What is confession? There are two meanings to the word “confession.” The first one is: the declaration of one’s own mistakes and guilt. The second one is: the profession of a religious faith, or a declaration of faith. One Christian confesses the Roman Catholicism, and another confesses the Protestantism. They are two different confessions. Let us analyze this in practice. In the Gospels, when Jesus came to Caesarea, he asked the disciples, “‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’ He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’”. This was Peter’s confession (Matt. 16:13-17). When Jesus rose from the dead, he made a miraculous appearance to the disciples, into a room with locked doors. Thomas was not present with the disciples, and they told him afterwards, “We have seen the Lord!” But Thomas answered,“‘Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then He said to Thomas, ‘Reach here your finger, and see My hands, and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing.’ Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’” This was Thomas confession (John 20:19-28).
Saul was the great persecutor of the Christians, and he had letters that gave him permission to chain and kill them. On the way to Damascus there was a great light that blinded him, and he fell to the ground and heard the voice of Jesus, saying, “‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who art Thou, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but rise, and enter the city, and it shall be told you what you must do.’” This was Paul’s confession. From a fierce persecutor, he became a servant (Acts 9:1-6).
Let us consider confession in the Old Testament. Jehovah revealed himself to Israel in Egypt through Moses, his mediator. He called Moses to the Mount Sinai and gave him commandments and statutes to obey. The very Jehovah wrote the Law on tablets of stone (Deut. 9:10-20). When Moses came down the mount the second time, bringing with him the new tablets of stone, he mediated a covenant between Jehovah and the people. In this covenant, Moses read the words of the law and the statutes. The people, then, answered, “All the words which Jehovah has spoken we will do!” (Ex. 24:1-3)This was the confession of the people. Then the young men killed young bulls, and they sprinkled the blood on the altar and on the people (Ex. 24:4-8). This people that had confessed Jehovah murmured and died in the desert. What was the murmuring about? Fear, for the ten spies said bad things about the land (Num. 14:1-3; 14:21-23). In the New Testament we read that Jehovah swore that they would never have a resting place (Heb. 3:17-19). The people who did not listen to the voice of Jehovah were the object of this god’s hatred, and if they repented later on, they were never accepted, and Jehovah laughed at their prayers and at their cry (Prov. 1:23-28; Is. 65:12; Mal. 3:4). The question we have is: Can the ones who confess Jehovah as their god and savior be sure of their innocence and righteousness? —Let us look at the following incident: Jehovah incited David to number the people, and was promptly obeyed, for David was obedient to him. Angry because David had obeyed, Jehovah sent an angel that killed 70,000 souls with a pestilence. Then David rebuked this god, saying, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Thy hand be against me and against my father’s house” (2 Sam. 24:1,15-17). What great numbers of widows were left, and what many orphans! In another instance, when David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Jehovah forgave him, but did not forgive the child that had just been born (2 Sam. 12:14). What is very serious about this is that Uriah, the husband of Bathsheba, was righteous and blameless. Jehovah protected the adulterous woman, and allowed the righteous husband to die (2 Sam. 11:2-17).
The ones who believe in Jehovah have no security. If Jehovah happens to have a fit of anger, he kills everybody. When David carried the ark of Jehovah into Jerusalem, it was placed on a new cart. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, led the cart. But at the threshing floor of Nacon, the cart tilted to one side and upset the ark. Uzzah reached to steady it, so that it would not fall, for he was zealous about it. The anger of Jehovah burned against him, and he died there because of his imprudence. Not one of those who confess Jehovah is safe (2 Sam. 6:1-7). The righteous ones, in the Old Testament, are only the faithful Israelites who observe the law of Jehovah. This is what the first Psalm teaches us. Jehovah guarantees the lives of the righteous (Prov. 10:11,16,30). Jehovah loves the righteous (Ps. 146:8).When Jehovah is filled with destructive fury, he kills the righteous together with the unrighteous. And the righteous men are exactly the ones who confess Jehovah as their god and are faithful to the teachings of the law. Let us read what the prophet Ezekiel says from Jehovah: “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem, and speak against the sanctuaries, and prophesy against the land of Israel; and say to the land of Israel, ‘Thus says Jehovah, “Behold, I am against you; and I shall draw My sword out of its sheath and cut of from you the righteous and the wicked. Because I shall cut off from you the righteous and the wicked, therefore My sword shall go forth from its sheath against all flesh from south to north’” (Ezek. 21:2-4). When Jesus warned, “When you flee against the evil that will come, woe to the women with child and to those who nurse babies, because there will be such tribulation as has not occurred, since the beginning of the world until now”. Jesus mentioned the fury of Jehovah against his people (Matt. 24:15-21).
When Jesus came to this world, his glorious mission was to reveal the Father and his infinite love. The priests and the princes of the people, the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and all the people with them, confessed Jehovah as their only god. But Jesus told them: “You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (John 8:19). John the Baptist testified: “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (John 1:18).
The knowledge of the Father depends on the knowledge of Christ. It is impossible to know the Father without knowing Christ, first, for Jesus is the express image of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Whatever the Son is, the Father is, too. Jesus declared that he was meek and humble (Matt. 11:28). Jehovah is irate, furious, and vengeful (Deut. 32:22-25; Nah. 1:2; Ps. 7:11). Jesus loved his disciples until the end(John 13:1). The wrath of Jehovah fell on his people until the end (1 Thess. 2:16). Jehovah revealed himself to his people with these and other acts of fury, and not through Jesus (Ezek. 20:5). “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” (Ezek. 38:22-23). The Father made himself known through the love of the Son. (John 15:13; Rom. 8:31-34).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira