Calvary Road Baptist Church

“TWO TESTAMENTS, ONE BOOK”

 

The Bible is the most remarkable book ever written.[1] It is also one of the most well-known and popular pieces of literature ever produced. It has spawned other writings from the production of theologies and commentaries to literary history and poetry. It can safely be said that the Scriptures became the central theme that dominates the story of Western civilization. Though one wishes that the Bible had more influence over the hearts of men and the moral course of nations, still it has had a greater spiritual impact on a larger number of people on earth than any other book in history. Josh McDowell has compiled some fascinating trivia information about the makeup and development of the Bible.

 

Bible Facts

  The Bible was written:

Over a fifteen-hundred-year period.

By more than forty authors from every walk of life: kings, military leaders, peasants, philosophers, fishermen, tax collectors, poets, musicians, statesmen, scholars, and shepherds.

In different places: wilderness, dungeon, hillside, inside prison walls, while traveling, exiled on an island.

On three continents: Asia, Africa, and Europe.

In three languages: Hebrew, Aramaic (portions of Jeremiah, Daniel, and Ezra), and Greek.

On stone, on a wall, parchment, and animal skins.

In a variety of literary styles:

Allegory

Autobiography

Biography

Didactic treatise

Historical narrative

Law

Memoirs

Parable

Personal letters

Poetry

Prophecy

Romance

Song

  The Bible was one of the first major books ever translated, around 250 B.C., from Hebrew to Greek.

  It has been translated into more than 2,200 languages.

  In all translations, it has touched more than 90 percent of the world’s population.

 

One of our college young people took a class that was taught by some fellow who insisted the Old Testament does not agree with the New Testament. Let me read some statements about the Bible from some extraordinary men, and you can judge for yourself if they are likely to agree with this young man’s teacher:

 

  Puritan William Ames wrote, “Nothing has spoken so clearly and forcefully to the problem of ‘man according to God’ as the Bible.”

  William Ames also wrote, “Faith, as it points to the thing to be believed, must finally depend on the authority of God or divine revelation.”

  English poet Samuel Taylor said, “I have found in the Bible words for my inmost thoughts, songs for my joy, utterance for my hidden griefs, and pleadings for my shame and feebleness.”

  Princeton professor and renowned textual critic Bruce Metzger said, “The textual critic [who tries to destroy] the New Testament, is embarrassed by the wealth of his [manuscript] material.”

  Theologian and author Bernard Ramm comments, “The ancient Jews preserved their ancient writings of the Old Testament like no other manuscript has ever been preserved.”

  Again Bernard Ramm, “Despite attacks upon it, the Bible is still loved by millions, read by millions, and studied by millions.”

  H. L. Hastings, “The hammers of infidels have been pecking away at the Bible for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the anvil of the Word still endures.”

  Norman L. Geisler and William E. Nix, Christian apologists, wrote, “Other books claim divine inspiration. But none of those books contain predictive prophecy.”

  Lewis Sperry Chafer, founder of Dallas Theological Seminary, “The Bible is not such a book a man would write if he could or could write if he would.”

  Josh McDowell, well-known Christian writer, “The Bible as a book focuses on reality, not fantasy. It presents the good and bad, the right and wrong, the best and worst, the hope and despair, the joy and pain of life.”

  Literary critic Northrop Frye wrote, “Western literature has been more influenced by the Bible than any other book.”

  Historian Philip Schaff said, “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon.”

  Infamous infidel philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau said, “Is it possible that a book [such as the Bible], at once so simple and sublime, should be merely the work of man?”

  H. S. Miller wrote, “The unity and harmony of the book, written during the space of more than 1,500 years, . . . are remarkable, Law, history, poetry, prophecy, doctrine, worship, and practical exhortations, with the character, illustrations, and arguments which they contain all unite in making the story of Redemption the most fascinating and up-to-date story of all literature.”

  Geneva pastor and great reformer John Calvin wrote, “God, the Maker of the world, is manifested to us in Scripture, and His true character expounded, so as to save us from wandering up and down, as in a labyrinth, in search of some doubtful deity.”

  Theologian and author Charles C. Ryrie, wrote, “The human mind, though often brilliant in what it can achieve, suffers limitations and darkening. Human experiences, even religious ones, lack reliability as sources of the true knowledge of God unless they conform to the Word of God.”

 

I know that most of these citations I have read to you do not bear directly on the unity of the Bible, the agreement of the Old and New Testaments. However, I think you can see that brilliant men, some of whom spent their lives studying the Bible and reshaping the world we live in, as well as some very well-known unbelievers, recognize the Bible to be unique among all that is written, and would hardly make so petty a remark as ignorantly stating that the Old Testament does not agree with the New Testament.

The Old and New Testaments together form a vital and inseparable collection of writings that stand unique in our world. Without question, the entire Bible is the book of books, the incomparable and inestimable singular writing. Abraham Lincoln called the Bible “the best gift God has given to man.”

Even though the Bible is a best-seller, it is the most forgotten piece of literature in existence. Many Christians own multiple Bibles but generally do not read them with contemplative thoughtfulness. This book also has faced hatred, fire, and sword and yet has come through as a lighted beacon for lost humanity. The Scriptures have endured rational criticism, skepticism, and doubt, while still standing as the greatest revelation of all religions.

False assumptions and unwarranted philosophical attacks have tried to discredit the Bible’s message but to no avail. Time and historical scrutiny have shown that it is of divine origin and illuminates those who grope for spiritual truth. The ancient writings of Scripture are indispensable in an age of rationalistic skepticism and New Age mysticism.

The thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament give us a divine library of sixty-six books forged into one book. Though these sixty-six books are separate volumes, they constitute a message that flows from eternity past into the future. Each book has a unity, a distinctive purpose, and a theme contributing to the whole. Thus, the Word of God is incomparable. It is God revealing Himself to His ancient people and to new generations as well.

Though the Bible is God’s own book, the human writers . . . were guided and wrote as the Holy Spirit gave His divine message. The result is a divine book in its full and infallible accuracy, a love letter from God to you and to me.

The Bible is not a mystical book that gives fictional fancy with little or no historical credence. The Scriptures were penned as a product of historic moments of the past. Critics often call the Bible holy history, meaning that it is not part of past real events. Instead, they say, it is the mythical cogitations of wide-eyed mystics. But such criticism will not stand the test. Though a divine book and of spiritual origin, it is evident that the events described were part of the historic drama of ages past.

The sacred penmen were prophets in the real sense, receiving the divine Word immediately and then speaking directly to the people before them. The human authors used commanding expressions such as, “Thus saith the LORD” (Ex. 4:22), and “Hear the word of the LORD” (Isa. 1:10). God commanded them to write down their oracles (Ex. 17:14; 24:4, 7; Jer. 30:1-2). The evidence shows that their literary accomplishments were accepted as the Word of God. Thus, multitudes have become obedient and faithful to its message.

The course of human history has been dramatically and providentially directed by the sovereign God. Part of the message of the Bible is that the eternal God is indeed the Author of that history. He revealed His divine activities in the pages of Scripture. The Bible tells us how He as the Author has marked out the great chapters of world events. Paul L. Maser writes:

 

Of all religious beliefs in the world, past or present, none have more thoroughly based themselves on history than Judaism and Christianity. The divine-human encounter in the biblical faiths always involves claims about real people, living in real places, who acted in real events of the past, many of which are also cited in secular ancient history. Both testaments of the Bible use the past tense of narrative prose—history’s medium—more than any other form of language. . . . Every religious system before or since Judaism and Christianity has avoided any significant interaction with history and instead has asked its followers to believe, by sheer faith alone, the claimed revelations of its founder(s). This is true of the mythologies of yesterday and the cults of today.

 

The Bible makes it clear that God controls the nations. They are like a “drop of a bucket” and “counted as the small dust of the balance” (Isa. 40:15). It was the Lord Himself who “spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” (42:5). Someday He will establish “judgment in the earth” (v. 4). He also is the Master of coming events. He declares, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them” (v. 9).

Only the Bible tells us how history will end. With graphic illustrations the Book of Revelation reveals that the Lord Jesus will smite the nations with a sharp sword coming from His mouth, “and He will rule them with a rod of iron” (Rev. 19:15). Those who trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior will experience a glorious eternal future in the new heaven and new earth. In the final chapters of the Book of Revelation, Jesus says about the approaching eternal state, “Behold, I make all things new” (21:5), and “I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely” (v. 6).

In both Old and New Testaments, the Scriptures reveal that people are in deep trouble and can only be delivered from judgment and eternal separation from God by the death of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Book of Isaiah graphically prophesied of the Messiah being pierced and scourged (Isa. 53:5) because people are like wayward sheep (v. 6). The “LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6). The New Testament tells us of the fulfillment of His coming and how He would be that offering for sins.

The four Gospels describe the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus the Prophet. As He was ministering to His own Jewish people, He predicted His return to heaven (John 16:28). Acts 1 describes His ascension into heaven and His return back to God the Father (v. 11). The rest of the New Testament shares with its readers that there is no salvation in anyone except the Lord Jesus Christ. To become righteous before God, we must place our faith in Him, “for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23).

No other book in the world gives such good news (the gospel) to sinful human beings. The writer of Hebrews put it succinctly when he wrote a challenging question:

 

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles. (Heb. 2:3-4)

 

Only in the Bible is a reliable plan of history revealed. That plan has several facets to it, including a beginning and an ending for the nations of the world. It tells of the creation of mankind, the entrance of sin into the earthly realm, and the final judgments that will fall on the world.

Much about the purposes of God is revealed in what is called the Abrahamic covenant found in Genesis 12:1-3 and many other verses that follow. This covenant shows how God will bless the Jewish people and grant mercy to the nations through Jesus, who is a descendent of Abraham and King David. The master plan of Scripture also reveals a final world apostasy and the rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18). It includes a description of a terrible period of worldwide tribulation, the glorious return of Christ, and the millennial reign of Christ in Jerusalem (Rev. 19:11-20:6). Sadly, those who reject Christ as the Savior of the world will be cast into the eternal lake of fire (Rev. 20:14-15). The redeemed will enjoy eternity with the Lord Jesus (22:1-5). John Walvoord notes:

 

The world is aflame with the raw passions of men ambitious for power and desperate to be freed from poverty and frustration. An ominous cloud hangs over the hearts of men and nations. Whatever the future holds, it is going to be dramatically different than the past. In this dark picture only the Scriptures chart a sure course and give us an intelligent explanation of world-wide confusion as it exists today.

 

Paul Benware adds:

 

The very words of Scripture are critical. Contrary to the view of some, God did not simply toss out an idea and have a human author develop the thought. The very words of all Scripture, including those prophetic portions, are significant and worthy of our time and attention.

 

Throughout the Bible, great words of correction and encouragement give spiritual meaning for everyday living. However, it is important that readers of Scripture trust all it is telling us. It would be a mistake to look at the Word of God only as an encyclopedia of morals. Morality comes to us from the character and nature of God Himself. And one of the most important purposes of the Bible is to show us who He is. Unless we place our trust in the God of Scripture, simply trying to live a good life is futile.

Many places in the Old Testament instruct us how we ought to live. Meditating on God’s Word is central for daily conduct. For example, the psalmist wrote, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 119:105). Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs so we could “know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding” (Prov. 1:2). But again, morality is not enough. Solomon added:

 

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (3:5-6).

 

In Ecclesiastes, Solomon continued, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (12:13). Just before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10), and, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you” (v. 12). At the end of the New Testament, we read the words of the aged apostle John: “Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God” (3 John 11). Finally, the ancient church father John of Damascus wrote:

 

To search the sacred Scripture is very good and most profitable for the soul. For “like a tree which is planted near the running waters,” so does the soul watered by sacred Scripture also grow hearty and bear fruit in due season. This is the orthodox faith. It is adorned with its evergreen leaves, with actions pleasing to God.

 

Would such men as Martin Luther and John Calvin, Wycliffe and Tyndale, John Wesley and George Whitefield, have lived their lives as they did, risked their lives as they did, to embrace a book whose two parts did not agree?

Would John Bunyan have spent twelve years in the Bedford jail to stand for convictions derived from a book whose two parts did not agree? Would Richard Wurmbrand have left Judaism to embrace Christianity, and then suffer more than a decade in a communist prison for espousing principles and to declare a Savior described in a book whose two parts were incompatible? No.

The Old Testament and the New Testament are not the same, to be sure. However, key to understanding them both is to realize that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed, and that what binds them together is what W. A. Criswell rightly described as the scarlet thread of redemption.

Six brief points, three from the Hebrew Scriptures, and three from the Greek Scriptures, the Old and the New, will illustrate the unity of this book we call the Bible:

 

First, THE PROTO-EVANGEL

 

Ever notice how the Bible begins with the vast expanse of eternity and the creation of the universe, and with astonishing grace narrows its focus to a single man, Adam, his creation and his fall? It is there, in the Garden of Eden, after Adam has sinned, that we find what is called the proto-evangel, the embryonic gospel, in Genesis 3.15: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

God speaks of “her seed,” whose heel will be bruised, but who will bruise the serpent’s head. Not Adam’s seed, but “her seed,” which we can look back through the pages of Scripture to recognize as a prediction of one born to a woman without human father, who would die, but would also be victorious.

 

Next, ISAIAH’S SUFFERING SERVANT

 

For time’s sake, recognize that I am explaining in minutes what could easily take days to deal with thoroughly. However, I am assuming that you have some familiarity with the Bible, so that your past experience with Scripture will fill in the large gaps time requires me to leave. I read Isaiah 52.13-53.12, describing the same predicted One referred to in Genesis 3.15:

 

13     Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.

14     As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

15     So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

1      Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2      For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3      He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4      Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5      But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6      All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7      He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8      He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9      And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10     Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11     He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12     Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

 

The “seed of woman” in Genesis 3.15 is the “suffering servant” in Isaiah’s prophecy. Where the scarlet thread first enters the fabric of God’s dealings with mankind in Genesis, we see it in the fabric of predictive prophecy once again in Isaiah.

 

Third, ZECHARIAH’S PIERCED ONE

 

Again, skipping over dozens of passages throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, we settle on Zechariah chapter 12, where a striking description convinces us that we have found another place where the scarlet thread of redemption is found in the fabric of God’s tapestry. Zechariah 12.1 shows that the prediction in this chapter is clearly the LORD speaking: “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.” Thus, it is Jehovah, the Creator, who speaks in this passage.

I now read from Zechariah 12.10, where Jehovah makes an incredible prediction: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” “Me whom they have pierced.” This can only refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, though the words are spoken in the first person by Jehovah. Jehovah said, “me whom they have pierced.” Jehovah also said, this time in the third person, “they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

This is a most puzzling passage. Jehovah, the God of Israel, here predicts His Own crucifixion centuries before Christ was crucified, and then quickly switches from the first person, me and I, to the third person, to describe mourning for him, being in bitterness for him, for his firstborn. My friends, this passage can only make sense if God is a triune being, with both the Father and the Son speaking in turn about the crucifixion of Christ, the Son of God the Father.

 

Fourth, THE GOSPEL’S JESUS

 

If the Hebrew Scriptures predict the coming of One who will suffer, bleed, and die for man’s sins, One who must be uniquely qualified to fulfill many Old Testament predictions, including His being Jewish, His being of the tribe of Judah, His being of the house and lineage of David, His being born in Bethlehem, and also being the vicarious atonement for sins required by Isaiah and Zechariah, then the Gospels show Him meeting all these requirements, and more, showing His having the legal right to the throne of Israel through His stepfather Joseph, while at the same time having the blood right to the throne through His mother, Mary, and at the same time being virgin born, thus, the seed of woman. Then, at the appointed time, He was crucified, He died, and He rose again, just as He and the prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures predicted He would.

The Old Testament does not agree with the New Testament? Incredible that anyone with any education would say such a thing. The Old Testament requirements are shown fulfilled in the Gospels. The scarlet thread is now seen in the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

 

Fifth, THE APOSTLE PAUL’S JESUS

 

As I mentioned in my message last Sunday morning, if the four books commonly referred to as the Gospels describe the mission of and the man Christ Jesus, then the Gospel of Paul, from Romans to his pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus, explain the implications of the Savior and His mission. Just a few verses written by Paul will show you that throughout Paul’s writings we see the scarlet thread of redemption:

 

Romans 1.16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”

 

First Corinthians 1.18: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

 

Second Corinthians 5.20-21:  20     Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

21     For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

Galatians 1.3-4:  “our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.”

 

I could point you to similar verses in each of Paul’s letters, if time permitted. However, the thrust of them all shows the Lord Jesus Christ be the fulfillment of all God’s promises in the Old Testament.

 

Finally, THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

 

Of course, what was begun in Genesis is culminated in the Revelation. If Genesis is the foundation upon which all Scripture is laid, the seed plot of all doctrines found in the Bible, then Revelation is the capstone, the pinnacle, showing the climax of God’s unfolding drama of redemption.

What is the last book of the Bible? It begins, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” If the Old Testament is the book of the need for Christ’s coming, and the book predicting His coming, then the New Testament is the book that shows Christ came, and that identifies Jesus as the One predicted to come, coming from heaven, sent by the Father, coming by means of the virgin birth, coming from Jewish stock, coming from the tribe of Judah, from the house of David, and from the birthplace of Bethlehem.

As with a number of other New Testament books, the Revelation shows that not only did Jesus come, but that He is coming again, in power and great glory, the King of Kings and Lord of lords.

 

Does the Old Testament agree with the New Testament? In a sense, the answer to that question is no. However, if you ask the question another way, you get a different answer.

Does God use the Old Testament lay a foundation on which the New Testament builds? Yes.

Does God in the Old Testament begin what He in the New Testament completes? Yes.

Does God in the Old Testament predict what the New Testament shows that He fulfills? Yes.

Is the Old Testament a complete and intact unit apart from the New Testament? If you answer yes, you are left with a communiqué from God that ends with a curse. If you answer no, you anticipate what the New Testament clearly provides, a culmination of God’s written revelation to mankind that uses words to paint a portrait of His Son, the Redeemer.

Let me ask the question one last time: Does the Old Testament agree with the New Testament? The answer, of course, is that the two testaments agree by complimenting each other, by being a portion of an organic whole, of each serving as bookends to provide in written form God’s revelation of Himself, God’s communication to us of His will, and God’s revelation of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The question now is, how do you respond to the message, the challenge, the directive contained in both the Old and New Testaments? God has spoken, and now it is your turn to answer. In the Old Testament it is stated one way: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”[2] In the New Testament, it is stated another way: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”[3]



[1] My introduction is lifted, almost verbatim, from Mal Couch, Inspiration Innerrancy: God Has Spoken, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), pages 1-9.

[2] Isaiah 1.18

[3] Matthew 11.28



Would you like to contact Dr. Waldrip about this sermon? Please contact him by clicking on the link below. Please do not change the subject within your email message. Thank you.

pastor@calvaryroadbaptist.org