One God Or More?
One cannot talk about Christianity today without some mention over the apparent change in deities between the Old Testament and the New Testament.
In the Old Testament – God, some say, is all about wrath, and anger, smiting, war-mongering, killing, flooding, setting on fire, sending plagues…you get the picture.
In the New Testament we are taught that if we know Jesus, we know God. A God who does not condemn, nor throw the first stones. A God of acceptance, mercy, forgiveness, loving-kindness, compassion, healing, patience…Jesus, who said that if we have seen Him, if we know Him, we have seen God and know God.
So which God do we believe in?
Who Does Jesus Say He Is?
“Your father Abraham rejoiced as he looked forward to my coming. He saw it and was glad.” The people said, “You aren’t even fifty years old. How can you say you have seen Abraham?” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!”
Here Jesus identifies Himself using the Name of God as given to Moses in the Old Testament – I AM THAT I AM. One might almost say that the name is a foreshadowing, God telling Moses that the person who calls himself by that name, will be Himself in human flesh. Jesus uses the term I AM to describe Himself nineteen times in the New Testament.
At one point in His ministry, children were shouting to Him in the courtyard and the chief priests and teachers became outraged at His acceptance of their worship.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants you Lord, have called forth your praise?”
Here Jesus refers to Psalm 8 and applies it to Himself. When the young children praise Him, He says they are praising God.
So what about all the wrath in the Old Testament?
Good question. One must remember that in the Old Testament that God has CHOSEN a single race as his people. He zealously protected them. Just as He zealously protects Christians from the New Testament onward.
We must also remember that the Hebrews of the OT lived a harsh life. A harsh life under harsh circumstances. It was a brutal world with cannibals to the right of them, slavers to the left of them, people who would cast their living children into bonfires to appease idols, and people who would kill them just for what they had.
God is not a respecter of persons. Look, He sent His only begotten Son to suffer horribly, in humiliation, and horribly, in our place.
A world out of control. A world without God. A world where man gets his way, if he knows how, and can.
But the New Testament isn’t full of wrath is it?
Let’s look at something Jesus says, something most people don’t realize He said. It is a parable, sometimes referred to as the Parable of the Talents. From Luke 19 – Jesus talks about a nobleman who goes to a far country in order to obtain a kingdom. But the people there don’t want him to be king. He then tells ten of his servants to conduct his business there until he can arrive and take possession of his kingdom, and gives them ten talents. Now some invest it and make more money with the talents. Some don’t and are chastised for not making use of what the master had given them. But when it comes to the people who don’t want him to be king…
“But as for these who are My enemies, those who do not want Me to reign over them, line them up before Me and slaughter them!”
Did you know Jesus said that? The whole parable is about Him coming to claim His kingdom, giving gifts to all the Christians for them to use until He arrives. Finally, about the ultimate fate of those who do not welcome Him.
Who Does Jehovah Say He Is?
We all know the Christmas preamble –
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Jehovah speaking through his prophet Isaiah concerning the coming of the Messiah.
Jehovah Himself declares that the Messiah will be none other than Himself, since two of the names are Mighty God, and Everlasting Father. Names reserved only for God.
But even more compelling is when Jehovah speaks through the prophet Zechariah about the torture and death the Messiah would undergo.
“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: AND THEY SHALL LOOK UPON ME WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”
God, Jehovah, Yahweh, speaking here says it will be He Himself, clothed in flesh, who is pierced on the cross.
Jesus said “I and my Father are one, if you have seen me you have seen the Father.”
There is only one God in both Old and New Testaments, and His name is Jesus.
There are many other times that Jesus claims to be God. Not just a god, but THE God of the Old Testament.
The Old Testament and New Testament are all about Jesus. Haven’t you ever wondered what with all the smiting and wrath the Hebrews wrote about going on in the Old Testament, yet it is filled with nothing but praise for God.
Singing the praises of His love, goodness, gentleness, kindness, mercy, long-suffering, wisdom, patience…
Who else can they be talking about but Jesus?