EWTN Catholic Q&A
Old Testament
Question from linda on 01-16-2013:

I know we are to follow the New Testament. I know there's a New Covenant. Several places in the NT stresses that the Old Covenant is no longer binding. In light of this, what should our view of the Old Testament be? Do we view it merely as historical or do we still abide by its words? I've seen Deuteronomy quoted for some advice but Deuteronomy also says stoning people to death is commanded in certain instances.

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 01-16-2013:

The New Testament fulfills the Old Testament, which means that some realities have passed into obscurity but others remain. Most of the purely ritual aspects have passed, to include what physically defiles a person (blood, discharges from body, contact with dead) but now we recognize that we can be spiritually defiled by sin. In general, many physical realities were intended to manifest spiritual realities: stoning a person to death reveals that for the sin acts, someone should not realize they are supernatural dead; physical defilement suggests that if we are spiritual defiled by sinful acts or circumstaces we cut ourselves off; physical circumcision gives way to spiritual baptism. What does remain, however, are the basic moral laws, since these are based in human nature itself and never change, but rather are continually applied. No doubt this is why the Lord wrote the basic commandments in stone tablets, which symbolizes their permanency.

Thanks, Linda

Father Echert