The New Year rings in resolutions, fresh starts, and new horizons. Notes of newness resound throughout Israel’s Scriptures, including “new heavens and a new earth” (Isa 65:17), “new wine” (Zech 9:17), and a “new covenant” (Jer 31:31). Jesus echoes such language, declaring, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5). Yet, in the midst of all this newness, one can lose sight of what’s gone before. At a time when some Christians want to “unhitch” from the Old Testament in favor of the New, the Bible emphasizes an ongoing interdependence between things old and new, which should remind followers of Jesus that all the gifts of God, both old and new, are treasures of enduring value.

The Song of Songs provides a poetic template for understanding the importance of treasuring both the old and the new: “The mandrakes give forth fragrance, and beside our doors are all choice fruits, new as well as old (חדשים גם-ישנים; hadashim gam-yeshanim), which I have laid up (צפן; tsaphan) for you, my beloved” (7:13). Elsewhere in Israel’s Wisdom Literature, the term for “laid up” (צפן; tsaphan) denotes the preservation of God-given treasures, including divine commandments and knowledge (e.g., Prov 2:1; 7:1; 10:14; cf. Job 20:26; 23:12). According to the Song of Songs, the new fruit comes alongside the old, but the old is not superseded by the new; instead, both old and new remain treasures of equal worth.

Jesus also understood the sentiment in Song of Songs and echoed it with reference to God’s ongoing teachings, saying to his disciples, “Every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of one’s treasure (θησαυρός; thusaurós) that which is new and old (καινὰ καὶ παλαιά; kainà kaì palaià)” (Matt 13:52). Yeshua refers to the use of “new and old treasure” to explain the proper approach of one who is learned in Scripture and divine teaching; rather than casting aside the old in favor of the new, Jesus-followers should continue to draw on both old and new teaching. As the New Year approaches, let us welcome the gift of newness without forgetting the continuing value of the old.

BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY

9 COMMENTS

  1. So good! To me, doing away with the old is an attempt to separate Father and Son. But we know they are one..the same yesterday, today and forever, cemented by the same Holy Spirit. Out of this almost diabolical shift comes hatred and replacement theology. Blessed to be ingrafted! Thanks

    • Thanks for reading, Susan. You’re right to flag the issues with losing track of the old, particularly replacement theology (which continues to be a major problem, unfortunately). We are glad you enjoyed the article — best to you in the New Year.

  2. As we know “Context is everything” – cultural, historical, linguistic. In this case a context of interlocutor. Here we find Torah-teachers that need to use “old and new treasure” in the Kingdom’s teaching. Talking to John’s disciples, Jesus uses different parabola – new patches working only with new cloth and new wine that works only with new wineskin (Mt 9:16-17).
    So as I see it, in wisdom and understanding we need “whole councel of God” that is OT experience and NT revelation. In practice we need new move of RUAH, and fresh sensitivity for his voice. Am I wrong?

    • Thanks for your comments and question, Krzysztof. You’re right that the work of the Spirit is central to practice. In the Hebrew Bible, the Spirit functions as the engine for practical engagement and action, and also provides wisdom and understanding (e.g., Exodus 31:3). Thus, the Spirit is a part of the “whole counsel of God” alongside the OT/NT Scriptures for teaching and training (Matt 13:52).

    • We are very happy that you’ve joined our discussion forum. Would you believe that these articles are only a taste of what Israel Bible Center has to offer? We also provide comprehensive teaching on a variety of biblical, historical, and cultural topics. You might begin with The Jewish Gospel of Matthew or The Hebrew Psalms: How To Worship God. You’ll be amazed at the Jewish world that awaits you. Don’t delay another minute: enroll now!

  3. In Bible College we were taught that all 66 books of the Bible were equally inspired by God the Holy Spirit – Ruach HaKodesh. We Christians are very indebted to the Jewish people – they gave us the Bible and they gave us Christ the Savior of all people. Blessings

    • God the Holy Spirit? Did they provide scriptural backing for such claims/expressions? The claim of Son of God is not the same as God the Son.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your name here
Words left: 50
Please enter your comment!