THE surprising truth is that the people of Old Testament times had scant knowledge of God the Father. But He is alluded to and actually mentioned — several times.
One of the purposes of Christ's coming to earth as a human was to reveal the Father (see John 1:18; 5:37; 8:19; 14:7; Luke 10:22). He would not have had to reveal Him if the God of the Old Testament, whom the Israelites had known, had been the Father.
Yet a first hint of the existence of the Person who became the Father is found in the very first chapter of the Bible. "And God said, Let us [not me] make man in our image, after our likeness... " (Gen. 1:26). (This does not indicate the "plural of majesty" as some scholars have suggested.)
Then in chapter 2 we are introduced to the term "the Lord [YHVH] God" as the designation of the acting and speaking member of that "us." This Being — the Eternal (which is the meaning of YHVH) — is every time the one who deals with mankind as the biblical message progresses. In Genesis 14:18, we meet this Person as the "king of righteousness" (Melchizedek, in Hebrew), the "king of Salem" (peace). Proof? Suffice it to say here that of this Me1chizedek "it is witnessed that he liveth" — that he is the Eternal (Heb. 7:8). For further proof of the identity of Melchizedek, the reader is invited to request our free reprint article "The Mystery of Melchizedek Solved."
The point to notice, however, is that this Me1chizedek, the YHVH, the one who later became Jesus Christ, becoming God the Son, was at that time the priest (compare Hebrews 7:1 and verses following with Hebrews 8:1) of "the MOST HIGH God" (Gen. 14:18-22). Now who was God MOST High, the one to whom the Eternal Himself was priest? Let Jesus Himself answer: "... My Father IS GREATER than I" (John 14:28).
But let's be sure. Who was Jesus Christ the son of? "The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee," the angel told Mary before Jesus was begotten, "therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.... He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest..." (Luke 1:35, 32).
Luke 8:28 and Mark 5:7 verify that Jesus is the "Son of God most high" and "Son of the most high God." The Father is mentioned twice more by this term in the New Testament — Acts 7:48 and 16:17.
To whom did Jesus tell us to pray? The Father (Matt. 6:9). And who did David pray to? " I will cry unto God most high... " (Ps. 57:2). Again, "I will praise the Lord... and... the name of the Lord most high" (Ps. 7:17).
Yes, David may indeed have known of the One who was to become the Father. (Remember, he could not have been called the Father yet, because He had not yet begotten the Son. Me1chizedek, YHVH, was not yet the Son.) "The Lord [YHVH] said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool" (Ps. 110:1; Heb. 1:13).
Sang David, "The Lord thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice" (II Sam. 22:14).
Did Moses also know? "When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance..." (Deut. 32:8).
The pagan Nebuchadnezzar would of course have had no difficulty in believing in two separate members of the God family. The Babylonians worshipped multiple false gods. After Nebuchadnezzar caused three men to be bound and thrown in the fiery furnace, he looked in and saw "four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and... the form of the fourth is like the Son [more correctly, a son] of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar... said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth..." (Dan. 3:25-26).
The Prophet Daniel foresaw the return of the resurrected and ascended Christ to the Father in heaven to receive the Kingdom (see also Luke 19:11, 12, 15): "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom..." (Dan. 7:13-14). Here the "Ancient of days" must refer to the Father, although in verse 9, the Son is perhaps also called "Ancient of days," just as either may be called the Eternal (YHVH).
Perhaps even Proverbs may contain a small hint that God was known as a family: "Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son's name, if thou canst tell?" (Prov. 30:4.)