What is the Old Testament?

“I will maintain my covenant with you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting pact, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

Genesis 17: 3-8

“We will do everything that the Lord has told us…All that the Lord has said, we will heed and do.”

Exodus 24:3-7

I will never forget this one specific January day in Austria. I was studying abroad with 150 other students from my school and I was in my first class of my third theology class for the semester. In walks in a tall, skinny man with the biggest smile on his face. As he started class every word out of his mouth was licked with his thick Scottish accent but every word he said was dipped in a huge pot of love and desire to know and share the Scriptures with each person he met and taught. The first thing he brought to us in that class was that the Old Testament was written by God. Second thing he told us, the Old Testament is fulfilled by the New. Third, it shows us the covenant made between God and Abraham and eventually the people of Israel. Those three things changed me, these three things should change us.These are fundamental to understanding, knowing and being who we are as Catholics.

Okay first things first before we dive into what it is, lets define two words that are oh so important. Old Testament and testament. The Old Testament is defined as the covenant in which God entered with Abraham and then the people of Israel.  Testament is defined as an agreement or pact between God and man, or a solemn agreement that established a familial bond.

So, God wrote the Old Testament. I hope there was no doubt about this! He wrote it through the Divine Intervention of the Holy Spirit that was then given to the prophets. They then turned around and took what God spoke to them and put it into words. Without them we wouldn’t have the bible! The Old Testament is a true love story of what God’s intention for the Salvation of all was. I mean hey, who didn’t expect a 46 chapter book chronicling their salvation!

Second, the Old Testament is fulfilled by the New and the New is hidden in the Old. God had the sacred authors write these in such a way that it would foreshadow what is to come, and to prepare us for the coming of Jesus. Once we get into the New Testament you will see that it fulfills the Old, the old is incomplete without the New. Many times when reading something from the Old Testament we will see how it was very similar to something in the New Testament. For instance, Genesis 22: 1-19 is the story of the binding of Isaac we can see this as a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

Last but certainly not least the covenant made between God and Abraham and the people of Israel. This one certainly is important because it shows us our pact and covenant we are in now. Abraham made a covenant with God that if Abraham circumcised all those after him they would forever have God with them. He wasn’t telling Abraham this to prove that he was God, but because God is God and doesn’t forgo his word.

Then in Exodus, Moses and the Israelites made a covenant with God saying that they would forever be His people and forever do the works of the Lord. This is of course was after he led them out of Egypt and got them to The Promised Land. Along with the pact of the people that they would forever obey God, he gave us the ten commandments to abide by.

Remember that covenant that was made? Its because God loves us, because he is all mighty, because He is all wise. Those 46 chapters aren’t for nothing, its because he wants what is best for us and to prepare us for the coming of His ever loving Son.