Summary: Are there two Gods in the Bible, one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament?
Has God Changed?
I was visiting a bible study newsgroup the other day and came across the header ‘Does God Change?’ That is a good question. Many people may come up with many different initial answers. Seemingly, contradictory scriptural references abound within the Bible. Can we find an answer to this question? Well, to get an educated answer, the Bible tells the Bible reader to use scripture to check scripture (2Timothy 3:16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness).
The Bible is comprised of two sets of books, collectively called Testaments. The Old Testament shows God (Jehovah, Yahweh, etc.) directly dealing with the characters within. The New Testament mentions God, but God does not directly deal with anyone but Jesus. For this reason, we will consider that the God of the Old Testament is God and that the God of the New Testament is Jesus. The reasoning behind this can be found in the New Testament book 1 Timothy 2:5; For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. Since Jesus is the mediator, we receive all of our instructions from God through Him. We will also consider ourselves, the readers, to be students, seeking wisdom from the Heavenly Author of these worldly works.
The three points we will consider in this paper to decide if there is a difference between God and Jesus are acceptable punishment; Differences in administering this punishment; and Love. This paper is in no way a complete theological study. Many more points could be raised in defense of the author’s opinions, but only the three mentioned points will be briefly examined.
God in the Old Testament seems to have been a vengeful God, quick to anger and even quicker to administer punishment. God says that if someone treats you wrong, then you can treat him or her likewise, as illustrated by the following scripture:
Exodus 21:24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
Exodus 21:25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Jesus tells us, in the New Testament, to be forgiving and understanding with others, as written in the following passages:
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Matthew 5:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
No longer are we to seek vengeance for the wrongs that others have done unto us, but to be humble and meek.
God gave us the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:3-17 and he gave us punishments to inflict upon individuals for breaking these commandments in Exodus chapters 21, 22, and 23, as well as Leviticus chapter 24 and Deuteronomy chapter 24.
The following reference is an example of desired punishment for adulterers:
Lev 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Jesus recognizes the hypocrisy of the accusers against the accused, and when asked about these methods of punishments in the book of John, Jesus lays down a different charge in the following scripture:
John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman taken in adultery. And standing her in the midst,
John 8:7 But as they continued to ask Him, He lifted Himself up and said to them, He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.
This statement follows the advice that Jesus gave in Matthew 7:1: Judge not, that ye be not judged.
God expects us to love those that love us:
Lev 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Whereas, Jesus expects us to love everyone:
Matthew 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Half of the Psalms written by King David are about overcoming ones enemies. David prays that God give David victory over his enemies.
Jesus tells us to pray for their deliverance from evil so that we may reconcile our differences and all become children of God.