He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8
"Dear Dr. Sala," writes a friend of Guidelines, “I have a question. How come the God of the Old Testament, who allows killing of men, women and children, is so different from the God of the New Testament who says love your enemies? Did God change His mind, or are we talking about two different Gods? There is a big movement…that is saying that they are two different Gods. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts."
This young man is not alone in at first thinking that the contrasts between the Old and New Testaments are rather vivid, but when you go beyond the surface and really study the Book, you learn that there are not two gods--a God of wrath and anger which is seen in what we call the Old Testament and a God of love and kindness which is seen in the New Testament.
The bottom line, simply put, is that there is but one God who has revealed Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ. Furthermore, God's revelation of Himself to us isn't really different in the two testaments.
In going beneath the misconceptions that we have of the Old and New Testaments, you will find God's great love and compassion in the Old Testament along with His judgment and anger over wrongdoing in the New. Passages such as Lamentation 3:22-24, where Jeremiah talks about God's faithfulness and unfailing love, mirror those such as John 3:16, where it is said that God so loved the world that He gave His only son. And--are you ready for this? You find God's wrath--righteous anger and judgment--meted out in the New which sounds just like some Old Testament passages. Read what Jesus said about the Pharisees where he called them snakes and vipers, and likened them to the whitewashed tombs of dead men (See Matthew 16 and 23).
In strong language Christ also castigated the cities who rejected Him. He said, "Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes." (Luke 10:13).
And don't forget that the book of Revelation (the last book in the New Testament), depicting the wrath of God poured out on a world which has rejected His Son, is more violent than about anything you will find in the 39 books called the Old Testament. So, to think that there is a loving God in the New and an angry God in the Old is completely off the mark.
A closing thought. Many of the beautiful themes found in the New Testament are first recorded in the Old. Say for example, Jesus' instruction about loving your neighbor as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 (given by Moses on Mt. Sinai) instructs, "Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
It's true that in the Old Testament God disciplined His own people because He wanted them to be holy and separate from the moral pollution of their day. He expected more of them than the pagans who were immoral, perverse, and wicked. And the truth is that God still expects more of His children, and that includes us who name the name of Christ today.
You can be sure, there is but one God and He doesn't have two heads. He metes out love and compassion along with justice and judgment, and because He is God, the measure, extent, and timing of what He does are His, not ours, to decide. Ours is to obey and to walk according to His commandments. It is actually pretty simple, especially when we let God be God and we concentrate on what our duty and responsibility are.
Resource reading: Micah 6:1-8