In the leaflet no. 15, we have dealt with the imputation of sin to men when there was no law, and of the non-imputation of sin in the era of grace, when men were under the law of Jehovah, given by Moses, the mediator between men and their god.
In this leaflet we will deal with the form of imputation, that is, with how and when sin is imputed, for there are gross differences between the Old and the New Testaments.
In the Old Testament, judgment was immediate, followed by death and destruction, and in the New Testament, which is the era of grace, judgment will happen after the end of this world, and after the resurrection of the flesh. Jesus said, “…Those who did the good deeds, to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:29). And the apostle John said, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds” (Rev.20:13). In more details, the judgment of Jehovah was against the flesh, causing its death. “For Jehovah will execute judgment by fire and by His sword on all flesh, and those slain by Jehovah will be many” (Is.66:16). The Father, on the other hand, announced by the mouth of Paul, “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).
The difference is enormous. Jehovah imputed sin and death, there is, destruction, summarily and personally! The Father handed everything into the hands of the Son, who will execute judgment in the eternity. “I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom” (2 Tim.4:1). The apostle John says, “For not even the Father judges any one, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
In the brief judgment of Jehovah, sinners were deprived any chance of repentance. In the judgment of Christ, sinners have their whole lives to think, choose, and voluntarily believe and repent, for Christ, the last Adam, died in the cross for the sinners that Jehovah intended to destroy. Jesus was the last of the descendants of Adam who died in the hands of Jehovah, so Isaiah says, “But Jehovah was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief” (Is.53:10). The prophet Zachariah said, “‘Awake O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man, My Associate,’ declares Jehovah of hosts. ‘Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered’” (Zech.13:7).
The work of Jehovah came to an end with the death of Jesus Christ, and its purpose was to destroy the plan of salvation of the Father, that is why it says that, “that the sheep may be scattered”. The work of the Father begins with the resurrection of Jesus, as Paul says, “Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God” (Rom.7:4). Christ who died was one, but Christ who rose up is another, so this is why Paul said, “Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer” (2 Cor.5:16).
We will provide examples that will prove both doctrines. Let us begin by the Old Testament. Jehovah imputed sins to the men who lived before the Flood, and destroyed them all: men women and children, giving them no chance of repentance (Gen.6:7-13). If a man had a murderous animal, and it killed someone, this man died with the animal (Ex.21:29). Judgment, condemnation and death were immediate. The diviners and mediums were stoned to death (Lev.20:27). Whoever handed his son to be burnt on the altar of Molech—god of the sons of Amon—was stoned and killed on the spot (Lev.20:2). Any of the sons of Israel who blasphemed of the name of Jehovah were also killed by stoning (Lev.24:16). Adultery was punished with the death of both partners (Lev.20:10-13, 17; Deut.22:23-24). If Jehovah were in charge of the Church, few people would be left. The idolaters were all dead by stoning (Deut.13:6-10). The law forbade the Israelites of performing any work on the Sabbath. Whoever violated the Sabbath was stoned to death. A poor man was caught gathering wood for the fire on the Sabbath, and was put to death by stoning (Num.15:32-36). When a child was disobedient and rebellious, the father handed him in to the men of the city to be stoned (Deut.21:18-21). The son who cursed his father and mother was also killed (Lev.20:9). In many cases one of the family sinned, and the whole family was stoned and killed, such as happened with Achan, who took the spoil of war and brought his children, wife and animals to death with him (Josh.7:19-25). Jehovah did not spare anyone who had committed a mistake. The arc of Jehovah stayed in the house of Abinadab for 20 years (1 Sam.7:1-2). After that time, when David was on the throne, he sent for the ark of Jehovah to be brought to Jerusalem, so as to place it in the tent that he had built. The sons of Abinadab, Uzzah and Ahio, were walking alongside the cart, with zeal and love. The cart tilted and Uzzah, seeing that it was falling, held it with his hand. Jehovah killed him on the spot (2 Sam.6:1-7). Jehovah summarily killed men, families, and kingdoms.
In the New Testament, God, the Father, did not impute sins to anyone. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor.5:19). The Father wants to give everyone a chance, because he wants to save everyone. “Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent” (Acts 17:30).What makes the Scriptures complicated to understand is that the law of Jehovah is still there, for only the ones that are of Christ are not under the law (Rom.6:14). Jehovah is still condemning, killing, and Jesus Christ is still delivering the ones who believe, from the curses of Jehovah. This is why John says, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already” (John 3:18).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira