The God of the Old Testament
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion): “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
Charles Templeton: “The God of the Old Testament is utterly unlike the God believed in by most practicing Christians . . . His justice is, by modern standards, outrageous . . . He is biased, querulous, vindictive, and jealous of his prerogatives.”
Why is God so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament?
Two God Beings
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
John 1:3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
Same collective noun in:
Genesis 1:1, we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
Elohim: uni-plural; a plural noun; ie church, family or tribe
Jesus Christ is called God
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
Hebrews 1:2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
Hebrews 1:10 And: “YOU, LORD, IN THE BEGINNING LAID THE FOUNDATION OF THE EARTH, AND THE HEAVENS ARE THE WORK OF YOUR HANDS.
Christ Confirms This
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Jesus Came to Reveal the Father
Luke 10:22 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.“
No one has seen the Father
John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.
John 5:37 And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.
John 6:46 Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father.
1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea,
1 Corinthians 10:2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea
1 Corinthians 10:3 all ate the same spiritual food,
1 Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:5 But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter [petros; piece of rock; pebble], and on this rock [petra] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
The church was built upon the Rock which is Christ, not the pebble which is Peter.
John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone).
kêph kafe From H3721; a hollow rock: – rock.
In a sense this is what happened in the wilderness with the Israelites
Church was given life by Jesus Christ
Acts 7:38 “This is he who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the Angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, the one who received the living oracles to give to us,
Called out ones
Called out of sin, Egypt
The church consists of the “called out ones”
Called out of the world, called out of sin
To be different; walk in a different way, towards a different destination: life (promised land)
In the Old Testament
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Deuteronomy 32:3 For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.
Numbers 20:8 “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”
Numbers 20:9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him.
Numbers 20:10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?”
Numbers 20:11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank.
Numbers 20:12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”
This Rock represented Jesus Christ unlike the next example.
Exodus 17:5 And the LORD said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go.
Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.” And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
tsûr tsoor From H6696; properly a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally a rock or boulder; also an edge (as precipitous)
Christ and Abraham
Christ was the “I am”
John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
John 8:57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
John 8:59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
John 18:4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?”
John 18:5 They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.“ And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.
John 18:6 Now when He said to them, “I am He,“ they drew back and fell to the ground.
He is not in the original text – this is the reason they drew back, because of the magnitude of what He was saying.
Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Abraham knew who he was dealing with:
Genesis 18:25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Genesis 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High.
Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him and said: “Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth;
Genesis 14:20 And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” And he gave him a tithe of all.
King of Righteousness
Consider that Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.”
Not a good idea to take a name like this unless you are this way
King of Salem / King of Peace
Melchizedek had the title of King of Salem which is “King of Peace.”
This can only be referring to a God
Romans 3:10 As it is written: “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE;
Romans 3:17 AND THE WAY OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him,
Hebrews 7:2 to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all, first being translated “king of righteousness,” and then also king of Salem, meaning “king of peace,”
Hebrews 7:3 without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually.
Therefore He has always existed from eternity! He was not even created, like angels. But He is now eternally self-existing. And that is true only of GOD deity, not humanity!
Not the Father
Melchizedek cannot be God the Father because He was the “priest of that Most High God.”
He was also the “Son of God”
Other Descriptions of the God of the Old Testament
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth,
Numbers 14:18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’
God has executed judgment for sin (Sodom and Gomorrah etc)
He is fair and just
He gives warnings and His truth and time to accept and repent
Redemption is a big part of His plan
And also He has the power over life and death
Other Descriptions of the God of the New Testament
Hebrews 12:5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM;
Hebrews 12:6 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.”
Hebrews 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Hebrews 12:8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
Hebrews 12:10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
This is what He was doing in the Old Testament
Note what else Christ will do in the future
Revelation 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Revelation 1:8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
There is a lake of fire for a reason, it is for those that refuse to live by God’s ways and repent
What does this mean for us today?
God and Jesus Christ do not change
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I do not change….
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
His character is the same in the Old Testament as the New Testament
We must then reconcile what we perceive as harshness with the compassion
Exodus 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.
Who gave the 10 Commandments?
The God of the Old Testament — Jesus Christ
Law is a system of rules that are to govern behavior. What the God of the Old Testament/Jesus Christ wants for us has not changed.