An answer from Dr. Carson:
Well, the Old Testament God and new testament God are one in the same.
Everything that took place in the old testament was a Shadow of the manifestation of God to come.
I hear this quite a bit, why was the God of the old testament so severe and Jesus so kind.
It’s like did you skip over all the mercy of the Old testament and did you not read revelation of the new testament.
God works with people where they are and this will always require degrees of concession. The fact of divine concession started early in history. It began with a convergence of divine promise and divine concession that set the tone for all of the ways of God with humanity:
“‘Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease’” (Gen. 8:21b-22, NIV).
Many parts of the Old Testament will be misunderstood if we miss the point about concession. The Old Testament reflects many concessions related to life in Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cultures with their fallen social structures and hardened hearts (see: Matthew 19:3-9). The Old Testament law is often concessionary to ANE social structures and realities. It’s also (self-admittedly) not meant to be a final guide for human beings. Why do we need a “New” Covenant? (see: Jeremiah 31; Ez. 36, Hebrews).
If you find some things to be strange in the Old Testament, remember that these were strange times. A cursory reading of ANE history will validate this fact. Recognize that God mercifully meets people where they are and graciously condescends to reach them.
The OT days are summarized as times when God “let all nations go their own way” (Acts 14:15); times “when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past ” (Romans 3:25-26); times when He “endured with much patience vessels of wrath” (Romans 9:22-23) and times when He “overlooked such ignorance” (Acts 17:30-31).
How can we reconcile the 44th US president with Barack Obama?
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Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.
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