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The Significance of the Old Testament Stories for the New Testament

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As it is known, the Bible consists of two main parts – the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament is full of the descriptions of various events that took place in the ancient world after God created people. In general, the Old Testament may be regarded as the history of relations primarily between the Jewish people and God. According to the agreement the Jewish people made with God, in exchange for the Promised Land, the Jews confirmed their desire to follow God's commandments. However, people routinely violated the covenant that made God punish the people. Despite the fact that the Old Testament presents the history of relations between the Jewish people and God, its meaning is universal. The main purpose of the Old Testament stories is to show that the sense of human existence is to follow God's commandments. Righteous life in harmony with God's commandments is the main condition for welfare. Thus, the Old Testament stories determine the value of the New Testament teaching and the role of Jesus Christ as a Savior for all mankind. The New Testament is a logical continuation of the Old Testament; its aim is to help people receive God's forgiveness and a new chance for spiritual redemption. In this regard, the Old Testament stories such as the fall of Adam and Eve, Noah's Flood, the flight of the Jews from Egypt and their forty-year wandering in the desert in search of the Promised Land under the leadership of Moses can be seen as ideological prerequisites for the appearance of Jesus Christ. In turn, the mission of Jesus Christ is to atone for man's sins and give humanity the hope for heavenly life full of love, kindness, and mutual assistance.

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The first story, which is of particular importance for understanding the meaning of the appearance of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, is the story of the fall of Adam and Eve. God created the world in six days. In addition to plants and animals, he created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve. He gave them the opportunity to have a heavenly life with only one requirement – not to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Nevertheless, the people disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit. The violation of the first contract between the people and God led to the expulsion of people from paradise. Adam and Eve lost their immortality and were doomed to a hard life of mortal people. Further life of Adam and Eve was associated with human sinfulness and depravity. One of their sons (Cain) killed his brother Abel. All the people became vicious after more than two thousand years since the creation of the world. There was only one righteous man, Noah, and his family. The story of Noah's Flood indicates the particular importance of human spirituality and purity in God's eyes. God was not able to come to terms with human depravity and decided to destroy the entire human race. Noah's family was the only source of the continuation of the human race. However, after a while, Noah’s descendants also began to forget God. Hoping to restore the lost harmony in relations with humanity, God turned his gaze to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. However, again, the Jews betrayed God's ideals and fell into Egyptian slavery. The emergence of Moses is particularly important for understanding the New Testament.

The figure of Moses dominated in the Old Testament stories from the second chapter of Exodus to the last chapter of Deuteronomy. Throughout the Old Testament, he is portrayed as the founder of the religion of Israel, the herald of the law, the organizer of the tribes of Israel in work and prayer, and the inspired leader in the Sinai Testament wandering in the desert until Israel found its promised land. The book of Genesis, which ends with the legend of the death and burial of Joseph, is very different from the next four sections of the Pentateuch – Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Opening the book of Exodus, the reader enters a completely different world. Instead of family legends about the fate of many generations, the reader can observe the life of only one man, Moses. Instead of the series of ordinary everyday circumstances (births, deaths, marriages, quarrels, and reconciliations), there is a story of a thorny path of the chosen, who carried out the mission entrusted to him by God. God, who previously sent people signs, now constantly demonstrates His presence in the world. He gives Moses the ability to make wonders. God speaks through Moses’ mouth as well as punishes and spares through Moses’ hand. The people who did not manifest themselves in the legends of the patriarchs enter the stage of history because Moses creates the nation of an impulsive crowd. The narrative slows down significantly. Moses received the commandments from God, which formed the basis of European morality. In a world where the pagans worshiped idols and human life had no value, he brought a belief in one God and the concept of morality. Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament, which form the Jewish Torah) is called the book of Moses, because, according to the legend, it was he who gave the Book created by God to the mankind. As is it known, the most revered characters of the Old Testament are those, which were considered the forerunners of the coming of Christ. Moses has an exclusive role in this aspect. In the New Testament, Jesus constantly has an internal dialogue with him and repeatedly cites Moses’ commandments. Moses as a lawgiver is invisibly present in the Gospels and even appears in the scene of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor. It was when Christ came to his disciples in his divine form is accompanied by the prophets Moses and Elias.

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To sum up, the stories of the Fall of Adam and Eve, Noah's Flood, and the flight of the Jews from Egypt under the leadership of Moses are particularly important for understanding the reasons for the appearance of Christ in the New Testament. Adam and Eve committed the original sin, and its seal laid upon the whole of mankind. Further sins of the people resulted in God’s desire to destroy them, but He has always shown the willingness to give people a second chance. The exodus of Jews from Egypt is an example of God's wish to give people a chance for spiritual salvation and purification. Faith is particularly important in both the Old and New Testaments. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ also came to save people and give them a chance to gain spiritual purification. Thus, the Old Testament stories can be regarded as having a moral value in terms of human sinfulness, while sinfulness is also seen in the New Testament as something that must be overcome through the faith in God.

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