Who Was the God of the Old Testament?

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Did God the Father give ancient Israel outdated instructions, which Jesus Christ had to come to change? Or were the ancient Israelites guided by the same One who was born as Jesus Christ? The answer may surprise you!


Many Christians try to distinguish the God of the Old Testament from the person of Jesus Christ. Yet your Bible shows that Jesus Christ, who pre-existed with God the Father from eternity, was the One who spoke to Abraham and Moses and gave the Ten Commandments!

Most religious scholars and commentaries know the clear scriptures we will be discussing in this article. They are aware of what a number of biblical passages make very clear. But most of them avoid these scriptures like the plague! Or, on the other hand, they may do a little verbal "dance" around them—touching on them in their technical commentaries—but then gliding on to "safer" subjects without fully explaining them one way or the other.

Why?

Why should professing Christian leaders be afraid of the fact that the One who became Jesus Christ pre-existed with God the Father from eternity? That He was the God of the Old Testament—the God who spoke to Abraham and Moses—the God of David, the One who actually spoke the Ten Commandments? Why be fearful of these clear biblical teachings?

We will explain the dark origins of this fear later on. But first, we need to understand the genuine origin of Jesus Christ—the One who died for our sins. Who was Jesus Christ, really? Where did He come from? Why is His life so valuable as to constitute a payment for all of our lives—billions of us—put together? The truth about this topic is very important to understand. And it is truly inspiring!

The Origins of Jesus Christ

The Apostle John makes it clear that the One who became Jesus Christ existed from eternity: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1–3).

Here John points out that the Word—the Logos or Spokesman—had been with God from the beginning. He was the creative agent—acting for God the Father in making everything that is. Later: "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name" (vv. 10–12).

In several scriptures the inspired Apostle Paul makes the same point. In Colossians 1:15–16, Paul speaks of Jesus Christ: "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." And the book of Hebrews tells us that God, "has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds" (Hebrews 1:2). And again, "But to the Son He says: 'Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom'" (v. 8). And finally, "You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands" (v. 10).

Note that in verse 8 above, Christ is addressed, "O God." He is described as the One who "made the worlds" (v. 2) and who "laid the foundation of the earth" (v. 10). There is absolutely no indication that any of these verses written by Paul or by John were "poetic" or metaphorical! They simply state the fact that the Personality who became Jesus Christ was "in the beginning" with the Father, that He was the "Word" or Spokesman for the Father and that all things were directly created through Him, Jesus Christ!

How did all this come about?

Turning to Genesis 1:1, we read, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." All scholars know that the Hebrew word here translated God is "Elohim," a plural noun—like church or family—as would signify one family with several members. And now notice Genesis 1:26, "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.'"

Note that God said, "Let Us make man in Our image." So the Father and the Logos or "Word"—who later was born as Jesus of Nazareth—were both included here. Acting for the One we call God the "Father," the One who became Jesus Christ was used by the Father from the beginning in dealing with mankind.

We see this also in Genesis 18. Here the Logos appeared to Abraham. He did not appear in His full glory in dealing with Abraham, Moses and others, but more in human form—yet apparently with a "difference" so that Abraham recognized that he was dealing with the "Lord" (vv. 3, 27). After the Eternal had explained to Abraham His intent to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of their perverted sins, Abraham asked, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (v. 25).

Here Abraham was certainly dealing with the One who became Jesus Christ! For Christ Himself revealed later, "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22). Abraham was certainly not dealing with God the Father. For the inspired Word also tells us, "No one has seen God at any time" (John 1:18).

Jesus Himself said: "'Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.' Then the Jews said to Him, 'You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?' Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM'" (John 8:56–58). The Jews recognized that the expression "I AM" referred to the God of Israel. They thought that Jesus was both lying and blaspheming. So "then they took up stones to throw at Him" (v. 59). These Jews were blinded to the fact that Jesus had been the very Personality who had been the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel! They were standing right there talking to the One who was their God! And they did not know it.

Christ WAS the "God of Israel"

In Matthew 22:42–45, Jesus challenged the religious leaders: "'What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, 'The Son of David.' He said to them, 'How then does David in the Spirit call Him "Lord," saying: "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool'"? If David then calls Him "Lord," how is He his Son?'" The Pharisees were not able to answer. For they knew that King David of Israel certainly had no human "lord." This scripture had to be describing two personalities in God's Family—one greater than the other. And, as should be obvious to us, David's immediate "Lord"—the one who later became Jesus of Nazareth—was told to sit at the right hand of the Father until it was time for Him to become King of kings.

Yet the Jews knew that the coming Messiah was to be a literal "son of David." How could this one also be David's "Lord" yet having a still "greater" Lord telling Him what to do?

In 1 Corinthians 10:1–4, we read that ancient Israel was baptized into Moses and they all "ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ." Again, it is clear—as a number of commentaries acknowledge—that the same Spirit Personality who dealt with ancient Israel was the One who became Christ. For, as we have seen, Jesus said that "no one" had ever seen "God"—obviously meaning the One we call the Father. Yet right after giving the Ten Commandments and some of the statutes to ancient Israel, we find that the "God of Israel" did indeed appear to some of Israel's leaders! "Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank" (Exodus 24:9–11). So more than 70 of the leaders of Israel "saw the God of Israel." Could anything be more clear?

It was the One who became Jesus Christ who literally walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He was the One who dealt directly with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He was the One who spoke "face to face" with Moses (Numbers 12:8). He was the One who spoke the Ten Commandments from the top of Mount Sinai!

WHY Is This Truth So Seldom Acknowledged?

When you understand that last sentence in the paragraph above, you can begin to grasp why so many professing priests and ministers shy away from explaining the real origin of Jesus Christ. For they have nearly all been taught that the Ten Commandments were a product of some harsh "God of the Old Testament" and that Jesus somehow "knew better" than His Father. In many cases they say, instead, that somehow the Apostle Paul "knew better" than either Jesus or the Father—and that he did away with God's law, the Ten Commandments.

These misguided men may be sincere. But they are "blinded" (2 Corinthians 4:3–4)—as is the whole world. Remember Jesus' instruction about most of the religious leaders of His own day: "Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch" (Matthew 15:14).

It is embarrassing—to men who have been taught that the Ten Commandments were "done away"—to admit that it was the One who became Jesus Christ who gave the Ten Commandments in codified form to Moses. He is the One who commanded, as an integral part of God's great spiritual law: "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it" (Exodus 20:8–11).

Most ministers today do understand that God, through Christ, specifically commanded His people to keep the seventh day—not just any day. They know that during His entire human lifetime Jesus kept the seventh-day Sabbath—the same day the other Jews were observing! And they probably also realize that the original Apostles kept the seventh-day Sabbath. Along with scores of other respected scholars, mainstream Protestant church historian Jesse Lyman Hurlbut acknowledges: "As long as the church was mainly Jewish, the Hebrew sabbath was kept" (The Story of the Christian Church, p. 45).

Again, most ministers understand that the inspired writer of Hebrews tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). And they know that neither Christ nor the Apostles ever attempted to "do away" with the biblical Sabbath. If they had made such an attempt to overthrow such a major precept coming from the very hand of God, the Jews surrounding them would have rioted, persecuted them unmercifully, not allowed them to continue worshiping in the Temple as they did for many years, and would quickly have proclaimed them heretics and lawless. The enormous upheaval that would have ensued from such an action would have made the Jewish upset over circumcision—described in Acts 15—seem like a "tea party" by comparison!

Of course, no such change in God's great spiritual law was ever discussed or instituted by Christ or the Apostles. For a quarter of a century after Jesus' crucifixion, and after the Holy Spirit had come upon the early Church to guide it, the original Christians were still "zealous" for the law (Acts 21:20). Even the Apostle Paul was still obedient to the spiritual law of God, the Ten Commandments. For notice the inspired account of the instruction given by "headquarters" Apostle James to Paul: "…this will let everyone know there is no truth in the reports they have heard about you, and that you too observe the Law by your way of life" (Acts 21:24, The New Jerusalem Bible).

The Logical Consequence of This TRUTH

If all professing Christians were taught the truth—that the One who became their Savior is the One who gave the Ten Commandments—perhaps their actions would be quite different. The world would surely be a much safer place! All would realize that true Christianity is a law-abiding religion—a way of life based on the great spiritual law of God. They would learn that—although no one is suddenly perfect, and we are commanded to grow in Christ's character—it is possible to follow Christ's inspired example through His Spirit within us.

As the Apostle Paul wrote: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20, KJV). Christians would then understand the beloved Apostle John's explanation of the very love of God and how it functions: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome" (1 John 5:3). They would read with new understanding John's inspired statement in Revelation 14:12: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus."

The true Christ revealed clearly in the Bible co-existed with the Father from eternity. He and the Father planned together the creation of mankind. Speaking for Himself and the Father, the Logos—who became Christ—said, "Let Us make man in Our image." Then, about 4,000 years later, the Logos was willing to give up the indescribable glory, power and majesty He had always shared with the Father.

As correctly translated, Paul tells us that Christ "emptied" Himself, "taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:7–11).

Jesus said, "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30). So the One who had been totally "one" with God—and who was God—"emptied Himself" to become our Savior. Truly His life is worth more than all of ours combined, because He created not only the human race, but the entire universe as well. Having bought and paid for us by His death on the cross, Christ now doubly "owns" us. He is our Maker. He is our God. He is our Master.

Yet after the death of the original Apostles, a great apostasy took over the name of "Christianity." The clear teachings and examples of Christ and the Apostles began to be altered. The very concept of Christ being a real "Master" began to be undone and permanently altered. He came to be considered a "Lord" who demanded no obedience to the very spiritual law—the Ten Commandments—that He had given mankind. His clear and persistent teaching, "if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments" (Matthew 19:17), was now explained away as instruction only for the Jews. So also were dismissed the powerful statements of the Apostle John such as, "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him" (1 John 2:4). These clear statements were explained away as applying only to the "spirit" of the law or to some \new\ commandments of Jesus. But when you study these new commandments, they are only magnifications of the Ten Commandments, which Jesus Himself gave on Mount Sinai! And again, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

May God help all of you who read this to understand and to respond to the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. As He said, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46). If you really want to obey the Christ of the Bible, write us today and request your free copy of our very revealing and fully documented booklet entitled, Which Day is the Christian Sabbath?

We at Tomorrow's World are involved in restoring original Christianity—the religion that Jesus and the Apostles actually taught and practiced. We can assure you that the living Jesus Christ—the One who existed with the Father from eternity—is the One who will guide you, strengthen you and bless you if you determine to do what He says and worship Him not only as Savior, but as Lord and Master now and forever.

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