Stan Adermann posted a comment on Stone the Rebellious Child, on 7 March, 2014. It consisted of two parts:
1. ’Even though the laws don’t apply now, there was a point in time where God declared that the proper thing to do was to murder your children in a horrific way, according to the Bible. If Yahweh of the O.T. is the same as the Father of Jesus in the N.T., why can he not be held accountable for those who died on his command?’
Did God change His tune from Yahweh in the Old Testament, to the Father of Jesus in the New Testament? In the Old Testament the Israelites agreed to enter into a covenant with God, The people all responded together, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said.’1 The laws of God determined many aspects of Israelite society, like Hebrew servants, personal injuries, protection of property, social responsibility, and many more.2
The question is, is God responsible for the people who were killed because they broke the covenant? For example, the Sabbath breaker.3 The Bible doesn’t record a specific rebellious son who was stoned. The person who was stoned knew the law and agreed to it.
What the question amounts to is: If a government changed the law of capital punishment to life imprisonment, are they responsible for the deaths of the murderers who were affected by the former law? Surely the citizens knew about the law. Was the death sentence not enacted to keep law and order in the country?
2. Stan’s other issue: ‘Also, a common Christian claim is that morals are unchanging because they come from God. But one can argue that this is an example of God changing his mind. What was moral for one group at one time, is not moral now, and on this basis morals do change.’
God demonstrated in the O.T. that nations and individuals cannot obey laws and live holy lives as He wants them to. This issued in the promise of a new covenant, a new way of dealing with disobedience through Jesus the Messiah.4
While it superficially appears as if God changed His tune, He did not. The most important law in the Old Testament was, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength.5 In the New Testament Jesus agreed that it was still the most important law.6
There are people who think when you accept Jesus, your sins are forgiven, so you can live as you like, because your place in heaven is booked. That is totally, completely wrong. Jesus made the application of the law more stringent in the new covenant. For example, in the Old Testament adultery in Israel was forbidden. In the New Testament Jesus said if you look lustfully at a woman, you have already committed adultery with her in your heart.7 Jesus recommended drastic measures to help you keep the law. Although judgement was not as immediate as in the covenant with Israel, judgment was still very much part of Jesus’ message.8
God never changes His tune. The morals remain the same, love God and your neighbour.
- Exodus 19:8
- Exodus 21-23
- Numbers 15:32-36
- Jeremiah 31:31
- Deuteronomy 6:4,5
- Matthew 22:37
- Matthew 5:27-30
- Matthew 5:29-30; 7:21-23; 13:41