In the Old Testament Jehovah introduces himself to the people of Israel through Moses as God, and then, as king. The very text explains. Moses, after 40 years running from Egypt, was tending the flock of his father-in-law at the foot o Mount Horeb. He saw a bush that was burning with fire but was not consumed. And when he got nearer to see what was that marvel, God shouted: Moses! I am the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, and I am going to send you to deliver my people (Ex. 3:1-8). After he had delivered the people, he led them to Mount Sinai, made a concert with them by giving his laws and his commandments, and said to them: you will be to me a priestly kingdom (Ex. 19:6), and said to Israel: “I am Jehovah […] your King” (Is. 43:15).
In the New Testament God presents himself as Father to the twelve apostles through Jesus Christ, his mediator. Jesus said to them: “Pray like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy’” (Matt. 6:9). Later Jesus revealed God the Father, saying: “This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3). Let us look at the behavioral differences between a king and a Father:
The king kills the disobedient. Nadab and Abihu, sons of Araon, the high priest, created a different incense to please Jehovah, placed it in the incense burners, and brought it before the king of kings. He did not accept the strange fire. Then there came a fire from before Jehovah that consumed them (Lev. 10:1-2). Another painful case was that of Uzzah, when David sent for the Ark of the Covenant, which was in the house of Abinadab, to take it to Jerusalem. The sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, went beside the cart to protect the Ark. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacom, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God because the cattle stumbled. Then the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Uzzah and struck him there for his imprudence, and he died (2 Sam. 6:1-7).
The Father does not condemn the offenders. Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One of them was blaspheming. The other one, named Dimas, said, rebuking him: “One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, ‘If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!’ But the other answered, and rebuking him said, ‘Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ He said to Jesus, ‘Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:39-43).
Someone will say: But the one speaking is not God, but Jesus. Right. But John declares that God has never been seen by anyone, and the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, has revealed him (John 1:18).
Paul also declares that God, the Father, has never been seen, and no man has seen him or will ever see him (1 Tim. 6:16).
Therefore, the god that Adam saw, as well as Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, etc., etc., is another who entitled himself god. Jesus said: “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9).
The king is always served. When Jehovah delivered Israel in Egypt, he commanded Moses to say to Pharaoh: “Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying, ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness:’ and behold, until now you haven’t listened” (Ex. 7:16). Jehovah repeats this warning many times (Ex. 8:1-8; 8:20; 9:1; 9:13; 10:3). The priests, the prophets, his people, and even the cruel and idolatrous kings served Jehovah, the King. He declares this himself: “Now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant” (Jer. 27:6). And he repeats this many times (Jer. 25:9; 43:10).
However, Paul reveals in the New Testament that the true God is not served by the hands of men (Acts 17:24-25).
The Father of Jesus serves sinners in the person of his Son. And Jesus said: “For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
When he sent the Son to this lost world, God the Father was serving, not the righteous, but the sinners. Jesus declared: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matt. 9:13; Gal. 1:4; 1 Tim. 1:15).
The king is feared, for he has the stability of the kingdom in his hands, and anything or any person that threatens its safety has to be informally eliminated. Solomon says: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10; 15:33; 8:13).
John tells us: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love” (1 John 4:18). John is teaching that love is greater than fear, for it casts fear away.
The Father loves and is loved, for he is love (1 John 4:8). “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). “But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
So, the one who fears serves out of fear, the one who loves serves out of love. The one who fears becomes timid, and the one who loves risks everything to please his Lord. The servant that received one talent, for fear of losing it hid the talent and ended up condemned; therefore John says that fear brings with it the penalty; and the one that fears is not perfect (Matt. 25:24-30).
We get to the conclusion that, when Jehovah gave the law, he did not seek to perfect his people, for the law produces fear, since the law brings the knowledge of sin and also the curses of Jehovah.
(Rom. 3:20) – “Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.”
(Heb. 7:18-19) – “For there is an annulling of a foregoing commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect), and a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”
We conclude in the end that, if the law of Jehovah does not make anyone perfect, and the people of Israel was forced to keep the law under the penalty of curses, Job was right to affirm that the Almighty did not have any pleasure in Job’s righteousness, or any profit in Job’s perfection (Job 22:3). The king thinks only about his throne and in his glory.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira