Why is God so different in the Old Testament than He is in the New Testament?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
At the very heart of this question lies a fundamental misunderstanding of what both the Old and New Testaments reveal about the nature of God. Another way of expressing this same basic thought is w...

July 01 2013 9 responses Vote Up Share Report

Doktor D W Supporter
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has revealed Himself as God and as Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God, however, remains One Entity, One Unity, albeit without physical form, today. 

He has also revealed Himself at different times to different audiences. He revealed Himself in Genesis, and He revealed Himself anew after the flood. He revealed Himself at the Tower of Babel. Those revelations et al lasted until Genesis 12. Thereafter, the Bible concerns a people-group commonly called Jews. God revealed Himself to them from Genesis 12 through the Book of Matthew.  

In Matthew God revealed a New Covenant for Jews. They could recognize Jesus as their Messiah as a Nation, be forgiven as a Nation, and one day enter into the physical Kingdom of God on earth. God's New Jewish Covenant included Jesus as the promised Jewish Messiah. The Jews had messed up time and time again throughout the Hebrew scriptures; God intervened through Moses; now God was visibly entering into the life of the Nation of Hebrews through Jesus to call them back to the Covenants. What happened? Just as they had rejected God as the Redeemer of the Chosen People, they rejected Jesus and their New Covenant. His revelation and rejection are recorded in the Book of Matthew and explained in Mark and Luke. Matthew continues the efforts made by God in the Abrahamic Covenant, but without the baggage. 

The two audiences 2,000 years ago were Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews). The who, what, when, where and how for Jews was not the same as the who, what, when, where and how for Gentiles. The Jews, who had rejected their status as God's Chosen, rejected Him as their Redeemer under the Jewish New Covenant introduced by Jesus. The Gentiles didn't have a clue about redemption or salvation.

Enter Acts 9. Saul is set apart as the Apostle to the Gentiles, introducing the Christian Covenant. His message is what the Jews could have had if they had recognized Jesus: Redemption for the Jews, salvation for the Gentiles, the former confessing Him as Messiah, the latter confessing Him as Savior. Works went out the window. No more Law, no more 1,000 commandments, no more 613 rules and regulations, no more traditions imposed on the people. Salvation by grace through faith plus nothing, the free gift for ALL who believe (Romans 10:8-13).

Obviously, the Jews didn't go for it. They perished as a people-group, for the most part, for abandoning God, and for denying their Messiah in the Jewish New Covenant. Those Jews who accepted Jesus as their Messiah will be resurrected one day to enter the Kingdom of God on earth. That Kingdom will last for 1,000 years. It will come after the Rapture, after the Tribulation, after Armageddon. Jesus will be seated on the Throne of David, ruling with the 12 Tribes of Israel, not Gentiles.

Those Jews and Gentiles who accepted Him as Savior back then, and who accept Him now, will enter Heaven, not on earth, but "out there, somewhere," either at normal death or at the Rapture.

So what is the difference between the "old" and the "new?" Two messages, one for each audience. Until the church gets that figured out, we will continue to confuse the "old" and the "new." We will continue to demand that Christians comply with works and duties, including those in the Hebrew Bible and the Book of Matthew.

We're not tossing anything. We cherish the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. What we are trying to get across is that salvation is the FREE GIFT for those who believe. Once one has believed, whether Jew or Gentile, the commandments and requirements for Jews as a Nation in the Hebrew Bible cannot be laid on the backs of Christians who come to Jesus as individuals because of God's Amazing Grace. 

Finally, since 2,000 years ago at the Cross, we all come to Jesus individually, triumphant over sin, adding nothing to what Jesus accomplished: Forgiveness and eternal security, our sins remembered no more, our home in Heaven awaiting.

I can't wait !!

October 07 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Stringio Janice Teo
The difference is that all of His wrath was poured out on Jesus, hence in the New Testament one sees the full revelation of His grace and mercy and love. But He is still a God of justice and righteousness

November 08 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

9aa51e4b447252291b959c696fb96539 400x400 Jeremiah Kaaya Pastor at Springs of Power Church, Teacher by professional
God has never, will never change from what He is or has been or will be. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

However, He does change ways. Things seem to have been done differently in the Old Testament. Not that God wanted them done that way. This was only a period to prepare for the purification of all through Jesus the CHRIST. Despite the fact that He (Jesus) would come with grace and love, it had to so remain that He was/is a true and perfect incarnation of the Almighty God, the God JEHOVAH who is righteous and holy.

Secondly, we must learn that God detested sin right from the time when Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3. Man has a desire to continue in sin and he enjoys it, on the other hand, God hates sin. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). For that reason, God wants to separate man from sin so that His (God’s) wrath does not rest on him (man). After Adam and Eve sinned, sin lived with us. There had not been a mechanism to separate sin from man. God's plan was to separate sin from man, because God hated sin but not the sinner (Romans 6:11-14). That God hated sin had/has to be known to all. That the fact Jesus came with love and grace never changed/changes anything.

In the Old Testament (OT), people used to sacrifice animals in order to cover up their sins, mark you, to cover up but not to cleanse, it is only when Jesus comes that His blood does not only cover up our sin. That has never been God's plan. The blood of Jesus washes it (sin) away so that it is no more. It is the blood of the Son of God. It flows to date. For that reason, God Himself has not changed, but simply perfecting things the way He wanted them to be right from the beginning.

God seems to be so different in the OT but He is the same God in the New Testament (NT). It is only that in the NT, His long time plan of redeeming and separating man from sin is being perfected. 

God detests sin, that is why He was not only so detesting of it in the OT, He is also detesting of it today, only that all was directed at Jesus in our place, we the sinners. This is evidenced in the way Jesus was beaten, spit upon, pierced, mocked, crucified etc. This was not directed at Jesus as it seems to be, it was directed at the sin of all of us that He had accepted to carry. All happened to Him because He had accepted to carry our sin. It was a demonstration of how God hates sin. Whoever refuses to allow God’s redemptive plan will suffer all the wrath that Jesus endured in our place by him/herself. 

He is the same God. He is only said to be different now because all the wrath that was directed at us, when Jesus died on the cross and all that was done to Him, it changed and if we too accept it and go with that change through Jesus CHRIST, we benefit from it, if we don’t, we lose out.

God is Holy and righteous (Job 15:15, 25:5, 4:18), He can’t compromise with anything that is not like Him. When He asked Moses in the book of Exodus 19 to tell the children of Israel to cleanse themselves so that God could visit them, they did cleanse themselves carnally, with water, but when He finally appeared on the mount Sinai, they ran away. His righteousness and holiness could not stand there unrighteousness. Neither could there unrighteousness stand God’s righteousness. But now all is absorbed in Jesus, the rock of many days ago (Exodus 33:21). That is why it looks simple to us today, but if Jesus went aside and left us everything, nobody would be able to endure.

The same God of the OT and of the NT has been, is, and will always be so loving. His wrath against us is only corrective, never to destroy, but to bring us back to order (Revelation 3:19). Even in the OT, whoever repented and came back to God, no matter Israeli or not, God forgave, no matter how sinful (1Kings 21:25-27), (1Kings 21), (1Kings 21:27).

God bless

November 08 2013 1 response Vote Up Share Report

Mini Billy P Eldred
First I want to say that I understand your perception. The first time I read the Bible front to back, I thought of God as a wrathful overseer that was waiting to zap us for just about anything. By the time I got to the new testament, I was so overwhelmed that I read through it without getting what I needed to understand the Bible as a whole. 

It was not until I had read the Bible a few times that I got enough of it in me to understand and see God more as the merciful and just God that He is. Many parts of the Bible are hard to understand, in both the old and new testaments, until you get enough of the Bible in you to put together so that everything becomes clear. This is an unending process. I don't think anyone can ever read through the Bible without understanding something in a new way. 

As everyone here has said, God is the same always. What your question refers to is our perception of Him. 

I believe that perception is skewed between the old and new testaments for more than one reason. First of all, as I have stated, we need to get enough of the Bible into us to understand it. Some parts of the old testament are nearly impossible to understand correctly until we see the corresponding part in the new testament. 

Secondly we see the old testament through the eyes of the people of a culture that we don't understand. The new testament was written by individuals that were already changed by having known Jesus. If it had been written by the Saducees and Pharisees, we would probably have the same perception as we get from the old testament. Much of the old testament was regarding the law and man's inability to keep it and the consequence of that fact. It is only after we know Jesus and why God sent Him that we can see the Love and benefit to us of those consequences. 

Another thing we need to remember is that God and Jesus are the same. In worldly terms, if you asked them both the same question, they would each give you the same answer. So when we look at the actions of Jesus, we are also seeing God. His love. His sacrifice. His mercy and His justness. 

One last thing is that we need to try to understand that in God's way of looking at time, he seems the past, present, and future all at the same time. At the same time He was leading the Israelites through the wilderness and disciplining them, He was sacrificing Himself on the cross for us. AT THE SAME TIME! At the same time He was destroying Pharaoh's army, He was creating us and He was teaching His disciples to love one another! And at the same time He will be judging us he was putting in place a way for us to escape that judgement.

January 02 2015 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Open uri20140907 30708 17dglhz Holuwadamilarey Hardeloye BIBLE STUDENT
God is the same whether old or New Testament . Note also that Jesus is God . Read Hebrew 13:8 . God is eternity past and eternity future. God is immutable, He changes not. He is from everlasting to everlasting . This my understanding of this question. Thanks

October 07 2013 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Al Mari Private practice as a cardiovascular & thoracic surgeon
Indeed they are different as they are distinct and separate although "one". But, before answering "why" they are, we need to know "who" the God referred to by the writers of the O.T and the N.T. 

Remember, that the God of the Old Testament is the Creator God, as in "In the beginning Elohim(God) created the heavens and the earth."(Gen. 1:1).

The Hebrew word "Elohim" translated in English as "God" is a generic name. And, according to Moses, the writer of the Pentateuch, this particular Creator Elohim was specifically named proprietarily as YHVH Elohim, as in "These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God (YHVH Elohim) made the earth and the heavens,"(Gen 2:4).

Furthermore, YHVH Elohim introduced himself with a different name, as El Shaddai to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but to Moses he was known as YHVH (Ex.6:2-3). 

In the Shema doctrine(Deut.6:4; 11:13–17; Num.15:41), YHVH is the one and only Elohim to be worshipped as he is above all "gods" (Ps 95:3; 96:4;97:9;135:5; Ex. 15:11; IChr. 16:25). This means that, while there are many gods (polytheism), and unlike other nations of that time, Israel has to be monotheistic and worship only one God, this specific YHVH ELOHIM. 

Fast forward to the N.T, according to the writer John, this Creator God (YHVH ELOHIM) was further named in Greek as "LOGOS" translated in English as "Word", and further differentiated from the Father who was "THEOS" in Greek. Notice, "In the beginning was the Word(Logos), and the Word was with God (Theos), and the Word was God (Theos). The same was in the beginning with God (Theos). All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made"(John 1:1-3).

From the preceding, as the word Elohim was generic, so was the word Theos. But, to further specify who the specific Elohim was in the O.T., YHVH ELOHIM was used to refer to the Creator. YHVH ELOHIM in the O.T. was the only God to be worshipped by Israel at that time until the Father was declared in the N.T., as in John 4:21-25. 

But, to refer to Jesus or the Father, the generic "Theos" was further delineated as such: "And the Word (Logos) was made 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." 

Furthermore, Paul differentiated the Father as Theos and Jesus as Lord, as in Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God (Theos) and Father of our Lord (kyrios)"Jesus Christ,"

Likewise, Peter differentiated the two, as in "Blessed be the God(Theos) and Father of our Lord (kyrios) Jesus Christ,"(I Pet. 1:3)

On being ONE, Jesus (our Lord God) and God the Father are NOT one person, as we (being many) will be "one" with them, as well, as in: John 17:11, 22-23 "Holy Father, watch over them on account of your own name which you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are. Also, I have given them the glory that you have given me, in order that they may be one just as we are one. I in union with them and you in union with me, in order that they may be perfected into one, that the world may have the knowledge that you sent me forth and that you loved them just as you loved me."

As to why YHVH ELOHIM in the O.T. appeared to be very strict with Israel following the laws, it was because his function as a parent/creator was to show from Adam on, that the man to follow all the commandments was the man-Jesus, not anybody else. The Ten Commandments, according to Paul, were "a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Gal.3:24), i.e., for Christ to teach us that he was the "man" to fulfill all the commandments and to die so that in faith we can be justified and reconciled to God the Father. As we ourselves are adamant to our child to follow us in our "dictates" of good behavior, so was YHVH ELOHIM as we were still "spiritual-children"(I Cor. 3:2; I Pet.2:2). But, in the N.T. the role of YHVH ELOHIM was as a Messiah, Passover, and as a man to be meek and obedient unto death (Phil. 2:8-18). Moreover, his role was to "declare"(Jn.1:18) God the Father to us and his love(John 1:1).

In summary, Elohim the creator has many names, viz., El Shaddai, YHVH ELOHIM, LOGOS, MESSIAH, PASSOVER, depending upon his function. Yet, in Heb. 18:3, "He is the same yesterday, today and forever." The roles of YHVH Elohim (Lord God), were different in the O.T. and the N.T., yet consistent with the plan of salvation. This particular Elohim was the God referred to in the O.T. Whereas, the Father was the God referred to, in general, in the N.T. They are indeed different, yet "one", as we are all different, yet "one" with our Lord God Jesus and our God the Father.

December 02 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

God is the same from the end to the beginning. Man changes with 
all kinds of influences, surrounding him. 

between the old and new testament, after the sins of man....continued God might have been too sad and so He was silent for 400 hundred years. 

but His agape love for us made Him send His only begotten son to earth as man, who took upon Himself all our sins and diseases etc. Etc to set us free.

Yet again shameful man is sinning. Please pray and ask His forgiveness for all the sins of man.

January 18 2014 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Image Thomas K M A retired Defence Scientist from Indian Defence R&D Orgn.
Old Testament is the shadow while the New Testament is the reality and truth. Our God is omnipresence, omniscience, omnipotence and immutable. He is eternal, invisible and immortal (1Tim.1:17). One should understand that He is immutable and fulfills what he promises (1King8:20). His plans and ways are different (Jer.29:11).

The whole Bible is God's plan for the salvation of the fallen mankind and the Bible is the history of salvation. For this, He adopted ways and means according to the situations. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, loving and faithful (Ex.34:6, Nu.14:18,Deu4:31,Neh.9:17 Ps.86:5,108:4,145:8, Joe.2:13)

In the Old Testament, grace of the Lord was bestowed to a particular nation, chosen individuals and chosen places.The culmination of all these were for the restoration of the mankind from the wrath of God of Old Testament. The New Testament reveals this aspect.

In the Old Testament, God appears powerful, holy, punishing, angry, and jealous. In the New Testament He came in the visible form through Jesus. He appears kind, loving, meek and forgiving. He dwells in us. 

And all that in the Old Testament was preparation to show how wrathful and how just and how true and how glorious God is. And now you're getting Jesus, who is mercy incarnate, grace incarnate, forgiveness incarnate, open-heartedness incarnate, saying, "This is what is available for you."

As you can see, our God Is not different either in the Old Testament or New Testament. He is unchanging. But his plans are changing according to situations!. God only knows His plans, His thoughts (Is.55:8).

July 25 2016 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Alan Hitchner
Yes, the messages of First and then the Second Covenant reveal God's love for and of humans and His creation.

There is something I do not hear mentioned of the special situation Adonai was dealing with among the First Covenant Hebrews. Adonai needed at least some of the Hebrews to be of a heart to be able to receive & embrace His coming Messiah Redeemer.

How might it have gone if when Christ arrived there was no one who had received the voice calling in the wilderness? As it was at least some of those that received John the Baptist's message were ready and able to receive the Messiah. Had the captivities and strife not occurred the Gentiles might have not have been reached had Paul not first attacked the followers of Yeshua and then had been transformed radically from his extremist attacks of Christ's followers.

There may have stood the real potential the early church may have not have replaced the Roman culture in 400 ad. Instead of being spread through he geography with the diaspora in 68 A.D the early followers of Yeshua may have been crushed long before the spread of the Faith in Jesus was ready.

There was a lot at stake that isnt readily obvious but Adonai's wisdom exceeds ours, as we try to grasp and understand the revealing of the events of history. We humans make very big mistakes when we cast our feeble judgement against God.

I and We need to open ourselves to God's wisdom and be patient with our ignorance until we are able see the light rather than shadows.

July 05 2021 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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