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TODAY it is a common practice in Christendom to use the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament” to describe the Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek language parts of the Bible. But is there any Biblical basis for using these terms? And for good reasons sincere Bible students have avoided using those incorrect terms. The information below explains the scriptural reasons for coming to this conclusion. True, 2 Corinthians 3:14, according to the King James Version as well as some other older translations, such as the German Septembertestament, Martin Luther’s first translation (1522), may appear to support this practice. In the King James Version, this verse reads: “But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” However, is the apostle speaking here about the 39 books that are commonly called the “Old Testament”? The Greek word here translated “testament” is di•a•the′ke. The famous German theological encyclopedia Theologische Realenzyklopädie, commenting on 2 Corinthians 3:14, says that ‘the reading of the old di•a•the′ke’ in that verse is the same as ‘reading Moses’ in the following verse. Hence, it says, ‘the old di•a•the′ke’ stands for the Law of Moses, or at most, the Pentateuch. It certainly does not stand for the entire pre-Christian body of inspired Scripture. The apostle is referring to only a part of the Hebrew Scriptures, the old Law covenant, which was recorded by Moses in the Pentateuch; he is not referring to the Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures in their entirety. Furthermore, he does not mean that the inspired Christian writings of the first century C.E. Constitute a “new testament,” since this term occurs nowhere in the Bible. In this connection, the “National Catholic Reporter” stated: “The term ‘Old Testament’ inevitably creates an atmosphere of inferiority and outdatedness.” But the Bible is really one work, and no part is outdated, or “old.” Its message is consistent from the first book in the Hebrew part to the last book in the Greek part. (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16, 17) So there is valid reasons to avoid these terms that are based on incorrect assumptions, and many bible students prefer to use the more correct terms “Hebrew Scriptures” and “Christian Greek Scriptures.”
Firstly I want to say that using a standard lexicon, anyone can see that in Greek, Old Testament is “palaios diathekes,” and New Testament is sometimes “neos diatheke” and sometimes “kainos diatheke” (essentially neos=new in time and kainos=new in quality, but they can be understood as working in tandem at times). The Traditional Jewish community has never called their Scriptures the Old Testament, preferring instead the designation TaNaKH. TaNaKH refers to Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings). As a Messianic Jew, I believe Paul was not conveying the sense of “old” as in “outdated and unwanted” in 2 Cor. 3:14. After all, the TaNaKH was highly revered by Jews in ancient Isra'el, as it is today. I believe Paul was intending to convey the Torah’s established anchor of reliability as God’s Word when he called the covenant “palaios.” For in fact, to call the TaNaKH the “ancient covenant” (Greek=palaios diathekes) is to give it a place of established honor due to its age. In fact, John writing in 1 Jn. 2:7 uses the very same word “palaios” to also describe the commandment that his readers had from the beginning, and in this verse, John is not looking down on the “old/ancient commandment” either. Also, no one in the Apostolic period (the time when the apostles lived and wrote) ever called the TaNaKH the Old Testament (Paul’s excluded, but see below). By the same token, it is important to know that the apostles never called their own writings the “New Testament” either. As a Jewish Christian and Torah Teacher, I only use the term 'Old Testament' when addressing Christians who might be unfamiliar with the term TaNaKH. I suggest 'TaNaKH' and 'Apostolic Scriptures' since they are less emotionally charged terms. So, if no one in the entire Bible regularly used these descriptions, how did they come into use in the Church? According to many sources, the earliest uses of these terms dates back to the 2nd century in reference to a translation of the Greek term “diatheke,” translated as “covenant” in some bibles and as “testament” in others. Later in the 5th century, Jerome’s Latin Vulgate introduced the term “testamentum” for diatheke. From there, Wykcliffe’s famous 14th century translation turned diatheke into testament, and Tyndale’s well known 16th century translation echoed that sentiment. Then we went on to the Geneva Bible, and the popular King James Version, which choose “covenant” instead of “testament.” Covenant and testament are basically synonyms since they both originate from diatheke. Important to my central point is my belief that Paul’s purpose of bringing the “old covenant” verbiage (Greek= palaios diathekes) into his 2 Cor. 3:14 teaching in the first place is to reinforce the biblical concept that ANYONE who reads ANY portion of the Bible with a veil over their hearts will fail to see the Messiah. Let us not miss this central point of the chapter. To be sure, he immediately states, “Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” This means, once Yeshua removes the veil, the very same “ancient covenant” can be read and followed.
Far better to rightly divide (2 Timothy 2:15, KJV) and to avoid those matters revealed in 16. "Old" Testament should simply be the Bible up until Genesis 12. From there through Malachi it is the old Covenant with the Jews. Matthew, Mark and Luke are continuations of that old Covenant, the Hebrew religion. They speak to Jesus as Messiah for the Jews, not as Savior for humankind. They represent a NEW Covenant for Jews only. John is the Spiritual bridge for both Jew and Gentile. Underline Spiritual! His insights, while on the one hand directed to Jews, are on the other hand directed to Gentiles. Proceed with caution in John! The New Covenant for Christians should rather be termed the "Christian Writings," as revealed by the Apostle Paul after Acts 9. Obviously, we must be aware of each division; however, we must not toss each into a blender and then proclaim a long list of requirements, obligations and understandings for Christians. We Christians labor no more under doctrine; we celebrate the free gift of God's Amazing Grace. Hallelujah!
The Old Testament vs The New Testament Rom 6:14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Rom 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Rom 7:4 Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. Rom 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter. Gal 2:19 "For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"-- Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. Gal 3:25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 1Ti 1:8 But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 1Ti 1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers Heb 7:19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 2Co 3:7 But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, 2Co 3:8 how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? 2Co 3:9 For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. 2Co 3:10 For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. 2Co 3:11 For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. EXCURSUS ON THE TEN COMMANDMENTS Now we must pause in our discussion to consider a basic problem which arises at this point in James' argument. The problem is this: “Are Christians under the law or are they not?” It certainly seems that James has been enforcing the Ten Commandments on Christian believers. He specifically refers to the sixth and seventh commandments which forbid murder and adultery. Also he summarizes the last five commandments in the words: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Yet to put believers under the law, as a rule of life, contradicts other portions of the NT, such as Rom_6:14 —“You are not under law, but under grace”; Rom_7:6 —“We have been delivered from the law”; Rom_7:4 —“You also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ” (see also Gal_2:19; Gal_3:13, Gal_3:24-25; 1Ti_1:8-9; Heb_7:19.) The fact that Christians are not under the Ten Commandments is distinctly stated in 2Co_3:7-11. Why then does James press the matter of the law on believers in this Age of Grace? First of all, Christians are not under the law as a rule of life. Christ, not the law, is the believer's pattern. Where there is law, there must also be penalty. The penalty for breaking the law is death. Christ died to pay the penalty of the broken law. Those who are in Christ are therefore delivered from the law and its penalty. But certain principles of the law are of abiding value. These precepts apply to all people of all ages. Idolatry, adultery, murder, and theft are basically and inherently wrong. They are just as wrong for believers as for unbelievers. Furthermore, nine of the Ten Commandments are repeated in the Epistles. The only one that is not repeated is the one concerning the Sabbath. Nowhere are Christians ever told to keep the Sabbath or seventh day of the week, for that commandment is ceremonial rather than moral. It was not basically wrong in itself for a Jew to work on the seventh day. It was wrong only because God set that day apart. Finally, it should be mentioned that the nine commandments which are repeated in the Epistles are not given as law but as instruction in righteousness for the people of God. In other words, God does not say to Christians, “If you steal, you are condemned to death.” Or “If you commit an immoral act, you will lose your salvation.” Rather He says: “I have saved you by My grace. Now I want you to live a holy life out of love to Me. If you want to know what I expect of you, you will find it throughout the NT. There you will find nine of the Ten Commandments repeated. But you will also find the teachings of the Lord Jesus which actually call for a higher standard of conduct than the law required.” So James is not really putting believers under the law and its condemnation. He is not saying, “If you show respect of persons, you are breaking the law, and are thus condemned to death.” James 2:12 What James is saying is, “As believers, you are no longer under the law of bondage, but you are under the law of liberty—liberty to do what is right. The Law of Moses required you to love your neighbor but did not give you the power, and condemned you if you failed. Under grace, you are given the power to love your neighbor and are rewarded when you do it. You don't do it in order to be saved but because you are saved. You do it, not through fear of punishment, but through love for Him who died for you and rose again. When you stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, you will be rewarded or suffer loss according to this standard. It will not be a question of salvation but of reward.” The expression “So speak and so do” refers to words and deeds. Both profession and life should agree. In speech and act, believers should avoid partiality. Such violations of the law of liberty will be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Ephesians 1:13-14 Ephesians 4:30 The seal of the Holy Spirit was not given in the old testament. Second Timothy 2:13.We only have to believe on Jesus once to be saved forever. Hebrews 13:5 First John 5:13. Under the law if you had a child that would not obey their parents they took them outside the camp and stoned them to death. We do not do that anymore. You can not mix two systems, law and grace. Romans 11:6 All grace, no works. Romans 4:5 Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, physical death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now heaven is a free gift to those that have believed on the name of the Son of God. The GIFT of God is eternal life. Not a reward for good behavior, but a free gift. Paid in full by the GIVER. John 10:28-29
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