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The Unity of the Old and New Testament - Essay Example

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Matthew and the Revelation of St. John the Divine, so as to see how they relate with the Old Testament. First, it is important to acknowledge that the New Testament is premised upon, and works on, and from the substance and the religious and cultural heritage in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, there is the reality of the beginning: the beginning of God’s creation and all life forms, the beginning of sin, suffering, sickness, senescence and death, the first declaration of the plan of redemption and the coming Messiah, and the establishment of covenants. As God establishes His covenants with man, He interacts with man and this forms the bulk of religious and cultural heritage for the Jew. The New Testament then comes up and interprets, re-interprets and gives the encounters, realities and institutions newer meaning. In respect to the above, about 1,800 BC, Abraham is called and made the father of the Jews (Genesis 12:2 and 17:4-7). A covenant is made and circumcision is instituted as the seal of the covenant. Later on, Abraham’s descendants are taken into bondage for 430 years in Egypt, and after that, a 40-year wilderness experience. These experiences forge Israel into a common nation, having a common religious, socio-cultural and linguistic heritage. The tabernacle, the temple, the 490 years stay in Canaan, the Babylonian Exile and the post-exilic experiences are all Old Testament realities and substance that later add to the Jews’ cultural and religious heritage. Thus, when Jesus Christ comes into the scene, He comes against the backdrop of the development above. The messages He preaches are understood by the Jews in light of the Old Testament. For instance, Matthew 21:33-46 presents the Jewish audience (as the immediate audience) with the parable of the wicked tenants and since this audience is well acquainted with the Jewish tradition. The Jewish religious history in this case is replete with the killing of God’s prophets and servants, as can be seen in Matthew 23:31. As Jews, even the Pharisees understood the meaning of the parable, and this is why they sought to kill Jesus. In a closely related wavelength, during Jesus’ forty-day fast and subsequent temptation by Satan, the Old Testament Scripture is revisited heavily. Satan quotes from Psalm 91:11-12, while Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3, Deuteronomy 6:16 and Deuteronomy 6:13 or 10:20. Because of the foregoing, one can rightly surmise and posit that between the Old and New Testament, there is a strong element of continuity. The aspect of continuity is underscored by the fact that: the New Testament message addresses the same nation which was formed from Abraham; the same religious and socio-cultural traditions and heritage are used to enhance the New Testament message and give it new meaning. It is this aspect of continuity which allowed the Jews to understand the teachings of Jesus and later, the apostles. According to Stark, the aspect of continuity is carried over to St. John’s Revelation which is heavily littered with Old Testament themes, particularly, Exodus. Exodus 15 presents the Jewish nation and Christians with the first song in the Bible, the Song of Moses. It is interesting that the last book of the Bible and New Testament is also graced with the Song of Moses (Revelation 15:3). That the object of God’s attention is His people, the nation of Israel is a matter ...Show more


Insert Name Tutor Course Date Introduction Scholars from some religious circles other than Christianity have questioned the orthodoxy of New Testament teachings, charging that the New Testament is a radical departure from the Old Testament. On the contrary, a study into the Old Testament reveals a surface and covert interrelationship between the two major divisions of the Bible…
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The Unity of the Old and New Testament
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