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Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 8/1/1998

The New Testament

Have you ever wondered why Christians do not offer animal sacrifices, even though there are verses in the Old Testament commanding such sacrifices? Is it because we do not believe that the Old Testament is God’s Word? No, that is not the reason. However, we must be careful to study the Bible to learn what God wants us to do.

The Old Testament is the Word of God, and is just as true today as it has ever been. But, some of its laws were not given to all people. The Law of Moses was given only to the Hebrew people (read Exodus 20). This law contained the Ten Commandments, laws for animal sacrifices, special feast days, rules for a priesthood, a plan for building the tabernacle, and rules for daily living. These rules and regulations were for a special purpose. The law was given to show what sin is (read Romans 7:7). It also showed that a sacrifice for sin was needed, since no person is able to live perfectly. That law was to last only until Jesus Christ came (read Galatians 3:16-21).

Animal sacrifices and many other acts of worship under the Law of Moses (sometimes called the "Old Law"), were "pictures" of Christ and what He would do for us when He came to Earth (Hebrews 10:1). For example, a perfect lamb was sacrificed for the Feast of Passover. This feast was first commanded so that the obedient people of God would not die during a horrible plague (Exodus 12:26-28). The Hebrews were to continue to observe the feast to remind them of the day when the blood of a lamb saved them from death when God punished the nation of Egypt. The Passover lamb was a picture of Jesus Christ. John the Baptizer called Jesus "the lamb of God" (John 1:29). Why? Because as the perfect Son of God, Jesus had come to be a sacrifice for sin. The Lord loved us so much that He wanted to give us a way to be forgiven of our sins. Very young children do not need this forgiveness, but as we grow, we all disobey God. We need to understand that when we sin, even one time, we need forgiveness from God. Jesus is our way to be forgiven. He has given us a New Law (see Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 9:13-15).

Since Christ has come, there is no need to picture His sacrifice with animal sacrifices. No other sacrifices are needed, because He is so holy and good. Jesus’ sacrifice was good for all time (see Hebrews 7:26-27).

The Old Testament was written for our learning. It contains many truths and lessons for us (Romans 15:4). But the Law of Moses was taken away when Jesus Christ died on the cross (Colossians 2:14). Today, all people are to obey the New Law that is found in the New Testament. Let us study it to learn what we should do to worship God correctly as Christians in this day and age

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