Great Commission Church of God

"Who Is The God Of The Old Testament?"
by Terry Bruns

"Who indeed! And why should it matter? After all, we're a New Testament church, aren't we? We follow Jesus Christ!" Are these your thoughts as well? Do you believe that the God of the Old Testament is the One that Jesus referred to as the Father; that the Father is a harsh taskmaster, giving man an unattainable set of laws, whereas Jesus only gave us the Law of Love; that the Father was full of wrath and vengeance, while Jesus brought us grace and liberty? Well, if that's what you've come to believe, hold on to your hat, sit down, and prepare to be challenged. Let us carefully examine the Scriptures together.

Who Is "The Word?"

In the first chapter of the book of John, Jesus is referred to as "the Word". This is translated from the Greek word "Logos" which can mean variously, word, speech, thought or saying. Being that this term is used to personify Christ (v. 14), it must be taken as the one who speaks the sayings of God or in short, the Spokesman. It was He, Christ the Logos or Spokesman, who created all things. Therefore it is Jesus who is the Creator God. Notice in John 1:3, "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." And also, "For by him 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" (Colossians 1:16-17). This means the God who created man in Genesis 2:7 was the same being that later became Jesus Christ! Interestingly, Gen. 2:7 is the first scripture to use YHVH or Yahweh as the name of God.

Who Is "The Lord?"

In the Old Testament, this name "Yahweh" is used when speaking of the member of the Godhead who spoke to men. It is commonly translated "the Lord" as in "The Lord said..." This is not really a translation but rather a substitution for the original word for the name of God - Yahweh, which means the "Self-Existent One," the "I Am" or simply "the Eternal." Even this name, Yahweh, is an approximation of the original, which transliterated from Hebrew is YHWH, YHVH or JHVH. This is known as the tetragrammaton or "the four letters."

After the Babylonian captivity, the Jews became very superstitious about breaking the Law in even the slightest way and so they "put a hedge around" God's Law, go way beyond the intent of the original and making it a great burden. It was this attitude of making His Law a burden that Christ attacked. Anyway, one of the measures they took to keep from breaking the 3rd commandment on taking God's name in vain was to substitute the word "Adonai", meaning Lord, for YHWH when they copied the Scriptures. Later, translators would combine the vowels from Adonai with the consonants from JHVH to produce the now familiar "JaHoVaH" or "Jehovah."

This word YHVH is explained by Rabbinical sources as encompassing three Hebrew words: HYH meaning was, HVH meaning is (literally "the present tense" - the word "is" is not used in Hebrew) and YHYH meaning will continue to be. Putting them all together then, YHVH actually means the "Was-Is-Will Continue to Be" Being. Even Hebrew linguistic scholars agree that YHVH must be some form of the verb "to be" (was, is will be).

By His very name, then, God quite literally encompasses all aspects of time - past, present and future. This is in complete accord with Malachi 3:6, "For I am the LORD, I change not"; Hebrews 13:8, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday [was], and today [is], and for ever [will continue to be]"; and Revelation 1:8, "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."

Here you can see that even etymologically speaking, Jesus Christ and the YHVH or Lord of the Old Testament can be equated. Consider these scriptures which deal with the "eternal" nature of God:

The "First and the Last"

  • Isaiah 44:6, "Thus says the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God."
  • Isaiah 48:12, "Hearken unto me, Jacob, and you Israel, my called. I am HE; I, the first, and I, the last."
  • Revelation 1:17-18, "Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the living one: and I became dead, and behold, I am living to the ages of ages, and have the keys of death and of Hades."
  • Revelation 1:11, "Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last..."
  • Revelation 2:8, "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things says the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive."

The "Rock"

Another common reference to the Lord in the Old Testament was "the Rock." With this metaphor in mind, examine the following Old and New Testament scriptures that show that the Word or the Spokesman, before He became the man Jesus, was that same member of the God Family who spoke with mankind in Old Testament times. We'll leave out the 20 or so references in the Psalms, but you might want to look those up for yourself.

  • Deuteronomy 32:3-4, "Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe you greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
  • Deuteronomy 32:18, "Of the Rock that begat you, you are unmindful, and have forgotten God that formed you." Remember, it was Christ that created us!
  • 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."
  • 2 Samuel 22:2, "And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer"
  • 2 Samuel 22:32, "For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?"
  • 2 Samuel 23:3, "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." Notice: the "Rock" spoke! Christ is the Spokesman!
  • Psalms 118:22, "The stone which the builders refused ."
  • Isaiah 8:13-14, "Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem."
  • 1 Peter 2:6-8, "Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed." Peter is quoting the above two scriptures, Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14, referring to Christ.
  • Romans 9:33 "As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offense: and whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed." Same idea, again, referring to Christ.
  • Matthew 21:42, "Jesus says unto them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?" Same analogy is used here.
  • Matthew 7:24, "Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:" Christ is our foundation.
  • Ephesians 2:20, "And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone." Jesus Christ, who spoke to the prophets of old is the cornerstone of our faith, our Rock.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that you 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."

This last one nails it on the head! The member of the God Family who interacted with the Israelites, brought them out of Egypt, gave them His Law at Sinai, and brought them to the Promised Land was none other than Jesus Christ. If you are still skeptical, let's look at more evidence. Examine the following scriptures:

The "Shepherd"

  • Psalms 23:1 "The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want."
  • Psalms 80:1, "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leads Joseph like a flock; thou that dwells between the cherubim, shine forth."
  • Isaiah 40:10-11, "Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."
  • Matthew 25:31-32, "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats:"
  • John 10:11,14, "I am the good shepherd >: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep." "I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine."
  • 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,"
  • 1 Peter 5:4, "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away."

The Lord, the God of the Old Testament, Yahweh, is our shepherd. So is Jesus Christ. Again, scripture shows that they are the same.

The "Holy One of Israel"

One last metaphor that we'll look at is that of the "Holy One of Israel." This term is most often used along with the term "Savior" or "Redeemer", certainly referring to Christ. But these Old Testament references are also speaking of the Lord God, the God of the Old Testament. See for yourself how these scriptures again point to the fact that the pre-incarnate Christ was indeed the God of the Old Testament.

  • Isaiah 41:14, "Fear not, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, says the LORD, and your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
  • Isaiah 43:3, "For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior:"
  • Isaiah 54:5, "For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called."
  • Isaiah 45:11-12, "Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command you me. I have made the earth I , and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded." Remember, it was Christ who did the creating.
  • Isaiah 47:4, "As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel."
  • Isaiah 48:17, "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; I am the LORD thy God which teaches thee to profit, which leads thee by the way that you should go." He leads us and teaches us by the way that we should go, that is, His Commandments (Ex. 20:2, "I am the LORD thy God...").
  • Isaiah 17:7, "At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel."
  • Just in case it isn't obvious yet that the Lord, the God of the Old Testament, referred to in the above scriptures as the Savior, Redeemer and the Holy One of Israel, is none other than Jesus Christ, read the next scripture taken out of the New Testament.

  • Acts 13:35-37, "Wherefore he says also in another psalm, 'You shall not allow your Holy One to see corruption.' For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption." He whom God raised from the dead can be no other than Jesus Christ.

Who is Melchizedek?

You may have heard of Melchizedek. He is the mysterious priest/king who shows up in Abraham's time. But exactly who was this Melchizedek? Let's see. Notice Hebrews 5:5-6: "So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he says also in another place, Thou are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek."

So Christ holds the office of Melchizedek. Again, who was Melchizedek? He must be one of the persons of the God Family. In Genesis 14:18 he is called the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God. Notice why he could not have been merely a human being.

The Apostle Paul describes Him further in Hebrews 7:2-3: "To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace; Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abides a priest continually."

Paul could not have been describing a human being, or even an angel in these verses, for he is describing a Being that eternally existed, and only God has eternally existed (I Tim. 6:16).

Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God. Who is the Most High God? Why, it must be the Father, for Jesus Himself said, "My Father is greater than I" (John 14:28). And also Melchizedek still lives (and if you will read Hebrews 7:8 carefully, you will see that Paul repeats this supremely important fact) and still is that High Priest. But Christ also is High Priest (see Hebrews 7:26, 8:1). There cannot be two High Priests both holding the same office, so Melchizedek and Jesus Christ must be one and the same. This once again demonstrates the fact that the only interaction between God and man has been through the person we now know as Jesus the Christ, the Word, the Logos, the Good Shepherd, our Rock, the Holy One of Israel, our Redeemer, the Alpha and Omega, our Savior, Yahweh, the Lord of Hosts.

Still not convinced?

Remember that before He existed as Jesus, the Logos or Spokesman was that member of the God Family that spoke with mankind. As the very Word of God, that was His job or function within the God Family. Remember also the many times that the Lord in the Old Testament spoke to men like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses to name a few. In fact in Exodus 33:11, we read, "And the LORD spoke unto Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend."

Now if all that we have said up to now is wrong and the Lord, the God of the Old Testament is really the one we know as the Father, than how can the following scriptures, spoken by Jesus Himself, be true?

  • John 5:37, "And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape."
  • John 6:46, "Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father."
  • John 1:18, "No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him."
  • And the Apostle John, the one whom Jesus loved, concurs, "No man has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwells in us, and his love is perfected in us" (1 John 4:12).

God Is A Family!

You see, Christ came to reveal the Father, who, up until that time, no one had known. Notice in Matthew 11:27, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Jesus showed us that the relationship of the Godhead is that of a Family. He told us about the loving relationship between the Father and the Son. And what's more, He invited us to join in that relationship, by becoming actual members of the God Family! Notice these plain scriptures:

  • John 1:12-13, "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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
  • Romans 8:14-17, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together."
  • Romans 8:19-21, "For the earnest expectation of the creature [creation] waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature [creation] was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, Because the creature [creation] itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God."
  • 1 John 3:1-2, "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is."
  • Psalms 17:15 "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."
  • 2 Peter 1:4 "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

This is the marvelous destiny that awaits you and me. God has a Master Plan to bring "many sons unto glory." Far from being a harsh and cruel taskmaster, God is a loving Father who wants us to be a part of His Family. Are you willing to accept His offer of everlasting life?

Last Updated:
January 15, 2001