Tag: Old Covenant

Was God Mean During the Old Covenant?

Many skeptics and critics of our faith charge that there were contradictory gods in the Bible. The Old Testament one was mean, vengeful, and plain old nasty while the New Testament one is loving, forgiving, patient, and kind. They can make a good case when certain verses are taken out of context. By “context” I mean the Big Picture of what God needed to accomplish and when He needed to accomplish it.

When man rebelled against God with sin, God had to withdraw Himself from this planet. He cannot tolerate sin in His presence. So early in our history, there was a major problem…and things would get worse as sin produced its ugly effect over the years. Once sin ruled mankind, God could not help man face-to-face because every human would perish at the sight of His face. So He chose to work through people, especially prophets and the words in the Holy Scriptures.

One problem is that God could not reveal Himself all at once because, I think, it would be too much, too fast, and humans would not understand much. So He choose to do this slowly over hundreds of years, gradually leading up to His personal visit in human form. This unfolding of Truth in His timeline, I contend, was to maximize the number of souls that could obtain eternal life.

In His love for humans, God would intervene immediately after the first sin of Adam and Eve by covering them with animal skins. This was to show that human effort to cover sin (fig leaves in this case) is not effective when trying to rid ourselves of sin. But the shedding of innocent blood is. Therefore, the Jewish mandate of animal sacrifices was shouting out to fallen man that innocent blood had to be shed. This practice, however, was a temporary cover. It was awaiting of the sinless Messiah to shed His untainted blood to do away with man’s sin forever. This is the reason why animal sacrifices are not performed any longer – since the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This was God’s judgment against a nation (not all individual Jews) that rejected their God by crucifying Him. I believe God is underscoring His accomplishment via the cross by not allowing the Jewish animal sacrifices to return.

Returning to the Old Testament, I believe God had to reveal His name, His holiness, and his rules so that mankind would know what to do with their lives. In a sinful state of separation from God’s presence, man had no idea what true holiness is. Hence, God in OT times was strict about certain things, and sometimes people were killed because they did not obey. In early history, the Creator was not feared or obeyed. This would change over the years (but, of course, not all would do this). The groups of people that did do this maintained the lineage of the Messiah so that huge numbers of souls could have eternal life.

At first glance, God seems harsh when He told Jews to kill people in the land promised to them. Sometimes they were commanded to kill women, children, and even animals. Why? First, we have a difficult time understanding the depth of wickedness in non-Jewish cultures. If they were not completely wiped out, the Jews would start acting like them and God’s plan of eternal life for humans would be destroyed. It’s like a good doctor treating cancer. Cancerous cells are normal cells turned renegade. Normal cells have the ability to reproduce themselves and to stop that process. Cancerous cells have lost the ability to stop this process. So they will eventually surround and crowd out normal cells, cut off their blood supply and kill them. So doctors must kill the cancer cells before they kill the person’s body. I believe in the Old Testament times, God reluctantly had to do this at certain times in history or the whole planet would be on a premature self-destruct path. This almost happened in Noah’s day. If it weren’t for the loving and merciful God of the OT, humankind would have been wiped out thousands of years ago.

But why kill animals of their enemies? The Bible never explains this, so I can only guess. I think it was a sign to other nations that the Jewish nation did not kill and conquer others for the wealth but rather it was the execution of God‘s judgment against horrible immorality. Animals were a most valuable commodity in those days. Heathens attacked and killed to gain wealth and power. In these cases, Jews did it to stop immorality from spreading. I also think God, because He loves non-Jewish people, wanted to let survivors know that He alone is the creator of all things and has sovereignty over all. False gods in other cultures never were considered to be over all things. The sun god, for example, had no power over the rain god, etc. So this concept of one God being all-powerful was a new concept for heathen people.

Unknown to Bible critics, there are 150 verses in the Old Testament that claim that God is loving and merciful. There are also countless times where He has intervened on man’s behalf to preserve life. Anyone can take verses out of context and without understating the Big Picture and come to the conclusion that the OT God is mean and harsh and unfair. But upon open-minded scrutiny of all the Scriptures, we can see that this is not so.

The “Missing Weekers” May Have Missed the Week: A Closer Look at Daniel Chapter 9 by Dave Scheer 11/25/17, Updated 1/3/19

For many years dispensationalists (futurists) have asserted that the final week of Daniel’s 70 weeks has not yet occurred but will come in the future. However, if we read Daniel 9:24-27 carefully, we discover that the last week has already taken place in the most significant way. There is no room for a gap of a couple thousand years from week 69 to 70.

Christian theologians agree that those 70 weeks are “70 weeks of years,” not weeks of days. It means that each “week” contains 7 years for a grand total of 490 years. These verses amazingly and accurately predict the time of the arrival of the Messiah. The beginning of the 490 year countdown began in 457 BC, some think it was 445 BC as dictated by verse 25, but that is another discussion. In any case, this 490 year span marked the remaining time for the Old Covenant and the pinpointing of the Messiah’s arrival and His work to be accomplished. Gabriel’s words to Daniel were concerning the Jews only, not future Gentile believers (v24).

Verse 24 reveals six things that must be accomplished during this “70 week” (490 year) period:

1) “Finishing of the transgression” – Done. John 19:30

2) “Make an end to sin” – Done. Matthew 1:21Hebrews 9:25-26

3) “Make atonement for iniquity” – Done. 1 John 1:7,9Romans 6:14-15

4) “Bring everlasting righteousness” – Done. 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3-4

5) “To seal up [fulfill, end] the vision and prophecy” – Done. Jesus fulfilled the Old Covenant and ushered in the New Covenant (insight from Luke 5:36-39 & wine miracle at Cana in John 2).

6) “To anoint the most holy” (the word “place” as been added in some versions but should not be there) – Done. Hebrews 1:9. Jesus is now the Holy Temple and He is not a physical building (John 2:19-21).

Since Jesus fulfilled all of these prophecies by way of His first coming (as cited above), there is no need for a future “week” (7-year period). Dispensationalists error regarding verse 27. They misinterpret the word “he” as referring to the Anti-Christ rather than to Jesus Christ! They assert that the Anti-Christ will make a firm covenant with the Jewish nation. Since when does Satan have the ability to make a firm promise? He is the “father of all lies” according to John 8:44. If he lied about a covenant then it is NOT FIRM! The “Firm Covenant” made is the New Covenant that was “firmly established” during Jesus’ earthly work which was totally fulfilled and described in this section of Chapter 9. But in the middle of that final week (3 ½ years) He was crucified (“cut off”) which, in God’s eyes, ended animal sacrifices. All rituals in the Temple became obsolete in God’s eyes when Jesus died, rose, and ascended. This practice by the Jews was forcefully ended in 70 A.D. when Rome destroyed everything (and this ritual has not been re-instituted for good reason). God’s message to the world is “It is finished” as Jesus stated on the cross. The stoning of Stephen was the end of the second 3 1/2 year part and the end of the 70th week of the Daniel prophecy. Now I understand why God made sure that all the “low-lights” of Jewish history were recounted in verse by Stephen just before he was murdered by Jewish leaders. Again, God was making a firm statement to the world. God’s Old Covenant with the Jewish nation was always contingent on whether or not they followed Him (Deut.28:1-2). In other words it was always conditional, never unconditional. Soon after Jesus rose from the dead, a converted Paul turned to the Gentiles. This all pointed to a major change from Old Covenant to New Covenant, and Daniel’s prophecy described it hundreds of years before it happened. The context of these four verses in Daniel Chapter 9 is describing the end of the Old Covenant which first had to be made obsolete in order to enact the New Covenant (Hebrews 8:13).

So what effect on futuristic interpretation does this have? They assert that the missing week of Daniel will feature Anti-Christ making a deal with the Jews. Things will be nice for the first half (3 ½ years). Then the evil one will turn on the Jews leading to “the Great Tribulation.” Upon careful reading of Scripture, I discovered that the word “the” is not used before “great tribulation.” It does in a Scofield Bible because he was a dispensationalist and added the word to fit his theology. Mr. Scofield added the word “the” to Revelation 7:14. The King James Version does not. Jesus did speak of great tribulation when referring to the horrors of 70 AD. Revelation DOES speak of believers coming out of great tribulation which could refer to any time period in the church age. A special reward awaits these people. According to dispensationalists, however, only one group living in the future would get this honor. In my view, this disses all believers who have gone through very tough times throughout the Church Age, even being tortured and murdered for their faith. I believe they will all be given this special reward.

So, the historical approach to end-time prophecy wipes out “the great tribulation” and some alleged  Anti-Christ activity. But we all still believe in the rapture which occurs upon Christ’s return. At that time, according to 2 Peter 3:10-12, all earth and heavens are destroyed. So how can Jesus rule on earth for 1,000 years if it is gone? Maybe it’s just possible that many Christians do not understand what the millennium is all about, but that’s another story. All the fuss over pre, mid, or post-tribulation rapture is not worth arguing about. There is no 7-year great tribulation. That 70th week is not in the future because it had to have already happened.

All this will be a paradigm shift to many believers because the dispensational method of eschatology has dominated western Christianity with few believers realizing it. Hence few have been exposed to the historical approach which takes a hard look at what has already occurred and how it lines up with Bible prophecy.

For a more detailed work on this topic, including info about a Jewish curse on anyone calculating Daniel’s 70 Weeks leading to the conclusion that Jesus was the Messiah, go to my website called  scripturethoughts.com and click on “Bible Commentary,” scroll down, then click on “Daniel” and read commentary on chapter 9. If anyone is interested in learning more about Anti-Christ from the historicist viewpoint, read my commentaries on Daniel, 2 Thessalonians 2, and Revelation.

My desire is to have both points of view taught in churches and to allow individuals to decide what they want to embrace. But we often find only one view taught. This happened to me for over 30 years and I did not realize it until I read about church history. No one has all the answers about end-time prophecy, but there are some fascinating parallels when we look at history and see its symbolic representation in Daniel and Revelation.

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