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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, January 05 2023

Jesus Christ and the Old Testament

Few will dispute that a man named Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, and that He was a great teacher, who also claimed to be the Son of God. 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 and 14).

The Father and the Son are "one" in the sense that they are identical in character, as the plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26 shows: "Then God said, 'Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.’” The Bible doesn't describe the Holy Spirit as a distinct divine Person, as many believe, but as the Spirit of God the Father and Jesus Christ—the power that emanates from Them.

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 became Jesus Christ. He was incarnated—"became flesh"—at His human birth, but He existed eternally prior to that. The following passage also clearly shows Jesus was God during Old Testament times, "...all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through 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).

The God who led the Israelites out of Egypt, into the Promised Land, was the One who later became Jesus Christ. The following verses from John’s Gospel show the One who visibly appeared to and spoke to the ancient Israelites was not God the Father: "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). "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). "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except He [Jesus] who is from God; He has seen the Father" (John 6:46).

Jesus Christ was also 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).

Ephesians 3:9 also tells us God "...created all things through Jesus Christ." God the Father authorized the creation, but the Word, the One who became Jesus Christ, actually did the creating. John 1:3 is clearly referring to Jesus Christ, as the rest of the chapter shows (see also Hebrews 1:1-2).

Jesus also identified Himself as the “I AM” Who interacted with the patriarchs of the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14), provoking the Pharisees to attempt to stone Him for blasphemy: "...'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.' Then they took up stones to throw at Him…" (John 8:58-59). Other places where Jesus referred to Himself as "I AM" are John 8:24 and 28; John 13:19; John 18:5 and 8.

"I AM" is also included when Jesus identifies Himself as "the bread of life" (John 6:48), "the light of the world" (John 8:12), "the door" (John 10:9), "the good shepherd" (John 10:11), "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25), "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) and "the true vine" (John 15:1). These are often referred to as the seven great "I AMs."

Knowing that the God who interacted with God's people during the Old Testament period was the One who became Jesus Christ, shows how false the idea is that there was a difference in the character of ancient Israel's God and Jesus Christ in the New Testament! They are one and the same loving Creator and Savior.