This question has plagued many Bible students, but the answer is not as hard as it may seem. To answer this question, we first must define what the Old and New Testaments are.
- The Old Testament, known to Jews as the Tanakh, consists of the books of Genesis through Malachi. These books were all written at least 400 years before the time of Christ. They detail the history of Israel as well as God’s promises to that nation.
- The New Testament, however, contains the books of Matthew through Revelation. It details the life and teachings of Christ, as well as the teaching of His apostles.
The difference between the Old and New Testaments – What was Concealed is Revealed
Nowhere is this fact made more clear than in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Listen to the first two verses of Hebrews:
We see from these verses that God has spoken to people throughout history, in many ways. Whether it be through Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, or Jeremiah. Some of these prophets wrote books of the Bible, some didn’t.
But now, in the New Testament era, God has spoken to us through His own Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is the fulfillment of all that the Old Testament was pointing to.
The book of Hebrews speaks about how Christ is the last sacrifice, comparing him to the Old Testament sacrifices. It compares Him to the high priest of the Old Testament, and proclaims that Christ is the final and greatest High Priest.
Basically, Christ is better than Moses, the old sacrifices, and the old priesthood. After His resurrection, Christ reprimanded His disciples for not believing what the prophets of the Old Testament had foretold concerning Him (Lk.24:25-26). Basically, Christ’s atoning death and resurrection were a fulfillment of the Old Testament.
For example, when Christ was tempted in the wilderness, He combated all the temptations of Satan with quotations from the book of Deuteronomy (Mat. 4:1-11).
Written for Whom?
Another difference between the Old and New Testaments is that the Old Testament was written mostly to the nation of Israel, while the New Testament was written to the Church.
The Old Testament prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, for instance, wrote to the nation of Israel warning them of the coming captivity if they did not repent. Much of the New Testament is in the form of letters to individual churches: Romans, I & II Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, etc.
Even though the Old Testament was written mostly to the Jews, it was still written for everyone.
The differences between the Old and New Testaments are not as big as most people think.
What is revealed in the New Testament, was concealed in the Old Testament; the New is the fulfillment of the Old.
Everything in the Old pointed to the ultimate revelation of God: The Lord Jesus Christ.