What do The New and Old Testaments Really Mean?

by Joshua Tilghman on December 21, 2014

bibleThere are many misunderstandings about what the Old and New Testaments of the Bible truly represent, even among esoteric thought. This post will address these important compilations from a greater perspective, and what both mean in the Christian Bible.

Once we place these two compilations in context, you’re going to see that everything centers on the symbolic concept of “blood.” The Old Testament focuses on the shedding of blood with animals and the New Testament centers around the shedding of the “blood ­of Christ.” However, the meanings may not have anything to do with what you have been previously taught.

Before we begin, I want you to play Devil’s advocate and place yourself in the shoes of many atheists: why would a God of the universe need blood to be appeased in the first place? And did he really need to sacrifice his own son, and through his son’s literal blood on a heavenly altar (how can a heavenly altar be literal), to be appeased? Traditionalists often argue that it isn’t that God actually needs sacrificial blood, but because the Bible states life is in the blood that blood must be shed in order to redeem life. In other words, life for life. Through this line of reasoning, it’s almost as if it’s meant to be some cosmic balancing act where the physical act of (y) compensates (x). When you see the bigger picture, hopefully you will understand that this line of reasoning is silly. The true answer is so much more fulfilling and wonderful. And logical! And less grotesque! Maybe, just maybe, even an atheist can appreciate the wonderful symbolic meaning when we’re through with this post:)

The Old Testament

The Old Testament embodies the moral law. In context, the moral law is identified with quelling the desires and passions of the lower egoic self. Desires and passions are represented by bulls and goats. The soul must evolve to the point of controlling the desires and passion of man, which is in essence the reason behind the moral law. This is the symbolic reason for the sacrifice of bulls, without blemish, and goats. A bull without blemish is required because the soul must be able to completely control the desires arising from the lower mind, further represented by the unblemished soul that is ready for the New Testament, which is also a better covenant (more on this later). To leave Egypt (the ego) and embark upon the spiritual quest of the Israelite, one had to utterly obey the moral law and code as required by Moses. All the Laws of Moses that we find strange in modern society are symbolic of raising certain soul qualities so that we can be ready for a new and better testament.

Obeying the moral law only gave the potential of the Promise Land (entrance), but never guaranteed the heavenly life of the higher self, which is not only the entrance of the Promised Land but also its inheritance without the giants and Canaanites (aspects of lower nature that still need work). Again, this inheritance comes through the blood sacrifice of Christ. Not literal blood mind you, but symbolic of divine life, which is the God-spark within. Why is this divine life represented by blood? Because life in the plane of duality is only possible through flesh and blood (matter), and it is only through matter that the consciousness and spirit manifest through a body with which to work through. Therefore blood would be an obvious symbolic choice to many ancient religious societies. Remember, we’re talking about a people who raised, slaughtered, and ate the very livestock they grew to survive. The esoteric religious leaders, prophets and seers that wrote the scriptures used ordinary, everyday life experiences and nature to explain man’s conscious development.

The concept of a testament

The idea of the testament represents a symbolic covenant between the higher self and the soul. ­When the process of the ego begins to be sacrificed through the Old Testament (Moral Law), the higher self can imbue the lower self with the qualities of a New Testament (Divine Law of Love), which is a better covenant because it is not a law that one is compelled to follow, but rather a law that one naturally is inclined to follow. The better covenant is represented through the highest ideal, which is the Christ himself, and is but a potential you’ve always had within you to become a son of God as Christ was portrayed to be. Christ is symbolic of the higher self. Christ is the idea behind personal Godhood! Christ shedding his blood is symbolic of the divine act of willful and fulfilling obedience that is the joy of the higher self, which we are all meant to enjoy. Consider the scripture below:

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God? And for this cause He is the mediator of the new testament…”                                                     

                                                                                                                -Hebrews 9:14-15

Notice where the scripture above mentions the purging of your conscience. Could literal blood accomplish this? Of course not. It is true that a son who gave up his life for us would have a nostalgic effect, but it cannot imbue Divine love, changing you from the inside out and raising consciousness. The shedding of the “blood of Christ” is completely symbolic in that the story of the life of a divine being gave up his ego entirely. The focus then lays upon the fact that it isn’t a certain beliefs or religious systems that provides salvation and rest, but it is a change in the level of your consciousness.

Again, both the Old and New Testaments were written using some (but not all) historic fact and natural occurrences to symbolize a spiritual truth about the self. Blood sacrifices were never a requirement by God to be in right standing with him. Consider an earlier scripture from Hebrews about the Old Testament ordinances below;

“The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest; while as yet the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time yet present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices which could not make Him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances…”

                                                                                                                -Hebrews 9: 8-10

I have bolded a few important Hebrew words in the above scripture. The first being figure, which in Greek is parabole, meaning a similitude, parable, fictitious narrative, or adage.

The fictitious, but still divinely inspired, narrative of the Old Testament (Moral Law) cannot purge the conscience of man. It can only curb man’s appetite for desire and put the natural lower nature passions in check until the Christ be born within.

The New Testament

Gaskell’s Dictionary of Scripture and Myth states:

“The Divine Life of the Self (blood of Christ) was offered through the Buddhi (Spirit) in all its purity to the Supreme Will, at the soul’s foundation, in order that the conscience should be cleaned of the taint of coercion, and the Divine love should lead the already disciplined qualities. Thus the Self within—the Divine Indweller—became the mediator and redeemer of the qualities, by means of death in matter which constitutes him the indweller. He entered in once into the ‘holy place’ of the over-soul, and “shed his blood,” that is gave up his life that eternal redemption might accrue to the evolving qualities accepting that life. When the qualities have passed through the stage of moral coercion, they are called upon to enter the stage of liberty and love, and receive the promise of their transmutations on the higher planes.”

Feel free to read the above paragraph a few times to really let it sink in!

I hope I have provided you with a better framework to understand the purpose of both the Old and New Testament from a greater perspective. I have had many questions about this subject, and it was fun to finally get around to writing it.

Remember, all scriptures, whether the Upanishads from the East or the Christian Bible from the West, are known as the Word of God. Not because they are meant to be literal history, but because they are divinely inspired through the intuition of great men and women throughout history who have achieved higher consciousness and wish to show us the blueprints as well. Myth is the very best avenue for expressing higher consciousness simply because consciousness itself is so extraordinary and elusive to the natural understanding and intellect.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert December 27, 2014 at 10:48 am

Josh,

This post clarified for me as a Jew the purpose of the NT introducing a voluntary dimension to righteousness that is not as evident in the OT (Hebrew Scriptures), and confirms the NT as the bona fida “New Covenant (Brit Hadasha)” promised in the OT prophets, that “I will put my law (way) in their hearts”. Jesus promises his disciples during the transition that someday he will call them friends.

Tthe Book of Revelations in the NT when read literally seems harsh and full of judgment until the New Jerusalem is established. Is this a reversion back to “get your dicks in a row or else” which is compulsory instead of voluntary?

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Joshua Tilghman December 27, 2014 at 11:05 am

Robert,

I’m glad this helped. The problem with Revelations is when it is read literally. Everything in Revelations, including the judgments, are part of the enlightening process that happens within the soul.

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Paul December 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

Hi Josh:

I am just now seeing this article and am blown away given the article I just wrote on the “blood of Christ.” It might appear to those who read both articles that there may have been some kind of collaboration on our parts, and for sure there has to be some kind of spiritual connection between our collective efforts, especially given the “blood” references of both articles, but the fact that I knew nothing about this article before now is confirmation that there is a connection in our minds that no force of nature could possibly explain. It is also further corroboration that spiritual life is not about what we “know,” but about what we are.

Simply incredible! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Joshua Tilghman December 30, 2014 at 10:28 am

Paul, I noticed this as I read your article last night as well. That’s funny how that works out. Even though we differ on smaller details, I believe we are very much aligned when it comes to decoding scriptures.

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