GETTING TO KNOW THE FATHER
When Jesus Christ came to this world, his mission was to reveal the Father. He said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). By saying,“No one comes to the Father, but through Me,” Jesus was saying that no prophet of the Old Testament revealed the Father. Only Jesus can reveal the Father, for He alone knows the Father. Dialoguing with the Pharisees, Jesus told them: “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father” (John 8:19). Talking with Philip, he said: “He who has seen Me, has seen the Father” (John 14:9). When he prayed to the Father on behalf of the disciples, he expressed himself in this way: “I have made Thy name known to them” (John 17:26). It is impossible to know the Father without knowing Jesus. As Jesus was not manifested in the Old Testament, the Father was not, either. As the works of Jesus were not done in the Old Testament, the works of the Father were not done, either, for Jesus declared, “The Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 14:10). He said in another occasion: “I showed you many good works form the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” (John 10:32). The works of the Father, done through Jesus, are the works of love, for God is love (John 4:7-8). The works seen in the Old Testament were works of vengeance, of fury, of wrath, of destruction, of curses, of deaths and condemnation of people and nations. These works are not works of love, but of hatred, the works of the darkness, and not of the light. A theologian explained that the Father revealed himself to Israel in the Old Testament, but as they did not know Him because they were blind, Jesus came to open up their eyes, and this time they got to know Him. The problem is that they really did not know Him, and killed Jesus. “But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor.2:7-8).
Let us see what was the god that Israel got to know, and what were his works. First, it is very clear in the Old Testament that Jehovah was intent on being known, not only by Israel, but also by all the nations. “They cry out to Me, ‘My God, we of Israel know Thee!’” (Hos.8:2). “O continue Thy lovingkindness to those who know Thee” (Ps.36:10). “God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel” (Ps.76:1). “God, in her palaces, has made Himself known as a stronghold” (Ps.48:3).
Let us consider the method that Jehovah uses to make himself known. “He saved them for the sake of His name, that He might make His power known. Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up…So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them…And the waters covered their adversaries; none of them was left” (Ps.106:8-11). But Jesus did not use the method of the plagues of Egypt, and the works of the Father are those that Jesus did. Jehovah was known by the plagues, and not by his love, like the Father. Joshua, the successor of Moses, declared, “For Jehovah your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed…that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of Jehovah is mighty, so that they may fear Jehovah your God forever” (Josh.4:23-24). “And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know Jehovah, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel” (Judg.2:10). It is understood that the older generation knew Jehovah. The new generation, which did not know his furious vengefulness, sinned and did no walk in his statutes, and went on to follow Baal and Ashtaroth. The wrath of Jehovah burnt against Israel, so he gave them into the hands of thieves, who robbed them. He also handed them into the hands of the enemies around them, and they succumbed before them. Wherever they went, the hand of Jehovah was against them to do harm against them (Judg.2:11-15). Jesus did not act like that under the orders of the Father, but he died on the cross to save all men, and so that everyone may know the Father through the love of Jesus, not through the vengeances of Jehovah.
Jehovah was known by his terrible and unmerciful vengeances. “‘And I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore, they will act in Edom according to My wrath; thus they will know My vengeance,’ declares Jehovah God” (Ezek.25:14). The Father is known by the sacrifice of Christ, the deed of his love for the lost, and not by the fury of Jehovah. Paul said: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His won Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom.8:31-32). If the Father were the same killer Jehovah of the Old Testament, he would be unjust and two-faced. Jesus died on the cross to save not only the lost, but, above all, to leave no doubt that the Father is love, a vast love, so great that it goes beyond our understanding. Jehovah was known by fury, whereas the Father is known by love.
Jehovah was known not only by his people, but also by all the nations: “But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, IN WHOSE SIGHT I MADE MYSELF KNOWN TO THEM out of the land of Egypt” (Ezek.20:9). Jehovah, speaking against Gog, says: “And with pestilence and with blood I shall enter into judgment with him; and I shall rain on him, and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire, and brimstone. And I shall magnify Myself, sanctify Myself, AND MAKE MYSELF KNOWN IN THE SIGHT OF MANY NATIONS; AND THEY SHALL KNOW THAT I AM JEHOVAH” (Ezek.38:22-23). If Jehovah says that he made himself known, but the doctors in religion say that the people did not get to know him, Jehovah lied, or he spoke and was not able to do what he said. On the other hand, if the very Jehovah made himself known without the help from anyone, and Jesus says that he is the only one who can make the Father known, one of them is wrong, or Jehovah is implicating the Son Jesus, who said: “No one knows the Son, except the Father; nor anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son will to reveal Him” (Matt.11:27).
Without the mediation of Jesus, Jehovah says, “I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me” (Ps.87:4). Rahab and Babylon knew Jehovah when Jesus had not revealed the Father, yet. Therefore, Jehovah is not the Father.
By Pastor Olavo S. Pereira