Why does there seem to be such a difference in the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the peaceful, loving, turn-the-other-cheek Jesus? Many people claim to believe in Jesus, but not in the wrathful God of the Old Testament.
To believe this reveals one’s misunderstanding of scripture, as it simply isn’t true. In short, there is no difference in the God of the Old Testament and Jesus of the New Testament.
Since most everyone points out the “loving” Jesus, it may be helpful to point out the loving attributes of the God of the Old Testament.
Start with an easy one, John 3:16. Yes, I realize that is from the Jesus era, but when did God “so love the world”? Before Jesus, you know, way back in the Old Testament. Yes, the God of the Old Testament so loved the world, meaning he so loved you and I, before the foundation of the world!
There are so many examples of God demonstrating his love in the Old Testament, such as his saving the entire city of Nineveh, all of the rules for treating orphans, widows and foreigners fairly and providing for their needs, even claiming in Isaiah “What more could I have done…that I have not already done?”
But if you are going to rest your case on Jesus, in whom you claim to believe in, then let us take a look at what Jesus thought about the God of the Old Testament. For starters, Jesus said that “if you have seen me you have seen the father”. What is he saying there? More on that in a moment.
When Jesus prayed to God, to his father in heaven, who exactly was he praying to and calling “father”? He was praying to the God of the Old Testament. Jesus also said that “I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.” What book was he referring to? The Old Testament! There wasn’t a New Testament yet! Jesus prayed to, trusted in, and did the will of the God of the Old Testament.
So, what about that loving, forgive-your-enemies Jesus? Those are indeed attributes of Jesus. But do not forget Jesus is also the one who returns in Revelation. And when he returns, he will not have the same mission as during his first coming as the sacrifice which was offered up for many. No, the next time people will see Jesus administering justice, and sending people to hell, which he warned about, to spend an eternity separated from God.
And how can we forget about a conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees, when they argue, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus responds “Truly, truly, I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus was claiming to be the I AM, the God of the Old Testament. They fully understood what Jesus was implying, and so picked up stones to kill him!
So, what is the end-game here? That the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. The God of the Old Testament entered into His creation. He revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ, and he paid a price that we owed, but could not pay for ourselves.
Let me say it as clearly as I can…Jesus IS God!