Our Mission is Not Their Mission

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. Continue reading

The Gospel of the Old Testament

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the Gospels in that they tell the story of the life of Jesus.  Jesus preaches in Mark 1 “repent and believe in the gospel.”  More than those four books, gospel means good news.  Jesus died for our sins; he is the way, the truth and the life; he brings the New Covenant, and we are no longer under the Law; all things things are part of the gospel message.  Paul says the Law is bad news; it cannot make us righteous, only more guilty.  But there is more to the Old Testament than the Law, and it’s not all bad news.

The Bible has many stories and characters, but only one message.  (Have you read this?)  The Old Covenant was about keeping the Law and bearing the mark of circumcision.  Paul has many analogies about the difference between the Law and the Gospel; the Gospel brings life, the Law only brings death.  But my point is that there is plenty of good news in the Old Testament as well.  It is part of God’s message. Continue reading

A Royal Priesthood

If you’re a follower, online or in real life, you know how I feel about the Old Testament: everything is a metaphor.  The nation of Israel, sacrificial system, temple, alter, high priest, exodus from Egypt, brass serpent, passover, circumcision, etc. are all symbolic of what Christ does in the New Testament.  You’ve probably heard me say (or at least read) that Moses leading the Hebrews through the wilderness is a portrait of Jesus leading us through this present wilderness.  They were marching toward the “promised land” and so are we.  Abraham was willing to offer his son Isaac… you get the point.  Is there an analogy left that I could possibly make?  Why yes, yes there is.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  –1 Peter 2:9

We – all Christians – are priests.   Continue reading

Kings of Israel – Saul

The Old Testament nation of Israel was ruled over by only three kings, after which time 10 of the tribes broke from Judah.  Sometimes Judah and Israel were at war with each other, sometimes not, and each had a long line of kings that forgot God most of the time.  But for a brief period Israel expanded its borders, defeated its enemies, and had a king on the throne like all the other nations.  They thought they were winners. Continue reading

Blessings and Curses: Deuteronomy 28

The last of the five books of Moses, Deuteronomy wraps some things up and reviews some others.  He knows that he will not be entering the Promised Land, and wants to encourage the Children of Israel one last time to remember God and keep his commandments.  Chapter 28 is in two parts; first the blessings for obedience followed by a list of curses for disobedience.

The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings for obedience.  In short, God will bless the land allowing it to flow with mild and honey.  Crops will fill their barns, grapes will fill their winepresses, children will be born and the nation will live in peace from their enemies.  They will be high and mighty over the other nations of the world.  Many more verses, 15 – 68, detail the curses God will bring for disobedience.   Continue reading

The Ten Percent Tithe

tithingTithing is a tricky thing.  If a church pastor preaches a sermon on tithing, he will be accused of being interested only in money.  The pastor’s salary (minister, priest, etc) is probably set in the church budget.  It’s not like if the church has a good day at the offering plate, he’s going out to Golden Corral after the service.  But try to teach on the subject of tithing if you don’t believe me, and see if  words like meddling or greedy aren’t tossed around freely.

The issue I wish to address here is the practice many Christians have of tithing exactly ten percent of each dollar earned.  I mean to respond to questions such as:

  • Is tithing an Old Testament command?
  • Are Christians required to tithe?
  • Does Jesus demand a tithe?
  • How much should one tithe, if anything? Continue reading

Can A Person Get Saved Reading the Old Testament?

reading-bibleI certainly teach that the whole Bible is about Jesus.  The Bible, on the whole, is the story of how a holy God relates to a sinful and fallen people.  Jesus is at the center of that story.  You’ve heard all this before.

The question I heard raised this morning is “Can a person get saved only reading the Old Testament?”  II Timothy 3 tells us that all scripture is given by the inspiration of God.  Obviously the New Testament is God-given, and we need to read and study it.  If the Old Testament was sufficient, why would God give us another?  But still, if the gospel is all over the Bible, is there enough there to lead a person to Christ?  And I say, yes it is possible.  Continue reading