The Father God who is revealed in the New Testament desires to save all men. “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3,4). The apostle Peter says, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Paul goes beyond what Peter says, “For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers” (1 Tim. 4:10). To Paul, all men need to be saved, for to God, the Father, there are no condemned men, but lost men, and God loves all, good and bad. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s grace is complete, that is, over all, faithful and unfaithful, righteous and unrighteous, holy and unholy, condemned and not condemned; that is why Paul declares, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). And so that we did not have any doubts concerning the purpose of God the Father, Christ died on the cross, and has already reconciled all men to God, even before conversion. “…namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19). That is the reason why Jesus made propitiation for our sins with His sacrifice, and also for the sins of entire world (1 John 2:2).
God does not control the salvation or the condemnation of anyone. If he did, this would be a marionettes’ show. Marionettes are puppets manipulated by the hands of an artist.
This method of controlling people existed in the Old Testament. Jehovah manipulated everything. In Gen. 3:15 Jehovah created enmity between the two seeds, that is, between two peoples. It proves that Jehovah did not want to save any of them. Abraham had two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, and Jehovah created enmity between these two peoples (Gen. 16:11,12; 21:1-13). In the story of Esau and Jacob, who were twins, Esau was rejected from the womb (Rom. 9:11-13). This is a true puppets’ show. In the New Testament the “Esaus” and “Jacobs” are reconciled with God and are under the grace. In order to be saved, the only thing even the worst criminal needs to do is to believe. Each one is free to believe or not, and God does not manipulate anyone. A gross case is that of the Pharaoh. When Jehovah called Moses to free the people of Israel that was captive in Egypt (notice that Jehovah took them to Egypt), Jehovah declared that he was going to harden the heart of Pharaoh, before Moses even talking to him (Ex. 4:21). Jehovah manipulated Pharaoh not to believe. Many times, after the plagues, Pharaoh softened, but each time Jehovah hardened him even more (Ex. 7:23; 10:1,20,27; 11:10). Pharaoh and his people were not free to decide for themselves. Jehovah decided for them, the one who hated them and desired to kill them. The glory of Jehovah was killing them (Ex. 14:4,17).
When Israel was going into Canaan, Jehovah manipulated the behavior of the kings of the earth. The first of them was Sihon, king of Heshbon, who was not willing to let Israel pass through their land, because Jehovah had hardened his heart. The objective of Jehovah was to destroy, exterminate the old people, youths and children. This is registered in Deut. 2:30-34. If Jehovah were indeed the Father of Jesus, he would have lied right there, for the Father wants to save everyone, and Jehovah wanted to kill everyone. Luckily Jehovah and the Father have very different objectives. We read about the purposes of Jehovah concerning all the kings who lived in Canaan: “For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to meet Israel in battle in order that he might utterly destroy them, that they might receive no mercy, but that he might destroy them, just as Jehovah had commanded Moses” (Jos. 11:20).
It is interesting to note that the Holy Spirit controls men only after their conversion to Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38). Jehovah, on the contrary, controlled the behavior of men against their will.
Jehovah manipulated Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, an evil, wicked king, and what is more, an idolater. Let us read what Jeremiah says: “I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him. And all the nations shall serve him, and his son, and his grandson” (Jer. 27:5-7). Nebuchadnezzar was manipulated to dominate the world, because Jehovah was pleased with him. After that, Jehovah changed, for the son of Nebuchadnezzar and his grandson did not please him. Jehovah, then, called his separated ones. Who were they? Israel? Never! His separated ones were the Persians. Why did he call them? He called them with the purpose to destroy Babylon, which used to please his eyes before (Is. 13:3,13-17). The sanctified of Jehovah, that is, the Persians, caused the heavens and the earth to be shaken because of the wrath and fury of Jehovah of the armies. The children were lashed, the houses plundered, and the women abused (by the sanctified).
It was Jehovah who brought Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, with a numerous army, and took Israel into captivity. We read this in 2 Kings 18:9; 17:20-23 and Is. 8:7,8. None of them followed their own will. None of them were free. Jehovah manipulated all: his people and the other, strange peoples. And Israel went into captivity, because it was evil and idolater. Jehovah, nevertheless, declared that Israel was the work of his hands, saying, “You are the clay and I am the potter”. Therefore, Jehovah made the bad and the idolater (Jer. 18:1-6). Jehovah also said by the mouth of Isaiah, “And there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Is. 43:13).
The absurd doctrine of Predestination was born in Jehovah. Election, though, presupposes discrimination, which is unfair, for it is unfair to give identical prizes to unequal people. And all men are equal in respect to sin (Rom. 3:23). What we can observe in the Old Testament is the incursion of Jehovah trying to blemish whatever comes from the true God, by killing, cursing, sending plagues and pestilences, and using men like marionettes.
Paul declares that in the generations gone by the Father let all nations go their own ways (Acts 14:15,16). He did not leave Himself without a witness, though (Acts 14:17).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira