After spending over three years with His handpicked disciples, Jesus willingly laid down His life, rose from the dead, and before returning to the Father He spent His last 40 days teaching them about the Kingdom of God.
“He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.”
(Acts 1:3 NIV)
Why Would This Be “New”?
The Kingdom of God was not a new concept to the Jewish disciples. But a Kingdom where the King would actually rule from inside the hearts and the mortal bodies of His people? Now that was a new concept. But should it have been “new” to them?
This understanding of the “inside out” Kingdom of God, of how the King is going to live and rule within the hearts of believers, should not have been a new idea to the 12. The Old Testament fully explained the coming of the New Covenant and how it would be implemented. (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel…just to name a few.)
Even To This Day…A Veil
But, because of their upbringing within the Second Temple Jewish community of the early first century, they had a “veil” over their eyes when they read the Old Testament promises about the “New Way” that was coming. This is Paul’s explanation:
“…their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts”. (2 Cor 3:14-15 NIV)
Sadly, due to a great lack of teaching today about how to view the Old Testament through its fulfillment in the New Covenant, we must agree with Paul, “Even to this day there is a veil that clouds our thinking when we read the Old Testament”.
Looking Incorrectly to Old Testament Models
The way we view the Father, how we pray, do spiritual warfare, relate to authority and church leadership, view modern day prophets, and many other important issues, are skewed because they are all too frequently based on Old Testament models without seeing that they have been altered or completed by their fulfillment in Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit.
As a result of not seeing the Old Testament as we should, we tend to do things that cost us far too much time, energy, and money using Old Testament models that produce little or no lasting fruit. Why not? Because we don’t read the Old Testament the way the apostles read it.
I’ve done it, many times. I did it sincerely, with the best of motives. But I was wrong. And I’m still learning how to see the value of the Old Testament on this side of the cross, through “New Covenant Eyes.”
Jesus Understands Our Challenge
Jesus understood the difficulty His disciples would face after being taught all their lives to see the Old Covenant and the Scripture that explains it through the eyes of the rabbis. To help them change their view of God’s original intention and how it was being implemented with them, right then, He spent the next 40 days teaching them to see what Moses and ALL the Prophets truly meant.
“He said to them, ‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:25-27 NIV)
Today, many sincere believers are still locked into the same distorted view of the Old Testament and, unfortunately, there is a genuine lack of teaching on this critical subject. We must learn to read the Old Testament correctly because it is still the Word of God. However, according to Jesus and the epistle writers, the Old Testament should be read very differently than the way we read the New. Though it was real and literal for those alive in the Old, it’s shadows, types, and metaphors for us in the New. We must learn to read the Old through “New” eyes.
-> “These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in
Christ.” (Col 2:17-18 NIV)
-> “only a shadow…not the realities themselves.” (Heb 10:1 NIV)
-> “a copy and shadow…” (Heb 8:5 NIV)
The challenge to help people learn to “read the Old Testament with New Covenant Eyes” is our primary mission. Our legacy partners are making it possible for us to invest our time and money in gathering and creating New Covenant resources and build a digital library to assist hungry, searching people around the world. This is the legacy Linda and I are leaving behind.
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Mark Drake is an internationally known author, teacher and leader. He focuses on equipping leaders around the world in New Covenant Grace.