As mentioned in What is the “New Testament”?, Tertullian was the first to apply the terms “New Testament” to the Newer Messianic Books and “Old Testament” to the collective Hebrew Scriptures. Prior to his new teachings, there was no deep chasm of separation among the various books, nor were the “Newer Books” thought to have anti Semitic overtones.
A “testament” or “covenant” is a contract. The term old testament is only used in 2 Corinthians 3:14. In reality, it only applies to the terms of the contract that Moses received on Mount Sinai, or at most, this unique reference might apply to the Pentateuch—the first five books of the Bible, “when Moses is read”. I usually put the words “old testament”, or as it is in some versions such as the American Standard, “old covenant” in quotes because the term is usually treated as tho it applied to everything contained from Genesis to Malachi, and is used with varying magnitudes of contempt! The hundreds of “old testament” quotations within the “new testament” should be a very strong statement of continuity rather than that of discontinuance! The New Books are the icing on the cake, but you still need the underlying cake.
Doctrinally speaking, I have no use for Tertullian’s “right to interpret Scripture”. For example, he was also the first to coin “Trinitas” or “Trinity”. Yet Trinity is never mentioned in the Bible, nor are the accompanying terms homousis and ousis. Those terms were adopted from the Stoics. Trinities have been found in Pagan writings ever since the tower of Babylon. He also taught that the Scriptures should only be read “at church”, because he assumed that only the Catholic Church has the right to interpret Scripture and establish doctrine.
Tertullian eventually left the orthodoxy and became a Montanist, a very strict sect that emphasized ecstatic prophetic gifts. He wrote some of his most zealous anti heretical (anti sectarian) works after he became a Montanist—a sect that itself was later condemned by the Catholics as heresy.
Here is the verse that provided Tertullian the imaginary reason for the great divisive chasm now imagined in the minds of most people; separating the old “obsolete” Scriptures from the “new” and “relevant” Texts.
2 Corinthians 3:14-15 But they’ve been blinded in their understanding to this very day, when the ancient covenant [“old covenant”] is read, because their veil hasn’t been lifted, nor is it apparent to them that the veil was severed [Matthew 27:51] by the Messiah. 15 To this day when Moses [Torah] is read, the veil is still standing in their minds.—The Gabriel Bible
Paul was not attempting to coin a new phrase for the Hebrew Scriptures!
In a paragraph, here is the account of when the terms of the “old covenant” were accepted:
Exodus 19:1-8 In the third month after the Israelites had left the land of Egypt, on the same day of the month they arrived in the wilderness of Sinai. 2 After they had left from Rephidim and came to the wilderness of Sinai, they camped in the wilderness and there Israel camped before the mountain. 3 Moses went up to Elohim, and Yehovah called to him out of the mountain, “This is what you’ll tell the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites, 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 So if you’ll indeed obey My voice, and obey My Covenant, then you’ll be My own possession from among all people, because all the earth is Mine, 6 and you’ll be My Kingdom of priests, and a kadosh nation.’ This is what you’ll say to the Israelites. 7 Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them everything that Yehovah had commanded him to say. 8 All the people answered together, “We will do everything that Yehovah has spoken.” Moses reported the words of the people to Yehovah.
I envision a very similar situation when Yehovah renews His vows with Israel in a “New (Marriage) Covenant”!
Here is the Biblical phrase for the “Mosaic” covenant:
Hebrews 9:15 This is why He became the Mediator of the New Covenant—so that by His death He could become the ransom payment for those who had sinned under the first covenant, so that those who are called to the eternal inheritance can receive the promise.
Hebrews 9:18 That is why even the first covenant wasn’t put into effect without blood.
All but forgotten is Paul’s admonition to Timothy. He stated, before the “Testimony of Yeshua” (NT) was even finalized, that those “Old Scriptures” were the very means to salvation:
2 Timothy 3:15-17 and that from your childhood, you were taught from the dedicated Writings, ‘things’ that can give you the wisdom to obtain eternal Life, thru faith in Yeshua [Jesus] Messiah. 16 All Scripture [writing] that was written by the spirit is profitable for doctrine for proving convictions, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, 17 so that a person of Aloha [God] can become ‘very adept’ and accomplished in every good work.
It is apparent that the Scriptures leading to eternal Life, mentioned in vs.15-16 above, are referring to the Tanakh, mistakenly called the “Old Testament”, since all 50 other references to Scripture/s, in the Testimony of Yeshua, refer to it, including a twisted interpretation of 2 Peter 3:16. Same goes for “the Word of God”. Not one of the 48 references to “the Word of God” can be shown to refer to the Testimony of Yeshua, look them up!
Augustine, condemning Faustus the Manichaean, for trashing the Hebrew Scriptures—“the Law of God”, said:
“What else do those preachers of another gospel than that which we have received try to do, but to corrupt us from the purity which we preserve for Christ, when they stigmatize the law of God as old, and praise their own falsehoods as new, as if all that is new must be good, and all that is old bad? The Apostle John, however, praises the old commandment [Hebrew Scriptures], and the Apostle Paul bids us avoid novelties in doctrine. As an unworthy son and servant of the Catholic Church, the true bride of the true Christ....”
Again, this is not a blanket term including all of the Hebrew Scriptures. There are no second class Scriptures that need to be given a separate classification of any kind. People have no clue that the “first covenant” had to do with Ancient Israel coming out of Egyptian slavery to be married to their Creator (the New Covenant Chapter—Jeremiah 31, verse 3 in particular) and that when the new covenant is put into effect, as spelled out in great detail in Jeremiah 31, it will be accomplished only when the modern nations of Israel come out of 21st century slavery in the North Country! As it says in this New Covenant chapter:
Jeremiah 31:8 I’ll bring them from the North Country, and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth. Blind and lame people will return as well as expectant mothers and women in labor. A huge crowd will return here.
Jeremiah 23:7-8 That’s why the time will come,” says Yehovah, “When people will no longer say ‘As Yehovah lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.’” 8 Instead, they’ll say, ‘As surely as Yehovah lives, who brought about the ‘’ of the descendants of the nation of Israel from the North Country, and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ Then they’ll live in their own land.
See other “North Country” prophetic references in Jeremiah 6 (esp v.22); Ch 10 (esp. v.22); Ch 46 (esp. v.10); Zechariah 6 (esp. vs.6 & 8).
You may want to check out another Compact Exposé: What is the New Testament?