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Sunday: The Gospel in the Old Testament — 22 Comments

  1. God loves His creatures especially humans equally that is why He has given to us the same gospel He gave to the people of old. He therefore wants us to preach this gospel to those perishing. He does not a soul to perish.

  2. In the above question as asked -:- “How can we, as people who believe in the importance of keeping the law, protect ourselves from the error of believing that law-keeping is what justifies us? Why is that not always so easy to do?”

    I think we as Christians (people) need to understand that the law is only there as a guide line in showing us the correct way or method on how things should be done. Cause if there was no law then there would be havoc & if there was no right or wrong then there would be no Sin as we would not know it.

    But more importantly we need to understand that by no way are we justified by us just keeping the law - it only goes to show that we have learned to follow instructions.

  3. The old covenant and the new covenant are both progressive revelations of the Everlasting Covenant of love that the LORD offers to us.
    They have similarities and differences. One similarity is that it is in their hearts:

    Deu 30:11 "For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off.
    Deu 30:12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
    Deu 30:13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?'
    Deu 30:14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your HEART, so that you can do it.

    Rom 10:8 But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your HEART" (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);
    Rom 10:9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your HEART that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
    Rom 10:10 For with the HEART one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

    • Shirley, What you are referring to in the Old Testament is actually the new covenant. You can find both the Old and New Covenants in both the Old and New Testaments. In Genesis 3 God promised to save us by His grace. That is the new covenant. Ever since then man has been trying to achieve salvation by his own promises which is the Old covenant. The new covenant was when God promised Abraham a child, by God's promise and not by Abraham's promises or ability to work it out. Still Abraham tried to work things out on his own which is the Old covenant. "Old" as in useless not as in chronology. This thought was shared in a recent post.


      • William,

        Thanks for the simple clarification of the covenants.

        Shirley's comment, "The old covenant and the new covenant are both progressive revelations of the Everlasting Covenant of love that the LORD offers to us" is mixing up the covenants. The old covenant is not part of the new and if we mix the two, then we really have the old covenant.

        However, God did allow and did enter into the old covenant so that mankind could see their need of God and their failures. Every thing God allows is out of love. So Shirley got the love part correct.

    • Shirley, it depends on what you call the "old covenant." If you are referring to the Ten Commandments," which God called His "covenant," (See Deut 4:13, Ex 34:28), then, yes, they were/are part of the revelation of the "Everlasting Covenant" of love. In fact the New Covenant is based on the very same Law of God. (Jer 31:31-33)

      However, Adventists recognize that whatever is part of the Everlasting Covenant of love is also part of the "New Covenant" which, paradoxically, existed since Eden. Those of the Christian world who reject the Ten Commandments call them the "old covenant."

      Paul writes of the "old covenant," and he clearly refers to the Old Covenant based on man's promises - in other words, what made the "old covenant" old was not God's promises, but the fact that the people tried to fulfill the terms of the covenant on their promises, i.e. their works. (Heb 8:6)

      The New Covenant is wholly based on God's promises, and that's why it is a "better covenant." It is the only covenant that saves and becomes effective in our lives when we trust fully and completely in Christ alone.

      So I believe I agree with what you mean, but think that your wording is likely to confuse people.

      • i think there is no different between new and old covenant, it is the same the central focus is about LOVE GOD AND LOVE THY NEIGHBORS. but it is differ only on where it is written. The old testament was written by GOD in the tablets of stone where the Israelites failed to obey and was given to Moses at the olden time, now when in the modern christian during the time of JESUS on earth, HE said I will make you the new covenant and I will write it in your HEART,I will call you my people and you will call me your GOD. So if we humbly accept JESUS in our heart then salvation is granted. John 3:16 is my favorate text.

  4. The Gospel throughout the Bible centres on cross where justification and Christ's righteousness that absolve from us from sin come from. The laws are a pointer to our downfall but don't remove sin. The sole heaven's business is to restore the relationship between God And humanity through christ.SDA church is called to trumpet the Gospel in the context of rev 14:6-12,where much light on justification by faith is shed.But,the Gospel in the old testament perplexes me,I see that blessing and salvation would only come to the Israelites only If they were obedient to the laws. I feel this is conditional love and at some point the israelites were forced to look at the bronze snake, isn't this a forced salvation? In the OT, salvation appears to be based on performance and obedience rather than by faith. Is our God a double-faced God to allow salvation by performance in the OT and by faith in the NT? What's the position of faith in the context of salvation in the OT?

    • When we are exposed to the goodness of God we are convicted to trust Him (exercise faith). Noah did that; Abraham did that; Abraham did that; Jacob did that; The woman at the well did that; Zacchaeus did that. How can out faith be expressed without actions? I believe our faith reaches fulfillment every time we choose to take God at His Word(Proverbs3:5-6). Otherwise we make ourselves and things and other people our gods.(Deuteronomy 6:4-8)Can we express our faith without action (following God's Word)? I like the practical explanation of James. Finally can we become like Jesus if we do not heed His Words?

    • No. From the very beginning, even in heaven, God aloud freedom of choice. He forces nothing upon us that we wouldn't desire for ourselves. Isiah 1:19 says, "If you are willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land." Laws were made for our protection. If we don't obey the safety laws, we can get hurt. We do it because there are repercussions if we don't. Now, we don't have to.
      I believe it is to the best interest of all concerned to want to obey for the good of obeying as opposed to the outcome of disobedience. EG White has said "God never leads his children otherwise than they would choose to be led if they could see the end from the beginning and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as coworkers with him."

    • Regarding "the bronze snake", Jesus said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life." (John 3:14-15). No one was forced to look. But all were invited to look and live. Did the look save them? No, but it revealed their willingness to cooperate with the God who could save them. As they turned their hearts toward God, He was then and only then able to work in them and through them for salvation. The process of salvation is no different today. We look to the evidence of the love of God, we chose to trust that love, and then, by the power of His grace, we chose to act in obedience to the One who loves us more than we can understand.

      But as we have more evidence of His love today than those of Bible times, we are more accountable for responding to that love. In that way, we have less excuse than Israel in the wilderness, if we chose anything other than to walk in "the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus." (Revelation 14:12)

    • Salvation has always been by grace through faith.
      Read Hebrews 11 about all the OT people who lived by faith.

      Salvation is followed by obedience:
      Ex 19 - the LORD said: I have saved you from Egypt now obey me
      John 14:15 - Jesus said: If you love me obey me

      The Good News is always - we are saved by grace through faith.
      What does it mean to be saved? We are saved from sin to be righteous –
      Mat 5:48 Therefore be perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
      Lev 19:2 Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I, Jehovah your God, am holy.
      Jas 1:4 But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
      1Pe 1:15-16 but according to the Holy One who has called you, you also become holy in all conduct, (16) because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."

      We are saved to be righteous/perfect/holy, to be like Jesus. The Word tells/shows us what righteousness looks like by the commandments. Jesus came and lived the Law the way He meant it when He wrote it.

      The LORD is our Saviour and His aim is to re-create us in His image through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Php 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, ……, cultivate your own salvation with fear and trembling. (13) For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

      The Everlasting Gospel is the Good News about the The Everlasting Covenant:
      All God’s covenants throughout the Bible are progressive revelations and subsets of the Everlasting Covenant which is:

      I will be your God
      You will be My people
      And I will dwell with you

      “God defines the covenant(s) that he offers to man. (no negotiations)
      In each covenant God promises His wholehearted commitment in love to their ultimate welfare and happiness, with expectations of their wholehearted commitment in love, loyalty and obedience.

      However at no time was the divine covenant ever reduced merely to a list of legal stipulations with promised rewards for obedience and punishments threatened for disobedience. The rules & regulations were built into the very nature of the relationship and were always to be understood within the context of parental love in which God the loving parent provides the power, promises, protective boundaries and corrective action necessary to ensure that His believing and faithful children will mature in holiness and receive their eternal inheritance in the kingdom of God”
      In Granite or Ingrained? By Skip MacCarty.

    • Thanks for asking such honest questions.

      When I changed my definition of faith from just "belief", it really helped me.

      My best definition of faith is this:

      "Faith is the willingness to act in the face of uncertainty"

      With this definition I see more clearly than I used to how faith was exercised in the Old Testament. Then it's when Hebrews 11 began to make sense.

      If you have time, re-read Hebrews 11 with that definition of faith in mind. See what you might conclude.

      • Andrew, I think we all have wrestled with the definition of faith, in my case many times. Somehow it seems to me that with our very strong roots in the law having faith apart from doing something gives us a lot of trouble. For that reason I have steered away from including terms such as "willingness" in the definition because that comes too close to including works which Paul clearly excludes. Instead I have stuck with the definition of faith as being belief but have said that faith always leads to works of some sort. I use the illustration of a person going into a dark room and in so doing he reaches for the light switch. His reaching is not faith, it isn't even a willingness to, but rather a belief in what the switch can do and if that belief is strong enough it will lead to action.

        I believe that there are various degrees of faith. For instance, the story about the man who was about to cross Niagara Falls on a high wire asked his audience if they thought he could do it and got a positive response. Then he asked who would get in the wheelbarrow and go across with him and no one volunteered. They had faith to a point but not a total commitment to it. What Jesus is calling for is a total commitment - a faith in Him that moves mountains, one that doesn't give up. I believe that the parable of the unjust judge illustrates this (Lk 18). To me Heb 11 lists people that had that kind of faith where they were totally committed, their whole life was devoted to their belief and it didn't make much difference what obstacles were placed in their way they still ordered their life according to what they believed and that went well beyond a mere willingness which tends to be somewhat passive. To them their faith was a positive even fanatical yes toward Christ!

        • Hello again Brother Cluthe,
          When Naaman was asked to dip in the dirty river Jordan, he didn't have much belief that that made any sense at all. But he was willing to act. Certainly this willingness isn't generated by ourselves.
          I think it is given to us as an earnest, and we are afforded the ability and opportunity to grow based on our choices.

          Although I see where you are coming from.

          Defining faith as:

          "The willingness to act in the face of uncertainty"

          Has helped me deal with the idea of fears and doubts. It's difficult always to conjure up brave feelings or strong belief. This definition was useful to me because it eliminates "feelings" altogether and it doesn't guilt one for being apprehensive.

          • Andrew, I have no doubt in my mind that your definition has helped you and I am glad for that. I also think that other people probably have other definitions that have helped them as well.

            As I read 2 Kings 5 it seems to me that the people in Naaman's entourage basically shamed him (2 Kings 5:13) after he got mad because Elisha wouldn't come out to him and told him to dip in a dirty river (we need to remember that he was a high ranking commander in the Syrian army who normally demanded more respect than that). So I don't see it as a willing compliance, at least not to the extent that you seem to imply.

          • Naaman's action, regardless of what convinced him to try, led him to find faith in the God of Israel. If it had been faith before his healing, he would have gone straight to the river to wash without needing to be coaxed. He entered the river skeptical and more as a gambler perhaps, hoping against hope. Faith came as a result of his action.

            God knew that Naaman had only the witness of the captive servant girl's confident faith, and that he had no real evidence to have faith himself, but also knew that Naaman would find faith from the experience. See how God leads us to find faith? He gave Naaman the empirical evidence he needed, having been raised without a knowledge of the true God. Naaman's testimony to those with him and those waiting back at home must have been a powerful witness.

            He took home the soil of Israel with the confidence of a newly found faith.
            No more uncertainty in Naaman.

            What is the lesson here? The Pen has written that our health message will attract many through their selfish motives, but the results will give them faith in the message of the 3 angels. Isn't that what happened with Naaman? God will use our selfish motives to guide us to find faith. What prompted the prodigal to return home? What did he find when he arrived close enough for his father to spot him afar off?

  5. Jesus is indeed loving and forgiving. If He were not like that I would not be alive today. Jesus' forgiveness encourages me to be more forgiving. Many times we say we forgive yet we do not restore people to their original position in our hearts. We place them in a department which allows us to interact with them but with caution.

    Like , Jesus, we need to have 'spiritual amnesia' whose symptom is simply forgetting after we have forgiven. Imagine if God said 'I am going to forgive him but I will stay far from Him and he will not get so many blessings from me anymore'. What would happen to us?

    Let us ask God to help us to love with a salvific love which sees beyond the faults of others and see their needs instead. That way our attitude towards other will be such that we love and forgive them towards salvation just like Jesus does.

  6. We have to work out our Faith with fear and trembling, for, if them that disobeyed did not enter the promised land after they were called from bondage of Egypt, what More with us who have received such a marvelous light from their experiences, from the prophecies we have seen being fulfilled. I think more is expected from us

  7. First, one must ask; "Why was the Law given?" In answer to this question, I like Paul's explanations which to me sums up every queries; "Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come." (Galatians 3: 19). In elaborating more to this view, Paul went on to add; "Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law." (verse 21).In other words the apostle Paul is really saying; "But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe." (verse 22).

    Again, in trying to enlighten the understandings of the new converts in regard to the Law and Faith in Jesus Christ, Paul demonstrated it this way; "Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian." (versus 23 - 25). So what does the word guide really imply?
    For 400 years, the children of Israel were held enslaved to the cruel tyranny of Egypt. Since the very first day, they were promised deliverance; then 400 years later, deliverance came. For so long, the Gospel of Freedom has been preached to them; then 400 years later, it came in the form of Moses.“Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future." (Hebrews 3: 5). God freed them out of bondage from 400 years of slavery; but they continued to turn their hearts back to the gods of Egypt.

    Before Joshua led them into the promised land, again God reminded them; "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested and tried me, though for forty years they saw what I did. That is why I was angry with that generation.(Hebrews 3: 7-10).

    The Law was given to them as a reminder of their past, pointing them to the God who freed them. But this gospel did not really save them because they continued to worship and serve Egyptian gods. In the verse; “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Heb. 4:2, NIV); Paul warns us that Freedom has come through the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, so we must believe that we have been set free. Unlike the Israelites, we must worship and serve only God who set us free in Jesus Christ, and not turn to any other for salvation.

    The Good News in the Bible is Freedom, freedom from condemnation and enslavement of the devil; "I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ." (Galatians 1: 6, 7). The Law is a reminder of our slavery, Christ is the Good News of our Freedom.

    In Galatians 4: Paul again demonstrated the work of the Law in these words; "What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship." (Galatians 4: 1-5). Therefore, the Law guided the young son Israel from Moses time till he reached maturity when Jesus came.

    Thus the Will written by God to Free them came into fruition through the Ransom paid in full; Jesus Christ the Son of God. We are no longer under the rulership of the Law, we are under the rulership of Christ. Through Christ, God cleansed and forever erased our sins to which we were held under custody by the Law; Christ forgave us our sins, the Law has nothing to hold against us as we have been redeemed by the Blood of Jesus. "For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit." (Romans 8: 3,4).

    This is the Gospel. The works of the Law cannot purify our conscience; "How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." (Hebrews 9: 14,15). The Law only points us our needs, Christ brings us all our needs. The Law is not the Saviour, it only guides us to the Saviour Jesus Christ the Messiah. Because of the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus, the requirements of the Law is fully met in us.

  8. Those who heard the Good News did not combine it with faith. That sounds much like James, hearers of the word but not doers. Christisn men and women, doers of the word. Simply put, we combine the everlasting gospel with faith. Practacally we take hold of the hem of His garment saying, He is our God , and we are the His people, His lambs surrendered to His will. No veil will come between us and Him, unless we resist the drawing of His love, fail to seek Him, surender our bad habits, give of our selves to Christ, visualize Him, pray for the Holy Spirit, and tell the world what He has done for us.

  9. We are called to faith — confidence that the sacrifice of Christ cleanses us from all sin — not to fearful bondage to religious traditions and human rules. Such rules may appear to be religious and they may have a form of godliness, but they do not have the power to transform the heart, which is the focus of Christianity.

    The old covenant was an administration appropriate to a carnal nation. The new covenant is administered in a different way. God's moral law is the same, but it is administered in different ways at different times for different peoples and different purposes.
    We must recognize the continuing validity of God's law — but we must recognize that the New Testament gives us a more complete picture than the Old Testament does. We must interpret old laws from the perspective of the new situation Jesus Christ brought.


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