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An Amazing Truth: Jesus Christ Was the God of the Old Testament

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Many people don't grasp exactly who Jesus Christ was and is. It is fundamentally important for us to understand!

We truly want to help you learn all you can about God the Father and Jesus Christ, plus we want to help you go beyond that. We want you to come to personally and intimately know Them as your Heavenly Father and Elder Brother. This will happen if you develop the habit of studying the Bible and praying every day, and putting the Bible into practice in your everyday life.

This study focuses on key scriptures in the Bible where God reveals highly significant things about His nature and actions.

The following is a condensed popular story by the late Paul Harvey:

There was a nonreligious, skeptical man who just couldn't swallow the “Jesus story” about an incarnation, about God coming to earth as a man. But one snowy evening he noticed a flock of birds huddled miserably, not having any shelter. Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, and he thought about his barn. That would provide a warm shelter—if he could direct the birds to it.

Quickly he went to the barn, opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, found some bread crumbs that he sprinkled on the snow, making a trail to the doorway of the barn.

But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them. He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms. Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me—that I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, they just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.

“If only I could be a bird,” he thought to himself, “and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to the safe, warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand.”

That thought became an epiphany. Stunned, he remembered the fundamental message: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
). Suddenly the gospel he had heard made complete sense! He dropped to his knees in the snow. 

What does the Bible tell us about the Father and the Son—the God family?

Many people are confused about this subject. There is only one God, but God is a family, comprising God the Father and God the Word, who became the Son of God, Jesus Christ (John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
American King James Version×
, John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
). They are also “one” in the sense that the Father and Son are identical in character.

Notice the plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26 Genesis 1:26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
American King James Version×
: “Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness'” (emphasis added throughout).

The Bible clearly identifies two Beings who exist together as the one God. But what about the Holy Spirit? The Bible doesn't describe the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine Person, as many believe. It is revealed as the Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ—the power that emanates from Them that They use for many different purposes.

The idea of God being a “Trinity” became popular centuries after Jesus Christ's time. It is not taught by the Bible. That idea originated in ancient paganism. The Bible is full of many proofs that God is not a Trinity. (To learn more, read the free Bible study aid Is God a Trinity? ) However, the Trinity is not the subject of this lesson.

One widespread misconception is that there was a big difference in the character of the God of the Old Testament (primarily strict and harsh) and Jesus Christ in the New Testament (merciful and loving). This lesson will show the surprising biblical truth.

First, can we prove that Jesus existed prior to His human birth?

“And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:5 John 17:5And now, O Father, glorify you me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world was.
American King James Version×
).

“Father … you loved me before the world was created” (John 17:24 John 17:24Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
American King James Version×
, Contemporary English Version).

“And He [Jesus] said to them, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'” (Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
American King James Version×
).

In Luke 10, Jesus refers to the fall of Satan that occurred before the creation of Adam and Eve. Many other scriptures could be quoted to prove that Jesus existed prior to His human birth. For example, Luke 10:22 Luke 10:22All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
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shows that Jesus, and only Jesus, had firsthand, intimate knowledge of God the Father. The next section further proves Jesus' preexistence.

Was Jesus Christ also God before and after His incarnation?

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, 'God with us'” (Matthew 1:23 Matthew 1:23Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
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; quoting Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
American King James Version×
).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-2 John 1:1-2 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.
American King James Version×
, John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
American King James Version×
).

“I [Jesus] and My Father are one” (John 10:30 John 10:30I and my Father are one.
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).

In John 1, we learn that “in the beginning” there were two Beings who were both God. The rest of the chapter clearly shows that the One called the Word was the One who became Jesus Christ. He was incarnated—“became flesh”—at His human birth, but He existed forever prior to that.

The New Testament is full of proof that Jesus was God. Jesus did what only God could do—forgive sins. Paul refers to Jesus in Titus 1:3 Titus 1:3But has in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior;
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and Titus 2:10 Titus 2:10Not purloining, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
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as “God our Savior.” And since Jesus was and is God, that means He has existed for all eternity!

What passage most clearly shows that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament?

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed [ or accompanied ] them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 1 Moreover, brothers, I would not that you should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized to 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.
American King James Version×
).

Plainly, the God who was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and into the Promised Land was the One who later became Jesus Christ! He provided manna to eat (Exodus 16:4 Exodus 16:4Then said the LORD to Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
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, Exodus 16:31 Exodus 16:31And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.
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, Exodus 16:35 Exodus 16:35And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came to the borders of the land of Canaan.
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) and water to drink, sometimes from solid rock (Exodus 17:6 Exodus 17:6Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Horeb; and you shall smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
American King James Version×
). Calling the food and drink “spiritual” has a dual meaning: It was supernaturally provided, plus it also represented the spiritual sustenance He was providing as the bread of life and the water of life (John 4:14 John 4:14But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
American King James Version×
; John 6:30-35 John 6:30-35 30 They said therefore to him, What sign show you then, that we may see, and believe you? what do you work? 31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world. 34 Then said they to him, Lord, ever more give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.
American King James Version×
).

What do the New Testament and Jesus Himself say about God the Father that proves the Father was not the God of the Old Testament?

“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18 John 1:18No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
American King James Version×
).

“And the Father Himself, who sent Me [Jesus], has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37 John 5:37And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.
American King James Version×
).

“Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He [Jesus] who is from God; He has seen the Father” (John 6:46 John 6:46Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father.
American King James Version×
).

The God of the Old Testament many times visibly appeared to people and audibly spoke to people—which, when we compare this to these verses from John's Gospel, proves He was not God the Father.

Who was the actual Creator of the universe, the earth and all things?

“For by Him [ Jesus Christ ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17 Colossians 1:16-17 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
American King James Version×
).

“. . . God who created all things through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9 Ephesians 3:9And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world has been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
American King James Version×
).

“All things were made through Him [the Word], and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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; see also Hebrews 1:1-2 Hebrews 1:1-2 1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 Has in these last days spoken to us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
American King James Version×
).

God the Father authorized the creation, but the Word, the One who became Jesus Christ, actually did the creating. John 1:3 John 1:3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
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is clearly referring to Jesus Christ, as the rest of the chapter shows. Colossians 1:17 Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
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verifies that He had to exist “before all things,” since He created all things.

Who originally made the Sabbath a holy day?

“And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3 Genesis 2:2-3 2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
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).

“And He [Jesus] said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath'” (Mark 2:27-28 Mark 2:27-28 27 And he said to them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
American King James Version×
).

The word sanctify means to set something apart as sacred or holy. The Creator God rested on the seventh day, making it holy—and the verses that present Jesus as the Creator on behalf of the Father make it clear that Jesus is also the One who rested. Furthermore, Jesus' lordship over the Sabbath in Mark 2:28 Mark 2:28Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
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implies that He is the One who made it holy.

How does the name “I AM” help prove that Jesus was the God of the Old Testament?

“Then Moses said to God, 'Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?' 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”'” (Exodus 3:13-14 Exodus 3:13-14 13 And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? 14 And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shall you say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
American King James Version×
).

“Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.' 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” (John 8:58-59 John 8:58-59 58 Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Before Abraham was, I am. 59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the middle of them, and so passed by.
American King James Version×
).

For what reason did Jesus' Jewish adversaries try to stone Him here? Because He referred to Himself with one of the names of God, the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses. It would have angered the Jews if Jesus had only said, “Before Abraham, I was” or “Before Abraham, I existed.” But when Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM,” they were utterly incensed because He was clearly and pointedly identifying Himself as God.

Some other places where Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM” are John 8:24 John 8:24I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins: for if you believe not that I am he, you shall die in your sins.
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, John 8:28 John 8:28Then said Jesus to them, When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father has taught me, I speak these things.
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; John 13:19 John 13:19Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, you may believe that I am he.
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; John 18:5 John 18:5They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said to them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
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, John 18:8 John 18:8Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore you seek me, let these go their way:
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. Notice in John 18:6 John 18:6As soon then as he had said to them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
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that when Jesus identified Himself as “I AM” to the arresting party, they were miraculously knocked to the ground.

Notice how “I am” is included when Jesus identifies Himself as “the bread of life” (John 6:48 John 6:48I am that bread of life.
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), “the light of the world” (John 8:12 John 8:12Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
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), “the door” (John 10:9 John 10:9I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
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), “the good shepherd” (John 10:11 John 10:11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.
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), “the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25 John 11:25Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
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), “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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) and “the true vine” (John 15:1 John 15:1I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer.
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). These are often referred to as the seven great “I AMs.” Significantly, in the Old Testament, God identifies Himself in some of the same ways, such as being our shepherd, our light and our life.

What can we learn from studying the subject of Melchizedek?

“Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High” (Genesis 14:18 Genesis 14:18And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
American King James Version×
).

“[Melchizedek, who was] without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest continually” (Hebrews 7:3 Hebrews 7:3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like to the Son of God; stays a priest continually.
American King James Version×
).

“And having been perfected, He [Jesus] became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest 'according to the order of Melchizedek'” (Hebrews 5:9-10 Hebrews 5:9-10 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him; 10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.
American King James Version×
).

Melchizedek appeared to Abraham as both a king and priest. In fact, He was “king of righteousness” and “king of peace” (Hebrews 7:1-2 Hebrews 7:1-2 1 For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; 2 To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of peace;
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). Hebrews 7:3 Hebrews 7:3Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like to the Son of God; stays a priest continually.
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reveals that he was an eternal divine being, having “neither beginning of days nor end of life” and an unending priesthood. A careful reading of Hebrews 7 proves that Melchizedek was the Word, the One who became Jesus Christ.

Was there a big change in divine character from Old to New Testament times?

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob” (Malachi 3:6 Malachi 3:6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.
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).

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
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).

The same Being is described in both verses. He was merciful in His dealings with ancient Israel—though ultimately bringing judgment. And He remains merciful today, having died for our sins. But He will come in judgment yet. Still, His mercy prevails (James 2:13 James 2:13For he shall have judgment without mercy, that has showed no mercy; and mercy rejoices against judgment.
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). Indeed, it is the same mercy the Father has (2 John 1:3 2 John 1:3Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
American King James Version×
).

Knowing that the God of the Old Testament was the One who became Jesus Christ shows how totally false the idea is that there was a difference in the character of the God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament! They are one and the same. Knowing this also supports the fact that there is perfect continuity and harmony between the Old and New Testaments. The Old Testament serves as the foundation for the further revelations in the New Testament.

As we've seen, Jesus Christ came to reveal the Father. So, contrary to popular belief, the Old Testament reveals the Word who became Jesus Christ, and the New Testament reveals the Father!

Apply now

If previous to this lesson you thought that the God who spoke and appeared in the Old Testament was God the Father, you may now have quite a challenge in changing your perspective! To get you started, jot down three or more main things you remember about God from the Old Testament, and then substitute “the Word” where you previously thought of “the Father.”

Next, jot down three or more main things you remember about Jesus Christ from the New Testament, and focus on how that same Jesus Christ was also the divine Being who spoke to and interacted with human beings throughout the Old Testament. Once you get used to this perspective, the whole Bible will make more sense to you!

Also, be sure to read the Bible study aid Jesus Christ: The Real Story . People have many questions and misconceptions about who Jesus was and is, and this booklet will help you understand right from the pages of your Bible. To really understand the One who is your Savior and coming King, you need to read this eye-opening Bible study aid booklet!

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