God and Testaments
YHWH, the God of the Bible, is the God of both the Old and New Testaments (OT and NT). People have various notions about all this, and while I’m sure many will never change their minds, I must do my best to relay what the Bible tells us.
Anyone who has read the OT surely sees a pattern in God’s dealings with Israel, his Chosen People. He blesses them, they prosper, they turn their backs on him, they are punished, they come back to him. Over and over and over, the same pattern goes. The account of the Kings is almost an every-other-generation cycle of good and evil, faithfulness and apostasy.
But note carefully what we do NOT see: that God ever completely abandons Israel. There was always a “remnant”, a few who stayed faithful. And why did God never abandon them all? Because he had made UNILATERAL promises to Abraham, eternal guarantees. God will never turn back on his promises! He will save his people no matter how few the faithful are in number, no matter how often the majority turn away, because a unilateral promise depends ONLY upon the One who made it... and he never changes.
This is also true of the church in the NT. Various groups have been faithful, prospered, turned away, were punished, and sometimes repented. It is no different for us than for the nation of Israel when it comes to how God deals with us. And the promises he made to Abraham, being eternal and unilateral, can never be revoked, even by the existence of the Church.
Besides, would anyone dare claim that the Church has been any more faithful than national Israel? The Church is in complete apostasy now, but God still blesses his “remnant” and keeps his promises. Jesus told us that “the gates of hell” would never overcome us, and I believe him! We are protected with promises from the same eternal and all-powerful God of the OT. Yet those who claim we replaced national Israel conveniently ignore the CURSES God placed upon them for sin, while only accepting all the BLESSINGS.
Some will say, “We were ’grafted in’ to Israel”, but the Bible does not say that. It says both faithful Israel and faithful Gentiles are grafted into the same Vine, so that in this church age we both make one group. But the “natural” branches (Israel) are still natural branches, and the “wild” branches (Gentiles) are still wild branches. It is the Vine that is One.
But the church age will end soon, and then God will turn his attention back to Israel, to finish the prophecies. He is not finished with them yet!
Some people say the God of the OT is different from the God of the NT. They “reason” that either the Jews made up the OT or that God somehow changed. But of course neither view is supportable. These views come from poor logic, failure to consider context, and a preconceived view of God.
The Bible was not all written at once; it was given a little at a time, over a total of almost 1600 years. While God himself never changes, his dealings with people certainly do (Heb. 1:1). And critics conveniently ignore the holiness of God in requiring a pure race from which the Messiah would come. Purity cannot compromise! It is inherently impossible; it is perfection. God is pure, holy, perfect. For him to become one of us, there had to be a pure genetic line. That was the whole purpose of his choosing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s line. For all their faults, they were faithful, and it is faith that God considers as “righteousness” (remember Abraham?).
Evil had to be continually purged from Israel, and the nations God ordered them to exterminate were exceedingly evil! We can speculate that children and animals had to die because of the diseases that typically accompany evil societies, but God also knows that children have a way of growing up to avenge their ancestors’ death. It had to stop somewhere. But always keep in mind that what Israel did to those nations was ordered by God, and who is anyone, that they should set themselves up as God’s judge?
That’s the whole problem, isn’t it. People think they can put God on the witness stand, when he is the Judge! Only pride, only the most ridiculous conceit, can claim God must bow to our puny sense of justice, fairness, or compassion. God is the very definition of all that! And if you disagree, then you must think you are superior to God. If so, then I’d like you to prove it! Let me see you raise the dead, or walk on water, or create something from nothing!
What?! You can’t do any of that? Then who do you think you are?
So no more judging God and telling him he was “bad” in the OT. And no more thinking he abandoned national Israel, or will not punish the churches for being unfaithful. No more ignoring what the Bible says in context, setting up straw men just to burn them down. Until you can do everything God can do, stop pretending you’re his boss.