My first reaction to that question is to say, "He wasn't," or "He is." He wasn't as harsh as you think, and he is more harsh than you think. But that may not be the most helpful thing to say...
...with Jesus has come into the world salvation. "I did not come to judge the world but to save the world" (John 3:17). So the window that we have of Jesus in the world is a day of salvation, a day of offering forgiveness, a day of dying for sinners, and a day of holding out his hands and beckoning.
And all that in the Old Testament was preparation to show how wrathful and how just and how true and how glorious God is, and how terrible sin is. And now you're getting Jesus, who is mercy incarnate, grace incarnate, forgiveness incarnate, open-heartedness incarnate, saying, "This is what is available for you."
So I think there is an intention that the Old Testament look bleak, sin look horrible, God look just, and that there be much less mercy, proportionate to what you see in the three years of the ministry of Jesus. And that's intentional. This is what God's heart is to the world right now. Come!
Friday, April 3, 2009
John Piper answering the question, "Why was God so harsh on people in the Old Testament and more forgiving in the New Testament?":