From “Feast of Tabernacles,” Chapter 1- Continued
HOW THE APOSTLES ESTABLISHED CHURCH TRUTH
Many, many more scriptures could be quoted to confirm what we have been saying. But perhaps the most conclusive evidence of all is the fact that the apostles, in their writings, refer constantly to the Old Testament to prove the truths they are declaring to the Church, and make innumerable quotations from all portions of the Law and the Prophets to confirm their doctrines of Christ and the Church. Nor do they make any apologies whatsoever, or even intimate that they are taking an Old Testament Scripture out of its context. Therefore if it should seem strange to some that we should quote from the Law and the Prophets to confirm some spiritual truth concerning the Body of Christ–let the reader take careful note when reading the New Testament, as to how the apostles applied the Old Testament to the Church which Christ built, and applied to spiritual Israel what the prophets originally prophesied concerning natural Israel.
THE TRUE ISRAEL
The whole New Testament is literally filled with direct quotations from the Old, by way of establishing Church truth, and the saints of God as the true Israel. Notice this remarkable passage in Romans: “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles. As he saith also in Osee [Hosea], I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Rom. 9:24-26). Paul has just referred to Jews and Gentiles alike as being the “vessels of glory,” and then he quoted this passage from Hosea to prove what he said. Bear in mind that Paul referred to them as the “vessels of glory” taken from Jew and Gentile alike. Then let us refer to the passage he quoted from in Hosea. Here we discover that the people Hosea wrote about constituted the true Israel. Without the further revelation given to the apostle Paul, one would never have discerned that Hosea was actually including the Gentiles in his prophecy concerning Israel’s blessedness. First of all he declares God’s displeasure with Israel, and affirms that God will not be their God: “Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.” That seems to be conclusive: natural Israel is rejected, and they are no longer God’s people. However, in the very next verse the prophet declares: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered: and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” (See Hos. 1:9, 10). How could Hosea declare Israel had been rejected in vs. 9, then in vs. 10 affirm that the children of Israel should become as the sand of the sea? The apostle Paul quotes this passage from Hosea, and explains why the apparent contradiction. The answer is clear: God had now received the Gentiles into the Olive Tree of Israel. “Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles… As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people…” This clearly explains why Israel could be rejected on the one hand, and at the same time become as measureless as the sands of the sea. The natural branches were broken off, but spiritual branches were grafted in from the Gentile wild-olive–and the tree of Israel retained its glory. In fact, it became even more glorious as a result of Israel’s rejection–it brought to pass even “the reconciling of the world.” (Rom. 11:15). GHW
Research shows there are 280+ direct quotations, references and elusions to Old Testament scriptures in the New Testament. Of course, we must remember, as the New Testament was being written, there was little thought that it would be structured as it was and titled “The New Testament” for future generations of readers. These were simply historical accounts and letters to churches and individuals. The writers were using scriptures they were familiar with to construct the whole of scripture we are familiar with. Although the canonized books of the New Testament were written prior to 120 A.D. it took about 300 more years for the Western Church to fully accept our current collection of 27 New Testament books.
A profitable way to study any quotation, reference, or elusion from the Old Testament found in the New Testament is to look them up. This will give you not only an historic perspective but will usually add some dimension of truth as to why they are being used by the New Testament writers. Of course, as we have said before, the Holy Spirit has breathed on and inspired these writers and writings. He is the chief editor of all scripture and must be our authoritative source of revelation.