of scripture from beginning to end is how a holy God, perfect in righteousness, deals with humanity, which is fallen, broken and unrighteous. At the center of that story is Jesus.
There is a definite relationship between the old covenant and the new. I often describe Judaism as a analogy for Christianity. The Hebrews in the Old Testament are analogous in many ways to Christians of the New Testament. There are many similarities but we must be clear: the two are not the same. The Hebrews came out of Egypt on a mission; as Christians we should be on mission. But our mission is very different from their mission.
In Exodus 23 (v. 20-32) God gave the Hebrew nation their marching orders. They were to go into the land of Canaan and wipe them out, killing every man, woman and child. Go all the way back to Genesis 15 – God told Abraham that his descends would return in the fourth generation and claim the land, for at that time the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet complete. God would judge Egypt for enslaving his chosen people, then use those people to cleanse the land of the unrighteous filth the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites et. al. polluted it with. It was all God’s plan; Romans 9 explains God’s sovereign choice. The mission of the Hebrews from the time they left Egypt was to cleanse the land of Canaan and take possession of it. Moreover, God was going to give it to them.
Each of the four Gospels has a “Great Commission” statement. Our mission is given in Mark 16:14-20. It is to go into the world and preach the Gospel; ours is to share a cup of water with the smallest of children; ours is to do unto others as we would have done to us; ours is be conformed to the image of Christ, not returning evil for evil but loving one another even as Christ loved us. Our enemies are not flesh and blood (Ephesians 6) but the spiritual forces of evil. Our weapons are not literally swords and pieces of armor, but faith, salvation, righteousness and the Word. (Seriously, read Eph 6 if you don’t know these.) The fields are white unto harvest but the laborers are few -Luke 10:2. We must work in those fields while it is still day, for the night is coming -John 9:4.
Similar, Not the Same
The Hebrews were on a mission; they fought their enemies back and built a nation. A king sat on the throne, and during the time of Solomon there was peace and prosperity. But that time didn’t last long. We are on a different mission, inviting lost souls to inherit the Kingdom of God. That kingdom will not be made with human hands, and to God’s rule there will be no end. What they did in the Old Testament was built a political nation; the Kingdom of God is made up of people from every tribe, every tongue and every nation. The two stand in stark contrast to each other, but both a part of God’s plan.
Be the salt, be the light, share the Gospel. That’s the mission I’m on. The laborers are few; are you with me?