There are those in certain schools of Theology (which the
leaders of the WCG have now espoused) that like to try and tie up
Biblical things such as Covenants, into neat defined packages.
They like nothing to overlap, no "blurring" of things, no
"searching effort" of the mind to be employed, no "studying" of
the word to show yourself approved unto God. They just want to
put the Old covenant and the New covenant into neat separate
boxes, throw the old out with everything it contained, grab the
new only and run with it to the finishing line.
I guess this gives them a certain sense of peace of mind and
security. They then have to pay very little attention to what
is written in the Old covenant, it can be used as just a good
story book for their children.
Of course people who think this way also close their eyes and
mind to specific verses in the New covenant that would fray the
edges of their neat little box.
I have already in this thesis stressed one of those
verses. A command of the Lord that was first given in the Old
covenant, but also taught again in the New covenant by Jesus
Christ Himself, and that is:
MAN IS TO LIVE BY EVERY WORD OF GOD AND NOT JUST BY PHYSICAL
BREAD ALONE (Matthew 4:4). Under that instruction it is not
possible to espouse a theology of one neat New covenant box,
that says we will live by and practice only those things
REPEATED in the New covenant. Any such theology DEFIES the very
words and teachings of the New covenant SAVIOR that those
people proclaim to follow.
That plain teaching of Jesus as found in Matthew 4:4, instructs
us to read the books of the Old covenant and LEARN from them HOW
TO LIVE! We are to learn from the Old, things that we are to
live in our daily lives while under the New. There are then no
neat little boxes with neat edges, that we can totally discard
one in all its entirety, while clinging only to the other.
Jesus obviously did not come along to perform some spectacular
MAGIC TRICK like, here is the Old box all packaged up and tied
with ribbons, here is the New box - at the wave of the wand, the
entire old has vanished , everything as a package is "done away"
and only the new box remains to be opened to see what
laws and commandments it proclaims.
Jesus did not teach anything so neat and simple as that modern
"simpleminded"(not the same as being childlike to enter the
Kingdom) funny-mental (funny if not so serious) theology, as
taught by some today, in the world of fundamental Christianity.
To live by every word of God, as Jesus taught, means what it says
and says what it means. You will have to read the WHOLE Bible
from Genesis to Revelation, understand the Old covenant by the
New covenant, and the New covenant by the Old covenant. You will
have to "study" diligently to correctly know HOW and WHAT and
WHEN to live as a Christian. It will take "searching the
scriptures daily" to be a workman that needeth not be
ashamed. It will take some meditation, some fasting, some
prayer. It will take the Spirit of God "guiding you into
all truth" as Jesus promised it would for His true disciples that
knew voice, and would not follow the voice of a stranger. It
would take some EFFORT and some STRIVING to enter in by the
straight or NARROW gate, Christ said.
To understand WHAT laws, commandments, statutes, and precepts,
found in the Old, are still for us to live by today, would take
some humble but wise fear of the Lord study, along with the
New covenant words (i .e. New covenant words show physical
circumcision is not required to be saved).
How important is the Old law and the Old prophets? Let
Jesus Himself answer.
THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS UNTO REPENTANCE
Turn to Luke the sixteenth chapter - read verses 19 to 31. We
are not here concerned with the parable and all its meaning,
but with the CLEAR LESSON of the last number of verses.
The rich man who is representing the unrepentant sinner, the lost
soul who will face the lake of fire and eternal death, is here,
for the purpose of the lesson, pictured as pleading with Abraham
(who is in the Kingdom having inherited eternal life) that
someone from the dead - a great miracle - should go and preach to
his brothers the truths of God, so they would REPENT and not come
into condemnation. This rich man wanted his brothers to repent
and thought the best way was for a great miracle to be performed
- some saved saint coming from the dead to preach to them.
Ah, did you see how Abraham answered? "They have MOSES AND THE
PROPHETS; let them HEAR THEM" (verse 29).
Jesus uses Abraham in this parable to preach to this
unrepentant rich man, that his brothers could come to
REPENTANCE by reading the OLD COVENANT!!
Repentance my friend leads to SALVATION and ETERNAL LIFE!
The rich man wanted some outward sign, some outward miracle,
like a person from the dead preaching to them. Wooww, he
thought, that would really do it, that would bring them to see
Then Jesus sums it all up by having Abraham answer: "If
they HEAR NOT MOSES and the PROPHETS, neither will they
be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" (verse 31).
Jesus was here clearly teaching that the Old covenant was not as
a packaged box with ALL its contents, "done away" with,
but was emphasizing its unchanging relevance in leading to
REPENTANCE and SALVATION.
Of course Christ knew this truth, He was the one who would
later inspire the apostle Paul to proclaim that having Jesus and
only the OLD covenant scriptures WOULD LEAD YOU TO SALVATION!
2 TIMOTHY 3:15
"And that from a child thou hast known the HOLY SCRIPTURES,
which are ABLE TO MAKE THEE WISE UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH
WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS."
The ONLY written Scriptures that Timothy had when growing up -
the only God breathed inspired Scriptures - were the Scriptures
of the LAW, the PROPHETS, and the WRITINGS (Luke 24:27,44). The
WHOLE OLD COVENANT as we call it today - the Holy Scriptures from
Genesis to Malachi.
These Scriptures Paul said to Timothy were able to make him WISE
UNTO SALVATION THROUGH FAITH WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.
If someone found themselves with only the OLD TESTAMENT and
Jesus, they could find SALVATION!
Physical circumcision, Temple priests, rites, ceremonies,
and sacrifices, NEVER DID give salvation or eternal life to
those who partook of them, as we have previously proved. But
the acknowledgment of sin, the repentant heart, and a humble
attitude of willingness to obey the commandments of the Lord, was
required to obtain MERCY, the HOLY SPIRIT, and SALVATION, for
those called and chosen to eternal life under the Old covenant.
OLD AND NEW COVENANT - HOW THEY INTERTWINE
There is an attitude, a belief, a doctrine even, that many people
have, which is this: The phrase "law of Moses" is not the same
as the "law of God." They have a neat little box in their
mind about what they think is the law of Moses, and a neat little
box about what they think is the law of God. To them they are
NOT THE SAME, nothing can overlap for them, so with a shrug of
the shoulder they can cast away all laws that they consider part
of the law of Moses, and go happily humming their tune down the
pathway of their lovely rose garden.
The problem is they do not see the LION waiting to devour them
behind the mulberry bush.
They have not read their Bible carefully enough to see that
there is no real distinction between the law of Moses and the
law of God.
Clear proof of this is found in Luke 2:22-24.
"And when the days of her purification ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF
MOSES were accomplished, they brought Him to Jerusalem, to
present Him to the Lord. (As it is written in THE LAW OF THE
LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to
the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is
said in the LAW OF THE LORD. A pair of turtledoves, or two young
Do you see that friend? Read it again! Mark it with a colored
pen. Sacrificial laws of the law of Moses are also called THE
LAW OF THE LORD!
And why not? ALL THE LAWS given to ancient Israel were FROM THE
LORD, given from God through the mediator Moses. It was not
Moses who invented them, made them up, asked for God's approval
on them, no not at all. It was the Eternal God who TOLD MOSES
WHAT THE LAWS WOULD BE FOR THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL TO FOLLOW
UNDER THE OLD COVENANT! Read Exodus chapter 24, and note
verses 3, 4, 7, 12. Now turn to Deuteronomy chapter one and
read verses 1 and 2. Then go over to chapter five,
read all of it, taking note especially of verses 22 to
It should be clear from the above sections of scripture (let
alone many others) that the law of Moses is also the law of God.
They were laws of God given to Israel through Moses the man
You want a little more proof?
Many would say the Feast of Unleavened Bread that ancient Israel
was to observe in the first month of the year for seven days, was
a law of Moses' laws. Well, turn to Exodus chapter thirteen,
read verses 1 to 8.
Now notice what is written in verse 9, "And it (this feast of 7
days of Unleavened Bread) shall be for a sign unto thee upon
thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, THAT THE
LORD'S LAW may be in thy mouth.
Did the New Testament Apostolic Church of God believe and teach
that ALL THE LAWS in the Old covenant - law of Moses - were "done
away" at the cross of Christ?
Let's go again to Acts 15 and see some very revealing verses.
This ministerial conference of Apostles, Elders, and Church
Members, were led by the Spirit of God and the Words of
Scripture, to see that physical circumcision of the Old covenant
(law of Moses/law of God) was NOT REQUIRED to be saved. Did this
mean to them that ALL the laws of Moses were "abolished"? Well,
in writing to the Gentiles in the Church, and giving them some
specific on things that gentiles practiced as a common way
of life, they gave them instructions to obey things right
out of THE LAWS OF MOSES!
Look at verse 20. Mark this one well also.
"But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions
of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled,
and from blood."
Now fornication some could argue is from the Ten Commandments,
but POLLUTIONS OF IDOLS, THINGS STRANGLED, and BLOOD? They are
certainly not from the Ten Commandments, but they are from
the LAW OF MOSES!
Was this all that the Gentiles were to heed from the law of the
Lord, or were they to read Moses and learn how to live by
every word of God?
The answer is found in verse 21.
"For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach
him, being read in the synagogues EVERY SABBATH DAY."
The Gentiles were expected to attend the synagogue on the
Sabbath and learn the ways of the Lord - learn how to live by
God's word - through the reading of the books of Moses -
the law of Moses - the LAW OF GOD!
Certain saints of the Church were in need of physical help at
one point of time. Paul in chapters 8 and 9 of his second letter
to the Corinthians, encourages them to GIVE of their substance
to meet the needs of these saints. This was to be a "love
offering" as we might call it today, it was to be a freewill
offering, given with cheerfulness (chapter 9: 7). Paul was
also trying his best to get them to give GENEROUSLY, and to
accomplish that he had no hesitation to quote principles given by
and inspired by God, from the OLD covenant - verse 6 of
chapter nine is from PROVERBS 11:24, and verse 9 from PSALMS
112:9, verse 10 from ISAIAH 55:10 plus HOSEA 10:12.
Paul did not believe the Old covenant as a package, with all it's
laws, commandments, statutes, precepts, and principles, was
"nailed to the cross" and thrown out on the garbage pile along
with physical circumcision and animal sacrifices. He used it
many times to uphold a LAW OF THE LORD and stir brethren up to
perform THE WAY of the Lord.
The question arose with the brethren at Corinth about whether
Paul and Barnabas had the authority to be full time, paid
ministers, living off the funds of the Church. Paul answers this
question for them in chapter nine of 1 Corinthians.
He answers them by stating the ministers of the gospel do have
the authority to be full time and live off the physical funds of
the Church. He first proves this by a few examples of logic
taken from the society of the world, then he hits them between
the eyes with quotations taken from THE LAW OF MOSES (verse 9).
He quotes not from the Ten commandments, but from a part of the
books of Moses - the law of Moses - the law of the Lord! He
quotes from DEUTERONOMY 25: 4.
Paul then went on to say to them, was this law given JUST for the
oxen, or was it not given for a much DEEPER reason? Was it just
for those under the Old covenant? NOT AT ALL! Paul said this
law of Moses was given FOR US , "For OUR SAKES, no doubt this is
Paul looks into this part of the law of Moses and pulls it out to
prove his point, states it was written for US TODAY under the New
This part of the law of Moses was not "done away with" in Paul's
mind, it was quite relevant to the New covenant. It proved to
Paul that the law of God's ministers living off the physical
substance of those they served, was still in full force and
effect under the present New covenant age of grace.
Paul used the books of Moses. He quoted from the law of Moses to
uphold the truth and doctrine that women in the Church cannot be
ordained teachers and preachers - see 1 Cor.14:34; 1Tim.2:11-14.
Paul quoted from the OLD covenant - the law of Moses - the law of
the Lord. Over and over again to prove his point, to uphold and
establish laws for the New covenant. He practiced what Jesus
told us to do. Paul lived by EVERY WORD OF GOD!
Paul knew that the OLD and the NEW covenants were INTERTWINED.
PAUL AND HIS BIBLE
From the book Paul's Use of the Old Testament by E.Earle Ellis,
chapter one, are these pertinent sentences.
The writings of the apostle Paul reveal a person immersed in the
content and teachings of the OT. H.A.A.Kennedy, after a study of
Paul's religious terminology, found that practically every
leading conception in this field of Paul's thought had its roots
definitely laid in OT soil.
Whether he is giving a dogmatic proof, an analogy, or an
illustration, or merely using language with which to clothe his
own thoughts, the OT appears frequently throughout the
Pauline epistles....... The Pauline use of the OT appears in
three distinct forms: quotations proper, intentional and casual
allusion, and dialectic and theological themes. The task of
defining 'quotation' in the Pauline literature is rather
difficult, and the decision in the end is somewhat arbitrary.
The apostle probably did not have our concept of quotation marks;
he certainly did not give to it the sanctity which characterises
our literary usage. Some references which are introduced with an
explicit citation formula echo only the tenor of the passage;
others, not given even the dignity of an introductory
conjunction, follow the OT text verbatim ac litteratim. The
gradation from quotation to allusion is so imperceptible that it
is almost impossible to draw any certain line.......
Paul quotes the OT ninety-three times.......Although the
quotations are drawn from sixteen OT books, three-fourths of them
are from the Pentateuch (thirty-three), Isaiah (twenty-five), and
the Psalms (nineteen).
The citations appear both singly and in combination .......
Paul's use of the OT cannot be understood apart from his attitude
towards it. To him the Scriptures are holy and prophetic; they
constitute the very oracles of God, and they "were written... for
Paul's phrase "God-breathed" could hardly be improved upon. In
his view of the OT the apostle is in agreement not only with
Christ and the NT writers, but also with the whole of
Judaism and the early Church.
The essential difference between Paul and the Jews in their
employment of Scripture was an interpretive one....... In Paul's
eyes the Jews stood on the Scripture; though they extolled it,
they erred because they did not know it.......In First and Second
Corinthians Paul teaches expressly that a correct understanding
of Scripture is impossible without the Holy Spirit.......
The place of the Spirit does not lesson the authority of the OT
for Paul; nor is there any antithesis between the Scripture and
Besides the Scripture there are several other authorities to
which Paul appeals to support his assertions. There are the law
of nature, the conscience of the individual, his own revelation
from Christ or the Holy Spirit, and the teaching of Christ as
received through oral or written apostolic tradition.......
This appeal to different authorities is at times found in close
combination though there seems to be no consistent pattern of
association. For example, in 1 Cor.9:7-14 Paul proceeds from
the analogy of nature to the witness of the OT; immediately he
returns to another analogy, the practice of the temple, and
clinches the whole argument citing the command of Christ directly
bearing on the subject. 1 Cor.15:3-11 is even more noteworthy:
Christ's resurrection is grounded in the OT, the apostolic
tradition, and Paul's personal revelation.......
But the OT was not one of those things which Paul counted loss
for the sake of Christ; indeed, it could be understood only in
the light of Christ.......
For Paul, Jesus was above all, the Christ; to divorce the Messiah
from the "book-religion" of the OT was hardly a task for a Jew -
even one converted through personal revelation.......
Written in 1995
All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as led by the Spirit. Mr.Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed without his consent.