The important question we may ask: Was there love in the Old Testament? Let us analyze the words of Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5:43-48).
To Jesus, the natural love is not love, but the supernatural love is love. Loving the enemies is supernatural love; blessing those who curse us is supernatural love; doing good to those who hate us and praying earnestly for those who mistreat and persecute us is supernatural love, for it is not natural in the human being. The natural reaction of us humans is to avoid our enemies and to protect ourselves in case of a confrontation. To bless those who curse us, to speak well of those who speak evil of us and to bless in prayer is too much for poor earthlings. It is safer to be armed.
Let us draw some conclusions from the teachings of Jesus about the supernatural love:
1. Jehovah, in the Old Testament, commands in his law that we are to love the neighbor and hate the enemy. Whoever hates the enemy does not seek their good. This was what Jehovah would do: He had Egypt as his enemy and sought the evil of this people by sending them plagues and pestilences; therefore, he did not love his enemy, but went against the words of Jesus. Jehovah considered that the inhabitants of Canaan were his enemies and sought to destroy them (Josh. 11:18-20). We conclude that the love of the Father of Jesus was not in Jehovah, and consequently there was not love in the Old Testament.
2. Doing good to Israel because this people loved him did not qualify Jehovah to be in the same level as the Father of Jesus, who has always sought to do good to those who do not love him. John says: “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). Paul declares that we were enemies of God (Rom. 5:10).
3. Jehovah would send rain only on those who kept his commandments, in other words, he imposed conditions (Lev. 26:3-4). If the people disobeyed the law of Jehovah, he would withdraw the rain, and the earth would not produce its fruits until the people died of hunger (Deut. 11:16-17). Nine hundred years later, when Judah also went into captivity, Jeremiah confirmed the method of Jehovah, declared by Moses (Jer. 3:2-3). This is to say that, for more that a thousand years, Jehovah used this method to kill his people through famine and thirst, for without rain the wells dry up and there is no water, and the earth does not produce fruit. Jehovah himself calls the lack of rain, arrows of famine (Ezek. 5:16-17). In this state of despair the poor mothers went out of their minds and began to eat their own little children (Ezek. 5:9-10). It is obvious in the Scriptures that Jehovah did not know the love of the Father, but only knew the hatred, the cruelty, and the vengeance.
4. The Father is different, for he made his sun to shine on the evil man and the good men, and causes the rain to come on the righteous and the unrighteous, in other words, on the saints and the sinners.
5. So that man may be perfect, Jesus reveals the love of God, the Father, that is to say, the supernatural love, shed by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5), and through it he reveals that the law of Jehovah was imperfect, for he commanded only the natural and common love to both good and evil, to both righteous and unrighteous, to both honest men and outlaws. As the law was given by Jehovah, it reveals the flaws of this earthly god (Heb. 7:18-19).
And, if there was not love in the Old Testament, the Father was not there either, because God, the Father, is love (1 John 4:7-8).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira