Thirty years ago, as a brand-new believer in Yeshua (Jesus), I was shocked to hear some of the things that I heard come from pastors during sermons. I cannot count the many times I heard the expression “G-D of the Old Testament” vs. “G-D of the New Testament,” as if there were two different G-Ds.
The Old Testament G-D was a mean, spiteful ogre who delighted in destruction and punishment. The New Testament G-D was filled with grace, mercy, forgiveness and love. This comparison was almost never complete until the pastor further went on to say the Old Testament G-D was the “G-D of the Jews,” while the New Testament G-D is the “G-D of the church (Gentiles).”
As a Jewish believer, these words caused me to cringe inside and lit a desire within me to stand up and shout, “What about Numbers 23:19? It says: “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He spoken, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Or James 1:17? “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no change or shadow of turning.”Or how aboutHebrews 6:17-18? “So God, wanting to show more abundantly the immutability of His counsel to the heirs of promise, confirmed it by an oath. So that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.”
For a believer, the unchanging nature of G-D is the reason we can have complete confidence in the Bible and the G-D of the Bible. If G-D can change at whim, then we cannot have any confidence in Him or His Word. After all, if two thirds of the way through the Bible G-D can totally reject His nature and His People, turning from tyrannical to benevolent, from hate-filled to loving, and from punishing to forgiving, then what surety do we have that He won’t change His mind again?
One of the main causes that leads Christians to accept the completely false premise of the “G-D of Old vs. G-D of New” scenario is the completely false understanding brought about by the “G-D of Jews (Old Testament) vs. G-D of Church/Gentiles (News Testament) doctrine.
A simple reading of the Bible would let us know that G-D has always been concerned with and also always existed as the G-D of the Jew and the Gentile. In effort to keep this a blog and not a book, let’s just look at one proof that is often overlooked. This proof is that three of the “Old Testament” prophets were sent by G-D to bring a message not to Israel, but to a Gentile nation.
The first and most well-known is Jonah who was sent (against Jonah’s will) to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian City in what is modern-day northern Iraq, and was the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Why would the Old Testament G-D of the Jews send a prophet to preach repentance to Gentiles?
Prophet No. 2 is Obadiah, who prophesied to Edom, and who, while related to Israel physically through Esau, was not part of the nation of Israel, the Jewish people. Obadiah’s prophetic book is short, but it is clear that it was spoken to a Gentile nation concerning their actions toward and against Israel. Once again, why would the Old Testament G-D of the Jews send a prophet to a Gentile nation?
The third prophet is Nahum, who also prophesied to Nineveh some time after Jonah and before the complete fall of Nineveh. Nahum’s message to this Gentile nation was that included in Nahum 1:3, “The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will in no way acquit the guilty. In gale winds and a storm is His way, and clouds are the dust of His feet.”And Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of distress; and He knows those who take refuge in Him.” These passages share with the Gentile nation the truth about both G-D’s judgment and His mercy and grace.
When we take into consideration just these three prophets who were directed to share a message of grace and forgiveness to Gentile nations previous to the coming of Yeshua, the only conclusion available is that G-D did not change two-thirds of the way through the Bible, but that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. It is also impossible to conclude anything short of G-D’s love for all mankind, both Jews and Gentiles from Genesis through Revelation.
Eric Tokajeris executive director of The Messianic Times and author of With Me in Paradise, Transient Singularity and OY! How Did I Get Here?: Thirty-One Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Before Entering Ministry.