Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Imagine human life on earth 4,000 or 5,000 years ago, long before there were any churches, synagogues, or well-distributed holy books. What would humanity know about God, His characteristics, and His will? Very little. As I look at my Bible from the vantage point of the 21st century, I see that God gave a steady stream of revelation over time as the centuries progressed forward. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
- Adam didn’t know about the concept of a Savior-Messiah
- Noah didn’t even know God’s name
- Abraham didn’t know that a Messiah would be promised through the line of his great-grandson, Judah
- Moses didn’t know that the prophet Micah would prophecy the Messiah’s birthplace
- David didn’t know that the book of Daniel would prophecy the year the Messiah would arrive in Jerusalem
Revelation progressed over time. The all-knowing God of the Bible unveiled His plan gradually — like a scroll being unrolled just a few inches at a time. This concept is often referred to as progressive revelation.
Why Read Half the Book?
A solid student of the Bible – whether Jewish or Christian – should clearly recognize that the Torah (first five books of the Bible) is only a part of the story. Like any book read only 25% of the way through, the plot is obviously incomplete. Bible students may even read further, to the end of the Old Testament (Tanakh), but they would still probably realize that the story is only 60-70% written. Where is the climax? Questions that remain unanswered at the end of the Old Testament include the following:
- Where is this Messiah promised by the Old Testament prophets?
- What ultimately happens to that evil character called Satan?
- What about the Jewish nation that has not seen the fulfillment of the full set of promises given to them from God as read in the Old Testament prophetic books, Isaiah through Malachi?
- What happens to planet earth in the end — because there has to be an end, right?
The Old Testament is truly incomplete, and it leaves us wanting and needing more. How frustrating to read a book three-quarters of the way through and realize the publisher failed to include the full story.
A Completed Story
The New Testament completes the story. It makes sense. It declares the arrival of the Messiah; it reveals how the ultimate defeat of Satan will go down; it reiterates God’s plan to redeem and bless the Jewish people in the later days of human history. The New Testament even describes the final Judgment Day, declares how this finite earth finally ends, and prophesies the God’s remaking of a brand new earth. The story wraps up quite nicely, and it is God’s complete revelation.
God’s full revelation includes the Old and New Testaments. Without both of these parts we will be both frustrated and confused. The Old Testament is the lock. The New Testament is the key. Both need each other because they both fit perfectly together. One will not make sense without the other because each is only one component of a two-component system. Neither makes sense without the other, but together the door to truth finally swings wide open. It’s incredible, and when you read it all you feel the satisfaction that you’ve seen it all — every page of God’s story.
Enjoy this article? Share it on your other social media sites, and make sure to comment below.