(385) – RICHES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

The Old Testament is very rich in parables and allegories (Ps. 78:2); it is rich in exploits: the little shepherd David, overcoming the giant with his sling: Samson knocks down the temple of Dagon with his arms; Joseph becomes the governor of Egypt; Jacob wrestles with God and prevails, receiving the blessing. Moses does wonders with a rod and delivers the people of Israel from the Egyptian yoke. Gideon, with 300 men, overcomes an impressive army of Midianites. In the Old Testament, angels were seen ascending and descending from heaven. Men were taken up to heaven with bodies that had not yet been glorified by incorruptibility (1 Cor. 15:51-53). There were great champions, great patriarchs, and great prophets, in the Old Testament. Many things were missing, though:

1.  There was not the kingdom of God the Father there, though: “The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it” (Luke 16:16). This text makes it clear that the law and the prophets did not say anything about the kingdom of God. Did they not really say, considering that Jehovah has formed a kingdom at Sinai? (Ex. 19:6). And he, Jehovah, was the king (Is. 43:15; 44:6). But Jesus and the Father are one, and are part of the same kingdom, and Jesus declared to Pilate: “My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36). The kingdom of Jehovah, therefore, was not the kingdom of Jesus. Besides, Paul declares: “For the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). The kingdom of Israel, which is the kingdom of Jehovah, was a kingdom of war and not of peace (Josh. 11:18-20; Ex. 15:3; Num. 21:14), and it was a kingdom of crying and not of joy, for joy would only come after the restoration, and that has not happened yet (Jer. 31:8-16). We observe that the kingdom of God, the Father, did not exist in the Old Testament.

2.  In the Old Testament there was no salvation, for there the ministry of condemnation was in vigor (2 Cor. 3:6-9). Jehovah, in Adam, condemned the antediluvian (2 Pet. 2:5). By the hand of the angels he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to subversion (2 Pet. 2:6). He condemned the high priest Ely and all his offspring on account of his wicked sons Hophni and Phinehas (1 Sam. 3:14). He divided the kingdom in two kingdoms due to the sin of Solomon (1 Kings 11:11,12,35,36). Then he condemned them to the final destruction because of the sins of the two kingdoms: “Jehovah said, ‘I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, even Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, “My name shall be there”’” (2 Kings 23:27). And he burned with fire the temple and the city by the hands of Nebuchadnezzar’s hands, his servant, who pleased him, and transported the people to Babylon (Jer. 27:5-6; 2 Chr. 36:19-20). And this was the end of the kingdom of Israel. The New Testament is the ministry of salvation, and not of condemnation, for God, the Father, who loves the lost, sent his Son Jesus Christ, not to condemn the world, but that the world would be saved by him (John 3:16-17). In the verse 18, we read: “He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” And Paul reveals that God, the Father, wants everyone to be saved; therefore he does not condemn anyone (1 Tim. 2:3-4). The salvation of Jehovah consisted of taking the people of Israel from Egypt and leading them to the desert and to death. The salvation of Jesus consists of taking the spiritual men from this world by the new birth, and carrying them to the kingdom of God, in Heaven (John 3:3-6;Eph. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:3-4).

3.  In the Old Testament there was no peace. Jerusalem is translated ‘heritage of peace’, but it did not know peace. Jeremiah says: “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed also the hurt of my people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace” (Jer. 6:13-14). “We looked for peace, but no good came; [and] for a time of healing, and behold, dismay!” (Jer. 8:15). Jeremiah complained to Jehovah, saying: “Ah, Lord Jehovah! Surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You shall have peace;’ whereas the sword reaches to the heart” (Jer. 4:10). The very Jehovah was the enemy of Israel. Jeremiah declares it in his lamentations: “How has the Lord covered the daughter of Zion with a cloud in his anger! He has cast down from heaven to the earth the beauty of Israel, and hasn’t remembered his footstool in the day of his anger. The Lord has swallowed up all the habitations of Jacob, and has not pitied: He has thrown down in his wrath the strongholds of the daughter of Judah; He has brought them down to the ground; he has profaned the kingdom and its princes. He has cut off in fierce anger all the horn of Israel; He has drawn back his right hand from before the enemy: He has burned up Jacob like a flaming fire, which devours all around. He has bent his bow like an enemy, he has stood with his right hand as an adversary, Has killed all that were pleasant to the eye: In the tent of the daughter of Zion he has poured out his wrath like fire” (Lam. 2:1-4). Jesus Christ brought peace in all aspects: First he brought peace with God (1 Cor. 1:3). He brought the interior peace (Phil. 4:7). He brought peace between the Gentiles and the Jews (Eph. 2:14-18). If it is so, why has Jesus said: “Don’t think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn’t come to send peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34)? When someone that the Jews hated was converted to Christ, his own family antagonized him (Matt. 10:35-36).

4.  There was not eternal life in the Old Testament. In the book of Job, we read: “Oh remember that my life is a breath. My eye shall no more see good. The eye of him who sees me shall see me no more. Your eyes shall be on me, but I shall not be. As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away, so he who goes down to Sheol shall come up no more” (Job 7:7-9). “Before I go where I shall not return from, to the land of darkness and of the shadow of death” (Job 10:21). “But man dies, and is laid low. Yes, man gives up the spirit, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the river wastes and dries up, so man lies down and doesn’t rise. Until the heavens are no more, they shall not awake, nor be roused out of their sleep” (Job 14:10-12). “Don’t put your trust in princes, each a son of man in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts perish” (Ps. 146:3-4).  “For the living know that they will die, but the dead don’t know anything, neither do they have any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Eccl. 9:5). Now Solomon says, to conclude the issue: “As for the sons of men, God tests them, so that they may see that they themselves are like animals. For that which happens to the sons of men happens to animals. Even one thing happens to them. As the one dies, so the other dies. Yes, they have all one breath; and man has no advantage over the animals: for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows the spirit of man, whether it goes upward, and the spirit of the animal, whether it goes downward to the earth?” (Eccl. 3:18-21). The dead formed the kingdom of Jehovah, for death ceased only from Christ on; therefore Jehovah is the god of the dead.

The Father God is the only one who possesses eternal life (1 Tim. 6:16). The Father passed on to his only begotten Son the life and the resurrection (John 5:21,26). Therefore, those who believe in the word of Jesus Christ and believe in the one who sent them, do no go into condemnation, but passed from death to life (John 5:24).

So, whoever believes in Jehovah and has entrusted themselves to him remain in death. Only those who belong to Jesus Christ have eternal life. The very Father testifies of this in 1 John 5:9-13.

 

By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira

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