Join me as we explore how GOD's Life Instructions apply to us today.
The Hebrew vs. the Apostolic Scriptures
Then Adonai caused sulfur and fire to rain down upon S’dom and ‘Amora from Adonai out of the sky. (Genesis 19:24)
Many readers of the Bible complain about the many incidences of God’s wrath, appearing in the Hebrew Scriptures (A.K.A. The Old Testament). Some of these even claim the God of the Hebrew Scriptures is not the same God as in the Apostolic Scriptures (A.K.A. The New Testament). Is this a reality? To address this question, we’ll journey first to the Hebrew Scriptures.
In Psalm 119:89-90, we read – “Your Word continues forever, Adonai, firmly fixed in Heaven; your faithfulness through all generations; you established the earth, and it stands.” King David’s words have the ring of Truth to them, as he claims Yahveh’s Word is firmly fixed in Heaven. Fixed in Heaven means His Word transcends man’s time. Further, realizing He has used the singular ‘Word’, we are told the fullness of whatever Yahveh has and will use is secured in Heaven. Thus, all the Words of the Hebrew and Apostolic Scriptures, uttered or inspired by Yahveh, are considered to be one.
Given this is the case, why is Yahveh’s wrath more apparent in the Hebrew than in the Apostolic Scriptures? One of the many reasons the Hebrew Scriptures are somewhat different from the Apostolic Scriptures is the focus of each. The Hebrew Scriptures are focused on the foundations of building a nation of God’s people, whereas the Apostolic Scriptures are about one individual, God Himself, in the form of Adonai Yeshua, the Lord Jesus. As such, there is much more history and the development of fundamental principles within the 929 chapters (23,214 verses) of the Hebrew Scriptures. These lay out Yahveh’s ordinances and teachings, as laid out throughout Genesis to Deuteronomy, and the consequences of not following these, as we read throughout the Prophets and Writings. Thus, as might be expected, Yahveh’s wrath will be more prominent, when focusing on the consequences of disobedience.
The Apostolic Scriptures are to be found within 260 chapters (7,959 verses) and focus on how Yahveh’s ordinances are to be lived out. We are given a taste of this in Matthew 5, verses 17-20, wherein we read: “Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah — not until everything that must happen has happened. So, whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P’rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Within these verses, Adonai Yeshua assures us Yahveh’s ordinances and teachings will last until the end of our current world and the creation of the new Heaven and earth. This clearly put to rest the false notion His death and resurrection cancelled Torah, or what has become to be known as His law.
Given the Hebrew Scriptures set the foundation for an understanding of the importance of following/obeying Yahveh’s word, does it not make sense that the examples of consequences will be seen to be harsh? However, sprinkled throughout these many pages, we find examples of Yahveh’s grace; for example, Avraham received Yahveh’s grace, for obeying His Word, as did Isaac and Jacob, David (even after murdering Bat Sheba’s husband, Uriah), his son Solomon, the Judges of Israel, Isaiah and all the other prophets.
The Apostolic Scriptures, being focused on One Man, are designed to show how Yahveh’s ordinances are to be followed. Thus, there much more evidence of grace and mercy being extended, than in the Hebrew Scriptures. It just makes sense.
Another clear difference between the Hebrew and Apostolic Scriptures, lies in the people with whom Yahveh deals. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the focus is on the Hebrew nation, His people, and their transition from slaves to a free people, who ultimately turned away from Him to serve other gods. The Apostolic Scriptures are focused on His children, believers, and how they received His grace, not through observing the law, but through receiving and accepting His grace, through receiving Adonai Yeshua as their Messiah, and then following the law, through love. It just makes sense.
May the God of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you richly.