Unfortunately, too many Christians have allowed themselves to harbor extreme views with regard to the role which they permit the Old Testament to play in their faith. They either ignore it and dismiss any relevance it may have to their Christian walk, or they embrace its provisions as being still binding on them. As I have noted in previous posts, although Herbert Armstrong was wrong to assert that Christians were obligated to observe some of the provisions of Torah, he was absolutely right to assert that too many Christians have ignored the roots of their faith and deprived themselves of a deeper understanding of their Savior and his work by doing so.
In the "Answers" section of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website, the question is posed: Why do Christians ignore the Old Testament? The BGEA response begins by asserting that they really embrace and enjoy the Psalms and the Proverbs, but the very next paragraph acknowledges that the question is a valid one. We read there: "Nevertheless, I suspect you’re right, up to a point; much of the Old Testament probably does get ignored — and that’s unfortunate, for God has many riches to share with us in its pages. The early chapters of Genesis, for example, set the stage for everything that follows, including our need for redemption. The prophets and historical books demonstrate how God deals with the human race. The Bible says, 'These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us' (1 Corinthians 10:11)." Unfortunately, when we look closely at this acknowledgment that Christians should be more interested in these writings, we notice that most of Torah is excluded (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy).
Likewise, on the What Christians Want To Know website, the article The Importance of The Old Testament for the Christian Faith informs us that "The Old Testament is absolutely essential to having a true understanding of the Bible and God’s unfolding of the greatest love story of all time. It is filled with many wonderful stories and characters. The Old Testament is chalk full of prophecies that were either fulfilled in the Old or the New Testament." The author (Derek Hill) then proceeds to note many of the "role models" we find in those writings (like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, etc.). Next, Hill draws our attention to many of the prophecies about the Messiah which were fulfilled by Jesus. Once again, however, a large portion of Torah is ignored.
Even so, there are a few bright spots out there. On The Gospel Coalition's website, we find the article Ten Reasons the Old Testament Is Important for Christians. According to author, Jason Derouchie, the Old Testament is important because: 1) It was Jesus' only Scripture and makes up three-fourths of our Bible, 2) It substantially influences our understanding of key teachings, 3) We meet the same God there, 4) It announces the Good News/Gospel message, 5) It has much to teach us about LOVE, 6) Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets, 7) Jesus said that it points to him, 8) It is dangerous not to declare the whole counsel of God, 9) The authors of the New Testament said that the OT had been written for Christians, and 10) Paul commanded church leaders to preach it. In my opinion, this begins to get at the real significance that these writings SHOULD have for Christians.
In my humble opinion, we (Christians) must never forget that Jesus and his apostles were Torah observant Jews. Indeed, I think that it is absolutely essential that we understand that ALL of the rituals, sacrifices/offerings, and commandments of Torah pointed to Jesus Christ and his work. Moreover, Jesus Christ summarized Torah for Christians by identifying two of its 613 commandments as comprehending the WHOLE legislation!
We must also never forget that these were the ONLY Scriptures available to Jesus and his disciples - there was NO New Testament available during their lifetimes/ministries! Over and over again, we read in the writings of the NT how Jesus fulfilled this or that prophecy from the OT. In the Gospel of Luke, we are informed that Jesus began with Moses "and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." (24:27) Later, in the same account, we read that Jesus told his disciples "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." (Verse 44) Likewise, when Paul was in Rome, the book of Acts informs us that "When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening, he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets." (28:23)
Hence, while Christians are no longer obligated to observe all of the dos and don'ts of Torah, those writings still have much to teach us about our Savior and what he has done for us. In the epistle to the Colossians, the regulations surrounding food, drink, festivals, new moons, and Sabbaths are referred to as shadows of what was to come, and that their reality is found in Jesus Christ. This is the proper role of the Hebrew Scriptures to the Christian - the writings which we refer to as the Old Testament!