Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1
Sojo

Old and New Testament Perception Differences

16 posts in this topic

I don't spend a lot of time on line but I do try to get by and check this site from time to time. I registered recently to be able to have the ability to post or respond to forum topics if I wanted to. I haven't taken the time to research all the forum areas to see if this topic may have been addressed before, so apologies if it has.

This is a brief opinion essay that I freely admit is speculative, that I posted elsewhere some time back. It's not something I've really seen addressed much in the way I view it, so I thought I'd just throw it out there for others to either consider or dismiss as they deem fit. It's about the perceived differing personality attributes of the God of the Old Testament and the Father of the New Testament and goes like this:

I find it extremely difficult to reconcile some instances of the demanding, vindictive Old Testament God with the loving, fair, and longsuffering God presented by Christ in the New Testament.

Many Christians accept the Old Testament God as Christ’s Father because the Old Testament and New Testament are bound in the same book, and there are Old Testament passages that are prophetic and look forward to the coming of Christ. Because of this belief (that the Old Testament God is Christ’s Father), they allow the actions and attitudes of the Old Testament God to color their own. (Some faiths even believe that the Old Testament God was Christ himself.)

While many Christians believe the God of the Old Testament is the same as the Father of Christ, I think this is not a valid assumption. The Old Testament God is not necessarily the Father that Christ referred to. Just because Christ participated in the Jewish Temple activities during his upbringing and ministry, I find no direct evidence that he ever equated the Old Testament God as being the “Father” he prayed to or spoke of. Nor do I see where he considered the Old Testament scriptures as something to be considered divine and worshipped or reverenced as such. Many times Christ stated, “You have heard it said…” (or words to that affect), immediately followed by, “But I say unto you…” and then would proceed to give a more spiritual directive that involved the sincerity of the inner person. With regard to Christ’s participation in Jewish religious life, it is helpful to remember that Christ himself understood and declared that he was on a specific mission to the “House of Israel”.

I think there is a possibility that there may have been beings who were entrusted with the responsibility of being stewards to oversee and nurture the development of life and humanity here on earth, but that these beings may have rebelled and usurped authority, and then may have even declared themselves as gods to various humans and demanded their worshipfulness. I think that Jesus may have even referred to this in his parables concerning faithful stewardship (specifically, the vineyard and the husbandmen--Matthew 21; Mark 12; & Luke 20--where a householder set up a vineyard and let it out to husbandmen, but the husbandmen plotted to steal the vineyard). Christ did also state, “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). The emphasis on faithful stewardship shows the importance of being true to God rather than self, and also portrays the disastrous results of betrayal.

I don’t deny that the coming of Christ was foretold. However, I think it possible that the Old Testament is a mixture of truth and error (as well as subsequent writings/scriptures that try to equate the Old and New Testament God as being one and the same). While some Old Testament persons and/or prophets may have been those who were duped, others may have indeed received prophecies from spiritual beings foretelling the coming of Christ. He did tell the Jews who sought to kill him, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39). I think Christ may have referred to this mixture of truth and error in the parable of wheat and tares (Matthew 13), the enemy being the sower of the tares, and it is for us in these latter days to discover the difference between the wheat and the tares.

Also, I think it possible Jesus understood the Israelites to have been duped, and this is why he instructed his disciples at first to go only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:6). This perception is further reinforced by his declaration that he was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

I think Christ came to this world not only to take full responsibility and endure the suffering of guilt, shame, and condemnation caused by sin (and I have personal reason to believe he experienced this spiritual torment to a degree we cannot fathom), but that he also came to reclaim that which had been (or attempted to have been) stolen by great deception.

Christ told his disciples that he had other things to tell them but that they weren't able to "bear" it (John 16:12). I think the complete truth at that time would have been just too much for them.

I think these concepts are logical and possible, and help reconcile differences between the Old Testament and New Testament portrayals of God.

Just something that crossed my mind and thought I'd share.

Sojo

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking the time to share this personal reflection..

Which, as it happens, runs more or less completely parallel to my own regarding this subject.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A completely plausible explanation imo. I also thank you for sharing. I believe that when Christ returns there will be a great many mysteries and misconceptions set to right. But I also believe that the essence of his message was not misunderstood, otherwise why leave the message at all?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is very interesting and agree that is quite plausible of an explanation.

Here are two passages of Jeremiah that are similar along these lines:

Jeremiah 7:4

4 Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’

Jeremiah 8:8

8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise,

And the law of the Lord is with us’?

But behold, the lying pen of the scribes

Has made it into a lie.

And remember the 'Traditions of the Elders' in Jesus' day was extrabiblical legalism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It's about the perceived differing personality attributes of the God of the Old Testament and the Father of the New Testament and goes like this:

I find it extremely difficult to reconcile some instances of the demanding, vindictive Old Testament God with the loving, fair, and longsuffering God presented by Christ in the New Testament.

Many Christians accept the Old Testament God as Christ’s Father because the Old Testament and New Testament are bound in the same book, and there are Old Testament passages that are prophetic and look forward to the coming of Christ. Because of this belief (that the Old Testament God is Christ’s Father), they allow the actions and attitudes of the Old Testament God to color their own. (Some faiths even believe that the Old Testament God was Christ himself.)

While many Christians believe the God of the Old Testament is the same as the Father of Christ, I think this is not a valid assumption. The Old Testament God is not necessarily the Father that Christ referred to. Just because Christ participated in the Jewish Temple activities during his upbringing and ministry, I find no direct evidence that he ever equated the Old Testament God as being the “Father” he prayed to or spoke of. Nor do I see where he considered the Old Testament scriptures as something to be considered divine and worshipped or reverenced as such. Many times Christ stated, “You have heard it said…” (or words to that affect), immediately followed by, “But I say unto you…” and then would proceed to give a more spiritual directive that involved the sincerity of the inner person. With regard to Christ’s participation in Jewish religious life, it is helpful to remember that Christ himself understood and declared that he was on a specific mission to the “House of Israel”.

I think there is a possibility that there may have been beings who were entrusted with the responsibility of being stewards to oversee and nurture the development of life and humanity here on earth, but that these beings may have rebelled and usurped authority, and then may have even declared themselves as gods to various humans and demanded their worshipfulness. I think that Jesus may have even referred to this in his parables concerning faithful stewardship (specifically, the vineyard and the husbandmen--Matthew 21; Mark 12; & Luke 20--where a householder set up a vineyard and let it out to husbandmen, but the husbandmen plotted to steal the vineyard). Christ did also state, “All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). The emphasis on faithful stewardship shows the importance of being true to God rather than self, and also portrays the disastrous results of betrayal.

I don’t deny that the coming of Christ was foretold. However, I think it possible that the Old Testament is a mixture of truth and error (as well as subsequent writings/scriptures that try to equate the Old and New Testament God as being one and the same). While some Old Testament persons and/or prophets may have been those who were duped, others may have indeed received prophecies from spiritual beings foretelling the coming of Christ. He did tell the Jews who sought to kill him, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39). I think Christ may have referred to this mixture of truth and error in the parable of wheat and tares (Matthew 13), the enemy being the sower of the tares, and it is for us in these latter days to discover the difference between the wheat and the tares.

Also, I think it possible Jesus understood the Israelites to have been duped, and this is why he instructed his disciples at first to go only to "the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:6). This perception is further reinforced by his declaration that he was “not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24).

I think Christ came to this world not only to take full responsibility and endure the suffering of guilt, shame, and condemnation caused by sin (and I have personal reason to believe he experienced this spiritual torment to a degree we cannot fathom), but that he also came to reclaim that which had been (or attempted to have been) stolen by great deception.

Sojo

I like the thought you put into this.

A lot of people look at the Old Testament God and have great difficulty reconciling "that God" with the one Jesus spoke about, calling him his "Father." And for good reason--- the two personalities are quite incompatible, so as you surmise-- it can't be the same God, can it? I'd propose to you that it is one and the same God in both the old and new testaments and that God didn't change, rather what changed was our understanding of him based on, and because of the testimony of Christ.

The way we worshipped God and our understanding of him was given to us by Moses-- who implemented a whole system of religion based on rules (laws) and these laws were not only religious practices, but the foundation of a society and system of government-- there was no separation of church and state as it were. The laws were given to Moses as a list of ten, where upon he constructed a society and legal code to implement those commandments, along with a great many additions that were seen as complimentary or necessary for the clarification of those general laws to be applied and implemented. So judges were appointed. A priesthood was instituted and with each body of rulers, came more and more rules. And so then was born another class of society who took it upon themselves to interpret these many laws and these they called- "the experts in the law." Today we wouldn't call them scribes and Pharisees, but clerks and lawyers. Now imagine what "time" does to a system of government and religion when there is no separation at all, and when you put lawyers in charge. Does it get simpler and less burdensome? Never.

So the system ends up in a maze and a mess of 'points of law' -- religion becomes nothing but a system of rules and regulations-- each violation assigned a penalty as with every legal infraction. It can never heal itself. The code only gets bigger and is always subject to interpretation, exceptions and corruption of justice. It only ever goes from bad to worse over time. So God--- every so often as is needed sends messengers to provide a kind of course correction when we get too far from the path. In the past we called these messengers-- angels, or spirits-- Angels of the Lord-- who deliver his word to men. These men who receive this instruction we then call prophets who act as a spokesperson and relay these messages they receive from God by his spirit. At times we might call them prophets, or priests, or kings, apostles, disciples, or evangelists--- which simply means to be a bringer of the messenger's good news.

Jesus then, whether you call him God's son or not (for we are all sons of God) is another messenger sent to provide a course correction. In fact we assign him a special place as a deliverer of instruction and understanding calling him the very Word of God. --God's "Word" comes to us so that we are given an opportunity to set aside our misguided ways, and turn (repent) from the wrong direction toward a better understanding. We see this throughout human history at various times when messengers are sent to tell us that our religious practices are useless in God's sight and that our religious systems are corrupt. This has been so since the very dawn of man, but again it isn't God that changes with the times and season, only our understanding of him. Our understanding is based upon what we are given--- the Light that we have at the time.

In times past our understanding of God was based upon the light of the Old Testament and the stories contained within. Then came the Christ and with him we received a new testimony about God from Jesus and those stories were compiled within what we call a new testament-- but is it a perfect understanding? Not at all- it is still subject to our limited understanding and from the very start it was debated and interpreted by men such as Paul and Peter, and everyone since, so it would be arrogant or naïve to think that today we are perfect in wisdom and understanding of God and that no further knowledge is needed, nor any course correction required. But even as time goes on, some things do not change.

I would suspect that even if two Christs were to appear today that the religious establishment, the leaders, and all those who follow them would have great difficulty turning from their flawed practices and understanding to any new testimony of witnesses.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a perception that the God of the Old Testament is a vindictive, evil, murderous SOB who likes to eat babies, and the God of the New Testament is a cuddly teddy bear who wouldn't hurt a fly.

Frankly, I call bull dust on that, neither representation is accurate. There is much more love in the Old Testament than people think, and there is more judgement in the New Testament than people think. But modern readers seem to have a preconception of vengeance/love so Old Testament references are overlooked while those that show judgement provide confirmation bias, with the same in the New Testament.

If there is a difference, it's in the timing of judgement. In the Old Testament, God brought judgement immediately, while in the New Testament judgement is promised to us upon death. This difference came about because once Jesus had lived and died and resurrected God's plan for the Messiah was complete. In Genesis 12, God makes a covenant with Abraham (a covenant is like a contract, outlining the expectations of both parties) and included a reference to Abraham being a blessing to all nations. As Genesis continues, this blessing is more clearly defined as an individual from Abraham's descendants. This is the beginning of the promise of a Messiah.

Fast forward to the time of Jesus, that final promise was fulfilled (Jesus was a blessing to all nations), the covenant was complete, and God instituted a new covenant with all people. No longer a physical nation of Israel, but a spiritual nation from all the people of earth. Under this new covenant, God promises eternal life to all who accept the Messiah. But the consequence of not acquiring this covenant is that you'll have to try to attain eternal life on your own, which means quite literally living a perfect life, which unfortunately is impossible for humans to do.

But I digress. My point is that the actions of Gods between the two Testaments are entirely within the character of one being, not a vastly contradictory God of violence/God of love. At least in my understanding it is so.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think a lot of what I read in the Old Testament speaks to the psychological state of humanity at the time. If God is to speak to the people, he can only do so in a language they can understand to hope to be heard at all. What that means to me is that there is no point in teaching humanity to walk before it can stand, or run before it can walk.

Whatever is imparted is received through the filter of our perception - I see more of the filter of human perception in the interpretation of God and his law in the Old Testament than I see of Gods will on average - yet the message remains intact and a future generation can glean a deeper understanding of the words than the one that received them was capable of comprehending. That is part of the power of the Old Testament, it is there for those in the future who will get the epithany originally intended.

What it comes to is the purpose of the journey - and the purpose brings us to the point of our capacity to perceive the message of Jesus, whose time is pre-ordained and as a result of all that we have journeyed through in the Old Testament, whose time had finally come.

It is as ugly as the worst in humanity and as beautiful as the best - how else could a journey into understanding our own true nature and the will of God possibly look?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A completely plausible explanation imo. I also thank you for sharing. I believe that when Christ returns there will be a great many mysteries and misconceptions set to right. But I also believe that the essence of his message was not misunderstood, otherwise why leave the message at all?

You know that his actual return will happen after some ultra maximum overkill, don't you?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did God repent..changed his mind because he had made man thus

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But I digress. My point is that the actions of Gods between the two Testaments are entirely within the character of one being, not a vastly contradictory God of violence/God of love. At least in my understanding it is so.

This may be what you have concluded based upon your own understanding of God, and who or what God is... but it is an assimilated understanding. It isn't conjecture to say that there is a vastly different portrayal of God in the era before Jesus versus what Jesus taught us. If you miss this, you miss a lot. In the old testament, the understanding was that God on your side meant victory, blessing, prosperity, health and conversely that all these things were evidence of his favor. Secondly, you could win his favor by good works, by sacrificial ritual, by birthright and inheritance and just as quickly suffer his wrath by failing to please him or by sinning.

Contrast this with the idea of God that Jesus portrays as a loving Father who seeks relationship, not sacrifice. A God of mercy and grace and who forgives us while we are still sinners. One who in fact rejects substitutionary sacrifice, and where all our attempts to win favor are worthless. Where greatness comes only through humility, where suffering is allowed for our good and isn't a sign of abandonment. Where turning the other cheek, loving our enemies, serving, and self-sacrifice are paramount.

I do agree with you that it isn't two different Gods, and that it wasn't God that changed--- but the two portrayals are vastly different. Both old and new testaments are exactly that--- stories... testimonies of our experience and journey toward understanding God based upon our interactions. If God were to speak directly to you as he did with Moses, or through dreams as he did with Daniel, or were you gifted with understanding of him as was Jesus-- you might write a newer testimony and our understanding of God would again evolve.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both old and new testaments are exactly that--- stories... testimonies of our experience and journey toward understanding God based upon our interactions. If God were to speak directly to you as he did with Moses, or through dreams as he did with Daniel, or were you gifted with understanding of him as was Jesus-- you might write a newer testimony and our understanding of God would again evolve.

A future Testiment, aside from the NT?? Evolve?? Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..." To back this up St. Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." You can't get any more basic than those two. No spiritual evolution is needed, and Paul's "gospel" is really what makes Christianity different from non-Christian paths.

Just a thought, Jack.

Peace.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

if you study theology and astro-theology you will discover a whole different meaning to the word god , for example astrotheologists believe that god is simply dog spelled backwards which refers to the dog star sirius and is why you have a dogma which can be seen as ma god or ma dog backwards and priest wearing a dogs collar , christ actually means annointed and comes from greek christo's and refers to oil so saying jesus was the christ just really meaning he was annointed and saying someone is anti-christ means they havent been anointed thats all , also jesus was born to a virgin which in latin is virgo the 6th astrological sign on the zodiac , also he was accompanied by a star in the east the dog star sirius , was adored by three kings thats orions belt and had 12 apostles which is the 12 signs of the zodiac and if you look at some pictures of jesus it looks like theres a zodiac behind him with him in the middle and is assocaited with 2 fish were he was friends with the fisherman and fed the people on 2 fish he was a man with 2 fish which is pisces the 2 fish on the zodiac , he is the sun and the light of the world and our saviour right , so is the sun if it doesnt come up we cannot survive that lights the world and is our savoir .

another thing church comes from scottish word kirk ( like kirk and the starship enterprise ) about making money ill add a link for you too look at here about the church and money http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/Roman_Catholic_Church_in_1500.htm . back to church kirk is scottish word and comes from greek circe and in greek mythology mother circee took odysseus and his men in to her house brainwashed them turned them into pigs and feed off them which is symbolic to the teachings of religion and many who read the bible havent read other mythologies that are said to pre date the bible and think thats the bible is original it isnt itis the truth yes the history but like many other myths and belief systems is based on metaphor and symbolic meanings , you see floods , creation , wars in heaven and a messiah like jesus character in many ancient storys . you can look up these words and what they mean for your self on wiki or in dictionarys whatever but the whole thing stinks of occult and occult means hidden or secret and there are hidden messages in the bible i believe but that itself is an eclectic book or collection of books that in my opinion come from much earlier mythologys like mesopotamia , egypt , greece ect . but doesnt mean it isnt the truth i just think itis highly based on astrology , like satan means accuser or adversary right but i think satan also refers to saturn and the 666 is saturn being the 6th planet and saturday the 6th day and the 6 pointed pentagram makes up satan who is based loosley on a character from greek mythology called pan who was a satyr .

some interesting things youll find out in theology you may wana look into it and dont get offended anyone who doesnt agree with this i didnt write the theology book i am just mentioning some things here which i find interesting , and while i dont remember nor have i extensivley studied the bible fully dont bother coming back with scripture passages saying that the bible said this and this is prophecised to happen it may all be true all of it , but i do think itis a tool to control the masses and create conflict with other followers of other doctrines with very little proof to offer anyone what so ever .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

christ actually means annointed and comes from greek christo's and refers to oil so saying jesus was the christ just really meaning he was annointed

Tell the oil thing to Christian gnostics. Do a little research on gnosticism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tell the oil thing to Christian gnostics. Do a little research on gnosticism.

i did read this http://www.gnosticorderofchrist.org/initiation/baptism/baptism1.htm and it does say that christ comes from christos which is greek for annointed and it does also say with oil meaning jesus was anointed with oil christos , yeah ok jesus was a spiritual teacher who gives us spiritual grace in the ceremony of baptism rar rar but these words do mean what i said they did and hes is considered a leader among gnostics and so was mary and some of his apostles as far as im aware of but thats irrelevant christ means anointed and is to do with oil he was the anointed one .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A future Testiment, aside from the NT?? Evolve?? Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me..." To back this up St. Paul said, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." You can't get any more basic than those two. No spiritual evolution is needed, and Paul's "gospel" is really what makes Christianity different from non-Christian paths.

Just a thought, Jack.

Peace.

Yes. A future testament.

And yes-- as a result your understanding of God would then evolve.

Your reaction isn't at all surprising, in fact it's exactly like all the religious folks before Jesus reacted and rejected his new testimony. After all they had Moses, and the Law, and the Prophets.... They didn't need a new testimony or any deeper understanding of God... They knew all they needed to know.

And the messiah they anticipated was nothing like the messiah they got. They expected "one like Moses" to come and free them from misery and got a baby born in a stinking barn who grew to be a man of sorrows.

You are every bit as handicapped as they were if you cling so tightly to what you think you know about so many things you do not. Like- what happens next. Those before Jesus could not anticipate the Christ in the way he came. They were looking for the wrong thing, just like those left standing looking up to the sky after he left were looking for the wrong thing concerning his return. Remember it was only after the fact that followers began searching the scriptures and discovered so many ways that Jesus fulfilled them. And so will it be when Christ returns in a way unexpected.

Imagine two Christs for example--- annointed by God in wisdom and power-- witnesses of his glory. Would you accept their new testimony? Would theologians then play twister to invent a quadrilateral Godhead to replace their Trinity? And if these two were crucified in the streets by gunfire rather than hung on crosses would you deny them and the truth they taught because it wasn't what you expected. And when they rise again, will you still scoff and sneer?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What you're basically saying is that Jesus and Paul failed. People before Jesus were strictly prophets, and that's the big difference. True, in the end it's a matter of faith (that Jesus rose from the dead...), and I'm putting my eggs to this one Christian basket, especially since I'm already a (perpetual) half a century old. Besides, I've experienced (in the afterlife) a loving Being that I believe was Jesus... Done the metaphysical thing, and it (the promises it offered) didn't work...in the end -- at least not for me, and I can only speak for myself on this. Live and learn, so people say.

Peace, Jack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 1

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.