The Christian and the Old Testament (Part 1) - The OT Canon; Covenants Prior to the Law of Moses

For a master copy of the outline, click here: The Christian and the Old Testament I. The purpose of this study. 1. There is a lot of confusion among professing Christians concerning the role of the Old Testament, and specifically the law of Moses, in the lives of Christians living under the New Testament. 2. Many believe that Christians today are required by God to keep the law of Moses, or at least some parts of it such as the sabbath or the dietary laws. 3. The purpose of this study is to show from the scripture what parts of the Old Testament are binding on Christians today, what parts are not, and how we should use the Old Testament as a whole. II. The Old Testament 1. The canon of the Old Testament. A. Canon - The collection or list of books of the Bible accepted by the Christian Church as genuine and inspired. B. The Old Testament in the Bible (KJV) consists of 39 books (Genesis - Malachi). C. The Old Testament in the Catholic Bible contains 46 books, which is seven more than the OT of the KJV. These addition books are called the Apocrypha. i. Apocrypha - 1. A writing or statement of doubtful authorship or authenticity; spec. those books included in the Septuagint and Vulgate versions of the Old Testament, which were not originally written in Hebrew and not counted genuine by the Jews, and which, at the Reformation, were excluded from the Sacred Canon by the Protestant party, as having no well-grounded claim to inspired authorship. (OED) ii. The seven additional books are: Tobit, Judith, 1Maccabees, 2Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. These books were/are not part of the Jewish canon of scripture, as the OED states above. D. The Jewish Hebrew scriptures contain 24 books. Those 24 books contain the 39 books in the KJV OT. E. The reason that the KJV has 39 books instead of 24 is because some of the original 24 books were broken up into separate books. The Jewish canon is categorized in three sections: The Law, The Prophets, and the Psalms (or the writings). F. Following is a list of the 24 books of the Jewish scriptures (some of the books are expanded which contain multiple books): i. The Five Books of Moses (The Law) 1) Genesis 2) Exodus 3) Leviticus 4) Numbers 5) Deuteronomy ii. The Eight Books of the Prophets (The Prophets) 6) Joshua 7) Judges 8-9) Samuel - (Samuel is 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel in the KJV) 10-11) Kings - (Kings is 1 Kings and 2 Kings in the KJV) 12) Isaiah 13) Jeremiah 14) Ezekiel 15-26) The Twelve (minor prophets) - ("The Twelve" (minor prophets) were separated into 12 books, (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi) iii. The Eleven Books of the Writings (The Psalms or The Writings) 27) Psalms 28) Proverbs 29) Job 30) Song of Songs 31) Ruth 32) Lamentations 33) Ecclesiastes 34) Esther 35) Daniel 36-37) Ezra/Nehemiah - (Ezra/Nehemiah are separated in the KJV) 38-39) Chronicles (Chronicles is 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles in the KJV) G. The order that the Jewish scriptures were laid out. i. The order of the books was different than that of the KJV, but the books themselves were all the same, the only difference being that some of the books were grouped together into one book (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, minor prophets, Ezra/Nehemiah). ii. The order in which the Jewish canon was laid out, and the fact that it was divided into three main sections (the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (or the Writings)) is very important in light of a couple of things that Jesus said when trying to find out which books should be in the OT and which ones should not. H. Notice that the Jewish scriptures did/do not contain any of the Apocryphal books that the Catholic Bible does. i. The Jews never considered those books authentic or genuine. They were not written in Hebrew as the Jewish scriptures were, but were rather found in the Septuagint which was a corrupt Greek translation of the OT. ii. Jesus did not quote from the Greek Septuagint; He referred to the OT as having jots and tittles (Mat 5:18), which is unique to Hebrew, not Greek. iii. When the KJV was translated, the Apocryphal books were put in a separate section between the New and Old Testaments, not mixed with the Old Testament books like the Catholic Bible has them. The reason for that was that the KJV translators knew that they were not scripture like the 39 books of the OT are. I. Scriptural evidence for the 39 books of the Hebrew/KJV OT. i. Jesus recognized the three divisions in the Old Testament. a. "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto 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." (Luk 24:44). b. Jesus was here affirming the three divisions of the Jewish canon, the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms (or Writings - the Psalms was the first book of the Writings), all three of which spoke of Him. c. He didn't mention a fourth division. ii. Jesus made another statement that implicitly shows the beginning and ending of the Jewish canon. a. Jesus said to the Pharisees, "That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar." (Mat 23:35). b. Jesus said that the Pharisees and their fathers were responsible for the blood of the prophets (Mat 23:30-31). c. He listed the first prophet Abel who was killed in Genesis (Gen 4:8), the first book of the Jewish canon, and the last prophet who was killed in the last book of the Jewish canon, the book of Chronicles (2Ch 24:20-21). d. Remember that Chronicles was the last book of the Jewish canon, not Malachi like in the KJV. e. Jesus was saying to the Pharisees that they were responsible for the blood of all the prophets, from the first prophet who was killed in the first book of their scriptures to the last prophet who was killed in the last book of their scriptures. f. Zacharias the son of Barachias to whom Jesus referred in Mat 23:35 was Zechariah the son of Jehoiada in 2Ch 24:20-21, not Zechariah the son of Berechiah who wrote the book of Zechariah (Zec 1:1). (i) There is no mention of the prophet Zechariah (the author of Zechariah) being killed in the Bible. (ii) He prophesied after Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed by the Babylonians, but before the temple was rebuilt (Zec 1:1 c/w Hag 1:1-9), so he couldn't have been killed between the temple and the altar. (iii) Zechariah the son of Jehoiada was killed in the court of the house of the Lord (2Ch 24:21), which was between the temple and the altar (Eze 8:16), which is exactly what Jesus said in Mat 23:35. (iv) Jehoiada was probably another name for Berechiah since they mean similar things: Jehoiada = praise the Lord; Berechiah = bless the Lord. (v) It was common in the Bible for a man to be called by two different names which mean the same thing (2Ch 36:4) (Eliakim = God of raising; Jehoiakim = Jehovah will raise). iii. The Apocryphal books found in the Catholic Bible (at least some of them), such as the Maccabees, take place in the 400 years between the end of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New Testament, yet Jesus didn't make reference to those books or anything that happened in them. 2. What is meant by the term "Old Testament"? A. The Old Testament is the Old Covenant. i. Testament - 1. Law. A formal declaration, usually in writing, of a person's wishes as to the disposal of his property after his death; a will. 4. Scripture. A covenant between God and man: = covenant n. 7 ii. Covenant - 1. A mutual agreement between two or more persons to do or refrain from doing certain acts; a compact, contract, bargain; sometimes, the undertaking, pledge, or promise of one of the parties. 7. Scripture. Applied esp. to an engagement entered into by the Divine Being with some other being or persons. B. Names for the Old Testament/Covenant. i. The old testament (2Co 3:14). ii. The first testament (Heb 9:15,18). iii. The old covenant (Heb 8:13). iv. The first covenant (Heb 8:7; Heb 9:1). C. God made other covenants in the Old Testament that were not the "old" or "first" covenant. i. God made a covenant with Noah that He would never flood the earth again (Gen 9:8-17). ii. God made a covenant with Abraham when He promised him that He would make him a father of many nations and give him the land of Canaan for an everlasting inheritance (Gen 17:1-8 c/w Gal 3:17-18). a. The promise was not for the earthly land of Canaan, as it would not last for an eternity. b. In fact, Abraham never inherited a square inch of the earthly land of Canaan (Act 7:5). c. Abraham knew that the land and city that were promised to him and his seed for an everlasting possession were heavenly, not earthly (Heb 11:8-10, 13-16). iii. God made a covenant of circumcision with Abraham (Gen 17:9-14 c/w Act 7:8). a. The covenant of circumcision was a token (Gen 17:10-11) of the everlasting covenant which God made with Abraham, wherein He promised to give him the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession (Gen 17:7-8). b. Circumcision was said to be an everlasting covenant (Gen 17:13). c. Circumcision ended with the coming of the New Testament (Gal 5:6; 6:15-16) and so did the Jews' possession of the earthly land of Canaan (Luk 21:24). d. The everlasting covenant of circumcision was fulfilled by the circumcision (cutting off) of Christ (Col 2:11 c/w Isa 53:8). (i) Christ was made a curse for us and was therefore cut off (Gal 3:13 c/w Psa 37:22). (ii) The body of our sins was destroyed and put off by the crucifixion (cutting off) of Christ (Rom 6:6 c/w Heb 9:26). (iii) This was the fulfillment of the sign of circumcision, the circumcision made without hands, of the heart and not the flesh (Col 2:11 c/w Rom 2:28-29). For a master copy of the outline, click here: The Christian and the Old Testament