What Use is the Old Testament?
After Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God set in motion His plan for a Savior. He planned for the Savior to be not only the Son of God, but also the Son of Man. God planned for the Savior to be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (also known as Israel). Because the Savior was to come through the Israelites, God wanted them to be a special people who were set apart, and who were different from all the other people of the world.
To help the Israelites be a special people, and to prepare them for the coming Savior, God gave them unique laws and guidelines. Taken together, these laws were called the Law of Moses. For several hundred years after giving the Law of Moses to the Israelites, God continued to reveal messages to them through His spokesmen, the prophets. Our Old Testament is a combination of the history of the Israelites (as well as pre-Israelite history), the Law of Moses, and God’s messages through His prophets. Throughout the entire Old Testament, God’s main message was: “A Savior is coming.”
Sadly, the Israelites often were very stubborn. Many times, they decided not to follow God’s rules, or listen to His prophets, and so they were not ready for the Savior when He did come.
God did not plan for us to follow the laws of the Old Testament after Jesus died. But, the Old Testament still is important and valuable to us. In the New Testament book of Romans, Paul wrote that the Old Testament was “written for our learning” (Romans 15:4). And, in one of his letters to the Christians at Corinth, Paul wrote that the events recorded in the Law of Moses were written “for our instruction” or “admonition” (1 Corinthians 10:11). Although we are not bound by the Old Law, we can learn many things from the examples recorded in the Old Testament.
The fact is, learning from the Old Testament can help us better understand the New Testament and its message that “the Savior is coming again.”