New Testament replaces the Old

Adam Harbinson
Adam Harbinson

Probably one of the most radical statements in the entire Christian Bible, and ironically, the most overlooked, is a statement found in the New Testament Book of Hebrews, the record of a letter written, probably by Paul.

The fact that it is rarely, if ever preached upon is tragic in the extreme,for if it had been through the ages it would have created a degree of liberation in Christendom that we have never seen and which could have prevented the current depopulation of pews that is decimating the modern church.

The facts are these: the Bible consists of two distinct parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Now, bearing in mind that the Oxford Dictionary defines a ‘testament’ as a contract, a solemn agreement, in the biblical sense between God and his people, it raises the question: Why two contracts? Was one not enough? Did the first one provide a platform for the second to be built upon? Or could it be that the second replaced the first one, rendering the original agreement obsolete?

In all my years of theological study I have never come across such a debate. If anyone knows of one, please let me know.

Also, as I have said, neither have I ever heard this most revolutionary of all biblical statements expounded upon. However, the Bible is clear and unequivocal on the matter of the two testaments, both implicitly and explicitly. The New Testament replaced the Old Testament.

Implicit: (Hebrews 8:8-12 quoting from Jeremiah 31), ‘The days are coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel... I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts....For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’

That’s pretty conclusive, isn’t it? But to leave us in no doubt he goes on; (verse 13), ‘By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.’

However, there’s more. Paul was concerned that in the new church in Colosse the adherents risked being led astray from the truth, back into legalism, and so he wrote this: ‘Don’t let anyone condemn you for not celebrating certain holy days or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come.’

And then you see the embarrassing spectacle of po-faced religious people protesting outside a football ground because the men in there are playing football on the Sabbath! Quote: ‘There will be a protest and a witness against the playing of the game on the Lord’s Day’.

Such people I would ask to reflect on why they are doing what they’re doing. Are you not doing this to justify your own existence? Do you really think such behaviour will encourage anyone to think as you? If Sunday is the Lord’s Day, who owns the other six? If you want the Sabbath to be a day of rest, then fine, keep it as such, but please do not antagonise non-church-goers by attempting to stuff your archaic and out-dated beliefs (Hebrews 8:13) down their throats. And finally, read Colossians chapter 2.

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