New Covenant Ways – BT13b
Then of what value is OT scripture for Christians under the New Covenant?
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That’s why we see the NT writers and earliest Church writings before 70 AD never use the OT scriptures, and certainly not the 5 books of Moses old covenant or Law, except for very selective prophetic passages that would support the case for Christ, the completely-different-in-kind New Covenant, and His gospel logos message, as we see in 2 Timothy 3:15 “from childhood . . . the sacred gramma writings – [the ones] which are able to make you wise for salvation through trusting-relying-faith in Christ Jesus…these are profitable for teaching” – see Logos Word of God – BT7. Careful examination will reveal that this citing of OT scripture was NEVER done for predominantly Gentile audiences, who could care less about ancient Jewish writings, but only done for Jewish audiences to convert them to Christ or to defend against Jewish teachers of the Law – see Logos Word of God – BT6 and – BT8. If you carefully read the full context of all these citations (a), you will find this out to be true! Knowing the dates of writings is also important because of the dispersion of the Jews from the Jewish Wars 66-135 AD and certainly after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Much of the Church was certainly predominantly Gentile from 70 AD on. Why then are Gentile-Christians trying to use the OT scriptures in a WAY to learn God’s will that the NT writers never intended? <Notes> a) Matthew 1:22, 2:5, 15-17, 2:23, 3:3, 4:4, 6, 7, 10, 14, 8:17, 12: 17, 11:10, 13:14, 35, 21:13, 26:24, 31, 56, 27:9; Mark 1:2, 7:6, 9:12-13, 11:17, 14:21, 27; Luke 1:70, 2:23, 3:4, 4:4, 8, 10, 17, 27, 11:49-50, 19:46, 20:17, 21:22, 37, 24:44, 46; John 1:23, 2:17, 6:31, 45, 8:17, 10:34, 12:14, 16, 38, 15:25; Acts 1:20, 2:16, 3:18, 21, 24, 7:42, 48, 8:28, 30, 34, 10:43, 13:29, 33, 40, 15:15, 23:5, 24:14, 28:23, 25; Romans 1:2, 17, 2:24, 3:4, 10, 21, 4:17, 23, 8:36, 9:13, 33, 10:15, 11:8, 26, 12:19, 14:11, 15:3, 4, 9, 21, 16:26; 1 Corinthians 1:19, 31, 2:9, 3:19, 6:16, 9:9, 10, 10:7, 11, 14:21, 15:45, 54; 2 Corinthians 8:15, 9:9; Galatians 3:10, 13, 4:22, 27; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:10, 16, 2:6; and 2 Peter 1:19-21, 3:2.
The NT writers would have a fit with how the modern Church has incorporated so much of OT scripture into Christianity, especially since we’ve already seen the very negative things said about the OT “gramma writings” – see Logos Word of God – BT8, such as: The scripture imprisons everything under sin, and even the prophetic ‘portions of’ scripture regarding the work of Christ are still only ‘milk’ for infants, only shadows, copies, symbols, types, antitypes and figures of the substance/reality that was to come, this being Christ and His gospel logos message of The Truth; The old covenant is palios old “antiquated, worn-out, weak, worthless” and katargeo thrown-down-to-be-inactive-useless and memphomai faulted-blameworthy-rejectable-condemnable because it cannot make anything perfect. It was set aside because of its weakness and uselessness. Reading the Law veils God’s glory and hardens your heart. The Law is the enabling-power of sin, arouses sin, and multiplies sin to make us slaves of sin to steal, destroy, and ultimately condemn us to death. Trying to do the Law brings a curse upon yourself, severing you from Christ as you fall from unconditional-loving-favor-of-grace. So bad was the Law of sin and death with its commandments that it had to be nailed to Christ’s cross and paid for by Christ’s blood!
The NT writers also had very negative things to say about the teachers of the Law, experts of religious gnosis info-knowledge, the so-called “wise and understanding ones,” the philosophers of Greece, Rome, and “in-the-know” Mystery Religions and Gnostics, like: “avoid their irreverent babble and contradiction of what is falsely called ‘gnosis info-knowledge’; avoid those who create obstacles contrary to the doctrine [of Christ] you have been taught; avoid irreverent babble leading to more ungodliness; avoid the lovers of pleasure rather than the lovers of God who have the appearance of godliness but then deny its [Spirit’s] enabling-power, who oppose The Truth regarding The-Trusting-Relying-Faith; avoid such quarreling about the Law, foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions for they are unprofitable and worthless; have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths; warn the person who stirs up division once, then twice, but then have nothing more to do with him; Sharply rebuke and silence those insubordinate, empty talkers, and deceivers, especially from the [Jewish] Circumcision Party, who contradict sound doctrine so they may be sound in The-Trusting-Relying-Faith; If anyone teaches a different doctrine that does not agree with the sound [gospel] logos messages of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is congruent with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understand nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and quarrels about words . . . but O Man of God, flee these things; destroy every argument and lofty opinion raised by them, taking every thought captive to obey Christ; charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the dispensation from God that is by trusting-relying-faith – see Romans 16:17; 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 4:7, 6:3-11, 20; 2 Timothy 2:16, 3:4-8; Titus 1:9-13, 3:2, 9-10; 2 Corinthians 10:5.
We’ve already seen from early Church history that it wasn’t really until around 233 AD that the OT was used much at all after 70 AD, and it wasn’t until 208 AD that anybody referred to the NT writings as “graphe scripture.” The idea of “sacred or holy books” didn’t even exists until after 465 AD and the term “holy bible” was invented by King James in 1611 – see Logos Word of God – BT18. The more you look at the character and motivations of the people making these decisions almost single-handedly, it’s clear that this has nothing to do with a perfect God “winging it” with imperfect men!
The first rule of any effective speaker is to “know thy audience!” After 70 AD when the Jewish Temple was destroyed by Titus of Rome, and the Jews slaughtered or dispersed – thus the “Diaspora” that lasted until 1948 when Israel was declared a nation, many subsequent Jewish revolts and wars in the Roman Empire until 136 AD made it dangerous to even associate with Jews, and thus the Church was almost entirely Gentile. That’s exactly why Church history from 70-233 AD reveals absolutely no use of the OT within the early Church in either worship services, preaching, or teaching – except the singing of some Psalms, and this was only during the earliest stages where some of the Church was still Jewish from the beginning of the Diaspora. However, the Jewish-Roman wars which are “often cited as a disaster to Jewish society, having a major impact on Judaism,” certainly squelched the Jewish influence on the increasingly Gentile Church. The bulk of early Christian scholarly work emphasized that Christ of the NT completely fulfilled and ended the OT so there was absolutely no need left for the OT. Even “apologetic” defenses, like Tertullian’s An Answer to the Jews, of The Trusting-Relying-Faith against the Jews sloped off dramatically, especially later when there were no Jews!
We’ve also seen that so-called proof-texts for using “all” of the OT scriptures, like 2 Timothy 3:16 (see Logos Word of God – BT7) or Romans 15:14 (see Logos Word of God – BT9) or 1 Timothy 4:13 (see Logos Word of God – BT10) just fall apart when you understand Greek and read the verse in context! We also saw throughout so many BLOGs that pas “all” most often means “every of a kind/class/portion” and not “the whole/entirety of,” and regarding graphe scripture, always ‘the portion of’ that makes you “wise for salvation through trusting-relying-faith in Jesus Christ” per 2 Timothy 3:15, those that are prophetic “God-breathed” dabar/logion “oracles/utterances” of God that the Jewish-Christians used to convert Jews – see Logos Word of God – BT6, not the Law that teachers of the Law were using to try to get Jewish-Christian to abandon Christ – see Logos Word of God – BT8! All the Greek words for what is “profitable for education, apologetic refutation, correction, and childlike rearing” were commonly used in Paul’s (and the book of Hebrew’s) writings for dealings with obstinate Jews or weak, baby-like Jewish-Christians needing the ‘milk’ of stoicheion “rudimentary ‘abc’ fundamentals of scripture instead of the “solid food” of the Spirit’s revelation and discernment of God’s will – see New Covenant Ways – BT16. Unless you are “weak-in-The trusting-relying-Faith” or ministering to a Jew, what would you need the OT prophecies for?
As Christian musicians, since we see narrowed OT use to the prophetic portions concerning Christ to convert Jews or argue against them and Psalms to sing by Jews primarily before 70 AD, dropping off dramatically to practically nothing after 136 AD until it was revived by 1 ambitious Catholic bishop in 233 AD, don’t you think we should heed what the NT writers and early Church said about the OT – it was palios old “antiquated, worn-out, weak, worthless” and katargeo thrown-down-to-be-inactive-useless and memphomai faulted-blameworthy-rejectable-condemnable and thus pleroo filled-to-completion and teleo fulfilled-accomplished-completed-finished by Christ’s work? If we don’t learn from history, we are bound to repeat its mistakes. The Catholic Church slipped down the slippery slope and the Protestant Reformation only made a dent! Many Christians are still in the dark as to the usefulness of the OT.
Lord, I praise Your name that you have revealed the truth all through history for those who will learn from it and are set free because of it! Thank You for showing us the finality of the OT scriptures!