Saturday, May 29, 2021

Just What Is The New Testament?

In this mostly humanist world today, many view the New Testament as nothing more than a collection of very cleverly concocted myths and stories designed and established around a religious movement or created by an ecclesiastical empire to rule over others.

The truth of God – which can indeed be proven – is that the New Testament is a divinely inspired work of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose life and teachings truly fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies.

It is a message and a witness sent by God the Father and Jesus Christ to all mankind. And as the apostle Paul says, “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God” set forth by God the Father’s Master Plan for all mankind's salvation – called the “gospel of grace” (Romans 11:6) or “the gospel of the kingdom of God” (cf. Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14-15).

God the Father, within the New Testament, proclaims His love for the world, demonstrated by His forgiveness of our sins, and reveals the Way to eternal life through His Son Jesus Christ, as summarized by John 3:16 –
’ 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.’

The Holy Bible is the most important book of all time! This living book – of both the Old and the New Testament - constitutes the entirety of the living word of God revealed to the world He loves.

The New Testament is God the Father’s personal revelation of His Son – Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth was, of course, no ordinary man, or teacher, or a religious sage! He was God manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He was the very Creator – the LORD God of the Old Testament, the Word of God, the very One who became Jesus Christ! Cf. John 1:1-4, 9-14.

But why was the New Testament even written!?

Truly, truly the ultimate reason for the New Testament having been written is found in the rebellious refusal of humans throughout some 51 centuries to heed His guidance and admonishment.

Our first parents – Adam and Eve – utterly rejected God’s Law in the garden of Eden by taking unto themselves what they believed is good and evil – hence, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil – Genesis chapter 3.

Now, in prophet Moses’ time – when God thundered His perfect and very relevant Law unto the children of Israel from Mount Sinai – they, trembling and frightened, justified their final refusal to listen to God by going to prophet Moses and announcing, You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die” – Exodus 20:19.

So, although the children of Israel promised to obey God, they ultimately did not!

Only a year-and-a-half after they left the captivity of Egypt, prophet Moses announced that God was going to lead them into the Promised Land, but in grumblings and in complaints – they were not taken – Numbers chapter 14.

Because of this disobedience, the children of Israel were barred from entering the Promised Land –
“’ Surely not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give your fathers’” – Deuteronomy 1:35.
God sentenced that evil generation to wander aimlessly in the Wilderness for forty years. In spite of this punishment, time and again the Israelites refused to believe God and rebelled against Him and His servant Moses.

Prophet Moses prophesied about Jesus Christ!

Recall that the children of Israel, after having been brought out from the bondage of Egypt, said they were willing to listen to prophet Moses – a man. Well, during their wanderings, they refused to even listen to him as promised.

Yet God, with His ever-enduring patience, gives the children of Israel another chance! He revealed through the prophet Moses that He would be sending another Man – a Prophet like His servant Moses. If they failed to recognize or heed this Prophet, they would certainly no longer have an excuse.
’ The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, … I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him’” – Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19.
The Son of God literally became a Man – in order to fulfill this promise to the children of Israel – the Word of God, who pre-existed with God the Father as the Creator of all things – He came in the flesh as a Man to speak with men – cf. John chapter 1.

Jesus of Nazareth was that Man – the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary. God the Father sent Christ (the Messiah) to reveal the Father’s love and grace along with His master plan for the redemption of all mankind. He also came to reveal the Father to all who would believe the gospel message.

Jesus Christ announced –
’ All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him’ – Matthew 11:27.
Indeed, as Jesus Christ told the Jews, ’ Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ And He was the only One who could reveal the Father, because Jesus was His Son manifested in the flesh.

Jesus the Christ was that “Prophet” foretold by prophet Moses! He also alludes to calling Himself a “Prophet” -
“ … A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house’ – Mark 6:4.
The apostle Stephen made this abundantly clear when he boldly, full of faith and power, announced before the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia) – libertines, called freethinkers in religious matters -
“’ This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear’ – Acts 7:37.
Also, in the temple at the hour of prayer – on the porch which was called Solomon’s – the apostle Peter makes this abundantly clear to the Jews –
“’ Men of Israel, … For Moses truly said to the fathers, The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people’ – Acts 3:1, 22-23.
John the Baptist had been announcing the arrival of the Son of God!

Cf. – 
“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom [from] heaven is at hand!’ For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’ … ‘I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather His wheat into the barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire’” – Matthew 3:1-3, 11-12.
“Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. And they came to John and said to him, ‘[Teacher], He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified – behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!’
John answered and said, … ‘You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ … ‘For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, … The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, …’” – John 3:25, 27, 28, 34, 35, 36.

God fulfilled the prophecy which He gave the prophet Moses by manifesting Himself as a Man, in order to announce and witness unto all mankind.

Thus indeed, the Holy Bible is the very words which God Himself would speak to you if He was face-to-face with you! Every human being will eventually be judged from His living words which are written within the Holy Bible – cf. Revelation 20:11-12.

God becoming a Man was indeed a profound, beautiful, and loving act! It was the greatest thing God could do! God the Father did not speak directly to us, nor did He speak to us through His angels or His prophets – but by His Son.

“God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days [the last days of the Old Covenant] 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.

The New Testament is also a witness!

Like the Old Testament, God did not leave the world without the ability to know and to understand His Master Plan! He left a true witness! The Holy Bible – which includes the New Testament!

In fact, like the end-time prophets which will soon be witnessing unto the subjugated modern nations of the house of Israel – the New Testament itself is a witness unto all nations and to all religions – even to every human being. The apostles of Christ - who would go on to write the New Testament are those witnesses –

’ But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth’ – Acts 1:8.

Jesus Christ’s testimony continued after His death and His glorious resurrection unto life as the apostles preached and witnessed through the power of the Holy Spirit. His testimony continues today for all generations through the divinely inspired witnesses who keep His commandments and have His testimony and who preach from His living word – the Holy Bible.

We too witness against this world’s religions and its leaders!

After our Lord Jesus Christ’s glorious resurrection unto life, the greater majority of the Jews completely rejected Him – refusing to believe that He was the Messiah. And while from the beginning, the so-called “Christian” groups typically claim that Jesus is “the Christ,” (Matthew 24:4-5), they have ultimately rejected His teachings and commands, and have substituted their own traditions in place of His living and clear words! (Matthew 15:6-9; Colossians 2:8).

So, not only are these living words of God preserved for all mankind in the New Testament as a witness against Judaism – but also against all other religions of the world. Because they all, in one way or another, reject Jesus Christ, His words and commands, in order to preserve and observe their own traditions and worship their own gods and idols.

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ calls for all to repent!

“Now after John [the Baptist] was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe [which also means obey] in the gospel’ – Mark 1:14-15.

“ … ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance – Mark 2:17.

Well, just what is sin!? God defines sin as the transgression of His Law – 1 John 3:4. Anyone who transgresses the Commandments of God is living in a state of sin and is technically “dead” – cf. Ephesians 5:14.

Salvation unto eternal life is through Jesus Christ alone

As the apostle Paul says, “What then? Are we [the Jews] better than they [the Gentiles]? NOT AT ALL. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks [Gentiles] that they are all under sin. As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one!’ … [F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” – Romans 3:9-10, 23.

In 30 A.D. – after the Day of Pentecost had fully come – the apostle Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached powerfully of the repentance of sin –

“ …’ Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” – Acts 2:38.

True baptism is by full immersion in water – which is symbolic of the burial of the old sinful self in a watery grave – and this must come after true and deep repentance.

True repentance is a complete abhorrence and intolerance of one’s sins – a complete turning from sin – from the transgression of God’s Law and His Commandments.

Salvation by grace. After genuine repentance and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as one’s personal Savior, the believer must be baptized by immersion in water and have hands laid upon them for the remission of sins. Once the believer has been justified by grace, he or she stands in a state of grace before God the Father.

The apostle Paul is clear –

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” – Romans 5:1-2.

Salvation by grace does NOT mean the complete freedom to act as you wish or think is best – recall, the apostle Paul basically retorted, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should (1 Corinthians 6:12) Jesus says, ’ If you love [or are loyal to] Me, keep My commandments’ – John 14:15.

The apostle Paul also confirms that salvation by grace is demonstrated in works – not by humanly devised traditions or works of religion – but the good works of keeping God’s Commandments – Ephesians 2:8-10.

Truly, the New Testament confirms God’s glorious promise of the spiritual seed of Abraham!

When we fully understand the Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God – it becomes crystal clear that God – in His covenant with Abraham – promised the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul states, “Now to Abraham and his Seed [Jesus Christ] were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” – Galatians 3:16.

So, ultimately, this glorious promise refers to Abraham’s spiritual seed, who would receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ.

God’s living word – through the apostle Paul – made it abundantly clear that the Old Covenant was only temporary – but that a “better covenant” is offered to the spiritual seed through the New Covenant which is eternal – cf. Hebrews 8:7-12.

The Old Covenant never offered eternal life – but, under this glorious New Covenant, people of every nation and every race can inherit the promise of eternal life by becoming the spiritual children of Abraham through faith –

“[J]ust as Abraham ‘believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. … So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham” – Galatians 3:6-7, 9.

He went on to say, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – v. 29.

And like our Lord Jesus Christ, those who are children of God – the spiritual seed of Abraham – will indeed be resurrected unto immortality and will inherit eternal life and live as glorified spirit beings in the family of God – the kingdom of God!

“The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together” – Romans 8:16-17.

When the first fruits of the children of God are glorified, the very words of Jesus Christ will be fulfilled –

’ Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. …’ – Matthew 13:43. □

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