“For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.” (Acts 3:22–24, AV)
While I was pastoring in Portsmouth New Hampshire, our church gave my wife and me a gift to attend a play in Ogunquit Maine. I had never been to a professional play and it was a wonderful experience. We sat down in the audience and the play began. After about 40 minutes or so, the curtains closed and the lights came up. It was the intermission. It signified that the First Act of the play was completed. We walked out of the auditorium and then walked back in for the Second Act.
As we watched the Second Act, the picture of the entire play came into focus. Both acts were vital to understand the complete story. The First Act alone would have left us hanging. The Second Act alone, without the First, would have left us confused as to what was happening and why. Again, to understand the depth of the entire story, we needed to see both acts.
Here, Peter presented Act One and Act Two of the great play of God’s redemptive work. In Act One, He speaks of the proclamation of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures. He indicated that Moses spoke of a prophet that the Lord would raise up who would bring the words of truth. This prophet we understand to be the Messiah, Jesus. He states that whoever would not hear and hearken to the words of Jesus would face destruction, that is eternal punishment. We understand that in contrast to this, those who will hear the words of Jesus and hearken to them will escape the judgment and experience eternal life.
Moreover, Peter indicated that in Act One, all the Old Testament prophets foretold of the days of Act Two when this prophet, Jesus, would come and proclaim the gospel. That is the message of faith, that everyone who would believe in Him would have everlasting life. To understand the beauty of the redemption story, one must understand both acts, the message of the Old Testament and that of the New Testament.
I have heard many people state that they only need the New Testament. Many preachers never or rarely preach on the Old Testament. Many professing Christians never have studied, much less read the entire Old Testament. These who have neglected the Old Testament have tragically missed a wealth of understanding of this beautiful story. It would be like going to see a play and missing Act One. I encourage every believer to search the entire Bible, both Old and New Testaments. Read them and study them. For in both Acts you will be richly blessed.