Thursday, June 11, 2015

Does Reading the Old Testament Matter?

Beloved one of God, His grace and peace be with you today and His wisdom and revelation be multiplied to you today and His Spirit of praise be settled upon you today, that you may experience the great and holy presence of the Lord God when you lift your voice up and praise Him. Amen. With such a tremendous blessing imparted onto you, those to whom shall receive it by faith, I now invite you Into My HEART...

Why should we read the Old Testament. Does it matter? It’s long and boring and I don’t understand it. Can’t I just read something more relevant to today and written in a more contemporary style? Such words are what fills the earth these days and I have personally heard all of them come out of the mouths of those who are just ignorant and lazy and aren’t willing to ask God to guide them in their willingness to study the Bible. They will exhaust themselves in studying other things even literature that is old in comparison of today’s writing and even such contemporary works as the Harry Potter’s and Twilight sagas of today or the ever popular and growing in popularity 50 Shades of Gray compilations of sex, power, influence and what usually grabs a hold of today’s audience. 

Yet, what about the Bible? Does it not beg the question concerning it: If it has been around for so long and there are more copies of it in circulation that have been passed down from generation to generation, should we not turn our attention to it? Battles have been fought over it. Lives have been lost over protecting it. Men have been tortured, beheaded, imprisoned and slayed for its sake. Countries and Continents ban it, refuse it and reject it. No other ancient literature in all the world has ever undergone more scrutiny that the Bible. Yet, in the midst of all this sorrow, sadness, shame, persecution, death by ignorance, hate and anger, a people for a thousand generations have come to know the love of God and His mighty power to save. We cannot deny the power of God’s Word, the influence of the Old Testament and the literary genius of its writing that all other ancient writings pale in comparison. The poetry of the Psalms. The wisdom of Proverbs. The sensuality of Song of Songs. The insight into the prophetic writings. The majestic Law of God through the first five books (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) and nothing compares and will ever even remotely come close to the Creation story in the beginning. God’s Word, the Old testament and the Bible in whole is a triumphant work of God who is and shall be forevermore the Author over all Creation. Amen.

  • The Old Testament seems to be just that to many people—OLD!
  • Wasn’t it written in Hebrew and isn’t that a lost language? They say.
  • It’s the portion of the Bible that lists hard to pronounce names on and on they say.
  • It only talks about God’s wrath, they say.
  • It’s that portion of the Bible that has those commandments from God they say.
  • It’s all about the Law they say.
  • That’s where there was a lot of God’s prophets telling people what God has said, they say.
  • It’s not relevant to Jesus’ words or ministry they say.
  • We just need to focus on the four Gospels because that is when Jesus walked the earth and that is what matters they say.
  • The OLD Testament was cancelled out by the NEW Testament they say.

However, Jesus said differently and if He is the only one that matters and if the Old Testament only lists names, and if the Old Testament only speaks of God’s wrath, then clearly these people have not read the New Testament, in the “Gospels” when Jesus declared, “For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (the Gospel of Matthew 5:18-20 AMP)

Or maybe they skimmed over when Jesus exclaimed, “[Do not think] that I have come [to do away] with [or undo the Law or the Prophets]; I have come not to do away with or undo but [to complete and fulfill them]. (the Gospel of Matthew 5:17 AMP emphasis added by me to point out how Jesus not only adheres to the Law “Old Testament” and the words of the prophets “Old Testament” but He also fulfills them, so they are absolutely relevant in this day and age as the earth and sky still remain).

Jesus who alone matters as they say, said this about the commandments as well in reply to naysayers, “One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (the Gospel of Matthew 22:35-40 NLT)

Just before Jesus was to ascend back into heaven, He further sealed up His words from the beginning. In His resurrected state, making appearance multiple times to many witnesses including His disciples, He says, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything which is written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled [all three referenced here encapsulate the entirety of the Old Testament signifying its great worth and furthermore, its reliability and moreover, the reason why we should all read it and that it matters). Then He [thoroughly] opened up their minds to understand the Scriptures, And said to them, Thus it is written that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from (among) the dead, [Hos. 6:2.]” (the Gospel of Luke 24:44-46 AMP emphasis added).

Know this! The response Jesus gave wasn’t some new random idea He just made up, as He said, ‘I am the fulfillment of the Law and the prophets.’ He was quoting from the Law in which is found in Deuteronomy and Leviticus:
  • And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)
  • “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but [love your neighbor as yourself]. I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:18)

 What about the listings of all these hard to pronounced names. Do they matter? Well, I know the impulsive desire to skim over such reading as I too, found it boring but at first glance they are just ‘hard to pronounce’ names but with a deeper look and study of them, they are listed as a genealogy and reveal that Jesus’ lineage back tracks all the way to Adam and that is important on so many facets: 
  • 1. It reveals His Messiahship (for a list of all Old testament scripture literally revealing and painting a most accurate self-portrait of Jesus;
  • 2. He is of the royal lineage of David (signifying He according to Jewish lineage is royalty and a rightful King). 
  • 3. He is of the tribe of Judah (signifying He is the Praise of the Lord [Genesis 29:35]).
  • 4. He is a shepherd whose purpose is to tend to the things of the earth as Adam did, 
  • 5. And of course He is of the promise given to Abraham “through your seed all the earth shall be blessed.”

Here is what many call that “boring” list of names that is [also] recorded in the [Gospels]:

“THE BOOK of the ancestry (genealogy) of Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed), the son (descendant) of David, the son (descendant) of Abraham. [Psalm. 132:11; Isaiah 11:1.] Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Aram, Aram the father of Aminadab, Aminadab the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of King David, King David the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah, [Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chronicles 2:13-15.] Solomon the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asa, Asa the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram [Jehoram], Joram the father of Uzziah, Uzziah the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amon, Amon the father of Josiah, And Josiah became the father of Jeconiah [also called Coniah and Jehoiachin] and his brothers about the time of the removal (deportation) to Babylon. [2 Kings 24:14; 1 Chronicles 3:15-16.] After the exile to Babylon, Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel [Salathiel], Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, Abiud the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Sadoc, Sadoc the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, Who is called the Christ. (the Messiah, the Anointed) So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen, from David to the Babylonian exile (deportation) fourteen generations, from the Babylonian exile to the Christ fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:1-18 AMP emphasis added).

Now you may have noticed that in the Gospel of Matthew the genealogy he listed does not show that the lineage of the Christ who is Jesus, contains Adam so you may say, Ha! You see Jesus was not purposed to be like an Adam on this earth who was created by God from His Breath and a handful of dirt [earth or earth dust] as it were, and you would be right if only you missed that Matthew was a Hebrew man writing to a Hebrew audience and the race of Hebrew was not recorded in Adam’s time (Genesis 11:1; Hebrews 14:13) as that generation apart from 8 people was did away with by the great flood of the earth, so Matthew did not include it for the purposes of relating Christ to Hebrew lineage so the Hebrews or the Jews of his day would see that Christ Jesus was of them and indeed was the promised Messiah in whom they awaited.

Yet! A man who was Greek and educated in Greek thought as well as a physician (Colossians 4:14) being a great documentarian, that is, historian, by way of being a physician in which must be accurate with every detail, records this:

“Jesus Himself, when He began [His ministry], was about thirty years of age, being the Son, as was supposed, of Joseph, the son of Heli, The son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, The son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, The son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, The son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, The son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, The son of Jesus, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, The son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, The son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, The son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon (Sala), the son of Nahshon, The son of Aminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, The son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, The son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, The son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, The son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, The son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. [Genesis 5:3-32; 11:10-26; Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chronicles 1:1-4, 24-28; 2:1-15.]” (Luke 3:23-38 AMP).

Now in reading the above not only do you see Jesus’ lineage show Him to be every bit a Hebrew; a Jew, but also from the beginning the Son of God, yet you may argue, the above recorded genealogy by Luke is not entirely about Jesus but Joseph as it says, “as was supposed, of Joseph,” then it continues on with Joseph’s ancestor lineage, and you would once again be right if that were true, but what Luke does, is a pause for fact and to make a statement of undeniable truth. Jesus was thought to be of Joseph’s seed but He was not! He was of the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. A completely divine being indwelling into the virgin Mary who Luke continues on to write to this “most excellent Theopholis.” Moreover, it is said of Joseph:

IN THOSE days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole Roman empire should be registered. This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused (married to) wife, who was about to become a mother. [Matthew 1:18-25.] (Luke 2:1-5 AMP)

“And while they were there, the time came for her delivery, And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn. And in that vicinity there were shepherds living [out under the open sky] in the field, watching [in shifts] over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord flashed and shone all about them, and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people. For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord! [Mic. 5:2.] And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. [1 Samuel 2:34; 2 Kings 19:29; Isaiah 7:14.] Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven (a heavenly knighthood), praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest [heaven], and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased [men of goodwill, of His favor]. When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing (saying) that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. So they went with haste and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known what had been told them concerning this Child, And all who heard it were astounded and marveled at what the shepherds told them. But Mary was keeping within herself all these things (sayings), weighing and pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when [the Baby] was to be circumcised, He was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb [Luke 1:26-38]. And when the time for their purification [the mother’s purification and the Baby’s dedication] came according to the Law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord–[Leviticus 12:1-4.] As it is written in the Law of the Lord, Every [firstborn] male that opens the womb shall be set apart and dedicated and called holy to the Lord–[Exodus 13:1-2, 12; Numbers 8:17.] And [they came also] to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. [Leviticus 12:6-8.] Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout [cautiously and carefully observing the divine Law], and looking for the Consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been divinely revealed (communicated) to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). And prompted by the [Holy] Spirit, he came into the temple [enclosure]; and when the parents brought in the little child Jesus to do for Him what was customary according to the Law, [Simeon] took Him up in his arms and praised and thanked God and said, And now, Lord, You are releasing Your servant to depart (leave this world) in peace, according to Your word. For with my [own] eyes I have seen Your Salvation, [Isaiah 52:10.] Which You have ordained and prepared before (in the presence of) all peoples, A Light for revelation to the Gentiles [to disclose what was before unknown] and [to bring] praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel. [Isaiah 42:6; 49:6.] And His [legal] father and [His] mother were marveling at what was said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against–[Isaiah 8:14-15.] And a sword will pierce through your own soul also–that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed. And there was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old, having lived with her husband seven years from her maidenhood, [Joshua 19:24.] And as a widow even for eighty-four years. She did not go out from the temple enclosure, but was worshiping night and day with fasting and prayer. And she too came up at that same hour, and she returned thanks to God and talked of [Jesus] to all who were looking for the redemption (deliverance) of Jerusalem. And when they had done everything according to the Law of the Lord, they went back into Galilee to their own town, Nazareth. And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of God was upon Him. [Judges 13:24; 1 Samuel 2:26.] (Luke 2:6-40 AMP).

Therefore Luke not only shows the ancestry of Joseph, he records the accuracy of the lineage of Jesus traced back to Adam and before Adam from God Himself, and if such a skeptic were to still be at odds with whether the Old Testament matters and only the Gospels matter, those two Gospel authors and recorders of genealogy, it is written in the Gospel of Matthew:

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place under these circumstances: When His mother Mary had been promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be pregnant [through the power] of the Holy Spirit. And her [promised] husband Joseph, being a just and upright man and not willing to expose her publicly and to shame and disgrace her, decided to repudiate and dismiss (divorce) her quietly and secretly. But as he was thinking this over, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary [as] your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of (from, out of) the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins [that is, prevent them from failing and missing the true end and scope of life, which is God]. All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet, Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel–which, when translated, means, God with us. [Isaiah 7:14.] Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him: he took [her to his side as] his wife. But he had no union with her as her husband until she had borne her firstborn Son; and he called His name Jesus.” (the Gospel of Matthew 1:18-25 AMP)

Luke also records this incident in great detail that which was to be born of a virgin was of God’s glorious doing and not a man:

“Now in the sixth month [after that], the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, To a girl never having been married and a virgin engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, Hail, O favored one [endued with grace]! The Lord is with you! Blessed (favored of God) are you before all other women! But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. And the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace (free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving-kindness) with God. And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His forefather David, And He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages; and of His reign there will be no end. [Isaiah 9:6-7; Daniel 2:44.] And Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband? Then the angel said to her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you [like a shining cloud]; and so the holy (pure, sinless) Thing (Offspring) which shall be born of you will be called the Son of God. [Exodus 40:34; Isaiah 7:14 emphasis added] And listen! Your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is now the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment. Then Mary said, Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done to me according to what you have said. And the angel left her.” (the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38 AMP).

Now I have provided the evidence and case and certainly can invite the skeptic and naysayer to further investigate into the Old Testament to see it’s great and eternal authority as part of scripture that is never to be disregarded, but now I also will include for further testimony and as a witness from one who was a skeptic of the relevance of the Old Testament and merely skimmed through the bounty of riches from God Almighty that is contained and recorded for all generations, tribes, tongues and nations in the Old Testament even to the people of the world today, to rejoice in and gain knowledge and understanding into the High Holy One and His Christ. Amen. Read on and receive the blessing!

“I love that you found that in Chronicles [OLD TESTAMENT]. For years I had only scanned [skimmed through] the O.T. scriptures but never really did much “study” of them by themselves. For the last year I have felt such a draw to them after I began the ADJ study. Wow, Wow, and Wow! Now I am forever hooked! It shows just how awesome God is and how much He wants to dwell with us and how much power and might He will use on our behalf if we just “walk with” Him. Over and over I find similar scriptures that say, “when “blank” was with God, he prevailed, etc. I want to be “with” God. Thank you so much for helping us to enter into our praises to Him, for Him, and because of Him!”

I closed with this. I personally know what it is to skim over scripture and I also know what it is to regret it. How I pray we will be a people blessed by God to know God in all His fullness and to not miss Jesus. Let not Jesus pass us on by, but let us all with eyes wide open and hearts and minds ready to receive all He has for us, be ready and willing to ask, seek and walk through such wonders that await us in Christ Jesus who is the fulfillment and culmination of all that God has spoken. May God help us all with this, and may He help me embrace such things as I can be someone reluctant to embrace what may be extended to me to know Him, through others. I also ask this of the Lord even now. My God, you have personally spoken to me and assured me nothing that which you have commanded me or revealed to me according to your Word, will ever be in vain or return to you void. So let your servant my Lord, rejoice, that although he lives in a day and age where lengthy writing is not favored, for whom desires to receive the abundant blessing in which you possess and have bestowed here in such a writing, shall receive it in full! Let all the words I have written here as a record and memorial to your glory and praise if indeed you have divinely inspired me to write them carry with them your favor and the power of your Spirit. Let every eye, every mind, every heart and every tongue, come to the revelation and confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen [let it be so].

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