Was the Old Testament YHWH actually Satan, and did Jesus teach that His Father was NOT that YHWH?
Date originally posted: Oct 26/2018 (intro + parts 1-7) ||
I have a dear friend on the eastern seaboard who recently contacted me about a young friend of his who somehow became influenced by some 2000+ year old heresy, being taught by a modern-day teacher on you tube.
The basic position is one of early Marcionism (and its precursor among the pre-Christian gnostic) that the descriptions of the OT YHWH and the NT Father was so different that the OT YHWH must have been evil and the OT scriptures—therefore—could not be trusted.
This is basically the “God is the Devil” position, with the difference being that it is only the OT GOD that is ‘the devil’ – not Jesus or the Father.
So far, I have written 7 long installments on this (with more to come, Lord willing).
Below is the outline of the points made, issues raised, and evidences advanced. The outline points to just the aggregate sources—so you have to go to the appropriate part and then look WITHIN for the specific point. (Documents are both in HTML and PDF).
1. As I understand his (or hers?) position, they seem to be saying that when Jesus speaks of the Father, that Jesus cannot be speaking about Yahweh from the Old Testament. Likewise, if Jesus says good things about ‘God’ (theos), then this could not be Yahweh, the ‘god’ of the Old Testament.
2. There is an easy way to test this theory that when Jesus speaks of the Father, that Jesus cannot be speaking about Yahweh from the Old Testament. Likewise, if Jesus says good things about ‘God’ (theos), then this could not be Yahweh, the ‘god’ of the Old Testament.
3. First let’s look for verses using the word FATHER and see if there are any EXPLICIT ties to the OT. YES there is—in John 6.45
4. Second, let’s note that Jesus connects “Father” to “God” interchangeably in many places, as does the very phrase “Son of God
5. Third, are the passages tying Jesus’ “God” to the YHWH of the OT—in approving ways (some dups again). In some cases there are direct quotes from the OT. Most of the words translated “Lord” in these have YHWH in the Hebrew originals. Note especially the first one – the Shema – Jesus says that the greatest commandment is love YAHWEH will all your being!
6. There can be no confusion here – Jesus constantly states that His Father is God, and that His Father God is the God of the Old Testament. The passages point to ALL of the HEBREW WORDS translated God or Lord (YAHWEH, EL).
7. Fourth, we should also note how APPROVINGLY Jesus spoke of “God” (not just “Father”). He consistently points His followers to trust in God, and to obey Him. In here also are the verses describing Jesus as being WITH GOD (not just “FATHER”) and going TO GOD (not just ‘FATHER”).
8. So, if we go on the EXPLICIT WORDS OF JESUS ONLY ABOUT THE OT GOD--and not just a comparison of descriptions--we cannot describe Him as anti-YAHWEH, or disapproving of YAHWEH, or calling YHWH evil, or even as a rival or ‘better than YAHWEH’. He honors YAHWEH and challenges us to be ‘more like our Father in heaven’—His father, YAHWEH (according to him).
9. Jesus said explicitly: “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.”
10. If we ONLY use appearances (like much of YS’s arguments are based on), we would also have to believe Jesus to be a liar, and to ‘change his mind’ (unlike the Father), to use curses, and to speak under oath – based on NT data.
11. As students trying to know the Father better, we must align OUR BELIEFS about the scriptures with JESUS teachings (either in the gospels or through his student-emissaries).
12. Jesus trusted and used the OT as being truthful and accurate (even in passages ascribed to YHWH), and affirmed that the scripture could NOT be ‘broken up’ into God-given and Satan-given parts. He never hinted at such a bizarre notion.
13. Who did Jesus think gave the 10 Commandments (the NT God or Satan)—The NT GOD.
14. Is only PART of the OT ‘breathed out by the NT god’ or ALL of it? ALL OF IT was breathed out.
15. Was ANY prophecy in the OT produced by ANYONE other than the Holy Spirit? NO
16. In fact, were the predictions of the Messiah’s sufferings produced by Satan or by the pre-Incarnate Christ himself? By the pre-Incarnate Christ himself!
17. Psalms 2 and 110 are by David and refer to the Son of YHWH—the messiah—as ‘breaking the nations with a rod of iron’ and calling on the nations to ‘Do homage to the Son, that He not be angry and you perish—for His wrath may soon be kindled’. 110 refers to the submission of enemies at his feet and the ‘shattering of kings in the day of His wrath”. Do the NT teachers believe Satan wrote this or the NT God of Jesus? They ascribed it to the NT God of Jesus.
18. Isaiah 6 is referred to several times in the NT. It speaks a word of judgment on Israel, saying ‘make their hearts dull… so they will not be healed’. Do the NT teachers believe Satan wrote this or the NT God of Jesus through Isaiah? They ascribed it to the NT God of Jesus.
19. Jesus and the NT authors cite, reference or allude to at least 200 OT passages—without once expressing a doubt about God’s authorship or expressing some belief that Satan authored them. They ABSOLUTELY TRUST, quote, and reference passages in:
· all the books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy),
· all of the historical books (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles),
· all of the poetical books (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes),
· all the Major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel), and
· most of the longer Minor Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah).
20. They LIVED the reality that ‘all scripture was God-breathed’. They submitted to it, delighted in it, accepted it—even the ‘hard passages’ we will look at below. They found it to be beautiful in character—connecting the OT YHWH with the NT God of Jesus and the disciples:
21. The hypocrisy that Jesus called out against often was likewise found in the OT prophecies of Isaiah—ascribed to the God of Jesus/NT:
22. The promises of YHWH to David are ascribed to the NT God, with David being called a prophet pointing to the resurrection of Christ:
23. The Word of God – the OT scriptures from YHWH – was food for life, eternal power, and the source of the New Birth:
24. We asked the soul-searcher question: The reader should stop here and face these verses before the Father – do you accept the teachings of the New Testament about the inspiration of the ENTIRE Old Testament scriptures? – Jesus and the NT authors DID – do you trust THEM or your own (or YS’) opinions more?
25. The beautiful text of 2 Timothy 2:15 does not teach anything like us needing to ‘separate the bible’ into good and bad verses!
26. The injunction to ‘test the spirits’ in 1 John 4.1 had nothing to do with sitting in judgment over passages in the Word of God.
27. Soul searcher question again: can I trust Jesus when he tells me to trust the Hebrew Bible He used, taught, submitted to, and interpreted His life/mission by’…
28. It should be crystal clear that Jesus and his disciples believed that ‘all scripture was God-breathed’ and that all prophecy was produced by the Holy Spirit, and that at least all messianic prophecy was produced also by the Spirit of the (pre-Incarnate) Christ. In other words, the entire trinity wrote the Old Testament! – The New Testament God (God of Jesus and His students), the Holy Spirit (both author of the OT, and promised by Jesus to guide the NT authors into all truth), and the pre-incarnate “second person of the Trinity”—the Son of God, the Word, the pre-incarnate Jesus.
29. You need to be clear on this – Jesus was not ‘confused’ about the God of the OT being the Person He address as “God” or “Father”. Jesus’ disciples were not confused either—because Jesus had taught them about the Father—their writings will show the same identification of the OT YHWH with the NT GOD/FATHER. Jesus was a successful teacher and the promised Holy Spirit ‘sealed the deal’ (“He will bring all things I have said to you into remembrance”).
30. Did the disciples of Jesus believe the YHWH of the OT was the God of Jesus and His disciples? YES
31. Did Jesus' disciples identify the God (of Jesus and the NT) with OT YHWH, even in imagery or commands? YES
32. Do the Gospels and Epistles show a Theos (GOD) that acted like the OT YHWH? YES
33. Who created the world according to Jesus and his disciples, their GOD or Satan? The NT God.
34. Who SENT THE FLOOD according to Jesus and his disciples, their GOD or Satan? The NT God.
35. Who SPOKE out of the burning bush according to Jesus and his disciples, their GOD or Satan? The NT God.
36. Who gave the 10 commandments and the Law ‘out of the fire’—the NT GOD or SATAN—according to Jesus and his disciples? The NT God.
37. Who used force to free the Israelites from suffering in the Exodus event and led them through the events of the Wilderness Wanderings– The NT God or Satan? The NT God.
38. In fact, the NT students of Jesus taught that it was the pre-incarnate Christ that did the Exodus and wanderings???? Not SATAN??? Yes, it was CHRIST.
39. Who drove the nations out before Israel and Joshua at the “Conquest” – SATAN or the NT God? The NT God.
40. Did Jesus and his students repudiate all blood sacrifices? (as not being from GOD who gave the LAW)? Or did they still use them in the gospels and Acts? NOT AT ALL
41. All of these references to YHWH in the OT are connected to the New Testament speaker’s or writer’s God—the God/Father that Jesus revealed to them, imaged to them, taught them about, and commanded them to emulate! Jesus and his students do not seem to be embarrassed in the least by these passages. Many of us are. What do they know about God that we don’t?! How can they TRUST this God? How can the disciples accept that Jesus worshipped and submitted to and approved and even claimed to be SENT by such a one? Was the life He lived in front of them somehow in consistent alignment with the picture of OT YHWH He taught and they knew from the Hebrew Bible? That the image of the Father He showed them, was consistent with the image of the OT YHWH?
42. YS and others can talk all day about fire and death and lies and cruelty and horrors they want in these passages– but at the end of the day, our/your judgment had better line up with the EXPLICIT and CLEAR and CONSISTENT teachings of Jesus—from His own lips and from the lips and pens of His trusted Spirit-empowered disciples.
43. Once you see this clearly, you will either have to REJECT JESUS (and this students) as being DELUDED and therefore worthless as guides to knowing God, or as being IN LEAGUE WITH Satan in trying to deceive us; or have to REJECT sources of teaching that deny what our Lord believed, lived, and taught – the implications of all these passages (and upcoming ones) we bring to your attention in these write-ups.
44. We explored: “How different was Jesus from the OT YHWH?”—finding the answer to be YES to all of these aspects of the question:
· Did Jesus and His disciples ascribe OT events to both YHWH and the pre-Incarnate Christ?
· Did Jesus ever require ultimate allegiance to him – at the same level as YHWH?
· Were Jesus' God and YHWH opposite on their attitude toward death?
· Did Jesus share imagery with the OT YHWH?
· Did Jesus share titles with the OT YHWH?
· Did Jesus align himself with the emotions of OT YHWH?
· Did Jesus align himself with the morality of OT YHWH?
· Did Jesus' teaching align with those of OT YHWH (even affirming the Law of Moses)?
· Did Jesus submit willingly to OT Yahweh?
· Did Jesus TRUST, PRAY to, and SUBMIT to the God who 'crushed him’ (Is 53) as "Father"?
· Did Jesus tell others to submit willingly to OT Yahweh?
· Who did Jesus think made Him the cornerstone?
These all show the alignment and continuity of Jesus’ life with the revealed life of YHWH in the OT—in its beauty and grace and truth and faithfulness.
45. Jesus warned of judgment, and judgments in which HE was a key participant and agent. His first sojourn on the earth was aimed at getting as many people as possible OUT OF the judgement, but if they rejected the offer, they would still face Him in less pleasurable settings (e.g. courtroom).
46. God will right the wrongs in the future, but that this will necessarily involve loss to the oppressors.
47. Did Jesus repudiate the promise of Yahweh's to correct imbalances, remove evil doers from our environment, and reward the good (judicial vengeance, social justice)? Absolutely not—the Meek (for example) will have their stolen lands ripped from the hands of the powerful who stole them in the first place. Is this violence?—Yes, but it is correction of social injustice and wrongs that flowed from the fall from innocence and the effects of moral anti-good.
48. Did Jesus ever indicate that he would punish, reject or push people away, in his future kingdom? DEFINITELY.
49. Did Jesus ever see himself in prophecies that included words of judgment, vengeance, recompense-for-deeds, and death? DEFINITELY.
50. This role as judge in the future—as based on the prophecies about Him—was communicated to the disciples who also shared that sobering ‘reality-check’ with those they were sent to.
51. Did Jesus' disciples ever indicate that he would punish, reject or push people away, in his future kingdom? DEFINITELY.
52. Jesus did NOT repudiate the promise of Yahweh's to correct imbalances, remove evil doers from our environment, and reward the good (judicial vengeance, social justice). In fact, His ministry of forgiveness was aimed at producing a people of righteousness, but some evils and adjustments will require a sovereign God and a fair-but-pure Jesus as Judge.
53. At the end of the day, when we ask the question of ‘image of the father’ – was Christ really so different from the OT YHWH that somebody could believe Jesus’ Father could NOT HAVE BEEN the OT YHWH Jesus and His followers worshipped, honored, and tried to obey—the likeness of the Son to the Father (the express image) becomes more and more pronounced….
54. I realize that this is a lot of material, but I wanted to show how a close reading of the text—and the related texts—show that there is no contradiction here about “the Face of God”. Noting the visual words from the auditory words, noting the contrasts between direct and dreams, and observing the use of the word ‘form’ of something to mean something different than the thing itself should be enough to help one soften and modify any earlier understanding that might construct a ‘case against the God of Jesus’. [CONTRADICTION ABOUT FACE of YHWH]
55. We saw that the texts themselves showed us how the two parts of Ex 6 about God's names EL SHADDAI and YHWH both were historically true, how they fit together, and how they showed the good heart of YHWH. [CONTRADICTION ABOUT NAME of YHWH]
56. There are ZERO verses in God’s word that He will ALLOW you to ‘ignore’ – whether you ‘like’ your current understanding of those verses or not. He is the God of Truth and will FORCE YOU to face up to them as divine revelation (honored by the Son) and your conscience and other people will stand at the judgment to testify whether you TRIED to find the correct understanding or just followed the teachings of another and ASSUMED god was evil.
57. There are ZERO verses in God’s word that He will ALLOW you to presume His ‘guilt’ and then issue deceitful explanations/excuses for (along the lines of what ‘theologians’ are being accused of). If you don’t give Him a chance to ‘clear His name’—and just judge by appearances—you are silencing God’s word.
58. Oaths were like our court language (“I swear to tell the truth, the whole….”). They were legal constructs that carried a penalty (or even ‘curse’) with it.
59. Taking the Lord’s name in vain included to ‘swear falsely or deceptively)”:
60. Oaths were either the veracity of an account IN THE PAST, or the certitude of a promise concerning something IN THE FUTURE:
61. The curse part of an oath is the basic meaning of the biblical word ‘swear’ (‘ala). It is simply the agreement that one would accept the curse/consequences if they failed in promise or attestation.
62. Vows were promises about the future—either to persons or to God. They typically involved taking an ‘oath’ to fulfill the promise, but not all vows mentioned such a formal pronouncement. The vow of the Nazarite, for example, has ‘makes a special vow, the vow of a Nazirite’ which possibly included a public statement of intent, although the priest is not involved until the end (or in the event of a problem).
63. Vows are about ‘giving something up’ – abstinence.
64. And—since it is generally YHWH/God who is the generous giver (not us!) -- Vows were NOT compulsory at all!
65. Both oath and vows were regulated by the Law.
66. “Rash vows” sometimes had an ‘escape clause’, but normally vows had to be fulfilled. God expected truthfulness and integrity from His people, as He had demonstrated to them.
67. Oaths and swearing – since they involved invoking a deity for enforcement – were restricted by God to only Israel’s God YHWH. When oaths were required by the Law, they were commanded to ONLY use the name of YHWH in the invocation:
68. The passages in Deuteronomy occur right before Israel enters their first REAL TEST of fidelity to YHWH – in the commands to avoid all OTHER “gods”. So the context of Deut 6.13 shows this clearly. The command is about not swearing in OTHER GODS’ names – not about swearing itself:
69. This OT passage is just a call to monotheism. God is the core, and anything involving a god (like swearing) could only be done with YHWH. Again, it is no different than saying that when you have to swear to testify in court, you cannot say “I swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth—so help me Zeus”. You have to say ‘so help me God”. It is not telling you to go out making countless oaths, but just that the oaths are regulated.
70. There is a special case of swearing allegiance to God (or a king). This still involves an oath and is even going to be a (theologically legitimate) part of the eschatological future.
· Vows were never commanded,
· When a vow was made, it must be faithfully done
· When you were required to swear in civil or religious ceremony, it could only be done invoking YHWH as enforcer (and not another god)
· When you chose to create a legally-binding and theologically enforced covenant-level verbal commitment, it could only be done invoking YHWH as enforcer (not another god).
· Any swearing by YHWHs name must be absolutely truthful and performed (if a commitment).
· Any swearing could only be in YHWHs name, in opposition to the names of other gods.
72. With that background and looking at the passage now, the OT statement Jesus gives is this: You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord. The verses pointed to by the first half are about NOT swearing – avoiding deceit – and there is no ‘command’ to swear there at all. (There are other situations in judicial proceedings that require it, of course.). And the verses pointed to in the second half explicitly say that the Israelites were NOT COMMANDED to make oaths/vows to YHWH. So, it might be considered a false claim to say that “YHWH commanded oaths to be taken”, whether in His name or not.
73. So, whatever Jesus is referring to in this “but I say to you” statement, it cannot be considered a repudiation (or vilification) of the two statements about oaths/vows referred to in the opening slide.
74. So, what WAS His antithesis about? Taking into consideration all the historical data between Moses and Jesus, we see a strong parallel to His antithesis on divorce.
75. In our case, the abuses of swearing had also proliferated hugely, even from OT times.
76. Swearing falsely can only be done when you ‘swear’ and Jesus was cutting off much (but not all) of that abuse.
77. In the OT, we see YHWH’s displeasure at such deceit ‘in His name’.
78. So, these things were problems in the OT itself, and between the testaments this growing use of oaths and deceptive use of oaths was noted in the literature:
79. So, at the time of Jesus we have a parallel situation to that of divorce: abuse of what was a basic staple of covenant, court, legal, and diplomatic life: the oath, with an appeal to God for witness and enforcement.
80. [The same motif can be seen in YHWH’s frequent condemnation of ‘empty’ or ‘manipulative’ sacrifices in the OT. Sacrifices offered with pure hands and heart were accepted and honored; Israelites that offered sacrifices in malice or deception were ordered to NO LONGER bring them. No contradiction—just a conditional.]
81. And this heightening of the law’s intent was not in itself a new law, because we noted earlier that Jesus accepted the high priest’s order to swear under oath, that there are several legitimate oaths by believers in the NT, and that there will be oaths of allegiance in the Kingdom of the Son. And we should note that Jesus’ own use of “amen” -- (“truly, I say unto you”) even sounds more than a simple “YES” or “NO” – and looks like a ‘solemn’ marker. Why did he use that word in front of simple statements—instead of just the simple statements THEMSELVES? Why say “Truly, I say to you…” instead of “I say to you…”?
82. Jesus never actually said that those OT laws themselves were authored by the Evil one—only that anybody using such devices in His time would be creating LESS TRUTH (e.g. evil) than simply being honest.
83. In fact, the Greek construction there is not clear on whether the reference is to “general evil” or to “General Evil – i.e. Satan), so it is presumptuous to say that it is a CLEAR reference to SATAN, when the text itself is not so precise:
84. At the end of the day, the data indicates that Jesus was neither nullifying the use of oaths in required settings, nor was He somehow vilifying the YHWH of the OT in this passage. Like the divorce antithesis and the retaliation antithesis, He was calling people back to the core VALUES in the OT passages—truthfulness/transparency, fidelity/loyalty to one’s spouse, and pre-emptive goodness as a deterrent to social evil—instead of ‘instant revenge’. [OATHS.]