God of the Old Testament;
Christ or the Father? Which of these two was the God of the Old Testament that dealt with man? Does the Bible clearly answer this for us?
In this time frame today, with all of the religious confusion of the vast array of false Christianity, the Father is hardly ever mentioned and the focus is almost entirely on Christ. Today, we also see more and more of the spirit of Laodicea within these scattered COG congregations and various organizations. Watering down of truth and even compromise and rejection of long held truth is showing up in some who are considered long time members of the COG. Some kind of controversy with long held truths is always presenting itself these days among some, as Satan gets into unstable minds and begins to cloud the truth once understood, whenever that is possible. Jude 3&4 gives true Christians the warning to watch for this. Scripture clearly reveals Satan as the god of this world (2Cor.4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2:2) who deceives the whole world, (Rev.12:9) and most who have been in the COG for any length of time are all too familiar with this truth. However, we also understand the need to study and be willing to correct any errors of the past. For that reason some are trying to “discover” something new and have begun to interpret the Scriptures for themselves, instead of relying on Scripture to interpret itself. The God being that Jesus revealed as the Father is certainly involved with the plan of God, has been from the very beginning, but we must keep in our minds the Scriptural revelation of How He is involved and let the Scriptures interpret that for us instead of “reading” things into Scripture.
Many in the COG do some speculating from time to time, (This author included) into areas of the Bible we may not fully understand, but without departing from the obvious. However, now many have begun to lean to their own understanding and forget to trust in God and His word for truth and direction. (Prov.3:5 & 6) Christ warns us all in Matt 24:24-25 "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 "See, I have told you beforehand.” (NKJ throughout unless otherwise noted.) We are in that time frame today and always have to guard against this in ourselves, but it seems we have been in a time frame (Laodicea) that we have to also guard against wrong ideas coming from within and among “brethren”, perhaps even elders & the ministry. Some in the COG today are questioning (even doubting) that the being who became Christ was the God of the OT, claiming instead that the God now known as the Father is the one that dealt with man and was God of the OT. Others take this a step further by saying the Father will even be the one coming to work during the 1,000 year rule. Can anyone willfully forget or compromise with what the Scriptures reveal, still staying on track with truth; and what about the honesty of Christ’s own Words and NT passages? (Titus 1:2-3 & 2Tim.3:16-17)
True Christians study the word of God to learn truth, or at least should be (1) to grow in a better understanding and belief of it & (2) of how to live by it in this life, (2Pet.3:18) while seeking first the kingdom of God in obedience with their own lives. (Matt. 6:33) Inevitably, they (True Christians) will come across passages that expose errors and those who willfully cling to error. (Wrongly using Scripture) This will even happen from time to time when having an open door such as honest fellowship, to discuss truth. (Eph.5:11-13) However, there have always been some people, even mingling with the COG and claim to be Christian, who show themselves to not believe many clear words of God because of their own ideas. This is “exposed” about them when their fruits, words and actions of unbelief or ignoring of certain passages become evident in conversation. Christ told us that we can “know them by their fruits”, but we have to be willing to look at those fruits and acknowledge them honestly —based on the word of God—what they really are, even in friends or family members. Certain individuals seem to have no fear of rejecting truth of Scripture, or even replacing it with their own ideas; basically giving themselves license to interpret the word of God as they desire. Jude talked about them in his short epistle. However, Peter also explains that the Scriptures are of NO PRIVATE interpretation, (2Pet.1:20-21) clearly showing they are inspired and will interpret themselves! Christians have to constantly guard against the wiles of Satan and allowing deceptions to creep into our own minds!
There are many examples of private interpretations based on misused Scriptures showing up these days, but that has been true for centuries. Many have ignored the Scriptures altogether when promoting their own ideas. The deceived person most of the time does not know he/she is deceived, but a true Christian can also succumb to being pulled back into deception, if not careful. In an effort to continually move away from the normal trend or mind-set of the world, this article deals with the issue of “Who” was the God of the OT as the title and header suggests. It is clear through many Scriptures that a true Christian is to guard against being pulled back into errors by those who allow themselves to be deceived by their own wrong ideas, then deceive others. These kinds of subtle deception have been happening all down through time, still being a test for the true Christian today, but for this article let us just focus on what the Bible says in relation to this subject, realizing Scripture cannot be broken. (John 10:35)
Was Jesus Christ, before becoming man, the God of the Old Testament and do Scriptures prove it substantially for us? Well, for those who believe, it is quickly proven with a few obvious passages, but for the doubters and rejecters of simple truth, unless God opens their eyes, they will probably never see their ideas are out of sorts with truth, creating a conflict in Scripture. Let us examine some Scriptural proof of Jesus Christ being the God of the Old Testament before coming in the flesh. Some claim that the God being who spoke to Moses at the burning bush was the one now known as the Father. It would seem that what Scripture points to in Exo.3 is not fully considered with what other passages reveal. For example; V.14 “And God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, "Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Was this the Father or the Word God who became Christ? Let us examine this further by going back to V.4 and reading from the ASV (American Standard Version); Ex 3:4 says “And when Jehovah saw that he (Moses) turned aside to see, God (# 430-Elohyim) called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses.” (ASV) So here we can see a couple of things; that an audible voice (to Moses at least) was coming from this God being to Moses and distinguishing which one it was. Note this from Christ in John 5:37; “And the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form.” (Moses both heard and saw God) When put with John 1:18, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” So this takes us back to John 1:1 to get the context of “God” in the beginning as two great eternal beings (both Elohiym—pronounced El-o-heem) and then after the Word became flesh, (V.14) leaving the other one to become the Father, the one referred to as “God” by John the Baptist in V.18. But let us continue on with more.
Discourse with the Jews & Christ about “I AM”!
John 8:51-59 "Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death." 52 Then the Jews said to Him, "Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, 'If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.' (They were not willing to acknowledge Christ as the promised Messiah and did not understand there is a first and second or eternal death. Rev. 2:11, 20:6, & 14 and 21:8) 53 "Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Whom do You make Yourself out to be?" 54 Jesus answered, "If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. (So we see Christ is dealing with this same mentality in these Jews of His day, who never knew the Father, applying Scriptures that pertain to the Word God, thinking there is only one God being.) 55 "Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, 'I do not know Him,' I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, (Again the true meaning of Christ’s coming in the flesh is not understood by them) and he saw it (By revelation) and was glad." 57 Then the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" 58 Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." (They knew this was a reference to the God “I AM” of the OT and the burning bush incident; Christ placing himself before this time and with Abraham as the I AM and they could not grasp the truth of it.) 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.”
It is obvious these people were enraged by the truth they heard, it exposed their error and lack of understanding and Satan influenced them to try and destroy the one who spoke those words recorded as OT Scripture! They knew of the passage where God spoke to Abraham in several places; Gen.17:1 in the KJV is specific when word meanings are considered and many years later the same God spoke to Moses. How many are like these Jews of Christ’s time today, literally closing their minds to truth that they do not grasp or want to hear, in order to cling to their own ideas and errors? It is the carnal mind that does NOT grasp or acknowledge that Christ was there, as the Word God, one of the “ELOHIYM” who spoke at the very creation of mankind! (Eph.3:9) Many others simply do not understand, never being taught this truth of Scripture, revealing two God beings. Note these words again from John 1:1-3 “In the beginning (Before anything else was created) was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (RSV) Gen 1:26 “Then God (ELOHIYM) said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness;---(Clearly more than one God being involved, as shown by this and the passage above in John) V.27 “So God (ELOHIYM-Word God) created man in his own image, in the image of God (ELOHIYM) He created him; male and female He created them.” (RSV)
So we see two separate beings that were in perfect harmony as the God head in Gen.1, but not a trinity; (See study on Trinity Doctrine) and Scripture shows which one of these two beings became the “Father” and which one became Christ. Moses referred to the Word God of Israel as the “Rock”. Deut.32:3-4 “For I proclaim the name of the LORD: ascribe greatness to our God. 4 He is the Rock, (Singular) His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God (El or ALE—being singular) of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.” (John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” -Of course the Father and Christ are as one in mind goal and purpose, but only the word God came and dealt directly with humanity in the OT and by actually becoming flesh, as seen in the NT.)
David also referred to Him in this way of being the Rock; 2 Sam 22:47 "The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let God be exalted, the Rock of my salvation!” (This title never applies to the one known as the Father, but the one who came in the flesh to make salvation possible) Speaking of Christ, Heb. 5:9 says; “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,”—so David was clearly referring to the God being who became Christ. But note more passages with this same terminology; Isa.44:8 Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.'" So clearly the one who became Christ inspired this and He alone was directly working with man as their Rock and “Redeemer”. (See V. 6, same chapter) At this time only the very few knew there was another God being and there truly was no other “Rock” that dealt with man and would become their savior or redeemer for the purpose of salvation. Christ is that Rock! (Matt.16:18)
Even the apostle Paul was inspired to write in1 Cor.10:2-4 of Israel; “And (They) were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (KJV) Christ is the one, as the Word God and an equal member of the God Family (ELOHIYM) at that time, created all things and has worked with mankind in the Garden and from their creation; He was the God of the OT. Ps 33:6 “By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” Gen 2:16 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;” (See The Two Trees for more on this subject—So He spoke and it was done through the power of the Holy Spirit that comes from them both.) Isa.45:12 “I have made the earth, and created man on it. I-- My hands-- stretched out the heavens, and all their host I have commanded.” Note this again from the ASV. Gen 2:8 And Jehovah God (distinguishing which Elohiym) planted a garden eastward, in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed.” We have just seen that He “spoke” to them, so this was not the one who became the Father.
Christ also made it clear however, that He and the Father were alike (as one) in every aspect and would be in appearance, even though separate beings, when speaking to Philip. John 14:9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?” Although Christ could have been meaning that the Father was dwelling in Him through the Holy Spirit, as explained elsewhere; He is also explained as being “the express image of His person” (Heb.1:3) and Col 1:15 says; “He is the image of the invisible God, (Which had to be the image of Father) the firstborn over all creation.” So when Christ was explaining how one is called to Him by the Father (John 6:44) he said this pertaining to the Father; John 6:46 "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He who is from God; He has seen the Father,”—. (See also Christ’s prayer in John 17, especially V.2 & 17)
When reading in Exodus of that God of the OT, we see this recorded; Exo.24:9-11 “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. (This could not have been the “Father” or Christs words are put in doubt.) And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the very heavens in its clarity. 11 But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.” This could not possibly have been the God being Christ in the flesh was calling the Father, saying no one had ever seen, so the only conclusion is that this God being was the Word God who became flesh, which humanity has seen (Both Old & NT) and which corresponds with many other passages!
Again in John 5:38 "But you (These Jews and all others of this mindset) do not have His word abiding in you, (Belief) because whom He (God) sent, Him (Christ) you do not believe. (This also applies to all those ignorantly rejecting this truth of Scripture, even today) 39 "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (A reference to the OT Scriptures and the Word God, as God of the OT. The NT was not yet written and canonized.) It is a very serious matter to reject the clear word of God and try to make God or Christ out to be a liar or in any way less truthful, yet some are unwittingly doing that very thing, who also claim to be Christians in the COG today. This requires some serious Repentance! (Rev.3:19)
John 12:48 "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” It is so very clear that the Word God, who became flesh was also the very God being of the OT and there are many proof Scriptures of this fact. To reject these passages as truth in favor of one’s own ideas that may contradict them is the spirit of unbelief. John was inspired to write in John 10:35, a passage noted near the beginning of this article, that Scripture cannot be broken, so we either believe His word or we don’t—but it is only the believers who will be saved! (Mark 16:16, John 8:24 & 2Thess.2:12) Granted some things are hard to understand, and of course the Father is clearly involved, working through the Holy Spirit, but the Scriptures clearly reveal it was Christ who was the God of the OT working with man the majority of the time. May God open our minds to understand more of His truth and then believe what it says!
(Editor for TCOGMSO)