Concerning the Bible (2) (Excerpt I)
The Bible is also called the Old and New Testament. Do you know what “testament” refers to? The “testament” in the “Old Testament” comes from Jehovah’s covenant with the people of Israel when He killed the Egyptians and saved the Israelites from the Pharaoh. Of course, the proof of this covenant was the lamb’s blood daubed on lintels, through which God established a covenant with man, one in which it was said that all those who had lamb’s blood on the top and sides of the doorframe were Israelites, they were God’s chosen people, and they would all be spared by Jehovah (for Jehovah was then about to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and firstborn sheep and cattle). This covenant has two levels of meaning. None of the people or livestock of Egypt would be delivered by Jehovah; He would kill all of their firstborn sons and firstborn sheep and cattle. Thus, in many books of prophecy it was foretold that the Egyptians would be severely chastised as a result of the covenant of Jehovah. This is the first level of meaning. Jehovah killed the firstborn sons of Egypt and all its firstborn livestock, and He spared all the Israelites, which meant that all those who were of the land of Israel were cherished by Jehovah, and would all be spared; He wished to do long-term work in them, and established the covenant with them using lamb’s blood. From then onward, Jehovah would not kill the Israelites, and said that they would forever be His chosen ones. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, He would embark upon His work for the entire Age of Law, He would open up all His laws to the Israelites, and choose among them prophets and judges, and they would be at the center of His work. He made a covenant with them: Unless the age changed, He would work only among the chosen ones. Jehovah’s covenant was immutable, for it was made in blood, and was established with His chosen people. More important, He had chosen an appropriate scope and target through which to embark upon His work for the whole age, and so people saw the covenant as especially important. This is the covenant’s second level of meaning. With the exception of Genesis, which was before the establishment of the covenant, all the other books in the Old Testament record the work among the Israelites after the establishment of the covenant. Of course, there are occasional accounts of the Gentiles, but overall, the Old Testament documents God’s work in Israel. Because of Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites, the books written during the Age of Law are called the “Old Testament.” They are named after Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites.
The New Testament is named after the blood shed by Jesus on the cross and His covenant with all those who believed in Him. Jesus’ covenant was this: People had but to believe in Him for their sins to be forgiven by His bloodshed, and thus they would be saved, and reborn through Him, and would no longer be sinners; people had but to believe in Him to receive His grace, and would not suffer in hell after they died. All of the books written during the Age of Grace came after this covenant, and they all document the work and utterances contained in it. They go no further than the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion or the covenant; they are all books written by the brothers in the Lord who had experiences. Thus, these books are also named after a covenant: They are called the “New Testament.” These two “testaments” include only the Age of Grace and the Age of Law, and have no connection with the final age. Thus, the Bible is of no great use for today’s people of the last days. At most, it serves as a provisional reference, but it basically has little use value.