Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Two Covenants, One God”

Categories: GOD, NEW TESTAMENT, OLD TESTAMENT, RELATIONSHIPS
     Why did certain rules change when Jesus was around?  Before Jesus, the evidence of God being present was the destruction and conquering of other religions, lands, and cities (along with some pretty amazing miracles).  Some of the miracles were acts of God to actually destroy these other religions.  When Jesus came around, He preached that people should love their enemies and focused His message toward their communities.  This doesn't make sense.  If Jesus was preaching the essence of God, and we are supposed to love our enemies, then why did God eradicate pagan religions using the Israelites?  And why would He choose to use some of the people from these religions in His divine plan and lineage of Christ?

Sincerely,
Mixed Messages

Dear Mixed Messages,

God did a lot of things in the Old Testament, and destroying pagan nations was only part of that picture.  It is important to understand why God destroyed those nations.  God was protecting the Israelites because they were His people, and when they faithfully served Him, He destroyed their enemies to protect them.  It is important to understand that the Old Testament was a tutor to lead people to Christ (Gal 3:24-25).  The Old Testament taught people about the gravity of sin, the justice of God, the sinfulness of man, and our need to place our faith in God.  All of the Old Testament stands as an example of how God treats sin and how seriously we must take it.  As we read the Old Testament, we get a clear picture of how much trouble we would all be in without forgiveness... but we also see that God tried time and time again to save people.  In fact, the entire book of Jonah is about God sending a prophet to try and get the pagan city of Nineveh to turn away from their sin before it was too late.  He also accepted the harlot Rahab when she turned from idolatry and joined the Israelites (Heb 11:31).

Jesus did teach that we should love our enemies, but He also preached railing judgments against wicked men (read Matt 23 for Jesus' feelings about the Pharisees).  Jesus showed kindness to a penitent adulteress (Jhn 8:3-11), but He also made a whip and cast out all the moneychangers from the temple (Jhn 2:15).  Jesus certainly taught love, but He also taught justice – the exact same things you see in the Old Testament.  In the Old Testament and in the New, we see a consistency in God's character.  The only difference is that Jesus brought forgiveness in a way that never could happen before He died on the cross.