Apr 18

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Just what do the words, “old” and “new,” mean when used with the word “testament?” On the opening pages of your Bible you will see the words, The Old Testament; then, when you reach the end of the Old Testament, you will notice the words, New Testament. It may appear simple, but we are trying to get at a simple truth! Some people know but have not really thought about it. But, just what do the words, “old” and “new” mean, as we are “rightly dividing” the word of God. Before someone “jumps” on me, the Greek word Paul used here is “orthotomeo,” (2 Tim. 2:5) and one of the meanings is “to make a straight cut (Strong). The first “straight cut” we will make is to “cut” the “Old Testament” from the New Testament.
The wonder of it all, one is “hit in the eye,” when the opening page of the New Testament, as Matthew wrote: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1). A new person but more than a person, has come upon us, “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isa 53:3). How shall we “know” such a man? Better yet, would we have any desire to “know” him? We might well ask: “What shall we do with this man?” He was a man but more than a man! Yet, in his humanity he would come before the people of God, and what would they say? Those who stood before Pilate answered: “Away with him, away with him, crucify him” (John 19:15). Many through the years have figuratively said: “Take him and crucify him!”
But now, we get a head of our study. How would any man, in just his humanity, put the pen on the parchment to write the opening statement of the New Testament? How did Mark open his work? He wrote: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee” (Mark 1:1-2). Mark ties the Old Testament and the New Testament together, as he referred to “the prophets.” Yes, if man has counted correctly, the three-hundred prophecies that pointed to Jesus of Nazareth were then to start in their fulfillment. The Old Testament will forever be interwoven together with the New Testament in such manner, that man can only wonder!
John, the apostle, started his book with these words: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1-2). Then, he brought “the Word” to earth, where he would dwell for such a short time. Putting verses one and two with verse fourteen, we arrive as John wrote: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Heaven had come to earth! His mission is seen in these words: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). The word “declared” is the Greek “exegeomai” and means: “to draw out in narrative, unfold a teaching” (Thayer). Jesus would “unfold” God, his being which “no man hath seen.” At a very different time, when the apostles were “down in the dumps,” Jesus desired to lift their spirits. Right after those beautiful words: “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1); Jesus was questioned by Philip who said unto him, “Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.” Now get this, Jesus replied: “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?” (verse 9). Jesus viewed himself as the “walking revelation” of God the Father. If we can so learn the Son, then, we have learned of the Father!
So many of us are “like” Philip. We look right at something but fail to see its qualities and so many today fail to see the qualities of God as they are revealed in the Son! There are four books in the New Testament, the first four, which gives us the inspired view of God as seen in Jesus. With this, the New Testament opens the life of Jesus, revealing and declaring God to us.

Frank R. Williams

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