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The Perils of Confusing the Old and New Testaments

While studying the Old Testament is certainly useful for our learning and edification today (Rom. 15:4), the laws to which the old-covenant Jews were amenable are no longer binding (Heb. 7:12, 18; 8:13; 10:9; etc.). If someone wants to go back and observe any part of the old law, he is not only obliged to obey all of it, but in so doing he has lost his spiritual security assured only in the new covenant of Jesus Christ (Gal. 3:10; 5:1-4).

Many Bible believers today confuse these two covenants and fail to appreciate the important distinction between them. Some of the following Old Testament practices have been mistakenly adopted by a number of religious groups: 7th-day Sabbath observance (Exod. 20:8-11), an exclusive priesthood (Exod. 40:15), musical instruments and/or dancing in worship (Psa. 149:3), burning incense (Mal. 1:11), and others. But if some of these practices are going to be borrowed from the Old Testament, consistency demands that the rest be incorporated as well, including animal sacrifices (Exod. 20:24), polygamy (Exod. 21:10), killing the disobedient (Deut. 21:18-21), circumcision (Lev. 12:3), annual feasts (Exod. 23:14-17), a physical temple in Jerusalem (Isa. 44:28), and so on. But the Lord never intended for the two covenants to be indiscriminately blended together.

A number of allusions, quotations, and examples from the Old Testament can be found in the New Testament. General facts and principles such as the love of God, the necessity of faith and obedience, consequences for unbelief and disobedience, etc., are continually relevant. But if an old covenant practice or requirement has not been placed in the New Testament by the Lord Himself, it is a mistake to presumptuously go back under the old system which the Lord has deemed obsolete (Heb. 8:13).

Originally posted on 3 June 2011 by Kevin L. Moore at http://www.poriruachurch.com. Quotations are from the NKJV.

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This entry was posted on 03/06/2011 by in The Bible and tagged , , .