The Truth As Revealed by God
The Consistency of the Truth
Truth transcends space and time and is always consistent. For example, after Adam was created, he was tempted and sinned. However, because of the saving grace that was accomplished through Jesus on the cross, all mankind were redeemed from sin, and regained their glorious hope and identity as God’s children.
The Old Testament accounts of God clothing Adam with the skin of animals, Abel offering the firstborn of the flock and its fat, Noah offering clean animals as a burnt offering, Moses offering sacrifices to God on Mount Sinai and using the blood of cattle and sheep to make a covenant with God’s people are consistent with the truth that points to the cross of Christ's salvation. In addition, the sprinkling of the blood of cattle and sheep onto the bodies of the people, Noah’s flood, and the Israelites’ crossing of the Red Sea, all prefigure the receiving of the forgiveness of sins through baptism by immersion (1 Pet 3:21; 1 Cor 10:1–2).
Before the priest administered at the altar, he had to first wash himself with water, anoint himself with oil and change into a new robe. This tells us that one who wishes to draw near to God must first accept water baptism, receive the Holy Spirit, and be born again before he is eligible to serve the Lord and offer himself as a living sacrifice (Lev 8:6–13; Acts 2:37–39).
The Old Testament laws, including the sacrificial rituals, the dietary rules, health regulations, rules for cleansing, feasts of the New Moon, and so on, are a shadow of the good things to come, not the realities themselves. The New Testament is the ultimate reality, of which Jesus Christ Himself is the embodiment (Rom 10:4; Heb 10:1; Col 2:17; Mt 5:17–18).
Hence, we can see that the chosen people of the Old Testament and the disciples of the New Testament were all looking forward to the salvation of Jesus Christ (Jn 8:56). “The first man Adam became a living being. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:21–22, 45).
The author of Hebrews enumerated the heroes of faith of the past and came to the following conclusion: “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us” (Heb 11:39–40).
[To be continued…]