Creflo Dollar - Understanding the Old and New Testaments
Father, we thank you for this, another opportunity to minister to these your precious sheep. Thank you, Lord, that revelation knowledge will flow freely, uninterrupted and unhindered by any satanic or demonic force. And Father, I pray that you will speak through my vocal cords and think through my mind. None of me and all of you, it's in Jesus' name we pray, and everybody said, "Amen". Praise God.
Well, this morning if you have your Bibles, we're gonna spend a tremendous amount of time in it, because I want to rightly divide the Word of God where the Old Testament and the New Testament is concerned but here's what I want you to get. Here's the twist on this. I wanna spend some time rightly dividing the Old Testament because one of the things we've recently learned is that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are books that were written about the life of Jesus and in the midst of looking at the life of Jesus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John also revealed Jesus in the two ministries that he was operating in.
Number one, the first ministry of Jesus was to reveal to us the real Spirit behind the law of Moses. And then the second ministry of Jesus was to, through prophecy, begin to lay out the plan and to bring us into a new covenant, a grace system, a system where we are now calling God Daddy and not just God. And so, we see then that the New Testament did not go into effect until after the death of Jesus Christ. And so that's important because now you've got to rightly discern between what happened in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John where Jesus was fulfilling the law and then also laying out that new way of living, and you've got to rightly divide that with the beginning of the new covenant, that new way of grace that didn't happen until after he died. And so, we're gonna do something similar where the Old Testament is concerned. We wanna rightly divide it to show you that there are some things that happened in the Old Testament that we need to make clear distinction on.
Now, somebody says, "Well, why are you teaching on this"? Because I'm so fed up with people picking Scriptures out of the Bible and interpreting those Scriptures the wrong way. And it's misleading people. They just go in and, like they're sticking their hands in a bucket with a bunch of Scriptures in it and just pull one out and then telling everybody that that's the truth. And what I want you to get a hold of is what is true under the law or what is true under the new covenant, may not be the same truth. In other words, what was true under the law of Moses may not be true under the grace of God or the new covenant. What was true under certain things in the old covenant may not be what is still true under the new covenant.
So if you don't know that and if you don't know how to rightly divide that, you could be going to the old covenant, picking something out and trying to teach it to new covenant people and it's no longer the truth under the new covenant where it was the truth under the old covenant. And besides all of that, when we do that, when we try to operate in something that you found in the Old Testament and try to make it true in the New Testament, then you don't get any results, well, that's what hurts my heart, is that people are going around and they're pulling the wrong thing out and trying to stand on it and it's been marked obsolete. It's like trying to use a canceled credit card. You try to go in and you try to use that card to exchange or to make an exchange or a purchase and it's obsolete. It's no longer working. And so it's the same thing. You go to the Old Testament, you try to take something and use it today and it's no longer working. That account number's been canceled. And so transactions can't take place.
So this is why I'm doing this today. So pray for me that God will give me the correct way to articulate it and the correct way to teach this and I pray that it will be a blessing to you. Now, let's begin in Luke chapter 16, verse 16, and for the first 30 minutes we're just gonna look at the Word. Just pay attention to what it says. Now you're gonna have to let go of what your Aunt Jenny told you, what Pookie and 'em told you. If we are Christians and we say we believe the Word of God, then bless God, let's do it. Let's find out what's in the Word of God and let's believe the Word of God. Luke chapter 16 and verse 16. Now, so we're talking about understanding and rightly dividing the Old Testament. So the whole of the Bible is divided into two parts. We know that. The whole of the Bible, two major parts. It's divided in the Old Testament or covenant and the New Testament or covenant. Now, the Old Testament, according to the Bible, is made up of the law and the prophets.
Now, I used to remember hearing that said when I was in my Methodist church growing up: the law and the prophets. And nobody really offered to me an explanation of what that meant. But the whole of the Old Testament is divided up with the law and it's made up of the law and the prophets. Now, look at Luke 16:16. I just want you to know I'm not just, you know, sitting up here, running my mouth. Everything I'm sharing with you today comes from the Word of God. And we've got to see where it fits in our life. So wake up, go get you some coffee. I gotta take you to school for a minute before we get to shouting and jerking and feeling an unction. Let's find out what this Word says. Luke 16:16, he says: "The law and the prophets were until John". Now, that's a very important statement. "Since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it".
Now, a couple of things we see here. "The law and the prophets were until John". So it tells us that the law and the prophets are gonna go all the way up to John the Baptist. He's referring to John the Baptist. Now, the Spirit of God calls the combination of the whole, the whole of the Old Testament, the law and the prophets. The whole of the Old Testament is called the law and the prophets. And we know, of course, that Moses was the one responsible for the law. But let's go ahead and look at it anyway. John chapter 1 and verse 17. John chapter 1 and verse 17. Notice what he says: "For the law was given by," who? "By Moses". So Moses is responsible for the law. He's responsible for the law part of the Old Testament. And we know that it came by Moses who is or was considered the law-giver. But now Joshua gives us a little bit more information about Moses and the law.
Look at Joshua chapter 23. Joshua chapter 23 and verse 6. I thought this was interesting that this would be so clearly seen in the Bible so that when we begin to look at this and begin to understand this, that we see what Joshua said about Moses, the law-giver. Joshua chapter 23 and verse 6. If you were here, I would say, "If you're there, say, 'Amen.'" Now, look at verse 6 here. Now, again, we're sticking with what's in the Bible. He says, "But ye therefore very courageous, be ye therefore," he said. "Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written," watch this, "in the book of the law of Moses". "In the book of the law of Moses".
So Joshua called the books Moses wrote as the law, he calls it the book of the law. Moses is responsible for the book of the law. So now, let's discover the books of the law that Moses was responsible for because some Christians consider when you say "the law," they think the whole Old Testament. So let's identify, specifically, the books that Moses wrote that Joshua called the books of the law. So what books are these? They are the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. So the books of the law cover Exodus to Deuteronomy.
Now, you might ask, "Well, what about Genesis? Moses wrote that". Yeah, Genesis was written before the law came into being. The law was given in Exodus. Genesis was a generation that existed before the law. In fact, that generation was called the generation of conscience. And so it's not considered to be a part of the books of the law because it was a book that dealt with the generation before the law and the book of Genesis was referred to as the generation of the conscience. So the specific books that Moses wrote, the specific books that dealt with the law of Moses, are the ones in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Those four books are referred to as the books of the law. Genesis is not included in the law. Genesis is a book of generations and that generation was called the generation of conscious.
Now, but then the book of the law started, we know, it started in Exodus because it is in this book that God made the covenant with Israel. It was in this book of Exodus that God declared things with Israel. And, in fact, you can go to Hebrews chapter 8 and you can see this. In Hebrews chapter 8, he makes it very clear that, verse 8, he says this. He says: "For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah". Now, he's talking about making a new covenant. What was the old covenant? The old covenant was in Exodus to Deuteronomy. It was the covenant of the law that he made with the house of Israel. He says: "Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers," again, it is referring to the book of the law, the covenant of the law, "when I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not".
And so it is in the book of Exodus that God made the covenant which the law was given to Israel. Now, let's go back to Luke 16 and 16, and let's look at something here now. Again, the second part of the Old Testament, the second part of the Old Testament, is called the prophets. The first part of the Old Testament is called the law. The second part of the Old Testament is called the prophets or the book of the prophets. And that's what he said here. The law and the prophets together make up the whole of the Old Testament. Now, the books of the prophets, they go from the book of Judges to Malachi. The book of the prophets go from Judges to Malachi, through the book of Malachi. So according to God, the Old Testament is a combination of the books of Moses, Exodus to Deuteronomy, and the prophets, Judges to Malachi.
Now, I got to tell you something. I really wish somebody would have told me this when I became a Christian. I didn't know that, and so I didn't know how to rightly divide. I was just used to going to the Bible, flipping it, "Oh, here's a Scripture," and then I'd try to make it fit with my life today. So now listen to me very carefully. This is paramount that we see this and understand this. The law, book of Moses, I'm just gonna be repetitive for a moment, make sure you got it. The law, the book of Moses, and the prophets, is the whole of the Old Testament were operated until the time of John the Baptist.
Now look what he says there in Luke 16:16: "The law and the prophets were until John". So the law and the prophets, the Old Testament, was sanctioned or operated up until the time of John the Baptist. So John the Baptist was the last prophet. And at that particular point, then it should not be operating anymore. I mean, look at what it says. The law and the prophets were until John the Baptist. So he gave a time that it would be no more, okay? So he says: Up until John the Baptist, all that man had to live and to operate by or under was the law and the prophets. That's all it, every man on the earth, the only thing they had to operate by was the law and the prophets. The prophets. And the prophets were saying, and you know, what they were ministering and what was going on. That's what everybody had to live by. There was no new covenant at that time. Jesus had not yet manifested at that time.
So all a person knew about God and all of a standard that they would know about God and heaven was a result of that Old Testament. So all of the operations of the law and the prophets stopped on, or let me say it like this. All of the operations of the law and the prophets ended with John the Baptist. The Old Testament ended with John the Baptist. All of the law and the prophet ended with John the Baptist. Oh my God.
Now, you know, I'm gonna get to it but somebody's probably saying, right now, "Yeah but what does that mean? I can do anything I wanna do"? Well, let's look at something right quick. Let's go to Matthew chapter 11. Matthew chapter 11. And when you get to Matthew chapter 11, let's look at verse 13, all right? I wanna reiterate this. Matthew 11:13 says: "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John". "All the prophets and the law prophesied until John". So that was the limitation of the Old Testament. It stopped with John. Jesus speaking, declares this: that "all the prophets and the law prophesied until John," meaning the operation of the things the law and the prophets were saying or has said, stopped at John the Baptist.
Now, I'm telling you, this is crucial information. Hang in there with me, now. I'm not just, you know, trying to turn this into a seminary school. I'm trying to get you to understand, first of all, understand what's going on and then show you why you have to understand. You'd be amazed at some of the things that we have allowed happen in our lives because we lack this understanding. So once again, the books of the prophets was from Judges to what? To Malachi. Now, when we talk about the prophets, it includes personalities like Samuel and what he wrote, Nehemiah, Jeremiah, David, Ezekiel, Elijah, Elisha, it refers to Israel, Isaiah, Hosea, Obadiah, and it just goes on and on, all of those prophets.
Now, look at what the Holy Ghost says about their operation now that Jesus has come. Now that Jesus has come, now what does the Bible say about their operation? Look at Hebrews chapter 1. Hebrews chapter 1 and let's look at 1 through 2. Hebrews chapter 1, 1 through 2. Now, pay attention to this. Look at this: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets". So in times past. This is what he did in times past. He spoke to the fathers by the prophets. Now, watch the change. "Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son". In times past he spoke through the prophets, but in today's time, right now, he speaks to us "by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he's made the worlds".
Now, why is this important? Because some people have more confidence in what a prophet has to say to you and don't even understand that God's not speaking through a prophet anymore, like he's speaking through Jesus. Now, a prophet today, yeah, I'm not saying there's no such thing as prophets today. I'm saying that God's gonna lead and guide you through his Son Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit, whereas before, a lot of the guidance was provided through the prophets. Now, today when somebody prophesies, they're gonna prophesy something that will give you comfort and exhortation and direction, okay? But you've got to understand there's a distinction now between what the Bible says... spake in times past unto the fathers, how? He did it by the prophets. But he says, today, he speaks to us by and through his sons, so there's a change.
Now, he's saying, "Pay attention to Jesus," okay? And some of us are not paying attention to Jesus. We're looking for God to speak to us through a prophet like he did in the Old Testament. And there are churches today that still, they're still thinking that the only way you can hear from God is through them, when God wants to speak by his Son to you. Listen to me carefully because we've got to know how to hear from God. We've got to know how to hear from God. So the fathers, that's the saints of old, all those who lived under the Old Testament, that's what he was referring to, all those who lived under the Old Testament. Whatever God says to us now, it has to be through the person of Jesus Christ. Whatever God says to us is through the person of Jesus Christ.
All right, I got to show you a Scripture. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 6. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 6. Are you with me? I know the couch is comfortable, I know you might have just finished eating your waffle. Stay here, stay here, stay here, stay here. 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and 6. He says, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined," where? "In our hearts," why? "To give the light of the knowledge," watch this, "of the glory of God," and how's he gonna give us the light of the knowledge, the knowledge of the glory of God? He says, "I'm gonna do it in the face of Jesus Christ". I'm gonna give you the knowledge through the face of Jesus Christ, according to the Scripture. Look at what he says now: "To give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". "In the face of Jesus Christ".
So God now speaks to the new creation in Christ Jesus in the face of Jesus Christ. Now what does that mean? God doesn't speak anymore to his children in the face of Moses, he doesn't speak anymore to his children in the face of David. He doesn't speak anymore to his children in the face of Elijah. In this New Testament, God only speaks to believers in Christ in the face and in the person of Jesus Christ. God talks to believers now as though he is talking to Jesus Christ. God is talking to believers as though he is talking to Jesus Christ, whoo.
All right, now, watch this. Why does God talk to believers as though he is speaking to Jesus Christ? "Show me the Scripture, Pastor. You said you was gonna show me everything". Look at Acts chapter 17 and verse 28. Acts 17 and 28. Watch carefully. "For in Jesus we live". Oh, so if he gonna speak to me and I live in Jesus, he gotta speak to Jesus. "In Jesus we live, and we," what? "Move". And we what? "We have our being; as certain also of your poets have said, for we are also his offspring".
So for God to talk to us, therefore it has to be through the one we live in. If God's gonna talk to us, he's gonna talk through the one that we live in. Those of you who are born again, you are in Christ, you live in Christ, and so God's gonna talk to us in the face of Jesus Christ, that's the one we live in and, praise God, because of that, you've got to understand that once you are born again, it's no longer about you. It's in him we live. It's in him we move. It's in him we have our being. And if we believe that we're in him, then God's gonna speak to us in the face of Jesus and we get the message 'cause we are in him.