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Roberta Merris wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • How is the Church a fulfillment and continuation of the Old Testament of God?


  { How is the Church a fulfillment and continuation of the Old Testament of God? }

Mike replied:

Hi, Roberta —

I'll let my colleagues comment or elaborate on specific areas from what the Catechisms says.

Under: The unity of the Old and New Testaments

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times, (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6,11; Hebrews 10:l; l Peter 3:21) and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. (cf. Mark 12:29-31) Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. (cf. 1 Corinthians 5:6-8; 10:1-11) As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. (cf. St. Augustine, Quaest. in Hept. 2,73:PL 34,623; cf. Dei Verbum 16.)

130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when "God [will] be everything to everyone." (1 Corinthians 15:28) Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God's plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.
Under III. The Meaning And Saving Significance Of The Resurrection

652 Christ's Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. (cf. Matthew 28:6;
Mark 16:7; Luke 24:6-7,26-27,44-48)
The phrase "in accordance with the Scriptures" (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; cf. the Nicene Creed) indicates that
Christ's Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.
Under III. The Holy Spirit And The Church In The Liturgy
The Holy Spirit prepares for the reception of Christ

1093 In the sacramental economy the Holy Spirit fulfills what was prefigured in the Old Covenant. Since Christ's Church was "prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Covenant," (Lumen Gentium 2) the Church's liturgy has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant as integral and irreplaceable, adopting them as her own notably:

  • reading the Old Testament;
  • praying the Psalms;
  • above all, recalling the saving events and significant realities which have found their fulfillment in the mystery of Christ:
    • promise and covenant
    • Exodus and Passover
    • kingdom and temple
    • exile and return.

1094 It is on this harmony of the two Testaments that the Paschal catechesis of the Lord is built, (cf. Dei Verbum 14-16; Luke 24:13-49) and then, that of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. This catechesis unveils what lay hidden under the letter of the Old Testament: the mystery of Christ. It is called "typological" because it reveals the newness of Christ on the basis of the "figures" (types) which announce him in the deeds, words, and symbols of the first covenant. By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled. (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-16) Thus the flood and Noah's ark prefigured salvation by Baptism, (cf. 1 Peter 3:21) as did the cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea. Water from the rock was the figure of the spiritual gifts of Christ, and manna in the desert prefigured the Eucharist, "the true bread from heaven." (John 6:32; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:1-6)

Hope this helps,


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