Who Was the "God" of the Old Testament?
Duane F. Giles
He placed all the animals on the earth, and then made man and woman to tend his beautiful garden. On the seventh day he rested and reflected on his creation. He saw that it was very good! The "rest of the story" is here in our Bibles, passed down through thousands of years of careful copying. The story seems plain enough, yet there has been a clouding of the identity of the one called "God."
It seems so plain to me.
- God created the universe and the people on the earth.
- Satan deceived, man sinned, and death entered the picture.
- Man became so evil that God sent a worldwide flood.
- Noah found grace, and God called out Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
- God delivered Israel from slavery and entered into a covenant with them as his special people.
- Israel broke the covenant and rejected their God.
- It seemed that all was lost, but God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son for our salvation.
Jesus established his church, and taught it through his Apostles. We also have a collection of writings we call the New Testament, establishing the doctrines and acts of the early Christians. But, not long after he went to be at God's right hand, certain men crept into the church and began to change the doctrines. They held councils and invented the doctrine of the Trinity, and replaced the God of the Old Testament with this three-in-one God. They changed the day of worship to Sunday. Basically, they made an idol out of Jesus, with statues and pictures. They hated the Jews and their God. They placed themselves on a pedestal and controlled the people, acting as priests and collecting tithes.
But, there were always a few who held to the basic truths of the Bible. They were persecuted and called heretics, blasphemers and cults. Sometimes a leader rose up who was charismatic and had a mixture of truth and error. That is where we came in. We heard a strong voice telling us about the Sabbath and the law of God. He was somewhat like a modem Moses, and the church he was leading seemed to all preach the same thing. I believed they had it all together.
But, that leader died, and the new leaders started to change all the things we thought we knew. Suddenly, I had to think for myself. First on my list was the nature of God. When I reexamined my belief about God, I could easily see that he was not a Trinity.
But, I had one thing I believed that seemed to be impossible. I had been taught that there were two in the beginning who were God, and that one of them became the son of the other. I realized that a son comes from his father, or he would not be his child.
All of this was covered in my presentation last year. I came to believe that Jesus did not preexist, but is literally the begotten Son of the one God, Yahweh the Father.
Answers from the Book
Who was this God who spoke those words in the book of Genesis? Is there a Bible verse that specifically defines who was speaking?
Yes, there is! The Apostle Paul tells us plainly:
2 Cor 4:6 ( KJV ) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness. hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
So, the God who said "Let there be light," in Gen I is the same God who reveals his glory in the face of Jesus! What is their relationship? In verse 4 Paul said that Christ is "the image of God." So he is not the one who spoke light into existence, but is the image of the One who said "Let there be light."
Jesus himself revealed who the "God of the Old Testament was. In John 17:3 , Jesus said that his Father is "the only true God." Is the Father more than one person? Since his Father is the "only true God," that means that Jesus is not God! He is the Son of God. Jesus says that to know the Father and to know the Father's begotten Son is as important as our eternal life!
2) THE PERSONAL NAME OF GOD
Jesus also said that he glorified his Father's name. What is the Father's name? What is Jesus' name? We need to know who they are! The personal name "Jesus," or Yahshua, is translated "Yahweh Saves." How does Yahweh save? He saves through his Son Yahshua.
In Exo3:13 (KN) Moses asks God what his name is. God answered Moses In verse 15: "The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever. . ."
GOD IS THE LORD AND THE LORD IS GOD
(Ps 118: 27 KN) God is the LORD [YHWH], which hath showed us light:
[This is the same person who said "Let there be light]
28 You are my God, and I will praise you: you are my God, I will exalt you.
(I Ki. 8:60 KJV ) That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
Yahweh is also called "God Almighty."
Exo 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Yahweh was I not known to them. He is also called the "God of gods," and is the "Eternal of Hosts."
"GOD" IS NOT A LAST NAME OR A "KIND."
The word "god" is a title of what you worship, or one who controls you. In the Hebrew language, it simply means "mighty one, or ones." God made Moses to be as "god" to Pharaoh. Paul said that your "god" could even be your belly! I would like to point out to those who think Elohim (the Hebrew word used for God) is always plural, that Moses was only one person and that we only have one belly!
There are those who would insist that the verses in the Old Testament about Yahweh are speaking of another person who later "became" Jesus Christ. But, consider Psa 118:22-23 (KJV):
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the comer. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Yahweh is the one who placed the stone which the builders rejected. He placed his Son Jesus as the comer stone. So, God is the LORD (YHWH). Here's another verse:
Deut. 4:35. . .the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
There were not two who were Yahweh! This God cannot be a unit of more than one, as some have said, without changing the pronoun "him," to "us." Then it would have been said "There is none else besides us."
Some still insist that there were two who were equally "God," but Isa 40:25 lets us know that he has no equal! Then, they would say, "One LORD was in Heaven, and the other was on the earth, dealing with the Israelites." They even have Bible verses that seem to say so:
Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven. . .
(Psa 110: 1 KJV ). . .The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Sometimes another translation helps us understand:
(NIV) Then the LORD rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.
I am not a big promoter of the NIV translation, but since there is only one Yahweh, the fire that came from the heavens was from him. Heaven is his throne and the earth is his footstool, so why do they think this verse indicates two persons? Here is a verse I would use to answer them:
Deut 4:39 Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
As for Yahweh speaking to David's Lord, Acts chapter two explains this verse as fulfilled when Jesus' Father made him Lord of all and he went to sit at his right hand. There is one word for "Yahweh," and another for "Lord."
Again, we could ask the Apostle Paul; How many Gods do we have?
(1 Cor 8:4 KJV). . ."there is no God but one." 6. . . to us there is but one God, the Father, Eph 4:6 One God and Father of all who is above all. . .Or, we could ask one of the Old Testament prophets if God is more than one person:
(Mal 2: 10 KJV) Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?
What if we asked the God of Israel himself?
(Isa 44:8 KJV ). . .Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
THE LORD IS ISRAEL'S FATHER
(Isa 63: 16 KJV) Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.
God spoke to Jacob in a dream and said: I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. (Gen 28: 13)
THE GOD OF THE FATHERS IS JESUS' FATHER
How do I know that for sure? He is identified in Acts 3:13:
The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus. . .( KJV )
I realize that some translations say "his servant Jesus," but a son can be a servant. Is anyone trying to say that Jesus is not the begotten Son of God? Of course the Son of God was also his servant! Remember, Philippians 2 says that Jesus humbled himself as a servant. The form of a servant is to serve. Angels are also our servants. Jesus was not the "God of our Fathers," but he is his servant and his begotten Son. Acts 3:21- 22 tell us that God has spoken by the mouth of the prophets, since the world began. Heb 1 also says this same God spoke to the fathers by the prophets, and now speaks through his Son Jesus, who is his express image and shows us his glory. Jesus inherited his title as the Word of God, because he is his Son, he spoke his Father's words.
What about the Apostle Paul?
Paul preached about the Son of God, saying that all of the promises of God are in him. Read 2 Cor 1:19-21. The one who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, is God! This is the God who fathered his firstborn Son Jesus:
(Luke 1:35 KJV) And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
THERE IS ONLY ONE LORD GOD (YHWH)
Deut 6:4 Hear, 0 Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
I have read the explanations of the Hebrew word for "one," but the reasoning falls short in light of other scriptures. He is the only one with that name:
(Psa 83: 18 KJV) That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
Some translations read "you alone," whose name is the LORD, are the most high. There can be only one who is the Highest!
WHEN JESUS RETURNS, GOD WILL BE WITH HIM
There will not be two people in the one "Most High."
Zech 14:9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD. and his name one.
JESUS WILL POINT MEN TO HIS FATHER, AS THEIR GOD!
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . .
In the book of Revelation, when we enter the Holy City, we find one God the Father and one Lamb, Jesus the Messiah:
(Rev 21:3 KJV ). . .God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
GOD AS CREATOR
(Gen 1:26-27 KJV ) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . .So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Who is God talking to here? Who is the "us?" Who made man? It was Yahweh:
(Gen 2: 7 KJV ) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
Isa 40:28 identifies him as "the everlasting God, the LORD, and the Creator of the ends of the earth." Jesus said in Matt 19:4 that he who made them at the beginning made them male and female. The Creator to which he was referring was his Father, and is one God, not a composite of two in a family:
Mark 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
It was Yahweh, God the Father speaking and he made man, and the universe:
Mark 10: 5 And Jesus answered and said unto them. . .from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
(Psa 33:6 KJV ) By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
THEN WHO WAS HE SPEAKING TO WHEN HE SAID "US"?
Man, who was made in God's image, is male and female. God himself is our Father, so who is our mother? Eve is the mother of all living, except Adam, and she came from him. Mary is Jesus' mother and she is a daughter of Adam and Eve, so Jesus is the son of man. We all have physical fathers and mothers, except Jesus, whose only Father is God. But, who is our spiritual mother?
(Gal 4:26 KJV) But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
God was speaking to those in his kingdom when he said "us." Who is part of this "mother of us all?"
(Heb 12:22 KJV) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels. . .
There were always others in the kingdom of God. He has been merciful from everlasting and has always been someone's God.
(Deut 10: 17 KJV) For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God. . .
(Psa 103: 17 KJV ) But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
WHO WAS THE GOD OF JESUS?
(John 20: 17 KJV ) Jesus said "I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God."
(Rev 3:21 KN) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Jesus was ascending to his Father, who is one person, not a plural God.
THE FATHER MADE THE SABBATH FOR MAN
Mark 2:27 says the Sabbath was made for man. Hebrews 1 identifies "God" as Jesus' Father, when he says he speaks through his Son in the last days. In chapter four, he speaks of God as creator, and says that his works were finished from the foundation of the world. And about the Sabbath, Jesus said "God did rest the seventh day from all his works." He did not say" I rested after I followed the Father's instructions." Verse 14 speaks of Jesus as our "Great High Priest," and says he is the Son of God.
God is not a man or the son of man (Num 23:19). Jesus is a man, the son of man as well as the Son of God. But, he is not our God. The Sabbath was made for Jesus the man!
1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. So! Jesus is still called "the man," even after his resurrection. Even Johnny Cash acknowledges this in his new song which he wrote called "When the Man Comes Around." Jesus is one of us:
(Heb 2:6-11 KJV ). . .What is man, that thou art mindful of him. . .thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:. . .But now we see not yet all things put under him. . . .But we see Jesus. . .crowned with glory and honour. . ."both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren"
IS JESUS CALLED GOD ALMIGHTY?
(Rev 1:8 KN) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Let's start at verse 1:
- God the Father gave Jesus the revelation.
- JOHN bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
- It is from John and from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne, And from Jesus Christ (God the Father, the seven spirits, and Jesus).
- Verse 6 speaks of Jesus' God, who is his Father, and his glory, and ends with an "amen." Verse 7 speaks of the return of Jesus and also ends with an "amen."
Now, let's read verse 8 in the NRSV :
(Rev 1:8 NRSV ) "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
The "Lord God," is always Yahweh Elohim, Jesus' Father. He is also the first and the last, like the letters of the alphabet. Jesus is also the first and last, in a different way. He is the father's firstborn, and will be with him forever.
Isa 44: 6 Thus saith 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.
We have already seen how Exo 3: 15 and Exo 6:3 reveal the LORD God Almighty as Yahweh, the God of the Fathers, and how the God of the fathers is identified in Acts 3: 13 as Jesus' Father. So, Rev 1:8 does not call Jesus the "Almighty." That is his Father.
IF ALL OF YOUR QUESTIONS ARE NOT ANSWERED
There are too many subjects pertaining to who the God of the Old Testament is for me to cover them all in one presentation, but I am sure much of it will be covered by the other speakers. I do not expect this Seminar to be able to completely cover even one aspect of the Nature of God. And, please research the subject for yourself and come to your own conclusion. We have seen what happens when we rely too much on a charismatic human leader. When we all can calmly discuss these things and compare notes, surely we can come to some kind of an agreement. There are numerous verses to check and compare, and we need to take them into consider one at a time, comparing each one in the light of all the others, and realizing that they all have to agree.
Each presenter will naturally vary in the exact details of what he believes. As for me, I am open for communication to anyone who can prove to me that I am wrong. But, I have studied this subject for many years and am convinced of my basic beliefs, though I once accepted teachings to the contrary.
I suggest that you study the account of how Abraham was also willing to give his son Isaac, and what Jesus and Isaac have in common. I have also proved to my own satisfaction that Jesus was not formerly Melchisedec. I hope this does not upset you.
Some would point out that no man has seen the Father, but they say that some did see the God of the Old Testament. But, what I read in my Bible is that no man has seen God at all. God did manifest himself to some in visions, and they saw him with their understanding:
(Job 42:5 KN) I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
Many tell me that I am comparing physical things to spiritual. They are upset because I am going against what a beloved leader taught and what the majority of the Churches of God teach. I did not come to my convictions lightly, and I feel compelled to share what I have learned with the rest of the church. If I am wrong, then I am willing to change my mind when given proof. I ask that you do the same. Search the scriptures for yourself and prove it one way or the other.
I do not believe that Jesus is the God of Thomas. Neither do I believe the Bible says that Jesus was the one who made all things in the beginning. I believe that all things were made in, on account of, and for Jesus and all mankind I think I can prove what I believe.
There are also handouts of topics on the information table. This is an on-going study for all of us, so please don't be too critical of typographical and other errors. We all make "mistakes," but are willing to correct them!
I believe the Angel of the LORD speaks for him, but I do not believe this messenger became Jesus. Jesus is the begotten Son of the One God, not an angel reborn! His Father is our God. His Father brought Israel out of bondage and gave his only Son to pay for our sins and lead us into salvation. Jesus is the only way we have access to God the Father. No man can come to the Father, except because of him and through him. And, God our Father says that we are to have no other God except him alone:
(Neh 9:6 KJV) Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.
THE RETURN OF JESUS
Jesus is scheduled to return at some time in the future. But, he said in Acts 1:7 that it is not for us to know the time or date, as it is under his Father's authority. When he returns, the Father will be there with him. Zech 14:4 says Yahweh's feet will stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives. God will be invisible to mortal man, but they will see Jesus. In Mat 24:30, he is pictured as the son of man coming in the clouds with power and great glory. Mat 26:64 says that he will return on the right hand of power. He will be at Yahweh's right hand in that day, there will be only one who is our God, and that will be Yahweh, our Father, and King over all. Zech 14:9 declares there will be one Yahweh, and his name one. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. Then Jesus, the Son of God, will hand over the kingdom to his Father, the only true God (1 Cor 15:24).
WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE ANYWAY?
Is it important to know who God is? Do we need to know where Jesus came from? Is it okay that we have some people in the congregation singing to God as the Father; while some believe the Eternal is another one who became Jesus? Why can't we be satisfied to let each person believe what he wants to, and keep QUIET? Are we causing division? Shouldn't we all speak the same thing?
First of all, we could say these things about any of the truths of God. Yes, it is important! It is mostly the ones who believe that Jesus preexisted as God that want us to keep quiet, while they loudly proclaim what they believe. And, they are in control! Those who believe he is the begotten Son of God and did not preexist as someone else are asked to keep it to themselves! But, as Jesus said, to know God the Father and his Son Jesus the Christ is our eternal life! This error needs to be corrected. God will correct it one way or the other, with or without us!
I realize most of the Churches of God believe differently from what I am saying. I think we need to be patient with each other, and tolerant of different views about this. God will correct us in love and patience, if our heart is right and we love him. What we ask of you is that you carefully consider what is being taught and allow us to express our views. I hope that is not too much to ask!
I leave you with these verses:
(2 Cor 6:66-18 KJV ). . .ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. . . .And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
(Jer 9:23-24 KJV ) Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
(l John 1:3 KJV ) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 5: 11 KJV ) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
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