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The Three-Part Old Testament Witnesses for Jesus Christ

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The Three-Part Old Testament Witnesses for Jesus Christ

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Many mainstream Christians assume that the Old Testament is archaic and therefore useless to them. They struggle against the laws of the Bible, since they’ve been taught to believe that keeping the law of God frustrates His grace. After all, didn’t Jesus take on the sins of the world (John 3:16-17 John 3:16-17 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
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), suffering death for all humankind?

Many reason that since Jesus died for humanity’s sins, and since we cannot keep the law perfectly, anyone who tries to keep God’s law frustrates and negates the grace of God. Does the Bible support this rationale?

The Old Testament, including the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (also referred to as Writings), bears witness to Jesus, first as a human being, and second as divine God. It also sets the stage for all prophecy.
The Old Testament Reveals Christ Jesus

Jesus shared an eye-opening revelation about Himself and the power of prophecy at the end of Luke’s Gospel. It shows the importance of the Old Testament and reveals the breakdown of the Old Testament into three parts. It also supports the essence of and need for Bible prophecy.

Some Christians believe that Jesus Christ was never God before His resurrection. The Bible clearly shows that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
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).

The apostle John knew Jesus was God of ancient Israel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3 John 1:1-3 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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, 14. See also John 5:37 John 5:37And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
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).

Again, John shared Jesus’ final prayer where He identified that He was once God with the Father. “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5 John 17:5And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
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).

Luke’s Gospel gets to the heart of the matter: “And beginning at Moses [the Law] and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the [Old Testament] Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27 Luke 24:27And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
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). “Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight” (verse 31).

Later Jesus provided the essential aspect to His fulfillment of the Old Testament. “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (verses 44-45).

Jesus Christ was revealed through the Old Testament. God revealed Christ through His law.

The Law

God revealed Himself through His laws. The first four of the Ten Commandments are all about God. The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17 Exodus 20:3-17 3 You shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6 And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments. 7 You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. 8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. 12 Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which the LORD your God gives you. 13 You shall not kill. 14 You shall not commit adultery. 15 You shall not steal. 16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s.
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) are set within the Torah, the first five books of the Bible.

God’s laws, the Ten Commandments, reveal the character of God, which are the moral characteristics He gave as a gift to humankind. Each of His 10 laws depicts how we can best treat Him and each other. They are spiritual laws (Romans 7:14 Romans 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
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) that can bless or break us.

The laws of God show us how we can enjoy the best life possible on this earth as physical human beings. Additionally, they help determine whether we will be in God’s Kingdom (Revelation 22:14 Revelation 22:14Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
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).

After God gave His laws, He then gave prophets and teachers to teach human beings about His liberating laws (James 1:25 James 1:25But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
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).

The Prophets

God called prophets throughout Old Testament times for a very important reason: to preach and teach His laws and to prophesy their automatic results. (Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28 prophesy the blessings of keeping God’s laws and the resultant curses if we don’t. Notice Elijah the prophet’s example of this: compare 1 Kings 17:1 1 Kings 17:1And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
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with Deuteronomy 28:15 Deuteronomy 28:15But it shall come to pass, if you will not listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command you this day; that all these curses shall come on you, and overtake you:
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, 23-24.)

New Testament ministers mirror Old Testament prophets, as the apostle Paul wrote. “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’… So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:14-15 Romans 10:14-15 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
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, 17).

God’s entire Word, the Holy Bible, is based on His laws, which provide the basis for prophecy. “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts [Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit and the truth, see Galatians 2:20 Galatians 2:20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
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and John 4:23-24 John 4:23-24 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
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; Christ is our life, see Colossians 3:4 Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.
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]; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit [all based on God’s Word and His laws]” (2 Peter 1:19-21 2 Peter 1:19-21 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well that you take heed, as to a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
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).

Prophets prophesy and teach about God and His laws and specifically about the glorious role of Jesus as humankind’s Savior (Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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). The focus of the Old Testament, through the Law, Prophets and Writings, seamlessly connects with and underpins Jesus’ teachings and life (Luke 24:44-45 Luke 24:44-45 44 And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
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).

The third part of the Old Testament is the Writings or the Psalms, which are a part of the Writings.

The Writings

The Writings of the Old Testament are the books that show human examples witnessing how the holy laws of God work in an unforgiving world (Hebrews 11:32-38 Hebrews 11:32-38 32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. 34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
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). The Writings include such books as Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Song of Songs, Ruth and others.

The Psalms inspiringly witness of God’s greatness, including the superiority of His laws with prescient prophetic applications (Psalms 8:4-6 Psalms 8:4-6 4 What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him? 5 For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and have crowned him with glory and honor. 6 You made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet:
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; Hebrews 2:6-10 Hebrews 2:6-10 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands: 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. 9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
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).

Almighty God’s master plan is to reproduce Himself through the human race, creating immortal sons of God out of mere mortals (1 Corinthians 15:50-54 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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; 1 John 3:1-2 1 John 3:1-2 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
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).

In summary, He first gave His divine, spiritual laws to His nation Israel. Next, He called prophets to proclaim the greatness of His laws and inherited blessings through obedience. Finally God honors human beings to witness for Him through the blessings that come from keeping His spiritual laws (1 Peter 2:11-12 1 Peter 2:11-12 11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
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).

The Law, Prophets and Writings constitute the Old Testament and, as such, teach us about the coming of Jesus Christ, His sinless physical life, His death and shed blood for our sins, and His resurrected life (Genesis 3:15 Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.
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, an early reference to Jesus’ death and glorious resurrection; Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
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).

The human life, death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ were revealed through prophecy. Christ Jesus embodies the tripartite divisions of the Old Testament, fully representing the divine, holy law of God, prophesying as the greatest Prophet who has ever lived, and serving as the greatest witness for God from time immemorial (2 Timothy 1:9 2 Timothy 1:9Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
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)! UN

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