You know, before I started reading the Bible for myself, it was easy for me to believe what others said about it. I’ve heard it said that the God of the Old Testament was harsher than Jesus, the God of the New Testament. Examples were given as to how God struck down people in the Old Testament for their disobedience but how Jesus showed compassion for people in their disobedience.
For example, God struck and killed Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6 for touching the ark of the covenant. Uzzah was just trying to keep the ark from falling… but God killed him when he touched it. Or how God killed Onan in Genesis 38 because Onan refused to impregnate Tamar. These acts of God are viewed as harsh.
However, the acts of Jesus seem to be more lenient. For example, when the woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought before Him, He didn’t command her death. Instead, He let her off the hook and asked her to go and sin no more. Jesus also showed compassion when He wept after witnessing the lament of Lazarus’s family. Christ also was grieving when He fed the 5,000. He went away for solitude but performed the miracle anyway because He was “moved to compassion” as stated in Matthew 9:36.
So, what gives? Is the God of the Old Testament harsh and is Jesus more lenient? Do we see two different personalities? If they are different, are they really the same God? Well, after I read the Bible for myself, I would have to disagree with those who say they are different in disposition. In fact, I found the God of the Old Testament to be exceedingly lenient on more than one occasion. And I also found that Christ isn’t as lenient as society has portrayed Him.
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers— would you now return to me?” declares the Lord.
Here the God of the Old Testament is speaking of how the sin of the children of Israel made them nothing short of a prostitute. Yet, God still wanted them. This is like if a man’s wife goes about sleeping around—being a whore. Yet, that man still wanting to be with her. Is this not compassion illustrated by the God of the Old Testament? Not only did God want them to turn back to Him, but He also promised prosperity for them if they did.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God promised plans of prosperity to those who were running around as whores. Again, that’s as if a husband decides to take his whorish wife back and lavish her diamonds or a honeymoon vacation. Most men would leave that woman to the streets. But if for whatever reason he decided to take her back, he most definitely wouldn’t lavish her with gifts. Yet, God wanted Israel back… not without punishment for their wrongdoings first, but He wanted them back. Here’s another example of the lenience of the God of the Old Testament.
The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times—
In this instance, God decided to forgive the Israelites after they disobeyed Him not once, not twice, but ten times! So, what are we seeing here? It looks to me that the God of the Old Testament is in fact compassionate and lenient. However, He reigned judgement upon those who stood in disobedience.
That’s why Onan was killed and the man who touched the ark was killed. The ark was considered holy, and God commanded that the ark be transported in a certain manner so that it could not be touched. But because of disobedience and a mishandling to what God considered sacred, it resulted in death. Onan also directly disobeyed the command of God.
Now, let’s look at the God of the New Testament, Jesus. Although, there is no instance that I’ve read thus far where Jesus killed anyone for disobedience, Christ valued what was deemed holy. In Matthew 21, we see Christ flipped over tables because members used the temple to sell merchandise. Christ also spoke of harsh realities for those who were hypocrites or in sin. He even spoke of hell.
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?
The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Okay, so you may be thinking, Christ spoke harshly but He never acted harshly. So, He’s not the same as the God of the Old Testament. But oh, contra! The problem with that way of thinking is to assume that Christ is done with His actions… but He is not. Listen to the prophetic words of Jesus found in Revelation. Revelation… as in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation reveals the next acts of Jesus. So, if you don’t think Jesus is the same God of the Old Testament because He didn’t strike people down… then look at what He will do in the future.
He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
Also look at what is said of Christ when He returns in this verse.
… This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might
(2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
Umm, looks like a different Jesus, huh? Looks more like the God of the Old Testament, no? Okay, so let me drive this point home so you can go on about your day. When we look at the God of the Old Testament, we see a loving compassionate God who executed judgment when it was time. And when we look at the God of the New Testament, we see a God who is also loving and compassionate. A God who warned of executing judgement in the future.
We see the wrath and harshness of the Old Testament God as a warning of the harshness that will come our way if we don’t have it together before time is up. We don’t see a different God in the Old Testament. We see a foreshadowing. We see a lion and a lamb. We see grace and judgement.
The combination of the Old and New Testaments simply reveals a broader picture of God’s personality. He is loving. He is sweet. He is compassionate. He is slow to wrath (Psalms 103)… but He does wrath. Aren’t we the same? Aren’t we multi-faceted? Well, we get it from our Father for we are created in His image.
But to seal the deal on this whole ordeal, we can simply look at the language God used in the Old Testament and the language used in the New Testament. It is the same language.
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.
The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
In both instances, both Gods are described as “I AM”. In both instances, the appearance of God is similar. Let's not forget in the beginning God said let "us" make man in "our" image. Who else was in the picture with God in the beginning? The same one who created with Him in the beginning.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made..... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
(John 1:1-3 and 14)
What we have here is the same God from the very beginning manifested in 3 different ways. We have the same God showing both wrath and compassion. We see the same God in God-form and in human-form. We have the same language used to describe both Gods. And all of this information is coming out of the same Bible.
Conclusion: Same Language. Same Bible. Same God.
I've nothing else to say on this subject. If you can't see that Christ is God it's because you aren't operating in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). We cannot add to the Bible and we cannot take away from it. So, when we look at the totality of the Bible, there should be no other conclusion than Jesus is Lord. And if you can't say it, I'll say it for you,
Jesus is Lord!!!
Okay, you guys, I'm out. See you next week. Have a blessed day and week. May God bless you and keep you.
Quin Arrington's debut book "And Then You Shall Have Good Success: Attaining Good Success God's Way" is now available on Amazon. If you are interested in purchasing, the link is listed below.