Atheists love to confront Christians with the ‘horrible’ God of the Bible who killed babies, allowed rape, and stoned rebellious teenagers and homosexuals. Often they distort the Bible to succeed in their derision. They use the Old Testament history to prove their point.
Besides the clever distortion of facts, it is convenient to forget that God’s laws were designed to promote peace and prosperity in a nation. A nation that follows His rules, will be very orderly without theft, murder, immorality, et cetera. The laws were the physical ‘outworking’ of the holiness of God.
The Law or first covenant was made with the Israelites of old: ‘These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the Lord established on Mount Sinai between Himself and the Israelites through Moses.’ 1 That was around 1,400-1,300 BC. The Israelites that God made that covenant with (those people who approached the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob with sacrifices at the Tabernacle and Temple) no longer exist. The Temple in Jerusalem was raised to the ground by Titus in 70 AD. They could never rebuild it and the Islamic Dome of the Rock occupies the spot. Animal sacrifices ceased with the destruction of the Temple. The Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant.
Why are the details of the Old Covenant in the Bible?
# 1. It proves that no one can keep the law. The Old Testament proves that God’s special nation, the Jews, could not obey His laws. It proved that nobody can keep God’s commandments by his or her own decision or will power.
# 2. Grace and love are the solution. God wanted to show us that grace and love are much more powerful than law. If a nation moves into fraud, robbery, murder and immorality, it is no use trying to change their behaviour with laws. A heart change is the only permanent solution. That is where Jesus, the Son of God comes in. He changes hearts and makes it possible for people to live lives that please the Lord.
# 3. Jesus made a relationship with God possible. Without Jesus there can be no eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness. Only He makes it possible for us to obey God and live in a relationship with Him. Jesus is the one essential ‘ingredient’ to make God’s future Kingdom of peace possible. Without Him, there is no hope for us to ever live with God on the new earth.
# 4. No one can please God without Jesus. The Old Testament with its narratives of basically failure to please God is very important. Nobody will appear before the Judgement throne and be able to claim that he or she could please God without Jesus. It is impossible, as the Old Testament so decisively proves.
Jesus is the only solution to live a life pleasing to the Lord. Conveniently atheists don’t mention Jesus and the New Covenant in their eagerness to promote the ‘Terrible Tyrant’ idea. They also forget that there is nobody alive to whom the Old Covenant applies. Lastly, why do they so often refer to the Old Testament without mentioning the role of Jesus in what is lacking in the Old Covenant?
1. Leviticus 26:46