Is Jesus the God of the Old Testament?


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #1

Merv.

What I said was, The answer to the Cosmic Authority problem is Jesus Christ. God the Father is the Judge or Cosmic Authority. Jesus the Messiah is the Savior Who breaks the power of sin and makes humans right with the Cosmic Authority, so we are be saved from the power of sin and can receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and Eternal Life with God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Salvation is the issue and is always the issue. Let us not be drawn off topic by trying to first be philosophically correct, before we are theologically correct.

You are right to say that God does not change, but God as we know Who God is does change and this is what happened through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ reveals important aspects of God not evident in the Hebrew Bible. The most important of these is that God is relational and not Absolute. The flip side of this is God is Trinity, One God in Three Persons, which is anathema to Jewish and Muslim theology

A serious problem here is our understanding of Absolute. Most people think it means perfect, and in some sense it does if you think of perfection as an “ivory tower” kind of existence, a completely detached, uninvolved, as the rational Cosmic Authority.

Jesus taught us that God’s perfection is not like this. God, Who makes the rain to fall on both the just and the unjust, cares about everyone, and is involved with God’s world. Thus we must be perfect like God and love everyone, not just our friends. This is the message that the world, esp. the Muslim world, but also the Christian and Jewish world needs today.

Moving beyond does not mean forgetting the old, but the real problem is nature of sin. Christianity teaches that sin is not just breaking the rules, as important as rules may be. Sin is failing to love God, others, and ourselves. If we say we love God, Who we cannot see, yet we hate other people who we can see, we are telling a lie and there is no truth in us.

Is Jesus the God of the Hebrew Bible?


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#2

Yes, Jesus is God of the Hebrew Bible among other things. Even in Genesis, we read that God said, “let us make man in our own image”, which we infer relates to Jesus being there, as well as John 1… in the beginning was the Word, … and the Word was God. We know that the old Testament often talked about God being merciful in his justice, and we can see that’s God’s patience and mercy is fulfilled in Christ. Also we know there are what, about 400 prophecies that evidently were fulfilled in Christ.

I think we should not make absolute statements, such as “God is not absolute”. It can lead to a lot of misunderstandings. Absolute does not mean perfect. We might say that one could be absolutely wrong. It has a more of a meaning of completeness and unchangeableness, the opposite of relative. But it is possible to combine relative situations with absolute commands, as well as the absolute desire of God.

So killing might have relative moral standards, but murder not so relative standards. And yet murder is a form of killing. Whether something is relative or absolute often depends on how you define the “something”.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #3

JohnZ@,

Thank you for your comment.

There is no question from the Christian view, Jesus is evident in the Hebrew Bible. However it is improper to day that Jesus is the God of the Hebrew Bible, Who is God the Father as I have said.

As for absolute, I think that if you will study this question carefully, it does mean perfect (with some other connotations also.) To use the example of the Commandment, Do not kill [other humans beings.] That is a perfectly clear unconditional absolute statement. Killing other people is absolutely or perfectly wrong and against God’s will.

My point is that people using other statements from the Torah have relativized this Absolute law, by saying it is permissible to kill others in battle, in self defense, as an agent of the state performing punishment, and of course in some places killing in the Name of God/Allah.

In fact it is not killing which is relative, it is murder which is relative. Even though I am not a lawyer, I understand that there are at least three degrees of murder: First degree with is deliberate and premeditated, and what we usually think of as murder, Second degree which I think is a crime of passion, not premeditated, and Third degree which would negligent, where one does not directly kill, but is responsible for the death of someone else.

I have come to the conclusion that the Ten Commandments are right. Killing other is evil. Even if it can be justified under the law, it is hard to say it is right and good. Whereas the act of killing in legitimate self defense is certainly justifiable, sin is still present in the need to defend oneself. Fighting on the right side in times of war is certainly justifiable, but the psychological and physical injury done to soldiers on both sides is evidence of the power of sin to destroy.

I do not know of anything which is absolutely or perfectly good, except Divine Love, which is relational, because God is Relational. Please do not confuse the two terms, relative and relational. Relative means different, and while differences come from God, they are not absolute.

Relational means that we are all connected. No one is independent of others, not even God. We are interdependent with others and God is interdependent with us. God cares about all people, including you and me. God loved us before we loved God. God is the GOD Who RELATES.


#4

Roger… I’m not sure why you say that it is improper to say that Jesus is the God of the Hebrew Bible. Are you denying or disagree with what the Gospel of John 1 says? Maybe there is a misunderstanding about terminology. Jesus is not the God of the Bible period, but rather, the entire Bible reveals Jesus. God does not belong to the bible; the bible only reveals God. Scripture also reveals that the Father and the Son are one, which means that Jesus was there all along.

Generally, in the context of scripture, it is considered clear that the commandment do not kill, should be interpreted as “do not murder”. How could God in one sentence command not to kill, and then five minutes later command the levites to kill the idolatrous Israelites? He breaks his own command? He commands people to break his own command? Obviously, the wrong word is used… or the word must be understood in two different ways.

Okay, killing is an absolute physical act, no doubt about it. But the moral consequences of killing depend on circumstances… so the morality associated with killing is relative. It is obviously not immoral to kill animals. It is apparently not immoral to kill pre-meditated murderers. But it is immoral to kill in revenge, someone who accidently killed someone, and for this reason Israel had cities of refuge to provide a trial and justice about deciding consequences for murder in different cases. Murder seems to imply motive, and for that reason, murder is wrong. But even negligent death is wrong, as you can read about those who do not lock up a dangerous animal which may end up killing someone… they are held responsible for negligence.

Sorry if I confused relative and relational… it was not intentional. God is certainly the one who relates to the people he created.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #5

@johnZ

Thank you for your questions. This is difficult because our faith represents the merger of two worlds of the Jewish faith and Hellenistic philosophy. We Westerners generally see the Bible through the eyes of the Greek worldview, which is better than nothing. However we must not confuse a human world view, which God is able to use to help us to understand God’s way, with God’s world view that is even better method to understand Reality.

The Greeks wanted to know about the world, while the Jews wanted to know about God. The Greeks, like us, believed in “eternal truths,” which could guide them through life, while the Jews wanted to know God’s rules which keep them in right relationship with YHWH.

They came together as the eternal truths of Life are God’s rules, however Jesus revealed that God’s Law is not Absolute, but Relational, the Law of Love. This is the problem we have yet to understand intellectually, even though many Christians understand our faith spiritually.

Let me begin with this observation. YHWH gave Moses the tablets of the Law on Mt. Sinai. These are known as the Decalogue or Ten Commandments. They include Spiritual law, 1-4, Family law, 5, and Civil/Moral law, 6-9, and Moral law, 10.

My understanding, based on what it says in the Biblical text, would be that the Judges of Israel took the Decalogue, which is general and without penalties, and translated it into the body of specific laws which we have in the Torah. If this is the case then it is not God Who set the penalty for murder and adultery, but humans. It also follows that Jesus was right not to condemn the woman caught in adultery to death, but to forgive her.

killing is an absolute physical act, no doubt about it. But the moral consequences of killing depend on circumstances… so the morality associated with killing is relative.

In a sense you have got it, but not quite. Let us take self defense. It would seem to be clear, that when there is a choice between my life or someone else’s my life should take priority, except if I have no valid reason to protect my life, such as I am trying to murder other people.

However in the Dark Ages, before TV when I listened to the Lone Ranger on the radio, he did not kill criminals, but shot the gun out of their hands. Killing should be an act of last resort and it is morally good only relative to the consequences of the other actions available to me.

It must be noted that Jesus could have killed and probably would have had to kill in self defense to avoid dying for a crime He did not commit, but He did not. We are not Jesus, but that does not mean that we cannot learn from His example.

As I tried to say, even when we do what if morally right, we are often choosing the least bad alternative. This is why forgiveness is important even when we are doing right. Also Peter was right when he wrote, “Love overcomes a multitude of sins.” Even when we try to do what is right, because we are limited, physical humans, need to act in love so we might be forgiven in spite of our human failures. Life often is messy.

Sin is the breakdown of relationships. Killing clearly results in the breakdown of relationships and thus sin. Death which is part of the Creation results in the breakdown of relationships, but God is able to reestablish these relationships in heaven or maybe in hell, so death is not really sinful in the way killing is.

God reveals Godself in and through the Bible not to enable us to understand YHWH, but to establish a covenant or agreement or treaty between YHWH and God’s Chosen People. Thus God revealed Godself differently to Abraham than God revealed Godself to Moses. God revealed Godself as God the Father in the Hebrew Bible. God revealed Godself as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the Greek Bible.

God could not reveal Godself as Jesus the Christ in the Hebrew Bible because Jesus has yet to be born, live, be crucified, and raised from the dead. This does not mean that Jesus was not a part of YHWH’s plan of salvation, but nothing happens before it happens. Therefore it is a mistake to say Jesus is God of the Hebrew Bible.

The God of the Hebrew Bible can be seen as Absolute, which is the way many, Christians and Jews do see YHWH. It is only Jesus Who makes it clear that the God of both Testaments is relational. Humans often see things with 20-20 hindsight which were inconceivable previously, and may be still hard to believe by some today.

The things of God are not easy to understand. Fortunately God really is not that complicated, but we should not expect God to conform to our ways of thinking. We need to learn from God’s ways of relating to us and God’s Creation.


(Merv Bitikofer) #6

@Relates

Roger, check out what you wrote here:

Let us take self defense. It would seem to be clear, that when there is a choice between my life or someone else’s my life should take priority, except if I have no valid reason to protect my life, such as I am trying to murder other people.

And then two paragraphs later …

It must be noted that Jesus could have killed and probably would have had to kill in self defense to avoid dying for a crime He did not commit, but He did not. We are not Jesus, but that does not mean that we cannot learn from His example.

As a resident Anabaptist here, I can’t let that contrast go unnoticed or unchallenged. Your second paragraph is perhaps closer to the spirit of Jesus’ teachings while the first one (in contrast), is nearly opposite just about everything Jesus taught and lived out. Literally.

But I’m not about to go looking for stones here. It is no small challenge to even just try to follow in that perfection that Jesus lives out for us. As you put it well … we may not be Jesus but we can learn from his example.


#7

Roger, you have made some interesting analysis. I do agree that life is often messy. Almost always messy.

I find it odd that for a relational oriented guy, you would make so many absolute statements about God, and about the old testament. You call it hebrew, but the language is not the essence of it, only the mode of it. If you had said that the focus of the old testament is on God the Father, while the gospels concentrate on Jesus and the epistles on the Holy Spirit… well, maybe. But God is present, completely present, from beginning to end. The beauty is that his presence is there even when we don’t sense it. Thus Jesus was present at creation, and the spirit of God, which is God himself, was present in the conversations with Abraham, and Moses, and king David, and the prophets.

Of course, Jesus actual presence on earth changed things for us. Becoming man made a difference in how we see God. But Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law. So if the law is absolute, then Jesus supported that.

But the law, decalogue and also the other laws, are part of God’s relationship with his people, and with us. The law itself is relational. We see this in what kind of a relationship God wants with us in the first four commandments. We also see what kind of relationship God wants us to have with each other in the next six commandments. But even the last six commandments are part of our relationship with God. Don’t murder - respect God’s image in his creation. Don’t covet, but be thankful for what God has given you. Etc. I cannot separate out relation from absolute or from relative; they are all interconnected. The law of love was given several times in the old testament as well, and the decalogue is a description of that love.

How serious was God about these commandments? If you don’t keep them, you deserve to die. That’s how serious.

At a practical level, self-defense is somewhat different from defending other innocent people. Self-defense is natural and instinctive, but from a moral perspective, self defense can prevent someone else from the sin of murder, although perhaps not from the sin of hate. On the other hand, withholding self defense, as Jesus did, and as some of the martyrs did, is also a way of witnessing to something that is greater than our mere life on earth.

But, when innocent children and widows are being badly hurt and murdered, then why would we assume our mission to help them would be less valid than bringing them food, or supplying them with shelter or education? While each of us individually must make some of these life and death decisions on our own, perhaps to sacrifice our life for others, or to defend, with our life, the lives of others, or not, yet, we ought to be extremely careful about judging the sin of others who may decide to protect the innocent with deadly force against their aggressors.

As a final note, I want to say that I disagree with the scholars who claim our faith is a merger of the Jewish faith and Hellenistic philosophy. Just because there are similarities, does not prove a merger. The average man on the street who has read none of Plato, still may have many ideas which are original to him that are similar to Aristotle or Plato, and yet he has made no merger. The fact that Hellenistic thought had some ideas which are reasonable, does not mean that scripture and our faith would not have expressed those ideas regardless. If our faith comes from God, from Jesus Christ, then I do not give any credit to Hellenistic thought for that. Rather, it is interesting how even pagan greek philosophy can have some glimmerings of truth within it, as we discover by comparing it to scripture. Besides, most of scripture existed before Hellenistic thought, and the New Testament is a direct outgrowth and result of the old testament. The New Covenant as revealed in the new testament was already predicted in the old testament… when God said he would write his law on the hearts of men. In that sense, in so far as Hellenistic thought is true (the truth), it is a direct result of God’s promise in the old testament. In so far as it is not true, or as it is incomplete, it falls short of authority to provide advice to our faith.

I agree that Hellenistic thought sometimes created errors in the christian faith, but I do not agree that there is in any sense of true faith, a merger with Hellenism.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #8

@johnZ wrote:

> How serious was God about these commandments? If you don’t keep them, you deserve to die. That’s how serious.

So we all deserve to die. Not only that, we all, no exception, deserve to spend eternity in the worst environment imaginable, and since God is Absolute and Just we will all spend eternity in Hell. Correct?


#9

Roger, since God is absolute and just, he sent his son Jesus to take what we deserve. Otherwise, like relativistic and ambivalent humans, he would have just tolerated our sins and said, "well… they’re really not that bad. What’s the big deal. " Because God’s justice was satisfied, we will spend eternity with God, rather than in the worst environment. He forgives us. If we repent, accept God, and love him, and desire to obey him. Absolutely. Amen.


(Brad Kramer) #10

@Relates, How would you distinguish your view from Marcionism? I will define Marcionism as the heresy that Jesus came to save us from the Father. Your view of the Bible seems to flirt with this line. Whatever we say about Jesus in relation to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible), we need to maintain the unity of the Scriptures. I don’t think this means that we need to see everything in the OT as morally compelling for all times and places (I don’t), and I sympathize a lot with your thoughts about the radically relational nature of theology, but I see a great importance in framing the Bible as one cohesive theological narrative that culminates in Christ.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #11

@johnZ, wrote:

But the Bible says, “God so loved the world that He sent His only beloved Son, Jesus Christ so that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

How does God being Absolute and Just result in God sending Jesus to die for our sins. If all humans deserve to go to Hell, how is that being Just? If God were absolute, God would not care if humans went to Hell or not, unless it were by mistake, which it clearly would not be.

There is no reason why an absolute and just God would sent the Beloved Son to suffer and die an unjust death for humans who in no way deserve any mercy. Except God the Father is not absolute, but relational.

Absolute according to one resource means “without qualification or restriction.” When people say that God is absolute they mean that God can do anything God chooses to do, which is true, but the God of the Bible chose to make a covenant with first Abraham and the Hebrew people, and then with all who believe in Jesus.

While God can do anything God chooses to do anything God chooses to do, God has chosen to 1) keep the covenants God has made, and 2) love human beings and the universe God has created. While could be absolute and not care about humanity, God is not, because God chooses not to be. Humans must not insist that God is Absolute, when the Bible clearly says that God is not.

The problem with those who insist that God is absolute and God’s Law is absolute is that 1) they are not and 2) we are saved not by obeying God’s Law. God is relational and we are saved by grace through faith, which are relational. When we repent we commit ourselves to trust in God Whose Law is Love.

We love God, because first God loved us and demonstrated this love through Jesus Christ Who saves us from the power of sin and gives us eternal life. Our goal is to do God’s Will for us, which is not really the same as obeying God’s Law and is much more difficult, but possible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

While these differences of approach might seem small, they do make a big difference as seen by the serious conflicts within the Church today.

A blessed Palm Sunday and Holy Week to all.


#12

I’m getting the impression, Roger, that you are even more absolute than God… :smile:

If God were absolute, God would not care if humans went to Hell or not, unless it were by mistake, which it clearly would not be.

Just as God is absolutely just, God is also absolutely loving. Think of a human example, which since we are created in God’s image, might be a reflection of how God is. If you love your children, does that mean you will not punish them for wrong doing? If you love your children, does that mean that somehow they do not deserve to pay for the car accident they caused? Will you say to them, don’t worry about it, it happens, it will take care of itself? No, if you are just and fair, you will realize that whoever they harmed should receive some recompense or compensation for their damage. Does that mean you are not loving?

God’s justice demands a payment for sin. God’s love provides salvation from the payment. God provides the payment himself, and sacrifices himself (his son) as payment. Both justice and love are satisfied. We can call this absolute or not, but absolute is not the main thing, and is certainly not a contrast to relational. God is also absolutely relational. Absolute is has no meaning outside of an action or a specific characteristic. It is not in a meaningful sense a description of personhood or personality all by itself. It needs to be attached to a context.

Did God love the world? Absolutely.
Did Jesus die for everyone? Absolutely.
Does everyone sin? Absolutely.
Does everyone deserve do pay for their sin? Absolutely.
Will everyone die for their sin? Absolutely not.
Will everyone be saved? Absolutely not.
Are we saved by keeping God’s law? Absolutely not.
Does God want us to obey him? Absolutely.
Is God’s law important? Absolutely.
Is God relational? Absolutely.
Have we broken that relationship? Absolutely.
Can the relationship be restored? Absolutely.

It is absurd to use the term “absolute” in a generic, absolute way. It also should not be used as a synonym for omnipotent.

We love God, because first God loved us and demonstrated this love through Jesus Christ Who saves us from the power of sin and gives us eternal life. Our goal is to do God’s Will for us, which is not really the same as obeying God’s Law and is much more difficult, but possible through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I agree with this statement completely. But I am also leary and weary of those who use this as an excuse to disregard the ten commandments and other clear direction for faithful living, which God gave us as his guide for relational living. The epistles of John describe some of the conundrum of what it means to love. “How do we know we love God? by loving our neighbor. How do we know we love our neighbor? if we love God and keep his commandments”. It’s all wrapped up together.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #13

@BradKramer

Thank you for the question.

First of all Marcion believed that the God the OT was evil. My statement is that the God of the Hebrew Bible, YHWH, is best described as God the Father, the first Person of the Trinity. Therefore the unity of the Christian Bible is maintained and possibly strengthened. The sacred personal Name of God is YHWH, which is not pronounced or written by the Jews. It does live in the name of Jesus, which means YHWH saves.

God the Father is often called (except by Jesus) simply God in the Greek Bible, so calling God, YHWH or Elohim, in the Hebrew Bible, God the Father does not disrupt the usage in either Testament.

Second, the Trinity states that each member is fully God. We know that the God of the Hebrew Bible is primarily the Father, since the Persons of the Son and the Spirit are not really developed there and implemented in the Old Covenant.

Third, the unity of the Christian Bible is based on God’s Salvation History as it is revealed through the history of the God’s Chosen People coming to full fruition in God’s Chosen One, the Messiah, and finally the Second Coming.

Fourth, the unity of the Bible would be destroyed if the God the Hebrew Bible were Absolute, while Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are Relational. My position is that the God of the Hebrew Bible is not Absolute and only misunderstood to be Absolute. Clearly the Law is also misunderstood as Absolute by the Pharisees, Sadducees, and I fear many Christians.

The New Covenant is really new, rather than a revision of the Mosaic Covenant. It tells us how we can become a true disciple of Jesus Who is God, rather than an obedient follower of the Law.


#14

I like much of what you have said, Roger. (except for your mistaken hangup about “absolute”). In this framework of yours, how do you deal with the verses of the old testament prophets that have God saying that he does not want the sacrifices of Israel? That he despises useless sacrifices offered in disobedience. Isaiah 1. This is the law as it is commonly referred to in the new testament, the law of sacrifices and circumcision. God demanded it, yet did not want it if the heart was not right. If sacrifices were accompanied by disobedience in issues of justice, in caring for the oppressed, then you are right, God did not want what he said he wanted. That is why the law of sacrifices and ceremony is not the essence of obedience. But the ten commandments are the law of love. If we do not obey the law of love, then we are not a true disciple of Jesus. And to that is added, this, if we forgive others, they will be forgiven. But this law of love cannot merely be kept outwardly. We cannot refrain from murder and yet hate. If we do, we will already be a law-breaker. And so our heart must be right. Our desire must be to obey. And God forgives.


(Anthony “Tony” Ambrutis) #15

Yes. Jesus is God. For in the Gospels, Jesus is quoted as saying, “I and the Father are one” and “Those who see me see the Father.”

The interesting thing to note here is the transfiguration. Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah as well as Peter, James and John. So in this moment of time, Jesus was speaking on Mount Sinai with Moses, on the mountain with Elijah and was with the Apostles all at the same very time. Yet we as humans say how can that be? Moses existed centuries before Christ and so did Elijah. I love this story because God shows His manipulation of time. Even when Christ died and rose again he manipulated time.

John speaks that Christ was there creating time. Therefore, is death, just simply a movement of the spirit from time to a place outside of time?

Let me leave with this statement.

"I believe in God the Father the Almighty creator of Heaven and Earth, of everything seen and unseen. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ the only Son of God, eternally begotton of the Father.

God from God, Light from light, True God from true God.
Through Him all things were made, For us Men and our salvation He came down from Heaven"

Jesus Christ and the Father are one. Man cannot survive because of his sin, in the presence of the Father. However, man can survive in the presence of Jesus. Jesus is our brother, and being our brother, Jesus is one of us, for Jesus is human. But Jesus is also God, sharing into the trinity of God. For Jesus was not made, but begotten. For the Holy Spirit, proceeded from the Father.

If we as Man was created in the image and likeness of God, then by our nature we can find God. Therefore, if we examine what makes us up, we can better understand the trinity. If a human being has a mind, body and spirit, then why is it so hard to think, that God, Himself does not represent by example these attributes.

For the Father is the mind of God,
For the Son is the body of God,
For the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God.

Three distinctly separate persons, in one God. Let me close with a story from St. Augustine.
For a long time St. Augustine had a hard time explaining the Trinity, until one day he saw a child counting the grains of sand on the sea shore. The saint asked the child, “why are you counting the grains of sand?”, the child answered the saint, “Because, I want to know how many grains of sand are on this sea shore.” St. Augustine replied to the child, “You will never be able to do that.”, then the Child responded to the Saint, “And neither will you be able to explain the Trinity”, then the Saint saw the Child change into a heavenly angel.


(Brad Kramer) #16

Thanks, @Relates .

I strongly disagree with you here. First of all, since the Trinity is decidedly a New Testament doctrine that is retro-actively read into the OT, it is impossible to identify the “God of the OT” with any particular member of the Godhead, with any sense of certainty. To do so is to peer too deeply into the mystery of the Trinity, I think. It also flies in the face of Jesus’s repeated statements that he and the Father are to be understood as unified in will and attributes, as @Anthony_Tony_Ambruti laid out above. Thus, while I admit you are not a Marcionite, I maintain that you flirt with that position too closely.

For me, the solution to understanding the difference between the law-based covenant of the OT and the grace-based covenant of the NT is to see the Scriptures as revealing a progressive encounter with God that looks different in each historical-redemptive context (Heilsgeschichte). The law was given to increase sin, so that grace could abound more freely. So certainly, our perspective on the “law” is greatly changed by the surprising Christ event, but it doesn’t mean that we must reject the “Hebrew” view of God in favor of a “relational” or “Christian” view, as you seem to suggest.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #17

@johnZ wrote

Yes and No. The Decalogue does not mention the word love even once. It is my observation that this understanding of how the law is supposed to work comes from Jesus and His understanding of the how the Old Covenant should be and not from the Hebrew Bible per se. How could the people of the OT be followers of Jesus, when Jesus had not been born?

God reveals God’s Will in God’s own manner for God’s own reasons. We cannot say that the Old Covenant is the same as the New Covenant by saying that Moses reveals Jesus Christ. See John 1:17-18.

The Torah which contains the Decalogue does not speak about the Law in this way. This understanding was expressed in the words of the prophets which went largely unheeded. If we ignore and deny the historical nature of the Bible, we misunderstand how God the Father, Son, and Spirit works through history to save us and God’s people.

There are two problems with the Law that the New Covenant of Jesus attempted to fix. The first is Legalism, when people are told that they must obey the law to get what they want, they often attempt to manipulate the law to get what they want. Jesus gave several examples of people using the Law to evade the spirit of the Law. If the Law is absolute, that is the outward form of the law is right, rather than the inward purpose, then those legalists who use the law legalistically were right, rather than wrong, and Jesus was wrong.

In out own day we have many examples of how legalism is destroying the government of the United States. People are using the legal “right” of free speech to buy politicians and elections. People are using the legal “right” to bear arms and fear to flood the nation with firearms and attack those who protest. People are using the courts to attack the Affordable Medical Care Act over a absurd “legal” technicality. People are continuing to claim that abortion and homosexuality are absolute sins which bring down God’s absolute wrath on us and our country.

The is the first problem which we still have with us. The second is that the Law does not change the heart. So while the law to some extent tells us what we should do, the law does not per se give us the power to do it, which was the point of Paul. This is another reason why Legalists cling to the external form of the Law, rather than the inner purpose of the Law. It is also why the Legalists killed the prophets and Jesus and attempt to suppress those who point our their hypocrisy today.

The New Covenant of Jesus Christ gives people who believe in Him and who faithfully follow Him a new Spirit of Love, rather than Legalism. This is a relational Spirit, as opposed to Absolute obedience to the Law, so Jesus could forgive the woman who broke the Law against adultery, instead of condemning her to death as the Law required.

I am not against the Law, but I am as was Jesus against all sorts of Legalism, which brazenly misuses the Law and is very much alive to day. and hides behind the Law in its effort to destroy our faith and God’s People.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #18

@BradKramer

Thank you.

“I believe in God the Father, Who created the heavens and earth.” Genesis opens with the Creation. The discussion at BioLogos has basically centered around the Genesis account of Creation. How can we say that the God portrayed in Genesis and the rest of the Hebrew Bible is not God the Father.

Now we know and no one I know denies that God the Logos and God the Holy Spirit did not participate in an important way in the Creation, but the Creed says that God the Father is the Creator. The ambiguity is that most people believe that the God of the Hebrew Bible is Absolute, while I believe based on the revelation of Jesus Christ that the Father Who is the Creator and must therefore be understood as the God the OT is not Absolute, but Relational.

If the Law was given to make sin abound, then how can we say that the Law is good, because sin is evil, and how can we day that the God Who gave humanity the Law is good. That is certainly not the way to understand of Paul’s words that I have. I think you mean to say and where I would agree with you is the Law was given to set the stage for the coming of Jesus Christ.

This why it is good. Part of that purpose was to demonstrate the futility of Legalism. The Law is a relative good. It is better than no law and bad law. However the Law is nether the Ultimate Good, nor is it to be understood as Absolutely Good. Jesus Christ, Who is the basis of the New Covenant and not the Law, is God and therefore He and His Covenant are to be considered the Ultimate Good and Perfect.

It is false to use the good things that God has revealed to us to oppose the final Truth of Jesus Christ. Again that is what the Pharisees did to their eternal chagrin. They certainly knew the Law better than you and I. It is not that they did not know the Law. The fact is they refuse to accept that there was One more important that the Law Who had come to reveal God’s Truth which was above and beyond the Law.

To equate the Law with the New Covenant goes against everything that Jesus and the Greek Bible says.


(Anthony “Tony” Ambrutis) #19

I believe you are partially right in your summation.

First of all, because man cannot be in the Presence of God, lest he die, God, divided Himself into three persons. By dividing Himself, He made Himself approachable or so that is one theory.

Remember, God taught man the difference between right and wrong, for it was unwise for man to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for man had not earned or gained enough wisdom to handle this. The serpent knew this. For the first 2000 years of existence, man was defiled by the angels. We know these angels to be devils, and since these devils infected man by creating for themselves a creature called the Nephilim or a creature part man, part angel.

God then as Moses, St. Jude, and the books of Enoch and Jubilees, describe, punished these angels by holding them prisoner as their sons and daughters killed each other off. Then God, imprisoned for eternity these rebellious angels. But at this time man is defiled. The first generation Nephilim, after death became known in Jewish circles as the demons. These disembodied spirits that cannot nor deserve heaven roam the earth doing the bidding of their father the devil.

God knowing that the rebellious angels defiled His greatest creation, sought to heal mankind from this great attack. For it was the serpent that introduced sin to man, and it was the serpents buddies that amplified that sin. It was so amplified that by the time of Moses, man was ready to receive God’s Law. Yahweh who’s name in English means I AM, was Christ, for all men are sinful, and sin cannot survive in the presence of God. However, man can survive in the presence of Man. Therefore, the Son of Man, who is God, teaches man.

It was He, who spoke to Adam in the Garden,
It was He, who spoke to Abraham,
It was He, who wrestled with Jacob and named Jacob, Israel–"One who wrestles with God"
It was He, who gave Moses the Law of God, and dictated to Moses the first five books of the collection we call the Bible.
It was He, who spoke with Elijah.
It was He, whom John called the, "Word"
It was He, who had to finish creation, from the rebellious angels.
And it was He who healed us from the genetic gene of the Nephilim. It is this gene, that gives man the tendency to sin.

The old Covenant is a Law of Death. For the Law of Death is made of Stone. It draws the line between actions that are righteous, and unrighteous. The Law is the foundation of the truth.

The new Covenant is a Law of Life. For the New Covenant is a living law. Where the Ark of the Covenant was made of earth and stone, the New Ark of the Covenant was Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Where the old Covenant shows no compassion to man, the New covenant shows compassion to Man.

The old testament speaks of Jesus, as Wisdom.

The demons that Jesus cast out of many of the people, knew Jesus, for Legion said to Christ, that his name was “Legion” for we are many. And Christ cast Legion into the swine, and the swine into the sea. However, Legion recognized Christ.

Other demons recognized Christ and though the authority of Christ they were driven out. These miracles were done not for the benefit of the Glory of God, but so that we would believe. As John states, “If all the miracles of Christ were written down, I doubt the earth, itself, could not contain all the volumes that would be written.”

For according to ancient text, and according to the Bible and other historical witnesses, There are only three people that entered heaven and did not experience death, and was born sinless.

The first was Enoch, seventh generation from Adam. For even in the Book of Enoch, Book of Jubilees, Book of Genesis and the Book of St. Jude, Enoch walked with God and was no more.

The second was the prophet Elijah, who was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire. As the witnesses of the ancient Israelites or Samaritans testify to in the old testament.

And the third was a woman, Mary the mother of Jesus, for she undid the sin of Eve. For Christ is the new Adam and Mary was the new Eve, for Adam was made sinless, and Eve, who was flesh of his flesh, was too made sinless. Through their own choice they were made into sin, so that from their own choice we can be made righteous. Adam was a child of light, and so are we. But Adam had a choice to become evil, and so do we. But it is through God’s High priest and prophet; it is through His Son, that we are made righteous, through our own choice.

For this is the testimony of St. Steven and St. Paul. This same testimony fulfills the law, and does not destroy the law. For the Law of Moses is a law of Death, for the Law of Moses is not alive, it is made of Earth and stone, yet Christ is alive, and is the law of the New testament. Through sin, and through force, Man was deceived, and was enslaved through Sin. But through love and compassion, God joined man, for if Jesus is our brother, and Jesus is God, then we too share in God, not as god’s ourselves but as part of God’s family. And in this sense we are lifted above the angels in freedom and we break the bonds of slavery.

Jesus took upon His soul, all the sins of the world, from the beginning of time until the end of time. By doing this, He destroyed death which is a result of sin. For God’s original command to all of creation is to be fruitful and multiply, populate the earth. But we, a creation of God, from the clay of the earth, for “remember Man, thou are dust, and on to dust thou shalt return”, but we were created in the image of the Father. Then the Father married us to Him, so that “None shall perish but inherit eternal life”

For this reason, Jesus, an alien to man, came down from heaven and joined humanity. By His birth, He elevated Man, even above the Seraphim and Cherubim, through His death, He saved man, from the evil of the rebellious angels who made the nature of man evil. Jesus is the cure, and the rebellious angels are the disease. By taking upon Himself, all the sins of the world, Jesus was condemned to hell, at His point of Death, for God is Just! For three days in Hell, He gave the righteous in Hell(at the time it was called Sheol or land of the dead. In Greek it was Hades) a chance of salvation. So, after the three hours of Great Mercy on the cross, He descended to hell, and went to Adam, to welcome him into heaven. For Adam’s exile from paradise was concluded.

On the day that we call, Easter Sunday, Adam and Eve, the heroes and prophets of the Old Testament, and many others who lived their life by walking in the light of God’s righteousness, gathered at the tomb of Jesus, early Sunday Morning before dawn. And in a blink of an eye, at dawn’s early light were welcomed into heaven. This was testified to by Pilate, and the Temple guards; and Caiaphas, himself, who later retracted his statement.

However, at the moment of Christ’s death, God being a just God had to condemn Jesus. However,
how can the Almighty condemn the Almighty? For Jesus showed the greatest love of all, that is dying for those he loved. This death was not an unrighteous death but a righteous one. For one innocent man, died for all the guilty ones. Allowing the Law to be forever revised to include rules for forgiveness. For the Law of death, eternally became a Law of Life.

A Law of Death, does not change the heart, but a Law of Life does. Remember it is Satan that deceives, ask God, and He will reveal the truth.

If it wasn’t for Jesus, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution would not have been written. But like the Law of Moses, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution are laws of Death, it takes a human being to give it life. Therefore, a consideration was made to make all those who accept Christ, to give this law of Death, life. For these laws are nothing without the spirit of God, believing in these principles.

Remember, since the Declaration is the foundation of the Constitution, So is the Law of Moses the foundation of Christianity. And unlike the Constitution being limited, Christianity releases the limitation of the Law of Moses, to make it a choice of Love, instead of a choice of hate.

God Bless you all and enjoy what I have written.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #20

Yes and No.

Yes, we should love God and keep God’s Commandments, but the fact is we do not. We do not always do what is right and this is because we do not love God perfectly. Therefore we do not deserve salvation, we do not merit being in the presence of God. If God is indeed just and righteous, then we are lost.

Which commandments do you mean? God commanded God’s People to rest in the seventh day, Saturday, and yet most Christians including myself do not. Therefore we break God’s Commandments. If we break one, we break them all and we are lost.

On the other hand if you mean the commandments given to us by Jesus to Love God, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, these are not the Decalogue and are not absolute, they are relational in that they inform us of how we are to relate to God and others.

"But I am also leary and weary of those who use this as an excuse to disregard the ten commandments and other clear direction for faithful living,"

We are agreed that we need to be very careful about those who attempt to misuse scripture as an excuse to manipulate others to do what they want. I think we should leave it at that, but I need to warn you, it is those who seem to agree with you theologically with whom you need to be most careful because they are the most effective manipulators.