Have you even asked yourself why the Old Testament ends with Malachi or why the New Testament begins with Matthews? Who decided that and why? Some will, infect most will say but that is a stupid question, Jesus’s birth is the beginning of the New Testament. That is obvious. Is it?
Well let’s take a look at it. First of all we need to understand the meaning of the word testament. The word testament is a Greek word “diatheke” meaning a covenant or will
g1242. διαθηκη diatheke; from 1303; properly, a disposition, i. e. (specially) a contract (especially a devisory will):— covenant, testament.
AV (33)- covenant 20, testament 13;
a disposition, arrangement, of any sort, which one wishes to be valid, the last disposition which one makes of his earthly possessions after his death, a testament or will a compact, a covenant, a testament
The normal English dictionary defines the word as
So, now we know that the word testament means a covenant or a will. Now let’s start with the word “will” and replace testament with it. If we replace testament with will then, we have in the bible, the old will and the new will(instead of the Old Testament and the New Testament).
Now according to the definition of a will, a will is only executable when the person who made the will (or testator) dies. If the testator or the will maker is still alive, the will cannot be executed. Now the bible agrees with this
Hebrews 9:16-17 (KJVStrongs)
For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is of force after men are dead:otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
Remember I said to you that we have replaced testament with will. The bible also makes it clear that for a will to be executable, the testator or will maker must first die. Now the New Testament or the new will, can only be executable when the testator or the will maker of the new testament or new will is dead. Question: Who is the testator or will maker of the New Testament or new will? Well, what does the bible say?
Hebrews 9:14-15 (KJVStrongs)
How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
I think a few people will argue with me that Jesus is testator or the will maker of the new testament or the new will. If Jesus is, then only through his death was the New Testament or new will executable.
Let us look at the word covenant which is also a word that means testament.
I hope I don’t have to at this stage explain that the old covenant which came with Moses was replaced by the new covenant that came with Jesus. Now instead of saying the old and new testament, we can say, the old and new covenant. When was the new covenant ushered in? It was ushered in when Jesus died. If you need more clarity on this, read my post on the old vs the new covenant.
Now we know that the word testament means covenant or will and we also know that the will is executable when the testator is dead. We also know that the testator for the New Testament is Jesus and we know that he did die. We also know that the new covenant was ushered in when Jesus died.
The question is, is it now correct to say that New Testament starts at Matthews when Jesus was born, when we have just learned that the a testament can only become executable at death not birth? Is it now correct to say that New Testament starts at Matthews when Jesus was born, when we have just learned that the new covenant was ushered in when Jesus died and not when he was born?, I don’t think so.
The New Testament cannot and does not start at Matthews. It rather starts at Acts. The New Testament or the New Will or the New Covenant can only start when Jesus is dead not born. The four gospels are part of the Old Testament.
Having this understanding, you will then be able to see that when Jesus was still alive, the new covenant or the new testament or the new will was not in place yet. Jesus was born under the law to redeem those who are under the law.
Galatians 4:4-5 (ESVST)
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
The law was fully operational when Jesus was still alive. Jesus was not a savior when he was alive, he only became a savior after his death and resurrection.
Jesus in the four gospels does two things
1) Jesus amplified the law and showed the true spirit of the law and showed those that were under the law that they are incapable of complying with the law and they needed a savior.
2) Jesus prophesies about the new covenant or the New Testament or the new will of God that was to come after and by his death
It is very important to grasp this concept because if you don’t, you will have a tough time understanding the four gospels. You will not be able to distinguish between when Jesus speaks to those who are under the law about the law (that is when Jesus speaks about things that are not applicable to you who are under grace and not law) and when he speaks about the new covenant or grace covenant.
My advise is simply this, when you read the four gospels(note, these gospels are part of the Old Testament) and the rest of the Old Testament, put on the new or grace covenant filter glasses and anything that you find in the four gospels and the rest of the Old Testament, that contradicts the new or grace covenant, is not applicable to you. Example
Matthew 6:14-15 (ESVST)
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
This simply cannot be applicable to us under the grace covenant because under the grace covenant, God has already forgiven our sins and remembers them no more. Our forgiveness of sins is not dependent on wether we forgive others or not, God forgave us the day we accepted Jesus for past, present and future sins.
Jeremiah 31:33-34 (ESVST)
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘ Know the Lord, ’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”
See, it is completely not applicable to us. So my advise to you is that study the new or grace covenant properly and when you are confident that you understand it, read the four gospels and the rest of the Old Testament with the new or grace covenant filter glasses and you will clearly see what is applicable to you and what is not.