In the Old Testament of the Bible, the eternal God is described as fearful, fierce, wrathful, impatient, hating and detesting sinners, esp. the pagan Gentiles, wiping out entire communities. (The Bible is written by men inspired by God’s Spirit; keeping this in mind, it can also be said that the Bible is written by God. Yet He Himself describes His self as a tyrant according to a humanistic mind) But was God merciless in the OT? Did He decide to work on His attributes and turn Himself into a forgiving God? Is His grace extended only after the coming of the Messiah? Is this grace not eternal?
Let’s look at the attributes of God in the light of the NT: He has extended grace to all sinners, Jews and Gentiles. He is merciful, ever-ready to forgive those who repent of their sins and follow the Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. His Gospel of salvation has been made known to the world through His apostles, disciples and through His Church as a whole. Does this mean that the Lord’s wrath does not linger for those who reject Christ?
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.(Eph 5:6)
For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience (Col 3:6)
The Lord’s holy fury is on hold. The time has not fully arrived for this fury to be unleashed; this does not imply that God has turned into a mild, loving Santa! To even think such a thought is ridiculous. How can the One who is from everlasting to everlasting vary in His being? He is just as angry at the sinners of today as He was with the pagans and the disobedient of the ancient times.
Now concerning grace in the Old Testament. Did God destroy the idolaters as soon as they started worshiping idols? Did he destroy them on the day they bowed down to an image? Did He not make Himself known to Israel and other nations by the wonders He did to the nation of Israel? Was His fame not known to the Hittites, the Hivites, the Amalakites, the Canaanites, the Moabites etc? How then did Rahab fear Him and confess Him as God when the whole city had heard of the Lord yet did not acknowledge Him to be God?
For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. (Joshua 2:10,11)
And was she not delivered because of her faith when rest of Jericho was destroyed? Did not the Gibeonites deceive the Israelites solely because they God of Israel and were saved? (Joshua 9)
Egypt knew well of this God of Israel, yet they did not repent. God’s grace was extended to all people even in the OT when He made himself known, and those who acknowledged and feared Him, lived.
God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Peter, Paul and John is everlasting; His love, His judgment, His mercy, His wrath, His grace. By sending His Son as the sacrificial Lamb, He has revealed Himself and His grace, showing us the way to be rid of sin and be saved from the impending wrath that awaits those who laugh at the foolishness of the Gospel. Today, people have heard the Gospel yet they choose to rebel against God just like how the ancient nations heard of the God of Israel and yet they chose to harden their hearts. Grace of God is eternal because He is eternal; it was extended in the OT as is in the NT. People have always been warned of destruction prior to it happening.