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Old Testament God Vs. New Testament God: Jesus Clears the Confusion

Old Testament God Vs. New Testament God: Jesus Clears the Confusion

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For centuries Christians have been trying to reconcile the discrepancies in God’s nature we often see between the Old Testament and the New.  In some cases the character changes seem so stark in contrast that a few have, erroneously, suggested they were two different Gods.

Even in the Old Testament though we witness two different natures in God that seemingly are at odds with one another. We see a God who can demand unspeakable atrocities be carried out (rape, slaughter of men, women, and children) as well as God extending incredible compassion and mercy. (Hosea 11)

 

God Shows His Glory

A couple posts back a Beyond the Pale reader commented that the perception of God the Israelites had was always viewed through a veil and obstructed.  In Exodus 33, Moses makes an unusual request; he asks God to show him His Glory.  What Moses is really asking God is to ‘let me really SEE you and KNOW you as you really are because I’m a little confused!’

Isn’t that what we all really want…to know God!

God answers the request and after the encounter Moses’ face radiated so much he had to keep a veil over his face when he was with the people of Israel.

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People fill in the gaps with their own nature!

Whether in the Holy of Holies or on Moses’ face, the Glory of God, the revelation of the Lord’s nature and being, was never perceived directly.  It was always obscured.  So it wouldn’t be a stretch to see that sometimes the gaps in people’s understanding of God’s nature would be filled in with understandings of their own nature.  As Beyond the Pale reader Claude suggested to me recently:

 With the pure you will show yourself pure; and with the froward you will show yourself froward.

Psalm 18:26

How we see God often reveals a lot about our own nature.

My brother Andrew says in a post he wrote on the subject:

So which is the accurate view of God? I am fond of saying the bible is a Rorschach test if you are religious. What you see when you read it, the parts of it that stir you, the verses you want to live by – they are all just a mirror, showing you what you look like inside.

Compassionate merciful people find a compassionate merciful God…legalistic, judgmental people find their God as well with an arsenal of Biblical scripture to back up each viewpoint.

 

But then….there is Jesus!

But God (thankfully) doesn’t leave us with an obscured view of himself.  Jesus comes and tears down the veil (Mark 15:38) that gave us a shadowy and distorted picture of God.  Jesus proclaims that when you have seen him, you have seen God. (John 14:7-10) Want to know how God REALLY responds in a given situation?

Look no farther than how Jesus responded.

In fact every time Jesus had a choice to validate either the wrathful punishing God described in the Old Testament or the compassionate merciful one…

he always came down on the side of mercy and compassion!

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Jesus states something interesting in the Gospel of Matthew;

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it.

Matthew 11:12

John the Baptist represented the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Jesus is saying that from that time up until now, violence has been mixed with His Kingdom, not by Him, but by others with violence in their nature.

But the days of people filling in the gaps of their understanding of God with their own twisted violent natures are over!

In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being,

Hebrews 1: 1-3

Jesus is loving and compassionate extending mercy and forgiveness wherever he goes.  He reveals God in his totality and, by doing so, clears the confusion about just what sort of God he is.

 

 

 

4 comments

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  • Hey Steve – I think that while I agree that Jesus came down on the side of compassion (and still does), it is also important to note that He is a just and faithful God against sin and when He returns, He will be giving righteous judgment. Just look at what He did to Ananais and Sephira…

  • Jill

    Reply

    HE didn’t DO anything to Ananais and Saphira. The bible says that Ananais “gave up the ghost”. He saw his own self righteousness reflected and it was too much for him. Also go back to the example before the BUT Ananais. It is the story of Barnabas who gave freely from his new nature. Could the story of Ananais and Saphira be just the other side of the coin? An example of people who pretend they are holier or more generous than they are?

  • I never thought about how people tend to see God as they are. Such a good reminder that we need to keep our eyes on Jesus!

  • Hi Jill.
    Great comment. Yes, exactly, He didn’t do anything to them. Ananias saw his own self righteousness reflected and his only option was to give up the ghost.

    I hadn’t read your comment but after reading Steve Bauer’s comment things started coming to me. Great comment Steve, but after having gotten more intimate with my Father, I just can’t see Him as a judge killing people for their sin anymore and in the space of 2 – 3 days this is what came for me to share about the righteousness of God, in my own perception:

    This might sound far fetched to a lot of you and even heresy, but this is my perception of what happened to poor Ananias and Sapphira. I’m so convinced of the nature and goodness of God as well as the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST that I believe that all judgement and condemnation toward men has been passed on Jesus on the cross. God doesn’t judge nor condemn people for their sin anymore, but sin is still sin and we will reap in ourselves our own yielding to the devil’s ways and thoughts.
    With the resurrection of Christ, we have an open heaven before us and above us and we’re free to enter in and renew our minds to that NEW REALITY, and live KINGDOM life and realities. It is FREELY GIVEN TO US but we have to do the BELIEVING, RECEIVING AND ENTERING IN. But if we still think and operate according to the old fallen mindsets and ignore or despise such a great salvation, though saved and our spirits having been made like Jesus, we will reap in ourselves its fruits, confusion, sickness and death. – Choose LIFE!
    (Deu 30:19 NKJV) 19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;”
    It’s not God who “kills” people, it’s our guilty conscience and the Minister of the Law, minister of condemnation and death: the devil.

    As we read Acts chapter 5 slowly and don’t jump to the usual legalistic conclusions, we will notice that Peter exposed Ananias for his lies and told him that he didn’t deceive men but the Holy Spirit.
    1. Ananias was a brother, not an enemy. Who is the accuser of the brethren, condemns and kills?
    2. God could have killed him on the spot as he committed the act of deceit. Ananias knew he was not being honest all along and thought he’d be able to hide it from the church. From now on, his all focus was not on loving God and living the freedom and grace life of Christ, but on himself keeping his little secret and hiding, having his ulterior motives that if faith life and God didn’t work out, ( I suppose ) he’d still have a good sum of money to make it somehow and… TADAAAHHH! Peter gets a word of knowledge and Ananias gives up the ghost, as the power and light of the Holy Spirit exposed his self-righteousness.
    3. I believe the only thing God did was to give Peter a word of knowledge. What killed Ananias was his own sin-consciousness and guilt-consciousness.
    It’s the tree of the knowledge and consciousness of GOOD AND EVIL that kills. God is LIFE and LIGHT, anyone being in TOUCH with God and the TREE OF LIFE is kept. It’s the poor guy being in touch with his own consciousness of sin and good and evil that killed him. He wouldn’t have sinned if he’d truly KNOWN God, the tree of LIFE Jesus.
    4. Acts 5:11 says that a great fear came upon the church who saw and heard of these things, the message being: “Better not to yield to the devil, it will kill you.”
    5. We also will notice in 1st Cor 5:3-5 as one man got involved in some sexual perversion, that Paul took it upon himself to judge such a man and to deliver his flesh to Satan (Satan here being acknowledged as the one that acts out the sentence which is death) that his spirit might be saved. God didn’t punish the guilty but Paul acted in his own spirit of authority and power to judge and deliver the flesh of such a man to the spirit of death.
    6. (Jhn 5:24 NKJV) 24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” Ananias believed in Jesus and would not come into judgement. He yielded to the devil who killed him.
    It was not an act of God’s justice, it was his own choices which lead him there and killed him.
    7. Where does sin come from? It is from a state or a sense of separation with God. Anyone who has MET God and truly KNOWS Him cannot sin. Anyone who experiences in any way, shape or form intimacy and communion with the Father and gets to know Him for who He is, discovers His own origin in God and himself as the Image and Likeness of God. God’s own image and likeness is preserved in Eternal Life and cannot sin. If poor Ananias and Sapphira had truly known God and their identity in Him, their completeness in Him, they would never have opened themselves to be an inroad for the enemy that way. They chose to deceive and lie because of their greed and unbelief which killed them. They chose death ways and got its fruit.
    The kingdom of God is Righteousness, Peace and Joy, they chose the ways of unrighteousness and got immediate results, which in a way is God’s mercy on them and the Early Church, that’s all.
    8. We can only say “Yes God is Love but He is also JUST” because we don’t truly KNOW Him. What is JUST about that situation in Acts chapter 5 and any of our lives is that we have the MAJESTY OF CHOICE between death and LIFE. The finished work of Christ opens Heaven wide to us with its eternal benefits as well as earthly benefits, we can freely chose to walk in that and resurrection life and kingdom realities or despise such a GREAT AND WONDERFUL SALVATION and get what looks like a judgement and punishment, which is not; we have preferred the ways of death and we sometimes get the IMMEDIATE results,

    But like I heard Andrew Wommack say “If you sin you’re stupid. But God loves you stupid”.

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