You are here:

Bible Studies/old testament vs new testamnet God


Hello and thank you for taking my question:

    In the Old Testament, the Levitical sacrifices for sin only covered up sin, they didn't destroy it and kill it on the cross like Jesus did in the New Testament. Is that why God seems harsher in his response to sin in the Old testament as opposed to his response to sin after Christ's death?

         Thanks Pete

Greetings Pete,
One of the first times a sacrifice is mentioned in the Bible is Genesis 31:54.  Jacob offered a sacrifice to God after making an agreement with his father-in-law, Laban. In this particular account, which took place hundreds of years before the Levitical priesthood was created, there is no mention of any sin being associated with a sacrifice and it appears that it was done to commemorate the agreement between the two men.

As you are aware at the time of Moses, God again began working with His potential family.  Under Moses and Aaron, God brought the the descendants of Israel out of Egypt.  But at almost every turn these same descendants complained, spoke against God and sinned repeatedly even after experiencing the many miracles that God preformed.  Note: The same can be said of the thousands of individuals that witnessed the miracles that Christ preformed on earth before his death.  Even seeing with their own eyes the greatness of God and Christ the majority of the people in both time periods failed to live God's way of life and to have faith.

God made an agreement with ancient Israel based on the promise He made to Abraham.  They were to be God's nation, His people.  No command for sacrifice for sins. The Passover was to be kept to commemorate God's protection of the Israelites and freeing them from bondage in Egypt.
Just three days after leaving Egypt the Israelites were already without faith in God and complaining about the water. Exodus 15:22
His instructions were the following:
" Now therefore if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."  Exodus 15:26

God wanted a nation of people that would live His way of life, without sin, setting the example for the rest of the world to follow.  This nation of God's followers was supposed to do what Christ Himself ended up doing thousands of years later.  Still no sacrifices required by God.

When it became obvious that the Israelites were not going to have the faith necessary to live God's way of life,  and even though God was giving them all the food that they needed they were still not willing to follow God's instructions for collecting the food. Just an easy instruction from God for their own benefit.

God then gave the descendants of Jacob ten simple rules to follow.  The ten commandments found in  Exodus 20:1-17   And even though God was willing to actually speak directly to the Israelites they insisted that Moses, rather than God, should speak to them.  Rejecting God yet again.
It appears that by this time God is realizing that He is going to have to be much more specific with His instructions to His people. Imagine how frustrating it must have been.  What began as a simple agreement between God and the Israelites became much more complex, not because God was any more or less harsh then or now, but because people refused to have continued faith in Him and to live God's way of life.  God continued to add more rules and regulations in an effort to encourage the Israelites to set the right example for others by living God's way of life.  These rules and regulations included the instructions for sacrifices.  By requiring the Israelites to give up some of their wealth, grain or animals, God was using these sacrifices as a reminder to His people that there are consequences as a result of their sins.
Over hundreds of years God continued to forgive the ancient Israelites even though they continually rejected Him and refused to live His way of life.

God has not changed.  His approach and His method of dealing with His children may have changed but God has not changed.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever."  Hebrews 13:8
"Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God.  2Corinthians 1:21

God and Christ tried one approach with the ancient Israelites to encourage them to live God's way of life. They forgave the Israelites their sins over and over again but the Israelites kept rejecting God and continued to sin.  God and Christ didn't fail, but the Israelites did.

God helped Christ lived a sinless life as mortal man as an example to everyone that it is possible to live God's way of life.  Same plan as with the ancient Israelites just a different approach.  Rather than having a Levitical priest we now have Christ as our High Priest.  Christ so that we would again have direct access to God, something that the ancient Israelites rejected.
Christ died so that we would have the ability to go to directly God, repent and be forgiven of our past sins.  This selfless act gives us the opportunity to repent start over with our past sins forgiven.
What Christ's life and death doesn't do is give us the right to continue to sin.

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit. and have tasted the good work of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God; but it it bears thorns and briers, it is rejected and near to being cursed, whose end is to be burned."  Hebrews 6:6-8

God started the fledgling nation out with just a few rules and was patient with them.  As they continued to reject Him, He adding more specific instructions and restrictions because of their sins.  As a parent deals with a growing child, the more the child understands and matures the more the parent expects of that child.  And there comes a time when the child should be mature enough to understand and follow the rules.
When each individual now accepts responsibility for their sins and repents, God then, as with ancient Israel, forgives past sins.  God is patient with beginners but as they continue to mature, with God's Spirit, and understand then God expects more of that person.  We are promised that there is nothing that we can not do with God's help including living a sinless life as Christ did.
" I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Again, while the method in which God deals with people may have changed some between the old and new testament, His expectations are the same.  God, then and now wants individuals, family and nation of individuals that will live His way of life, setting the right example without sin, and to have faith in Him.  Then and now God is willing to forgive sin as long as we are willing to repent, grow and listen to Him.  
We are rapidly coming to a time when the harsh consequences of most of mankind's lack of willingness to listen and have faith in God will be dealt with by God and Christ.  It is extremely important to have faith and listen to God now while there is still time.  

Sincere apologies in the delay getting back to you and we hope this has helped to answer your question.
Thank you,
The Hornes  

Bible Studies

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Mel and Guyna Horne


Anyone can read the Bible but sometimes it helps to have someone assist with the understanding (Acts 8:26-40). Truth comes from God through his holy spirit of truth (Jn. 16:13, 1Cor. 2:12), which is available to anyone who believes, repents and seeks God fervently and wholeheartedly, with humility, faith and persistence (Mat. 7:7, Deu. 4:29, Isa. 66:2, Jas. 4:1-10, Phil. 2:12). Truth is not limited to, or by, manís religious organizations, church traditions, popular beliefs or personal opinions (Jn. 8:32, 14:6). We will try to help anyone who is trying to understand scripture or Christian living. [Please do not submit homework questions as they will be rejected.]


Over 50 years of personal study of the entire Bible (Deu. 8:3, Mat. 4:4, 2Tim. 3:16, Deu. 4:12, Rev. 22:18). B.A. in Theology with continuing studies in religious history and education (2Tim 2:15, 1Ths. 5:21). Years of informal counseling of young adults, teens, couples, and prisoners, based on scripture and on actual life experience in the world outside of classrooms and church buildings and including a long and happy marriage. After years of experience with organized religion, we are non-denominational. Publications:; on God's Holy Days, Lying, the Sacred Names Doctrine; articles on Terrorism and Islam, the Gospel of Christ, Preparing Yourself for Life in the Kingdom of Christ; What Happens After Death

Organizations are of men, not God. While God may use some of them to facilitate his plan, organizations train their people to follow, not to lead. God was able to create the whole Creation, as we see it, in only six days, because he did not use a committee. Ten years after 9/11, the only thing approved for construction at the New York site was a mosque.

"If a man would teach others, he must first teach himself." - Source Unknown. B.A. in Theology, over 50 years of personal study, the last sixteen of which have been full time study and research resulting in publication of several books and many articles.

©2017 All rights reserved.