When, reading the Old Testament, we find passages in which Jehovah is out of tune with the New Testament concerning the Father of Jesus Christ, the worshippers of Jehovah are quick to say: God is sovereign. Here are two examples: In order to punish the sin of the people, Jehovah submitted all of them to such famine, that pious mothers were forced to cook their little newborn children for food (Lam. 4:10). The answer is always the same: God is sovereign. When Jehovah, full of anger against his people, kills indiscriminately righteous and unrighteous, they quickly say: God is sovereign (Ezek. 21:2-4). According to the law of Jehovah, when a man and a woman, both married, commit adultery, they should be stoned to death. David committed adultery with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, the Hittite, one of his thirty-seven valiant men (2 Sam. 11:1-5). According to the law, they should both be stoned, but as Jehovah chose David to sit on the throne in the place of the rejected Saul, Jehovah spared David, the convict, and killed the newborn child, fruit of the sin, but innocent (2 Sam. 12:13-18). Jehovah also forgave the adulterous Bathsheba, and allowed the very David to send Uriah to death, the innocent and faithful servant (Lev. 20:10; 2 Sam. 11:14-17; 23:39).
We understand that a human and carnal king may commit these kinds of crime, for he is a man and, as man, is cruel, sinful and unjust. But for a god that the Bible declares to be righteous and just (Deut. 32:3-4), a god who claims to be holy (Lev. 19:2; Is. 57:15), it is unacceptable, for God is Father, and a Father would not submit his beloved children to such tortures. As we said in previous lessons, Jehovah, as king, perceives himself as glorified: “Say among the nations, ‘Jehovah reigns.’ The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity” (Ps. 96:10). “Jehovah reigns! Let the peoples tremble. He sits enthroned among the cherubim. Let the earth be moved” (Ps. 99:1).
The Father is different, for he is glorified when a sinner comes out of death. Mary, Lazarus’ sister, said to Jesus: Lord, he already has been dead four days. Jesus answered her, saying: Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory? (John 11:39-40). Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, before he was stoned by the servants of Jehovah, fixing his eyes on the sky, saw the glory of God, and Jesus, who was at the right hand of God (Acts 7:55-59). When a sinner turns to Christ and is delivered from the slavery to corruption, he comes into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Rom. 8:21). “Now the God of patience and of encouragement grant you to be of the same mind one with another according to Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore accept one another, even as Christ also accepted you, to the glory of God” (Rom. 15:5-7). When we, Christians of different denominations, receive one another in love as Christ has also received us, God the Father is glorified. When God the Father, through the Holy Spirit, opens our mouth to speak of the ministries of the wisdom of God, the same God, our Father, is communicating to us his glory (1 Cor. 2:7).
God is not glorified when he sits on a throne to judge the people, but he was glorified when Jesus gave himself for our sins to delivers us from the present evil century (Gal. 1:4-5). God the Father was not glorified when the entire humanity was destroyed in the waters of the flood (Gen. 6:5-7), neither when Jehovah killed the armies of Pharaoh in the Red Sea (Ex. 14:16-18, 27-31). But God the Father is glorified when every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is the Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). The Gentiles were excluded and uprooted from the kingdom of Jehovah (Ps. 10:16), but when in the New Testament the gentiles turn to God the Father and Jesus dwells in them by faith, God is glorified, for he is not a respecter of persons (Rom. 3:29; Col. 1:26-27).
The great truth is that Jehovah does not share his glory, for he is the king of glory (Ps. 24:7-10; Is. 42:8). But in the New Testament, God the Father shared his glory with Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter tells us that: “For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (2 Pet. 1:17; Matt. 17:5). There has been no problem up to here, for Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). But Jesus shared the glory of the Father with all the disciples. Therefore the Lord Jesus said: “He glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:22). And Peter declares that this glory is the Holy Spirit. The text says: “If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you” (1 Pet. 4:14). And Paul says about this glory that came from heaven: “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 17-18). And Jesus reveals that we, the genuine Christians, have the power to communicate the glory of god to all men: “You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira