One of the blessings and curses of the internet is the ability it provides us to read many sermons by both contemporary pastors and those of the past.
It’s a blessing because there is great wisdom and insight to be discovered.
It’s also a curse because of the immense amount of error to be found – especially in teachings found in today’s sermons.
Sometimes I find teachers making dogmatic statements that are wholly untrue. Usually, they are written or spoken to make the erroneous point that something shockingly new, unprecedented and unpredicted is in the New Testament – something that represented a complete break with the Old Testament.
Here is one of those statements made by a pastor who shall remain nameless. (I’m not trying to embarrass any individual, but rather making a point.)
“All throughout the Old Testament there is not one example anywhere of an Israelite addressing God as ‘My Father.’ There were many names for God used, but not ‘Father.'”
Momentarily, I was taken aback. I knew I could think of three or four examples of references to God as Father in the Hebrew Scriptures. But I decided to do a quick survey. I may have missed some, but was able, using the modern tools of Bible study, to find them. I found out the pastor was right. There “is not one example.” There are at least 20 references to God as our Father in the Tanach. And that doesn’t include at least another half-dozen references to Israel as His children.
Here’s my list, which I do not suggest is entirely complete: Deuteronomy 32:6, 2 Samuel 7:14, 1 Chronicles 17:13, 1 Chronicles 22:10, 1 Chronicles 28:6, 1 Chronicles 29:10, Psalm 68:5, Psalm 89:26-27, Psalm 103:13, Proverbs 3:12, Proverbs 30:4, Isaiah 9:6, Isaiah 22:21, Isaiah 63:16, Isaiah 64:8, Jeremiah 3:4, Jeremiah 3:19, Jeremiah 31:9, Malachi 1:6 and Malachi 2:10.
Some of these references are so famous, you have no doubt heard them in sermons, such as Isaiah 64:8: “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.”
What is the point I am making? That there is a supernaturally miraculous continuity to all Scripture – Hebrew and Greek alike.
This came home to me during the research for my book “The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament.”
Too many Christians have fallen into the error of believing, to one degree or another, the old Marcion-style lie that the God of the Old Testament is not the same as the God of the New Testament. In fact, what I found combing through all 39 books of the Hebrew Scriptures was that Solomon was right – there really is nothing new under the sun. The very same redemptive messages Jesus preached were there and omnipresent in every book of the only Bible that existed when He walked the Earth in the first century proclaiming the Good News. He wasn’t proclaiming it for the first time. Instead, He was heralding to the people of Israel that with which they should have already been familiar – and many were.
After all, He was coming to Israel as its long-awaited Messiah. How would He be recognized if He preached a different Gospel than had been preached before? As I wrote in my previous book, “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians and the End of the Age,” Jesus did not come to start a “new religion” called Christianity. He came first for His people Israel and then for the gentiles – the nations – preaching restoration of the whole world, the way God intended it to be before the fall of man.
If you want to discover, or rediscover, God’s unchanging character – the graciousness and longsuffering nature He reveals in both the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures – I invite you to join me in this unique Bible study that will get you reengaged in the Bible, appreciating its entirety and observing its miraculous nature, continuity and integrity.
“The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by Joseph Farah is available in both hardcover and e-book versions.
ALSO: Get Joseph Farah’s book “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age,” and learn about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and your future in God’s Kingdom. Also available as an e-book.
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.