I came across this beautiful picture on the internet the other day. At first glance it just looks like a bunch of colorful lines on a black back drop. You might be saying right now, “Yeah that’s cute Haley, but my kindergartener can draw that too. What’s so beautiful about a bunch of lines?” Well, I’m glad you asked, lol. This picture is the product of a beautiful collaboration between two men named Chris Harrison and Christoph Rolmhild. These lines represent the 63,779 cross references between all the books of the Bible. Now isn’t that the most magnificent thing you have ever seen?! The Words of the Bible are so wonderfully intertwined from beginning to end. This makes my heart so full!
I have heard some people say that we shouldn’t waste our time on the Old Testament because we have the New Testament now, but how in the world can we understand the New to the full extent that the Father intended if we don’t understand the Old? It can’t be done I tell you, unless we are throwing in our own opinions in to make it all fit! Why would the Father spend so much time showing us His instructions and character, for us to just toss it aside? I mean three fourths of the Bible are the Old Testament, this information alone should tell us how important it is for us to know it. Did you know that the New Testament directly quotes the Old Testament 855 times? Wow!! Here is the breakdown of the occurrences to see for yourself…
The Gospel of Matthew – 96, The Gospel of Mark – 34, The Gospel of Luke – 58, The Gospel of John – 40, Acts of the Apostles – 57, Romans – 74, 1 Corinthians – 41, 2 Corinthians – 13, Galatians – 16, Ephesians – 11, Philippians – 3, Colossians – 3, 1 Thessalonians – 2, 2 Thessalonians – 2, 1 Timothy – 6, 2 Timothy – 2, Hebrews – 86, James – 16, 1 Peter – 20, 2 Peter – 10, 1 John – 6, Revelation – 249
A while back, I heard a sermon that was talking about the Old Testament. The preacher said something to this effect, “The Old Testament is just a history lesson bringing us to the real meat in the New. Those Laws are not for us on this side of the cross. Jesus says to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. These are the instructions for the New Testament church.” I know you all have heard this many times as well. But what if I told you that this instruction in the verse he was alluding to was not anything new? That this is not a new command at all, and it is one of the 855 direct quotes from the Old Testament! Well that is exactly what I am saying. The sermon I heard was rehashing out what Jesus said in Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus is being asked a question, and this is His answer,
“36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.””
These words quote Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (4“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”) and Leviticus 19:18 (18 “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.”)
Do you see it? Jesus was not changing the Father’s instructions and teaching something new, He was revealing them! Jesus Himself said in John 7:16, “…My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.” Can’t we trust what our Savior has declared right here? Aren’t His words truth? I really feel like I need to put a HalleluYah in right here!
So your question now might be about that verse 40 in Matthew 22. After quoting the Father’s words in the Old Testament, Jesus says, “40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” Since we know that the two commands that were given prior are quoting the Old Testament, what could this mean then? That word depend in verse 40 is kremannymi in the Greek. It means to be suspended, to hang. In other words it means to sum up. Think of it like this, if you wrote a summary of a book you just read, does that get rid of the actual book? No it does not! But if you want to find more information from the summary you have to go back to the source, back to the original book. Jesus is saying that those two commands sum up the Law and Prophets, so if we want to know what is expected of us or what they mean, we have to go back. Back to the foundation, back to the beginning.
I hear that person in the back screaming, “But Haley, those Old Laws were a burden that no one could do.” First of all, Paul himself said that he was blameless in the Law (Philippians 3:6), and a young man, when speaking to Jesus, says he has kept all of the Laws since his youth (Matthew 19:20). So we know that there were some who were, by the letter, keeping the Law, but they weren’t obeying the Father with their hearts. Second, the Law was not a burden. 1 John 5:3 states, “3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.” The yoke of sin is the burden guys. There is liberty in the instructions of the Almighty!
The word Law in Hebrew is Torah. It means not only law, but instructions or directions. The Law of God is instructions on how His people are to behave, how to be set apart from the world. If you look at the Law as instructions, you can have a better understanding of It’s intentions. God saves us, instructions don’t, they just tell us how to interact with Him and the people around us. There are 613 commands in the Old Testament and there are 1050 commands in the New Testament. I am attaching two links to pdf’s of all of these. I want you to really read over them. When you compare them, you are going to find that the 1050 are an expansion or filling up of the 613. Yes, I know that there are some commands in the Old Testament that cannot apply to us at this moment. For one, the whole book of Hebrews tells us how Jesus is our High Priest. Another thing is, some of these laws pertain to leprosy and I don’t know about you, but I am not a leper. Also, some of the laws pertain to people who have cattle or animals. If I don’t have cattle, then why would this apply to me? Do you see where I am going with this?
For my other friend over in the corner who is shouting, “Those laws were just for the Jews.” I want to point out that when the people were delivered by God’s mighty hand in Egypt, Exodus 12:38 says that there was a mixed multitude of people who came. Not just one family or tribe, 12 tribes and lots of different people of all different kinds. So when Moses got the commands from the Father, he gave them to this mixed up crew. Those who wanted to be a part of the family of God after seeing all of the miraculous things the Father did to bring them out. Second, if the Laws or instructions in the Old Testament do not apply to us as Christians, then how in the world do the promises that are in it?
I know I am not usually so “in your face” with the Word when I am sharing with you all, but I believe the time may be getting short for us to really get serious about what we are believing and what we aren’t. We all need to have a firm grip on the Truth, so when a false prophet is in our midst, we can discern what is of the Father and what is of the enemy. Listen guys, our answers to questions can’t be, “well my preacher said this wasn’t a sin”, or “grandma told me this or that”. Read the Word and let It define what sin is. 1 John 3:4 does just that, “4 Whosoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” You can’t get any clearer than that my friends. Paul says in Romans 6:1-2, “1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” I pray that we will all dig deeper into the Word and when the Father points out something in us that is profane or against Him, that we will all recognize our sin and turn away from it.
(If you would like to do even more research on this, the Blue Letter Bible app is a wonderful tool to use. With it you can find all of the parallel passages in the Charts and Outlines section under Study Resources tab. You can also do so many other fantastic things like looking up the Hebrew or Greek words and definitions in the scriptures, which is an absolute must because sometimes a word’s meaning gets lost when it is translated to our English. An example of this is the word fulfill. The Greek word used when the New Testament was written is plēroō which means to make full, to fill up, to cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally. Our modern English definition of the word fulfill is very different than original word plēroō that was in the Greek. It means bring to completion. Do you see where the misunderstandings can come in with translation? I hope you look into this wonderful tool while studying the Word for yourself.)
http://www.friendsofsabbath.org/…/THE%20613%20LAWS%20of… 613 laws in the Old Testament