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Love can be simply defined as a pleasant feeling. It is a feeling of affection and warmth towards others. Love may be explained as an act of compassion, charity, and is usually perceived as a virtue. It has various kinds which are used to show desire or closeness. The ways of expressing love can be identified in family units which are familial love; platonic friends or friendship; romantic love that includes two people involved sexually; and religious love where one is devoted to his religion. Through love, humans are able to relate to one another. It enables continuity of human life because human beings have strength to live and survive through challenges with each other. Humans depend on their parental support for survival. Love may be defined as an act, where one is compassionate about something. It is applicable for people who are very close to each other; a feeling of closeness can be perceived as love. Love has always been in existence and it is inseparable part of human life. Love in the Old Testament was revealed through creation and continued to be manifested by God through the Scripture to the New Testament. Love has been portrayed in detail in both Old and New Testament.

God’s Love for Mankind

The Bible is a holy Christian book, which contains 66 different books of Old and New Testament compiled from old scriptures. It is a continuation of life before Christ in the Old Testament and his presence in the New Testament. Love in the Bible is mainly expressed as God’s love to His children (mankind) and love which should exist among His children. Most of the teachings in the New Testament revolve around love. 

God’s love for mankind has been depicted in various ways in the Old Testament. He is portrayed as a just God, full of mercy, compassion and rich in truth.  He is a loving father to the Israelites, and He never abandons them. Even though He reprimands them for their evil doings and wrong decisions, He forgives them when they come back to him in repentance. His relationship with the Israelites can be described as that of a father and son (Morris and Scheidel 62).

The Israelites are judged by God when their ways are wayward. The demolition of Sodom and Gomorrah and the universal flood is an example of God’s wrath for the ungodliness of the people in the Old Testament. Israel invaded Canaan in war and the Canaanites were wiped out. This was the judgment from God for all the evil behaviors the Canaanites had expressed towards the Israelites.  The judgment was to their religious ways, not to them as a people. Their religion was eroded as they worshipped idols. In doing so, God was preparing a proper religious way for the coming of the Messiah. A loving father would correct his children to rectify their mistakes by denying them the privileges or by destroying that which turns them against their parents in a bid to make them better people and follow better ways for their own good.

The promises of God in the Old Testament are the pure demonstration of love by God to his children. He promised Abraham that He would give him a child, and He kept His promise. He promised to deliver the Israelites to the Promised Land, which He did. God’s acts of love are shown through fulfilling His promises to His people. The coming of a Messiah is predicted in the Old Testament though people did not understand this; it is fulfilled in the New Testament.  

The Love in the New Testament

The New Testament also shows the love of a father to His children. In Hebrews, Chapter 12 verse 6 God is said to love because He disciplines those He loves and punishes those He accepts as His children, just like a father would do to his kids. The New Testament illustrates acts of love in many ways in the teachings of Christ. In His teachings He emphasized on how people should love one another by not judging each other; this was illustrated in one of his teachings that one should not see the speck in another’s eye while his eye contained a log. He called them hypocrites, who saw others’ mistakes and not their own (Mathew Chapter 7 verses 1 – 7). Christ also taught that everyone was equal in His eyes that there was no Greek, slave, male or female - all were equal in the eyes of God. 

Christ showed that by loving everyone, who obeyed the laws of God. The Ten Commandments were basically actions which the law prohibited and in obeying these laws, one would be showing love to his neighbor and his God. The laws of Moses in the Old Testament were broken down into two in the New Testament that is, thou’ shall love thy God with all they heart soul and might and thou’ shall love thy neighbor as thyself (Mark Chapter 12 verses 28 – 31).  John Chapter 14 verse 15 said that if one loved God, he would keep his commandments.

Forgiveness was taught in the New Testament as an act of love.  If one forgives his neighbor, who has wronged against him, then for sure God would also forgive him. However, if one does not forgive his neighbor, who has wronged against him, then God would also not forgive him.  (Mathew Chapter 6 verses 14 – 15). In His teachings Jesus emphasized on the need to love one’s neighbor as oneself. In a bid to test Jesus, an expert on Moses’ laws asked Jesus who the neighbor was that should be loved. He gave an example of the parable of the Good Samaritan where a Jew had been attacked by bandits. Jesus answered that the one, who felt pity on the Jew, is the neighbor, which meant that the neighbor is anybody (all mankind).

Humility as a Virtuous Act in the Old Testament

The Old Testament was mainly written around the laws of Moses whereas the New Testament was pacified by the coming of Christ Jesus, the Son of God. The greatest love of all is portrayed in the New Testament, where God gave His son Jesus Christ to come die for the sins of mankind. The comparison can be made to the Old Testament where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son to God and whom God stopped while he was at the verge of doing so. Acts of love for God in the Old Testament were portrayed by sacrifices, which was the main exhibition of the act of love from man to God (Wright 474).

The Old Testament concentrates on the laws of Moses, which the people thought of as the way to see the Kingdom of God, if they followed to the book. Whereas this was partly true, the New Testament in contrast emphasizes on good deeds. Acts of charity, kindness, patience, and honesty are tremendously important for the people; without these deeds the faith is not complete. The understanding of the people in the Old Testament was that God that was unreachable, God can only be seen in the mountains and one was not able to converse with God without a mediator. The New Testament on the other hand tells us that God is with us all the time. One can converse with God through prayer. Faith is paramount in the New Testament. The Old Testament teaches on following of the laws as the most important aspect of getting to heaven.

The prophets through God’s inspiration prophesied the coming of the Messiah. The people in the Old Testament understood the prophecy as the Messiah who was king-like. One who would be noticed by all people. However, the coming of the Messiah in the New Testament was unnoticed. Humility was portrayed by the Messiah, who was born in a manger, contrary to the great expectations of the people. The teachings in the New Testament put emphasis on humility as a virtuous act.

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God was understood as a God of wrath and anger in the Old Testament as compared to a God of compassion in the New Testament. The Bible is a continuation, which is unified in both the New and the Old Testament, where God is defined as a God of wrath and love in both Testaments.  A better understanding of God’s love is portrayed in the New Testament through the teachings and parables of Jesus Christ. Whereas in the Old Testament, it was said “an eye for an eye”, the New Testament teaches that if one cheek is slapped, then a person should turn the other cheek to be slapped too.  The laws of Moses are not emphasized in the New Testament to be followed to the last letter, like in the Old Testament. The summing up of the laws, according to the teachings in the New Testament are “do unto others as you would want them do unto you” (Wenham 137).

The Bible is one which has never changed. God also has never changed. In the Old Testament and the New Testament God is depicted as a God of love and compassion. His ways have not changed in the New Testament. Understanding of God has, however, been clarified by the teachings of Jesus Christ through the scriptures by the apostles. Through parables, the relationship between man and God has been explained in lay man’s language. God’s image to man in the Old Testament was that of a mighty being who could not be reached in any way. Thus, the prophets had to make sacrifices by offering lamb and sheep to appease God. In the New Testament, however, following the will of God by obeying his laws is enough to please God. These laws can be followed in two main ways - that is by loving God and fellow man (Tigay 470).

Conclusion

Love of God to mankind is similar to that of a father to a son. The Old Testament paved way for the New Testament, which is analyzed as a continuation of the Old Testament. Despite being years apart, it is imperative to note the similarities in the two Testaments. It is depicted as a story of love from the very beginning, when God created mankind in the Book of Genesis, to the end, when God gave His son to die for the sins of mankind. Through love, all other virtues are the enhanced acts of charity, kindness, justice, patience and others would not be achievable without the greatest commandment, which is love. 

Code: Sample20

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