What is the definition of feat? A feat is an exploit, and an exploit is a heroic, admirable act. Feat may be also something done to gain attention. When a rebellious boy sets on fire the dry hay and the fire spreads and burns also the fruit trees, someone says: “This is this so-and-so’s feat.”
There is a text in the Acts of the Apostles that calls our attention. Paul healed a man who had been crippled from the womb, and the multitudes marveled and called Paul, Mercurius (de god of eloquence), and his fellow Barnabas, Jupiter (father of the gods). Then a priest of Jupiter brought a bull for the sacrifice. Paul and Barnabas jumped into the crowd and cried aloud: “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them; who in the generations gone by allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways” (Acts 14:8-16). What was Paul teaching? He was teaching that each people make their own story. Noah had three children: SHEM, HAM, and JAPHETH. From Shem came the Elamites, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Arabs, the Lydians, the Arameans, and the Hebrews. From Japheth came the Cimmerians, the Scythians, the Medes, the Jutes, the Iberians, the Russians, Thracians, and others. From Ham came the Africans, the Egyptians, the Lybians, the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hivites, the Jebusites, the Hittites, the Philistines, the Babylonians, etc. All these people developed, some of them into great kingdoms. According to what we read in the Acts of the Apostles, God has never interfered in the history of the ancient peoples.
God has a kingdom (Matt. 12:28; John 3:3). This kingdom is not on earth, for Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this earth” (John 18:36). The kingdoms of this earth belong to Satan, who declared this truth to Jesus: “The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The devil said to him, ‘I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want. If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Get behind me Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only’” (Luke 4:5-8). Paul declares that the kingdom of God is above the heavens: “For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens” (2 Cor. 5:1). “For our citizenship is in heaven, from where we also wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20). “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom” (2 Tim. 4:18). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy became our father again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that doesn’t fade away, reserved in Heaven for you” (1 Pe. 1:3-4).
Now, if the kingdom of God is not of this world, and if the kingdoms of this world are in the hands of Satan, it is obvious that God would not interfere with the kingdoms of this world so as not to do battle with Satan. The glory of God does not increase by getting into battle with Satan, but it increases when the Christian, which is lower than this fallen angel, overcomes him and tramples over his head (James 4:7; Rom. 16:20; 1 John 2:14). When Satan wins over the Christian, leading him to sin, the glory of God is wrecked. Resisting Satan’s temptations increases the glory of God and of Jesus, who bought us back from him (1 Cor. 6:19-20; James 1:12).
God, the Father, entered into to this world only through Jesus Christ, who established his Church to win over Satan and destroy his kingdom, through Jesus’ power (Matt. 16:18). The coming of the kingdom of God through Christ and the Church does not interfere with the history of the kingdoms of this world, either, for those who believe in Jesus will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 25:34). And the Christians, during their sojourning in this world, are more faithful, more responsible, more honest, and more productive. The interference of God in this world aims at changing the destiny of men in the life after this, and not at changing or intervening in the history of the kingdoms of this world. This is why Jesus said: “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation” (Luke 17:20-21).
If God, the Father, the author and creator of all things, came into this world only through Jesus — and for this reason Luke says, “The law and the prophets were until John. From that time the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached” (Luke 16:16)— who is the one who would make earth tremble and the kingdoms shake, who caused the world to be like a desert and devastated his cities? (Is. 14:16-17). Everyone will say: This is Satan. Is that possible? Would Satan be the god of this world who was doing exploits in the Old Testament? (2 Cor. 4:4).
God, the Father, left the antediluvians to walk in their own ways, but Jehovah interfered and destroyed them all (Gen. 6:7). And the book of Job says that they were destroyed before their time (Job 22:15-16). This was a great feat of Jehovah, but not of the Father.
The second feat was the creation of the people of Israel: “ Yet listen now, Jacob my servant, and Israel, whom I have chosen” (Is. 44:1). “Everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made” (Is. 43:7). And Israel desecrated the name of Jehovah (Ezek. 36:20-23). And Jehovah, who said: “I will work, and who can hinder it” (Is. 43:13), had to destroy his kingdom, for he did not have the power to create a people who would magnify his glory: “I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and I will cast off this city which I have chosen, even Jerusalem, and the house of which I said, ‘My name shall be there’” (2 Kings 23:27). What great failure! But that was a great feat.
The third feat was shameful. He took Jacob’s family to Egypt in glory, for Joseph was the governor of Egypt, and Pharaoh gave the best piece of land in Egypt to Jacob (Gen. 47:6). After Joseph’s death Jehovah trumped up slavery for Israel, for he changed the heart of the Egyptians to hate the Israelites. The text says: “Israel also came into Egypt. Jacob lived in the land of Ham. He increased his people greatly, and made them stronger than their adversaries. He turned their heart to hate his people, to conspire against his servants” (Ps. 105:23-25). The Egyptians became Israel’s enemies because Jehovah wanted to become famous through the plagues and the death of the first-born. Let us read the words of Jehovah: “I will set a sign among them, and I will send such as escape of them to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the islands afar off, who have not heard my fame, neither have seen my glory; and they shall declare my glory among the nations” (Is. 66:19). In order to become famous, Jehovah changes the heart of the Egyptian people, making them evil and wicked, to create enmity between the two peoples; then he sends ten terrible plagues to devastate Egypt. In the last plague he kills the first-born, and then murders the armies of Pharaoh in the sea. Is it not written in the Acts of the Apostles that God, in the past, left all peoples to walk in their own ways? The behavior of Jehovah is not the same as that of the Father of Jesus.
What shocks the Bible reader is that Jehovah desired to be famous in this world condemned by the New Testament: “You adulterers and adulteresses, don’t you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). Jesus did not want fame in this world, and forbid the publicizing of his miracles (Matt. 9:27-31; Luke 5:12-14). And Paul declares that this world is an abyss, the place of the dead (Rom. 10:6-7). And the prophet Isaiah declares, also, that the abyss is hell (Is. 14:13-15). And Solomon says that the way of life is upwards, to avoid hell, which is down below (Prov. 15:24). And Jesus loudly said: “You are from beneath. I am from above. You are of this world. I am not of this world” (John 8:23). This world is hell itself. Look, that is where Jehovah makes so many feats to get famous! To reach his goals he set kingdoms against kingdoms, killing, enslaving, and destroying. His philosophy is: “The end justify the means.”
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira