Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 4: "God the Father" is not in the Old Testament

Kovacs set out in chapter 4 of Shocked by the Bible to show that God the Father was not the God of the Old Testament, but that is was in fact Jesus Christ. He wrote on page 30, “The first chapter of John is the key to understanding the entire Bible. And what it points to is that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament. Write that down somewhere and memorize it.” On that same page he also wrote, “He, along with God the Father, was in existence forever, not as a human being, but as a member of the Family of God….If you search the Bible, the phrases “God the Father” and “God our Father” do not appear anywhere in the Old Testament!” The short response to these two points is that he is absolutely correct. However, there is some clarification needed.

(1) I would disagree with Kovacs that John 1:1 is the key to understanding the entire Bible. I think that is a little too strong of a claim. The Scriptures do not anywhere place such weight upon any single verse or portion as being the “key.” (2) Yes, Jesus Christ is the God of the OT, but not simply because he is a member of the Family of God—more importantly, it is because he is a member of the Trinity. Everyone who has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior is a member of the Family of God (1 John 3:1, 1 Peter 4:17), but that does not make us a member of the Trinity, the holy Godhead. (3) Finally, Kovacs is spot on that the exact phrases “God the Father” and “God our Father” cannot be found anywhere in the OT. However, the concept of God being the father of the Israelites is clearly demonstrated in several passages and throughout the prophets as God calls the Israelite to return to him and be “his children.” If they are children of God, should that not require God to be their father?

There are many passages in the prophetic books where God refers to the Israelites as his “children.” Isaiah 1:2, 4; 30:1, 9; Jeremiah 3:4, 14, 19, 22; 4:22; Ezekiel 16:21; and the list could go on. In fact, in Jeremiah 3:4 God chastised the Israelites for calling him “Father” without obeying what he commanded them—“Have you not just called to me:
‘My Father, my friend from my youth (NIV).” And in Jeremiah 3:14 God called the Israelites “backsliding children (KJV).” The prophets clearly understood that there was God the Father. Malachi 2:10 contains a clear expression of God the Father in different terms. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? (KJV).” The rhetorical answers to these questions is that they only have one God who is there father and it is the God who created them.

Kovacs emphasizes the point (particularly on pages 32, 38) that “no one has seen God the Father at any time. Jesus Himself said so: ‘Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape’ (John 5:37).” He then makes the statement on page 36, “Part of Jesus’ mission when he lived as a human was to declare, or reveal for the first time, God the Father.” The problem with this statement is that Jesus didn’t all of a sudden reveal God the Father, this was clearly evident to the Jews before Jesus’ appearance (as just seen from the OT references). The New Testament even shows that the Jews knew “God the Father;” in fact, many of Jesus’ debates with the Pharisees and Sadducees were because Jesus was claiming to be equal with God the Father. The Pharisees and Sadducees also made the strong and declarative statement, “We are not illegitimate children,” they protested. “The only Father we have is God himself. (John 8:41, NIV).” Now it doesn’t make sense if God the Father was never revealed before Jesus, that his strongest critiques would claim that the only “father” they have is “God.”

Jesus did not reveal for the first time whom God the Father was, he brought the picture into focus. The Jews had an understanding of who God the Father was, but it was not clear until Jesus came followed by the Holy Spirit that the entire picture of God was complete. Jesus is the God of the Old Testament because is a member of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is also the God of the Old Testament for the same reason. All three members of the Godhead (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), were the God of the Old Testament.

I could write so much more about this chapter of Kovacs’ book like how he refers to “baby Jesus” several times in the first few pages of this chapter or how he incorrectly and categorically claims God the Father had no involvement in any actions in the Old Testament (creation, destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) but that it was Jesus who did all of these things when the Bible clearly states that most of the events he lists are performed by “the angel of the LORD.” I know that issue may be semantics, but since Kovacs is taking up the issue of semantics (i.e. God the Father not found in the OT) it irks me when he changes what the Bible literally says. I am aware that the angel of the LORD was probably the pre-incarnate Jesus, but the Bible says “the angel of the LORD” and not “Jesus.” So if Kovacs is going to argue from semantics, he shouldn’t be making that same mistake all throughout his chapter. Sorry about the rant, but had to get that off my chest. :)
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