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Priesthood, book by H. H. Pope Shenouda III

6- God has no variation or shadow of turning


Second objection

Is God of the old testament different to the one of the New Testament?

God has no variation or shadow of turning.

I say this because when we use the Old Testament to prove matters of belief, we are sometimes confronted by people who belittle, and some time despise the Old Testament! This group of people sometimes describe the Old Testament as a rigid law, devoid of mercy and heavenly grace, as we have discussed this issue before here on in other sections. In their disrespect to the Old Testament they attempt to teach that the New Testament has superseded and abolished the Old. Image: Modern Coptic art: Icon of Saint Moses the Prophet, by Bedor Latif and Youssef Nassief صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: فن قبطي معاصر، أيقونة سيدنا موسى النبي - رسم بدور لطيف و يوسف نصيف Image: Modern Coptic art: Icon of Saint Moses the Prophet, by Bedor Latif and Youssef Nassief

صورة في موقع الأنبا تكلا: فن قبطي معاصر، أيقونة سيدنا موسى النبي، الوصايا العشر، العليقة المشتعلة رمز العذراء مريم - رسم بدور لطيف و يوسف نصيف

While the same people who on one hand attack the Old Testament, adorn their publications by the famous verse (2 Tim 3:16) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

It is obvious that their use of such verse is mere rhetoric. And if all Scripture is inspired by God, then why this audacious attacks on the Old Testament?

Has God changed His dealings with His people?

Does He accept mediators in the Old Testament, then changes His stance and reject them in the New? Saint James speaks about this point:

(James 1:17) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.

We recall some of the beautiful words, which our Lord Jesus Himself used when He referred to the Old Testament in the Sermon on the Mount:

(Mat 5:17-19) "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. {18} "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. {19} "Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Thus we can boldly say that not only the Old Testament is not superseded, but as a matter of fact not even a single letter or dot of it could be made devoid.

Questions on the Sabbath, circumcision, feasts… etc.

Perhaps some people may ask, Are we required to observe the Old Testament rules regarding the observance of the Sabbath, circumcision, festivals, blood sacrifices, impurity and purification, which St. Paul referred to as being

(Col 2:17) … a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

I would say to you that we are not required to observe the letter of the Law.

However, some of the Old Testament edicts have not been nullified.

You might then ask: How can they be reconciled in this case?

Let us then consider the following four examples, namely Observing the Sabbath, Circumcision, Feasts and Aaronic Priesthood and Sacrifices.

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