God shows Himself as many roles in the Old Testament and the specific role of Father is one of them.Questions to Christians, excluding dear HughBe, a cognizant Christian
The word 'father' appears 660 times in the Old Testament.
How many times does the word Father appear in the Old Testament?
How many times does the word 'Father' appear in each gospel? Please name the gospels also.
This theme is sporadic in regards to specific references to God as Father in the Old Testament.
There [in the old Testament] God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel (Deut. 32:6; Isa. 63:16; [twice] 64:8; Jer. 3:4, 19; 31:9; Mal. 1:6; 2:10) or the Father of certain individuals (2 Sam. 7:14; 1 Chron. 17:13; 22:10; 28:6; Psalm 68:5; 89:26) only fifteen times.(Elwell) Compare that to the New Testament at more than 200+ times!
This would seem to stifle the argument that the most blessed gift in the entire Bible is to have God as our Father. But as we take a closer look the Fatherhood of God in the Old Testament we will discover this underlying theme.
This metaphor for God [as Father] may have been avoided in the Old Testament due to its frequent use in the ancient Near East where it was used in various fertility religions and carried heavy sexual overtones.(Elwell)
However, God chose to show His Fatherhood through genealogy and through the Law. The countless begats throughout the Pentateuch and the other historical books shows a lineage of fathers that can be traced back to Moses and Aaron then to Abraham then to Noah then to Adam.
Mankinds genealogy is traced through fathers and their sons; priests and leaders were chosen this way and of course the Messiah would be validated through this legacy of kings.
Admittedly,The whole spirit of the Old Testament religion was determined by the thought of Gods holiness (Packer pg 202). The fact that God made a concerted effort to establish himself as separate in the Old Testament is well seen and the fear of the Lord along with sacrificial atonement set the stage for His bigness and our smallness.
But God reached us through a people, His chosen generations of the Israelites.As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations.(bold added Genesis 17:4) God refers to Himself when he uses The God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 17 times, which is more than the direct references calling Himself father.
It also links Him to men that He made into fathers. Their fatherhood rested completely on Gods ability to grant that office. He set up a culture of family and legacy for his heart to be seen.