Does God’s personality change from the Old Testament to the New?
He calls God “unapproachable” in the original Hebrew Scriptures – living behind a curtain with love only “for His covenant people,” even hinting that perhaps the Old Testament deity is different from the One portrayed in the New Testament.
Further, he says, the concept of a loving God is a “uniquely Christian idea.”
But is there any truth in those assertions? I know many people have that impression, but it is strange to hear a pastor of one of the very largest congregations in the country say such things.
I’ll tell you why.
I have a new book out in which I identify the Gospel in all 39 books of the Old Testament – the Gospel, redemption, mercy, love, grace. It’s not just found there occasionally. It pervades the entire book, from Genesis to Malachi. Not only that, it presages all of the major works of Jesus the Messiah, His miracles, His message, even many of His words verbatim.
How can two people look at the same Scriptures and see entirely different concepts?
Or, maybe better questions for Andy Stanley and anyone who shares that impression is this: “When did God change? Why? When did He become loving?”
Many Christians seem to think that God the Father was the God of the Old Testament. Then, they think, He sent Jesus, His Son, to earth to make a better covenant. Is that what you think?
After years of study of the New Testament and Old, comparing the promises, I believe my book demonstrates that the central message of the Bible is the same from Genesis to Revelation. It’s a continuum. In fact, it is miraculously consistent. And why should it be otherwise?
- We learn from the New Testament that Jesus is, in fact, the Creator God – there at the beginning, the Maker of all things, writes the apostle John in the opening words of His Gospel. That is reaffirmed in Colossians 1:16: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”
- We are also told, in Hebrews 13:8, that Jesus is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”
- We see in 1 Timothy 2:5 that there is only One God and One “Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
This is all New Testament revelation. If we accept it on faith, what does it mean? It means Jesus was the Creator of heaven and earth, he’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, and He is the only Mediator between God and man. Therefore, if you believe those key Scriptures and in a distant, unmerciful and unloving God of the Old Testament, isn’t that a kind of indictment of Jesus?
If we believe God’s character and plan really changed from the Old Testament time to the New Testament time, should we not be concerned that it might change again – or that we don’t really understand what we think we understand?
I won’t speculate any more.
What I will say, however, is that Stanley is just plain wrong about the Old Testament. In fact, the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures are totally integrated, inspired by One True Unchanging God.
That’s what makes God irresistible to me – not the marketing of the Gospel, but the substance of it.
Support for the printing, dissemination and distribution of “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” is still welcome. Coming out in hardcover this month, the book is an important part of WND’s recovery, rebirth and revitalization plan for later this year, as well as spreading the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. For donations of $100 or more, you will receive a special signed advance reader copy of the book. Your support with book-printing and marketing expenses will help WND immensely in weathering the current financial storm.
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