I personally have not encountered any Christians who downplay the importance of the Old Testament, but I’ve heard and read that some Christians tend to ignore it. I think it is important that I give my own view on the topic of Old Testament vs. New Testament when it comes to understanding prophecy so that readers have a better view of my mindset on things.
I have never viewed the Old Testament as something completely separate from the New Testament. The Bible is the Word of God. Every single word is inerrant and part of the complete Word. The Old Testament is as important as the New Testament because both represent halves of the complete Word of God. In fact, the Old Testament and the New Testament both tell us that every bit of scripture is true and is part of God’s Word:
“The sum of Your Word is true; every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160)
“(34) Jesus answered them, Has it not been written in your Law, “I said, you are gods”? (35) If He called those gods with whom the Word of God was, and the Scripture cannot be broken,” (John 10:34-35)
People who ignore the Old Testament are missing out on a complete understanding of the Word of God. People who ignore the Old Testament when trying to understand end times prophecy are missing out big time. I do not keep official track of time, but I probably spend between 80% and 90% of my time studying Bible prophecy looking at Old Testament passages because that is where a bulk of end time prophecy is located.
- For instance, the Book of Isaiah is one of richest books in the Bible when it comes to end time prophecy. I remember my first summer studying Bible prophecy when I tried to fill out a notebook with passages that I thought had end time implications. The Book of Isaiah filled up the most room in my notebook because I found that a vast majority of the verses in Isaiah concerned the end times.
- The term “Minor Prophet” is a bit misleading because the prophecies given by these prophets are very important. For instance, Zephaniah’s three chapters on the Day of the Lord are vitally important. In addition, Malachi, Joel, and Zechariah also have extremely important chapters and passages that greatly add to our understanding of the end times.
The Book of Revelation is vital to our study of end time prophecy. However, several of the verses in the Book of Revelation allude back to prophecies given in the Old Testament. For instance, the description of the beast of the sea in Revelation 13 alludes back to the beasts of Daniel 7 (with the beast of the sea being the same entity as the fourth beast of Daniel 7). In addition, Revelation 11:4 refers to the Two Witnesses as “the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth”. This description alludes back to the vision in Zechariah Chapter 4.
Even the books not associated with the Major Prophets and Minor Prophets are important to understanding future events. People often view the Book of Psalms as just a song book, but there is a lot of prophecy embedded within it. The most well-known end time prophecy chapter in Psalms is Psalm 83. However, there’s prophecy in Psalm 79, Psalm 102, and Psalm 107. Even before the Book of Psalms there are passages that contain end time-related information or verses that help us understand end time-related information.
I strongly urge you to begin studying the Old Testament prophets if you are interested in Bible prophecy but are unfamiliar with them. Trying to understand Bible prophecy is like trying to put a gigantic puzzle together. Every part of the puzzle needs to be put in place before the puzzle can be completed. Since the Old Testament and New Testament are a part of the Word of God we need pieces from both halves to complete the puzzle. By studying only the New Testament you are attempting to put a giant puzzle together with only the pieces that comprise the puzzle’s outline.
As you study these prophets, try to build a list of passages and verses that you believe could be related to the end times. I believe you will be amazed about how rich the Old Testament is with end time-related verses when you are finished with your initial study of the Old Testament prophets. You will also begin to see how well-connected the prophecies in the Old Testament and New Testament are and how the verses of the Old Testament help to fill in some of the blanks in the prophecies of the New Testament.
If you would like practical tips to help you study Bible prophecy, click this link for my Bible prophecy studying tips.