Do we interpret the New Testament by the Old Testament or is it the other way around? You can hear adamant answers for each view but most people would probably give an honest, "I do not know."
Do we have to know? Are we supposed to know? Is it one or the other? Are the OT and the NT really separate or is there a back and forth flow of understanding and insight?
I used to dread reading from Leviticus, not because of its theme of and call for holiness but because I thought it was boring and irrelevant since so much of it pertained to sacrifices which we do not do anymore. But God began to speak to me through this book a number of years ago and now I treasure it. Part of my reading this morning was from Leviticus 21 and, while reading, my head began to fill with other passages and connections that I knew were being put together in my spirit by God. It was not just making sense – it was causing me to worship.
Consider the following and how they are connected: The regulations, etc. of the priests from whom the High Priest was chosen who would go into the Holy of Holies each year and stand before God on behalf of the people; the application of blood from the sacrificed animal onto the altar and the persons seeking forgiveness; God's declaration that "the life is in the blood"; God's command for us to be holy because He is holy; the blood that was applied during the original passover; the danger of the High Priest being unholy or disobeying God while in the Holy of Holies; Jesus' revelation to His disciples during the first Lord's Supper of "this is my body, which is given for you" and "this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood"; John the Baptist's declaration of, "Look! It's the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!"; the veil that separated mankind from God in the Sanctuary and Holy of Holies that only the High Priest could go through; the tearing of the veil, from top to bottom, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, thereby removing the barrier between God and man; that the word "for" in "this cup that is poured out for you" is the word "huper" and it means "over" which itself can have a double meaning ("onto" and "in behalf of"; and Hebrews 4:14-5:10.
I am sure there was even more but it was/is evident to me that God does not set up one testament over the other as if He has two sets of scripture and one is subordinate to the other. We do not have to understand it. It is okay. As my friend and fellow pastor, Brian Kimball, said, "In those days [Bible times] it was perfectly acceptable to say, 'It is a mystery.' Why can't we say that today?"
This I know: What I could grasp caused me to be in awe and to worship God. What was beyond my grasp did the same.