Old Testament God vs. New Testament Jesus?

I’ve been reading the Bible through chronologically since last summer or thereabouts.  The winter months found me forging through the major and minor prophets.

The minor prophets in particular seem a bit dark to me, filled as they are with prophetic warnings from God to his people about what doom would befall them, should they continue in their sin. I suppose that element of foreboding makes the minor prophets a bit less popular than, say, Psalms or the Epistles.

Image by Dimitris Vetsikas from Pixabay


But as I read each book to its conclusion, I noted that God always provided the Israelites a light of forgiveness at the end of the tunnel of their sin. If only they would repent of their sin (usually idol worship), he would welcome them back with tender love and rejoicing.

For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God. – Hosea 2:17, 19, 23

What a merciful God we have!

It struck me that many people feel that the God of the Old Testament is different from the Jesus of the New Testament, perhaps because they’ve read only part of the story, so to speak. But, of course, the characters of God and Jesus are the same, though revealed differently, as Jesus was as much human as he was God. The Old Testament is filled with examples not only of the judgment of God, but also of his incredible, unending love and mercy. And in the New Testament, Jesus is like his Father: he loved people and forgave their sin, but he never condoned it.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. – John 8:3-11

Image by Roman Grac from Pixabay

In the Old Testament, the character of the Son is foreshadowed in the character of the Father, if we care to see it.

How do you perceive the characters of God the Father and God the Son as revealed in Scripture? I’d love your insight on this topic! Thank you for reading, as always.

because home wasn't built in a day

15 thoughts on “Old Testament God vs. New Testament Jesus?”

  1. Great post. I love the OT as it presents the full spectrum of God’s attributes. Christians who don’t read ALL of the OT are making a huge mistake as they are missing out on the vast spiritual riches to be found there! This blog is greatly appreciated!

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  2. I think the warning of all the prophets can speak to us today. God, very much a father warning his children of consequences of disobedience. While other books of the old testament, like Psalms, can show us the joys of obedience. Its is all a unit, explaining the benefits of life as we know it today. The new testament expounds on the benefits of the old with renewed hopes to hold onto.

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  3. I like how you point out that God is still gracious and merciful in the OT! I find it problematic for people to buy into the God-angry-Jesus-nice idea because it requires cognitive dissonance. Why would God send Jesus if God and Jesus are totally different? The love story between God and humanity that centers on His sending Jesus would make no sense.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your insightful thoughts on this, as God’s word in its entirety has been left for us. I have had many folks tell me they read only the New Testament because that is where they can learn about Jesus. Others tell me they have difficulty reading/understanding the Old Testament. My counsel for both of these cases echoes your thoughts here: To come to a clearer understanding of the full character of God, we must embrace the Bible as a whole.
    Thanks again and blessings to you!
    Pastor Chuck

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  5. Excellent, Meredith! I really loved how you paralleled God in the Old Testament with God/Jesus in the New Testament, for they are the same God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I loved how you stayed true to scripture, and how you brought out, too, how merciful and loving our God is, and how he longs to forgive us and restore us to himself if we will only leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience. Amen! Awesome! But, yes, judgment is part of that message, too – always has been and always will be, as long as we still live on this earth, for part of our salvation from sin is freedom from that final judgment.

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  6. ” that element of foreboding makes the minor prophets a bit less popular than, say, Psalms or the Epistles.” 🙂 🙂 hehehe but they are such Good Books. I love reading the Old Testament. It gives me a childlike fear of God. Reading the Old testament also gives me a whole new appreciation for Jesus. 🙂

    “If only they would repent of their sin (usually idol worship), he would welcome them back with tender love and rejoicing.” Yes! Every time. Time after time. Again and again. We run after that sin. It never turns out well 🙂 As soon as we turn to Him. He is there to save us with tender love and rejoicing 🙂 Praise God 🙂

    This is such a great thought provoking, soul searching, let me stop and think about this post 🙂

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