Old Testament God vs New Testament God?

Is God real? Does God exist? Does God love me? How can I be saved? How can I go to Heaven?

Is the God of the Old Testament the same as the God of the New Testament?

At first glance, God in the Old Testament seems harsh, and perhaps callous. God in the New Testament seems loving, and gentle. With respect, this is a simple misunderstanding. It’s also not new…this has been a common misunderstanding since at least the turn of the first century AD.

It may seem like the God of the Old Testament is very different from the God of the New Testament, but He’s the same. His nature and character have not changed at all. How does God describe Himself? Look at Exodus 34:6-7

And [God] passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”

In the Old Testament, God describes Himself as a shepherd who cares for His sheep, a faithful husband who forgives His unfaithful wife, and so on. His “New Testament character” is clearly seen in these descriptions. Yes, He created some strict rules for His people. Yes, He has always held people accountable for their actions.

On the flip side, those who see Jesus as only gentle and meek are also missing half of the picture. We all know that Jesus used very harsh words when talking to the self-righteous. Take a look at the list of “woes” that Jesus pronounced and try to picture Him as only meek and mild! We also read in the Gospels that He proclaimed a coming judgment on Israel, which happened in 70AD. Jesus talked just as much about Hell as Heaven, if not more. In Acts, Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying. In Hebrews 10 we read that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, and that He is a consuming fire (12:29). When we get to Revelation, we see that Jesus isn’t soft. He carries a sword, and will judge and destroy those who oppose God.

God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness have been shown from the beginning, from Genesis to Malachi. His justice – with wrath, punishment, and destruction – are there to see from Matthew to Jude and Revelation. God has not changed. He handles different situations differently, which makes sense…but His character has always been the same. Naturally, we LIKE to think of God as more loving and kind and gentle…but what would happen if that were His only attributes? The wicked and unrepentant would go unpunished. That would make Him unjust, and unloving toward those who have been victimized. Were He only harsh and demanding, He would be unjust toward those who love Him and seek to serve Him well.

The antidote to this misunderstanding is easy: just read the Bible more thoroughly. It’s hard to read the first few chapters of Hosea and not see that God is forgiving, loving, compassionate, and patient. We tend to think of God as emotionless, but Song of Solomon tells us otherwise. Reading through the Psalms will show that God cares for us deeply. At the same time, reading ALL of the Gospels – not just passages like the Beatitudes – will help us understand that neither the Son nor the Father are playing games. Lives are at stake, and there will be a reckoning.

Did Jesus Claim to be God?

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

Many skeptics of Christianity believe that Jesus never claimed to be God. Some claim that nobody believed He was God until long, long after His death. Others argue that Jesus’ own words show that He believed Himself to be simply a man, or only the Son of God and not God Himself. Still others claim that Jesus’ divinity was created by the apostle Paul, and that his teaching and Jesus’ teaching are in conflict. From Jehovah’s Witnesses to Muslims to atheists, a whole bunch of people deny that Jesus is God.

Their confusion is understandable. It’s not a common situation…you know, God becoming human. When we look at Scripture, it’s undeniable that Jesus Himself, and His disciples, and the Jews around Him, understood that He was claiming to be God.

Jesus claimed to be God

Jesus repeatedly called Himself the Son of Man. This refers to a prophecy in Daniel 7, which Jesus quotes directly. The Son of Man is the one whom all will worship, whose reign will last forever, and so on. Remember: religious Jews are fiercely monotheistic…they would never worship anyone who is not God, yet they accept that the Son of Man should be worshipped.

In Revelation 1:17, John records Jesus saying, I am the first and the last. This is a direct quote from Isaiah 44:6, where God says I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.

When Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, He wasn’t claiming that He was a created being, or that He was less…He was claiming to be EQUAL with God. The Jewish leaders understood this very well, as we see in John 5:18For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

John 2:19, Jesus claimed to be able to raise Himself from the dead: Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.

In Luke 6:5, Jesus claimed to be Lord of the Sabbath. Of course, God Himself created the Sabbath.

In John 8:58, Jesus claimed to exist before Abraham, who died 1600 years before He was born: Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am! (see the next part for more on this)

The Jews believed Jesus claimed to be God

In that same passage, some Jews asked Jesus, “Who do you think you are?” Jesus used the phrase “I am.” He used this phrase to describe Himself numerous times. This is the same phrase God used to describe Himself in Exodus 13:14 when Moses was going to confront Pharaoh: I am. How did the Jews respond? They picked up stones to kill Him for saying it because they understood that Jesus was calling Himself God.

At Jesus’ trial, the Jewish leaders insisted, We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.

It was understood that only God could forgive sins, and then, in Luke 5:20, Jesus forgave sins: When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.

In John 10:30, Jesus was talking about God the Father, and then said, I and the Father are one. Sounds maybe like Jesus was saying they were like-minded, or on the same team or something. That’s not how the Jews heard it, of course…they knew exactly what Jesus meant: Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

The High Priest believed Jesus claimed to be God

In Matthew 26:63, Caiaphas said to Jesus, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered. Remember that the Jews believed the Son of Man was divine.

Jesus’ disciples believed Jesus is God

John 1:1 says that Jesus was God.

In John 20:28, Thomas called Jesus God.

In Hebrews 1:8 we read that God called the Son God.

In Acts 20:28, Luke records Paul’s words that God bought the church with His own blood…clearly meaning Jesus.

In 2 Peter 1:1, Peter called Jesus our God and Savior.

In Titus 2:13, Paul calls Jesus our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Do we believe Paul, or Jesus?

This is a seemingly valid question, but one that betrays ignorance of the events outlined in the Bible. After fourteen years of ministry, Paul went to Jerusalem to meet privately with Peter, James, and the other Christian leaders there. He presented to them the gospel that he preached to the Gentiles…to make sure he was on track. They added nothing to his message. Why would the disciples accept what Paul taught as true if he falsely claimed that Jesus is God? No…Paul agreed with Jesus and His disciples, which is why there was never any conflict over him saying that Jesus is God.

I could go on, of course. Without question, Jesus claimed to be God. Without question, those around Him understood exactly what He meant…some followed Him because they believed Him, and others wanted to kill Him – and ultimately succeeded – because they didn’t believe Him.

The most important question at the moment is whether YOU believe Him. Having the facts is important, but not enough by itself…to have peace with God, we must trust Him enough to submit to Him as well.

Jesus in Every Language

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

While Christianity began in first-century Israel, it quickly spread around the known world. Today, there are approximately 2,180,000,000 Christians living in every country in the world. Around 6,500 languages are spoken in the world today.

One of the most popular articles on GodWords is What Does Jesus Mean?. The article gets a lot of comments requesting the meaning of Bible names, so I thought it was time to begin a list of Jesus’ name in different languages. This list will probably never be complete, but people have been asking for it anyway.

If you speak in languages other than English and have an addition or correction, please send me a message using the form at the bottom of this page.

Click on column headers to sort

Jesus in every language
Language Jesus’ Name
Afrikaans Jesus
Albanian Jezu
Amharic የሱስ
Arabic يسوع
Armenian Հիսուսը
Azerbaijani İsa
Basque Jesus
Belarusian Ісус
Bengali যীশু
Bosnian Isuse
Bulgarian Исус
Catalan Jesus
Cebuano Jesus
Cherokee Tsisa
Chichewa Yesu
Chinese (Simplified) 耶稣
Chinese (Traditional) 耶穌
Corsican Ghjesù
Croatian Isus
Czech Ježíš
Danish Jesus
Dutch Jezus
English Jesus
Esperanto Jesuo
Estonian Jeesus
Filipino Jesus or Hesus
Finnish Jeesus
French Jesus
Frisian Jezus
Galician Xesús
Georgian იესო
German Jesus
Greek Ιησούς
Gujarati ઇસુ
Haitian Creole Jezi
Hausa Yesu
Hawaiian Iesu
Hebrew ישוע
Hindi यीशु
Hmong Yexus
Hungarian Jezus
Icelandic Jesus
Igbo Jesus
Indonesian Yesus
Irish Íosa
Italian Gesù
Japanese イエス
Javanese Gusti Yesus
Kannada ಜೀಸಸ್
Kazakh Иса
Khmer ព្រះយេស៊ូវ
Korean 예수
Kurdish (Kurmanji) Îsa
Kyrgyz Ыйса
Lao ພຣະເຢຊູ
Latin Iesus
Latvian Jezus
Lithuanian Jezus
Luxembourgish Jesus
Macedonian Исус
Malagasy Jesosy
Malay Yesus
Malayalam യേശു
Maltese Ġes
Maori Ihu
Marathi येशू
Mongolian Ecyc
Myanmar y shayu s nyya
Nepali येशू
Norwegian Jesus
Pashto عیسي
Persian عیسی
Polish Jezus
Portuguese Jesus
Punjabi ਯਿਸੂ
Romanian Iisus
Russian Иисус
Samoan Iesu
Scots Gaelic Íosa
Serbian Исусе
Sesotho Jesu
Shona Jesu
Sindhi عيسي
Sinhala යේසුස් වහන්සේ
Slovak Ježíš
Slovenian Jezus
Somali Ciise
Spanish Jesus
Sundanese Yesus
Swahili Jesu
Swedish Jesus
Tajik Исо
Tamil இயேசு கிறிஸ்து (Yesu Christu)
Telugu యేసు
Thai พระเยซู
Turkish Îsa
Ukrainian Ісусе
Urdu یسوع
Uzbek Iso
Vietnamese Chúa Giêsu
Welsh Iesu
Xhosa UYesu
Yoruba Jesu
Zulu UJesu

Suggest an Addition

Jesus in Every Language

Did Jesus Really Exist? Bart Ehrman Explains.

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

Some people doubt that Jesus actually existed. They claim that some first-century men made up a story, and that a bunch of people were fooled into believing it. I’ve heard from a lot of skeptics of Christianity, and there’s a fair number who claim that Jesus never actually existed. There are many reasons why this is silly, but we tend to believe what we want to believe.

Bart Ehrman is a well-known New Testament scholar. He’s also an agnostic atheist…that is, he acknowledges he doesn’t know whether God exists, but he doubts that God exists. His books have been popular, as his doubts encourage other doubters. His arguments are regularly parroted by those who wish to discredit Christianity, which is why I’m posting this video. If you agree with Ehrman’s conclusions about Christianity, you should also agree with his conclusions about whether Jesus really was an actual person.

There is no scholar in any college or university in the western world who teaches Classics, Ancient History, New Testament, Early Christianity…any related field who doubts that Jesus existed.

Bart Ehrman

Did Jesus Ever Get Sick?

Did Jesus do miracles? Are miracles real? How did Jesus heal people?

Did Jesus ever get sick?

An Anonymous Reader

The Bible doesn’t record Jesus being sick, and it doesn’t say that He never got sick…so we don’t really know.

Some presume that He never got sick because He is God, but they forget or ignore that He is also fully human. He grew in wisdom and stature, got hungry, got tired, got frustrated, felt pain…so there’s no reason to assume that He never got sick. Hebrews 2:17 says that “He had to be made like His brothers in every way”.

Some have suggested that Jesus simply healed Himself whenever He started getting sick. That doesn’t seem to be a good answer, because Jesus says over and over in John that He did nothing on His own…it was His Father who was doing His work through Jesus. The Father could have kept Jesus from getting sick, but we have no evidence that He did or did not.

So: the answer to your question is “I don’t know”…but – from what I can tell – it’s also “Probably”.

Was Dan Brown Right? Was Jesus Married?

Who is Jesus? Was Jesus a real person? Why did Jesus die? Is Jesus God?

A GodWords reader asked a series of questions:

The DaVinci Code talks about The Last Supper as a symbolic depiction of what is most likely truth. It never claims to be the exact image of the people that were there. You mention that some of the the things depicted in the painting are nontraditional for the day. Well, Jesus would have been married because it was expected of traditional Jewish men to be married and homosexuality was cause for stoning, which would have been the assumption made.

Ellie

While Dan Brown suggests that it’s a symbolic depiction, I think it’s important to ask “how does Dan Brown know that?”. The answer is simple: he doesn’t. There’s no historical evidence that indicates that The Last Supper is what he says it is. I think he’s making it up…he made up a lot of stuff that’s in his book. The “inaccuracies” in Dan Brown’s book are too numerous to mention in a single post. Let’s just say that there’s plenty of evidence that he was counting on his audience being ignorant. Here are a few short examples:

  1. It’s NOT a matter of historical record that Jesus married Mary Magdalene. Not even Gnostic gospels make that claim.
  2. The Dead Sea Scrolls say nothing about Jesus. They’re pre-Christian, and decidedly Jewish.
  3. Langdon (the main character) mentions “scholars of Aramaic” with reference to the Gospel of Philip…but the opinions of “scholars of Aramaic” are worthless when it comes to the Gospel of Philip. It’s not Aramaic, it’s Coptic.
  4. Brown’s depiction of Gnostics is exactly backwards. He says that they considered Him simply a man…but Gnosticism is based on the idea that the physical world is entirely evil. No Gnostic would have considered Jesus good or worthy if He were simply a man…they would only have revered Him as a purely spiritual being.
  5. The Priory of Sion isn’t an ancient order…it was founded in 1956 by a convicted fraud named Pierre Plantard who made it all up. He forged documents and pretended that it was really a legitimate ancient and secret society. It’s a matter of public record that it was simply a small group of friends…something that Brown probably doesn’t want his readers to know.
  6. Brown writes of the Knights Templar being burned at the Vatican in Rome…but the Popes weren’t even IN Rome at that time. The Vatican didn’t exist! They were in Avignon, France until 70 years after the fact. A small bit of homework will show that Brown is simply wrong on a great deal of what he claims are facts.

I’d like to even give Brown credit for being imaginative…but I can’t. I read Holy Blood, Holy Grail in 1986 or so, and it would be kind to only say that Brown plagiarizes heavily from it. That book was interesting fiction too, despite its claims. Let’s be honest here: Dan Brown is making a mint off people who don’t know any better. There’s nothing wrong with writing fiction…but when you present that fiction as spiritual fact you paint a large target on yourself. I think it’s a shame that this book has gotten so much attention, as it’s chock full of garbage. I get a steady stream of emails from people who wonder whether it’s all true. They do what Dan Brown intends: they question the legitimacy of their faith based on lies, distortions, and inaccuracies.

I find the logic in your statements about marriage intriguing. You seem to be suggesting that Jesus “would have been married” because that was common. To be sure, marriage was indeed common…but you’re not suggesting that every Jewish male at that time was married, are you? Paul was single, and he was an exemplary Jew. John was likely single, as were other disciples. John the Baptist was single, and he was respected by the Jews of his day…no one accused him of being homosexual, did they?

I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve gotten from those whose faith is shaken because they don’t know that Brown’s book IS fiction. If he were here, I’d demand an explanation from him. I wouldn’t hesitate to lay at his feet the blame for a lot of his readers suffering from sleepless nights and days spent worrying whether they’ve been duped into faith. I’m sorry to say it, Ellie…but you appear to have uncritically bought into Dan Brown’s game. I hope you’ll take the time to do a little more research. There are plenty of unbiased sources of information out there to turn to…plenty of atheists have debunked the book, so you don’t have to rely on those who may have a religious bias. Facts are generally pretty easy to spot, and lies are even easier.

Does Mark 7 prove that Jesus was a racist?

Is the Bible true? Are Bible translations bad? What language is the Bible?

Not at all. Let’s look at the passage in question.

But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. And He was saying to her, “Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered and said to Him, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children’s crumbs.” And He said to her, “Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter.”

Jewish men of that time, by and large, did not speak to Gentiles (non-Jews). They especially did not speak to women. In fact, it’s said that they went so far out of their way to avoid contact with women and Gentiles that they would cross the street to avoid passing next to them.

Prior to this passage, Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 Jews in Jewish territory in chapter 6. Next, the beginning of chapter 7 shows Jesus giving the longest discourse in the NT on the interpretation of Jewish dietary laws. Jesus taught that all foods are clean…that what’s in your heart is more important than what’s in your stomach. Jesus proceeded to travel into Gentile territory and ate at a presumably Gentile home. On His way out, He had a conversation with a Gentile woman…evidence that He was NOT acting in concert with the racist and sexist views of many of His people.

The woman asked Him to heal her daughter. At first Jesus did not reply…we know this from the parallel passage in Matthew. She persisted, and Jesus spoke to her in a way that seems rude: He said that it’s not good to give the children’s food to dogs. Looking carefully tells us more, though: while the Jews used the word KUON for “dog”, Jesus didn’t use that word…He said KUNARION which means “small dog”, or more literally “puppy”. The woman surely saw the difference between Jesus’ response and the traditional Jewish response, and acted in concert, saying “even dogs get the children’s crumbs”. Jesus’ actions were consistent with the context: He demonstrated that the Jewish traditions regarding unclean foods and unclean people should be put aside. He spoke with a Gentile woman, healed her daughter, and proceeded (in the next chapter) to feed 4,000 Gentiles in Gentile territory.

The context of this story shows that Jesus’ words were not racist, but were instead a clear denouncement of racism, and of sexism as well.