Jesus = Jehovah
It is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that the God of the Bible is a triune God, i.e. that he exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It seems to me, however, that there are many Christians that overlook the implications of this truth. If Jesus is God, then that means that it was Jesus that gave us the laws of Moses. It was Jesus that instituted the death penalty for murder in Genesis 9:6. It was Jesus that commanded the Israelites to go to war. In the New Testament we learn that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forevermore.
Some Christians have a tendency to ignore the Old Testament and even find it confusing or embarrassing. The fact is, however, that the same Jesus that taught us to “turn the other cheek” also said that there shall be “no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.” (Numbers 35:31)
There is no reason to be confused. When we study the Bible we do not find that the God of the Old Testament is vengeful and unforgiving while the God of the New Testament is loving and forgiving. In fact, Jesus mentioned hell more than anyone in the whole Bible, and it was Jehovah that said, “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18)
We must understand that the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a set of rules for government but as principles for an individual to maintain an upright heart. Jesus himself made the distinction further on in the sermon in Matthew 5:25-26: “Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.” In other words, the Old Testament focuses on government while the New Testament focuses on the individual. When the New Testament addresses the government it is harmonious with the Old Testament, and when the Old Testament addresses the individual it is harmonious with the New Testament.
God’s personality has not changed. Governments are still required to punish evildoers, and individuals are still required to forgive those that transgress against them. Christians who are ashamed of the Old Testament might also be surprised to find that Jesus himself appears in the Old Testament on numerous occasions. Theologians refer to these appearances as “christophanies.” An in-depth study can be found here.
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