Jesus: Lord of the Old Testament
by David Ferguson
Generally, most Christians outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold to the common doctrine that God the Father is the God of the Old Testament. Antagonists to the Church espouse this while attacking the Church using certain scriptures, such as Isaiah 43:10:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
The purpose for this article is to first, show passages from the King James Version of the Bible that give a reasonable argument for considering Jesus Christ as Jehovah of the Old Testament, and second, to show that many verses such as Isaiah 43:10 are taken out of context or misinterpreted.
Several recurring themes about various attributes of the God of the Old Testament are scattered throughout the Bible. Most often, there are many more verses that can be attributed to these subjects than will be provided in this article.
God as the Creator
A very compelling subject is the role of Jesus Christ as the creator of both things temporal and political. It is without question that He created the Earth. Hebrews 1:2 gives us interesting insight:
[God, the Father] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
This teaches us that Christ created not only our Earth, but also Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune, as well as celestial spheres in other galaxies. Ephesians 3:9 is a bit more vague, but perhaps even more revealing:
And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
It is more revealing in the sense that we can see that it is not merely some worlds that Jesus created, but it is all things. What more could this include? One of the very most straitforward verses on this matter in the Old Testament is Isaiah 42:5
Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
This establishes that the Lord of the Old Testament created the Heavens, the Earth, and even gave life to the people thereon. For the purposes of bridging connections, it is important to note other verses where the God of the Old Testament is shown to be the creator. In 2 Kings 19:15 we see that this is the God of Israel. Amos 4:11-13 teaches that this same God is the Lord, the God of Hosts.
However, Jesus was also the creator in a political sense. Colossians 1:16-17 allows for contemplation:
For by [Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
It is not too terrible an assumption that He, being the creator of governments and nations, would fall under the role as being the God over said sovereignties. Isaiah 43:15 provides us with an interesting notion:
I am the LORD, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.
Another verse shows that the God of the Old Testament is not merely the God of Israel, but also the God of other nations. In Jeremiah 27:6, we see the Lord show some favoritism to a non-Israelite:
And now have I given all these lands unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
To put it simply, Jesus Christ is the creator, an attribute of the God of the Old Testament. Let us proceed to another correlation of Jesus Christ, and the Lord of the Old Testament.
God as our Judge
One might suggest that the idea of judging us one from the other is somewhat cruel. It would be more loving to allow all of us to be immediately saved, so that none of us would be punished. It is perhaps more wise to take an optimistic viewpoint on the subject. Jesus Christ told us in Luke 12:51
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:
Christ’s mission is indeed one of salvation. It allows us to prove ourselves,1 though Christ does indeed teach us that He is our advocate. In what manner does God judge us though? In Ezekiel 11:10-11 we see how the God of the Old Testament judges us:
Ye shall fall by the sword; I will judge you in the border of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
This city shall not be your caldron, neither shall ye be the flesh in the midst thereof; but I will judge you in the border of Israel:
Verse 11 shows us that the judgment in question is one of an eternal nature, rather than a judgment as to minute details of our mortal lives, though certainly God presides over that as well.
Jesus Christ can be most certainly attributed the title of Judge. In 2 Timothy 4:1 we read:
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
This verse shows Christ as our judge. We are shown it is His Kingdom, which will be of a matter of importance later on. To leave all doubt behind that it is Jesus Christ as our judge we can look at the very solid verse of John 5:22.
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
We must understand that this does not mean that Christ alone will judge us. Christ gave the power to judge over Israel to His twelve apostles.2 However it is important to know that we will not see God the Father on the other side of the judgment bar (whether literally or metaphorically), but rather Christ.
Another verse of scripture in the Old Testament, along these same lines, gives strong allusion to Jesus Christ. Micah 7:9 teaches us:
I will bear the indignation of the LORD, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness.
That the Lord will “plead my cause” after we have sinned can be quite rightly compared with 1 John 2:1:
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
It is not so important to ask the question, “To whom will the Lord plead our causes to in Micah 7:9?” It is more important to understand that the Lord of Micah 7:9 will judge us, and put the balance in our favor, as much as it can be.3 It is not so much important, in this context, that He is our advocate with someone, as it is that He is simply our advocate.
Another parallel that we can see between Christ and the God of the Old Testament fits comfortably into this category. We can see this in an already familiar verse, Isaiah 33:22:
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
The Lord of the Old Testament gave us the Law of Moses4. He is indeed “our lawgiver” as shown in Isaiah. James 4:12 teaches us something about Christ, that is very binding.
There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?5
Christ gave us His law, and we know who He is. But now we can link Him to the God of the Old Testament. Is He another lawgiver? As Paul might say, “God forbid.” There is, however more scriptural evidence to consider about this great concept.
God as the Shepherd of Israel
In Ezekiel 34:30-31 we see a solid message as to the God of the Old Testament’s relationship to the House of Israel.
Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
Jesus Christ is indeed not only our Shepherd, but more so a Shepherd of sheep in general. This is best shown in Hebrews 13:20:
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Zechariah 10:3 teaches us that God is the Shepherd of Judah. In Matthew 2:2 we read a parallel of importance:
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
Furthermore, in John 21:16 we read:
He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Who are these sheep? They are the House of Israel. Peter was given the commandment to feed the sheep belonging to Christ. In feeding the sheep, he gave them the word of Christ.6However he was commanded to not proselyte to the Gentiles till after he received the revelation commanding him to do so.7 We may therefore see that Christ is the Shepherd of at least the Jews by this verse. And if the Jews, then the House of Israel as shown by Zechariah 10:3, and Ezekiel 34:30-31, above.
God as our King
Though somewhat already shown in the section “God as the Shepherd of Israel,” it is important to take into account some very specific and valuable verses of scripture. Hosea 13:9-11 bears witness to the God of the Old Testament being the King over His people.
O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.8
In Zechariah 14:16 we can see a reference to an earlier verse of scripture presented here:
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.9
Even before we see the role that Jesus plays as our King, we can already turn once again to Isaiah 33:22:
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
However in the poetic phrasing of Revelation 17:14, we can see an example of Jesus as our king, and not merely just the King of the Jews:
These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.10
It is therefore shown that both Christ and the God of the Old Testament is the king over us. Can we have a king of kings, and another king over him that is also our king? I should say not. Perhaps this is evidence enough that it is very feasible to consider Jesus Christ as the God of the Old Testament, but there is more to consider.
God as our Redeemer
The God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ have also shown another common characteristic, probably the greatest of all in terms of showing unconditional love: The role of a redeemer. There are a multitude of verses from the Old Testament that teach about the redeeming nature of the God of the Old Testament. Many to most of these are in reference either to the deliverance from Egypt, or the deliverance from the Babylonians. Several of these verses use the word ‘redeem’ as a title, in the form of ‘redeemer,’ showing present tense, and a constant understanding of watchfulness over the House of Israel. One such verse is Isaiah 44:24 which has a strong reference to an already mentioned role of the God of the Old Testament:
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
Isaiah 47:4 also teaches this same concept, with other added references:
As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.11
Hosea 13:14 gives an even more clear picture as to what redeeming means, when not in the context of the Babylonian or Egyptian captivities.
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.
The New Testament does not use the terms redemption, redeem(ed), or redeemer very often. Out of all the verses that do, probably the most significant, at least to the purpose of this article, is Luke 24:19-21:
And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
Titles, Prophecies, and Similarities
There are quite a few other various passages of scripture that give rise to the notion that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament. None of them fall into any direct category except for miscellaneous. Some are more convincing than others, but all are important in considering the question at hand, whether or not Jesus Christ can be shown to be the God of the Old Testament by scripture alone.
Prophecy concerning the crucified Lord
Perhaps one of the most confusing prophecies is Zechariah 12:10, as it changes pronouns about midway down:
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Revelation 1:7 verifies that this verse teaches about Jesus Christ:
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
Whereas Isaiah 49:16 teaches us that this verse applies to the God of the Old Testament:
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
“I will be their God, and they shall be My people”
Ezekiel 34:30 gives us another trait of the God of the Old Testament.
Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD.12
As noted by the topic heading, God declares ownership over His people. The way in which He does this is a recurring motif in the Old Testament. Another example among many is Jeremiah 32:38:
And they shall be my people, and I will be their God:
This same relationship is shown in Revelation 21:3 concerning Christ.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
God as our Rock
One of the most peculiarly blunt passages of scripture in relating to this article is that of 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.13
In many ways, this passage could stand alone, but is strengthened by reinforcement from Romans 9:33:
As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
This is in direct reference to Jesus Christ, who is that rock of offence. The God of the Old Testament is as well compared to a rock. As is shown 1 Samuel 2:2,
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
Reference to God’s vesture
Isaiah 63:1-6, though not necessarily a prophecy, can be compared to one:
Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.
And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.
Verse 4 is a bit confusing when first looked at. However, the very last verse of the previous chapter, Isaiah 62:12, explains quite clearly who the Lord is speaking about:
And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.
The prophecy that this passage compares to is in Revelation 19:13, one about Christ:
And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14
God priced at 30 pieces of silver
In Zechariah 11:7, 10-13 we read another prophecy, about the Lord of the Old Testament proclaiming an event, where He will be present:
And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.
And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it assunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver.
And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.
Interestingly, Matthew is the only one of the four gospels that gives the monetary amount that Judas received for betraying Jesus. Except for perhaps the Gospel of John, Matthew uses prophecy the most out of the four to prove the divinity of Jesus. And thus we read in Matthew 26:14-15:
Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.
“Mountains quake at him, and the hills melt”
We can read in Zechariah 14:1, 5 that at the coming of the God of the Old Testament, the geography of the Earth will do some shifting.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Nahum 1:5 adds another interesting aspect.
The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
The key word is presence. That is not all, however. We read in Revelation 16: 20 the following:
And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
One might ask, what does this prove? It does seem plausible to be taken out of context, and one can point to the verses around this particular verse, and say that nothing has been proved. We must, therefore look to a few others for some greater details. Two verses before this last one is this:
And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.
What earthquake is this? This earthquake was mentioned in Revelation 11:13:
And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.
So we have merely established that there will be an earthquake, then there will be major shifts in the landscape. How then, does Christ tie into all of this? We can look to 1 Corinthians 1:7-8 as a quick reference:
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One might wish to reread Zechariah 14:1 at the top of this section to help reinforce the importance of this passage.
God as the Husband of Israel
It can be seen that the God of the Old Testament serves many roles. Many of them have already been shown in this article. Why does He do this? Surely it is love for His people.15 We can see this quite plainly in Hosea 2:19-20:
And I will betroth thee [Israel] unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
And without question the four Gospels are filled with examples of the love of Christ. Perhaps from a more unlikely source, we can see this show of love with reference to the above verse. This can be found in Revelation 21:2, 9:
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
Lord of the Sabbath
Another attribute of the God of the Old Testament, is somewhat in concert of His control over the Law. He instituted respect for the Sabbath Day as one of the Ten Commandments.16In Ezekiel 20:12, 20 the Lord shows especial ownership of this holy day, where He rested from creating the Earth:
Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that I am the LORD your God.
He has dominion over the Sabbath as its creator, and in Matthew 12:8 we see this same ownership, except in the form of Jesus Christ, and that it is shown that He is Lord over it:
For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
This is, of course the message of Ezekiel 20:12, 20.
The great I AM
Widely contested is the connection between Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58. We read in Exodus 3:14 a title that the Lord ascribes Himself when speaking to Moses.
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
John 8:58 gives us strong reason to believe Christ taught the principle that He had brought the Jews the Law as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We read:
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
The reaction as shown in the very next verse is quite expected from the unbelieving Jews:
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
God as the fountain of Living Waters
We can look at John 7:37-38 and see quite clearly that Jesus Christ provides a well of living water:
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
This is reaffirmed by John 4:14 where Christ teaches this same principle to a Samaritan woman:
But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Truly, we come to Christ to gain that well of living water. And this is just as true with the God of the Old Testament. We see this in Jeremiah 17:13:
O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.
The Lord’s Tabernacle
One more example should be drawn from yet one more prophecy of the God of the Old Testament’s role in the Second Coming of Christ. That can be found in Ezekiel 37:27.
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
An almost word for word phrased verse can be found in Revelation 21:3:
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
This is shown to be Jesus Christ by verses 6 and 9 of the same chapter.
Antagonistic Passages to the Concept that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament
We have examined many verses that would indicate that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament. However, there are some passages of scripture that would lend us to believe otherwise without careful examination. For the sake of brevity, the references for these passages will be in boldface; the verses themselves displayed and considered by use of other passages of scripture.
“No God Formed Before Me”
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me [Isaiah 43:10].
This is the principle verse that I have come across when confronted with a challenge to the doctrine of Jesus Christ being Jehovah of the Old Testament. This verse, however, is largely taken out of context. We can look two verses down from it to see exactly how it is taken out of context:
I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
The God of the Old Testament is referencing idols in verse 10. This must surely be true, not only for verse 12 as shown above, but also for Joshua 22:22:
The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods, he knoweth, and Israel he shall know; if it be in rebellion, or if in transgression against the LORD, (save us not this day,)
Surely these verses come in complete conflict, unless we read this in terms of understanding that the other gods referred to are only idols. We see this again in Isaiah 44:8:
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Yet again we can turn to the verses that follow this one to see that the subject matter here is about idols. We can also look to Isaiah 26:13-14 to reaffirm this:
O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish.
“Covenant Which God Made With Our Fathers”
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.
Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed [Acts 3:13, 25].
These verses prompt the need to clarify exactly how Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament. It is not disputed by any member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that God, the Father, is over all. And this can be shown by several New Testament verses. First, John 17:7, 10:
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou [God, the Father] hast given me [Jesus Christ] are of thee… And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
John 10:28-29 gives us this same basic message.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
What does this mean? It means that God, the Father, is indeed the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God over all. Yet, so is Christ.17 God, the Father, gave the Church into His hands.18 This is much the same as when we compare verses about the doctrine of God. We see in 2 John 1:9 that it is Christ’s doctrine, or the dogma of His Church. However in John 7:16 we read that it is the doctrine of God, the Father. Is this a conflict? No. Surely the doctrine is of both the Father, and the Son.
Speaking by Prophets
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets [Hebrews 1:1]
The implication of this verse is that Jesus Christ did not speak to the Prophets of the Old Testament. Rather, this came directly through God, the Father. Just as easily as this myth is presented, it is done away with, by looking at Revelation 22:6:
And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.19
“Words … Shall Not Depart Out Of Thy Mouth”
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever [Isaiah 59:20-21].
This individual passage is not the subject for examination, so much as it is this type of prophecy. This is an example of the many prophecies of Jesus Christ’s First, or Second Coming. This leads us to believe, that the God of the Old Testament is very much a different being than the Jesus Christ. The problem with taking this absolute view is that there are many other passages of prophecy that show that they are the same. This is the intent of this article: To demonstrate this fact. The above-quoted Bible verses show that the characteristics of the God of the Old Testament are directly related to characteristics of Jesus Christ. Even this above passage shows that Christ is the redeemer, and the God of the Old Testament gave the law. These characteristics are shown to belong to Christ.
This begs the question: Can’t God, the Father, have these characteristics in the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ have them in the New Testament? We must remember verses such as John 5:22 where it teaches that the Father will not judge the inhabitants of the Earth. That duty is reserved for Christ, yet the God of the Old Testament has taught that He will judge us. This does not come in the form of prophecy; it is direct and simple. Thus we must favor the interpretation that the Old Testament is, in effect, a divine investiture. The Father is conveying His message of love and law through the Son.
“Thou Art Our Father”
Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting [Isaiah 63:16].
This verse brings up an interesting question: Is Jesus Christ our Father? The answer is yes and no. We have a Heavenly Father. The Lord’s Prayer starts out with the words, “Our Father which art in heaven.”20 He is the father of our spirits.21 Yet, Jesus Christ is the Father of His Church. How is this? We can read Revelation 21:7:
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.22
The principle of being adopted into the Kingdom of Jesus Christ by conversion is also shown in John 1:12:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:23
In light of this, Isaiah 63:16 is not really all that obscure. It even adds as another parallel to the God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ.
Diverse reaction of God
This is much more a thought than any one verse of scripture. From reading the Old Testament, one could say, “God is a god of terrible wrath, and vengeance.” Whereas from reading the New Testament one no doubt would say, “Jesus is a god of great compassion.” How true is this? Am I advocating a schizophrenic God? Of course not. Nevertheless, a good verse to show the apparent “cruelty” of the God of the Old Testament can be found in 1 Chronicles 21:1,7:
And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel.
That seems very unjust. Despite the fact that we truly do not know, and cannot comprehend the nature of why this was done, we can turn to some very compelling verses of scripture to see the love of the God of the Old Testament. The entire chapter of Isaiah 54 can be read to gain an appreciation of this concept, however a couple of short verses should show this well enough:
For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.
For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the LORD that hath mercy on thee [Isaiah 54:7, 10].
Can we rightly say that the God of the Old Testament is a god of anger? By no means! Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Jesus The Mediator Of The New Covenant”
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel [Hebrews 12:23-24].
The same argument against Acts 3:13, 25 (see above) can be applied to this passage. For the embodiment of this argument we can look at John 5:22, 27:
For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:
And [God, the Father] hath given him [Jesus Christ] authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
Surely we see another conflict of scripture. How can we then reconcile these two passages of scripture? We must understand that God, the Father is over all. However, He has indeed given all judgments to be done by His son.24
“Do Not I Fill Heaven And Earth?”
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD [Jeremiah 23:23-24].
However, we must not take verse 24 literally. A better interpretation is found in Habakkuk 3:3:
God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise.
It is not so much that God fills the universe as His glory. Therefore, Jesus Christ can still be very well the God of the Old Testament.
The purpose of this article is not to take away anyone’s faith if they believe that God, the Father, is the God of the Old Testament. However, when one examines verses of the King James Bible, one can certainly understand that there is valid, sufficient scriptural support for the interpretation that Jesus Christ is Jehovah of the Old Testament, and what this can potentially entail is tremendous. I have noticed that while reading the scriptures in this light, especially where it is written, “thus saith the Lord,” I gain a terrific understanding of the divinity and wonders of God.
While God in His wisdom makes the Gospel of Jesus Christ so simple that even babes can grasp its benefits, God is also quite subtle. While following Jesus Christ, we also follow the Father, and vice versa. While Jesus is Lord of both Testaments, He also is here to do His Father’s will.
As should we
1 See Romans 6:15 for an interesting surmise by Paul.
2 See Luke 22:30.
3 See Romans 6:1-2, 23.
4 Exodus 34:10.
5 The passages surrounding this verse provide some clues as to whether this is in reference to God, the Father, or to Jesus Christ. James 3:9 shows that God is God, the Father. The term God continues into chapter 4. It stops at verse 10 where the term Lord is picked up. This term continues on through chapter 5, but as clarified by vs. 7-8 (both giving reference to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming), and 11 (which gives allusion to Jesus as our judge). Though this rule should not be applied to the whole of the New Testament, we can rightly understand that the Lord is Jesus and God is God, the Father. James 4:12 is in reference to the Lord.
6 See John 6:35.
7 See Acts 10:9-16.
8 See 1 Samuel 8:7 for a record of that event.
9 Recall Amos 4:11-13 under the section “God as the Creator.”
10 John 1:36 shows us that Jesus Christ is indeed the Lamb, quite another metaphor than that of the Shepherd of Israel. In Matthew 13 alone we see Jesus compare the Kingdom of Heaven to seven different things!
11 Recall Zechariah 14:16, Amos 4:11-13, and see 1 John 2:20.
12 Many other verses of scripture proclaim this same message, “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” See Jeremiah 11:4; 24:7; 30:22; 32:38, just to name a few.
13 John 4:14 teaches us more specifically about that spiritual drink offered by Christ.
14 Note that the Word of God is Jesus Christ. See John 1:1, 14.
15 See Micah 7:18.
16 Exodus 20:8-11.
17 See 1 Corinthians 1:3.
18 See Ephesians 1:22, and 1 Corinthians 11:3.
19 This is quite obviously in reference to Jesus Christ when one looks at verse 16. Note the connection to sending an angel.
20 See Matthew 6:9.
21 See Hebrews 12:9 and Acts 17:29.
22 The already familiar verses 6 and 9 make it clear that God in this context is Christ.
23 Shown to be Christ by verse 1 (and Revelation 19:13) as well as John 3:18.
24 And, of course, the Twelve Apostles at Jerusalem. See Matthew 19:28.