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God Never Changes - Or Does He?

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Many people, including Christians, don't see truth in the scriptures of Malachai 3:6 where God said, "For I am the Lord; I change not...." It does appear that the personality and character of the Lord changed from being a severe and harsh old testament God, to being merciful and kind New Testament God. So, is it true that God never changes?

Those who broke God's law under the old covenant, were severely and swiftly punished. Depending on the infraction, they sometimes received capital punishment which included death by stoning, burning, the sword, or the spear. The scripture of Leviticus 20:27 reads, "a man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit (spirit guide), or that is a wizard (witch/warlock), shall surely be put to death. They shall stone them with stones...."

God's servants, the children of Israel are also seen going into battle against the enemies of the Lord, killing them by the masses, conquering them and sometimes taking their possessions. The scripture of 1 Samuel 15:3 records God's instructions to king Saul who was told, "now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not. But slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

Many people have attacked the character of God based on these scriptures. This article is not directed to them; therefore, it doesn't focus on answering their understandable accusations. This article was written specifically for believers who struggle to understand how God never changes considering his works in the old testament and those in the new.

So why was it okay for God's people to kill the enemies of the Lord under the old testament, but the followers of the same Lord Jesus are to be harmless as doves in the midst of wolves (Matthew 10:16)? In the old testament, why did God so severely and quickly punish those who disobeyed him, but the wicked today appear to be shown his mercy? Although there has been a change in the law (Hebrews 7:12), Malachai 3:6 still stands true that God never changes. The reason for the apparent change is explained throughout the Bible, but the serious seeker of understanding would do well to begin his study with two very important scriptures on this question.

One of these two scriptures explains that the servants of God under the old testament were the ministers of his condemnation. The Bible says in plain language that they had the ministration of death which is why they were sent to carry out his judgment on the rebellious nations. They killed and captured by God's commandment and thus, did his will. The Bible also refers to the old testament as the "letter", referencing the writing of God's epistles in physical stone tablets. The servants of God under the new testament are not the ministers of God's condemnation, but of his mercy and righteousness. This is why the apostles, disciples, and John the Baptist all spoke of a coming judgment on the wicked. They themselves never took up swords to kill the ungodly.

2 Corinthians 3:6-10 teaches, "who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter (the old), but of the spirit. For the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration (ministry) of death, written and engraved in stones, was glorious so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away. How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory."

King Saul, having been an old covenant servant of God, ended up being rejected by the Lord because of his refusal to carry out divine judgment. When he spared the life of Agag, the king of the Amalekites, whom he was to utterly destroy, his "mercy" was called rebellion by God. These facts are recorded in the fifteenth chapter of the old testament book of 1 Samuel.

Notice that whether speaking of the old or new testament, the fate of the wicked is to be condemned by God if they don't repent. The difference is that judgment is often delayed under the new covenant, but a delay is by no means an erasure. Although there's so much more to be taught on this subject, a foundation for understanding the difference in the ministries of God's old and new testament servants has been laid.

The Lord plainly reminds that his patience is not to be understood as a change in his character that took away his severity. Romans 11:22 warns, "behold therefore the goodness and the severity of God...." This new testament scripture is only one of many that remind that God never changes just as Malachai 3:6 says.

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