168 – TO KNOW GOD
The question is this: Can God, the creator of all things, God, who is the cause of all that exists, be known in any way outside of Jesus Christ? For the Christians, the only way in which God can be know is in Jesus Christ. God will not be known through Christ, but in Jesus Christ. A few texts prove this truth.
“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). This was John the Baptist’s testimony. This testimony questions many apparitions of God in the Old Testament. Jehovah appeared to Abraham in Gen. 17:1, He appeared to Isaac and to Jacob. (Gen. 26:2-4; 28:10-17). And the very Jehovah affirms that he appeared to these three men in Ex. 6:2-3. John the Baptist was mistaken, or Jehovah is not the Father God of Jesus. The apostle John confirms the testimony of John the Baptist with the following words: “No one has beheld God at any time” (1 John 4:12). And Jesus Christ agrees with his two declarations, saying, “You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His form” (John 5:37). And the apostle Paul closes the issue with a golden key, declaring: “Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16). We will cancel the New Testament to retain Jehovah as the Father, calling liars John the Baptist, John the apostle, the great apostle Paul, and the very Jesus, or we will be ministers of the New Testament, leaving behind what has become old. But it was not Paul who closed the issue, but the very Jesus, when he revealed the mystery: “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). It is a question of logic. Some stay with Jehovah, who revealed himself without the Son, making him a liar, and others stay with Jesus, excluding Jehovah from the plan of salvation. It is clear in the following texts that Jehovah let himself be known:“He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel” (Ps. 103:7). “I shall mention Rahab and Babylon among those who know Me” (Ps. 87:4). “Jehovah has made himself known; He has executed judgment” (Ps. 9:16). “Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—This time I will make them know My power and My might; and they shall know that My name is Jehovah” (Jer. 16:21). “God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel” (Ps. 76:1).
And Jesus Christ declares: “He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know” (John 7:28). “And so they were saying to Him, ‘Where is Your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither Me, nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (John 8:19).
As we have said, Jesus is not known through the Father, that is, we have to know the work of Jesus in order to know the work of the Father; we have to benefit from the love of Jesus in order to benefit from the love of the Father; we have to hear the word of Jesus, in order to hear the words of the Father (John 17:8). Jesus explains the mystery: “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’ Phillip said to Him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works’” (John 14:6-11).
Therefore, God cannot be known through the Law of Jehovah, but through faith in Christ, for by the Law, man knows sin, and not God (Rom. 3:20,28). Through the Law, man knows death, and God is life (Ezek. 18:4; John 17:3). The love of Christ introduces us in the love of the Father by the Holy Spirit (John 15:13; Rom. 5:5; 1 John 4:7-8). The Law of Jehovah is not perfect, and therefore it cannot reveal the Father.“For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Heb. 7:18-19).
Can God be known through the plagues? Never! God can only be known through love (1 John 4:7-8).Jehovah was known by the plagues of Egypt, by the mortal pestilences, which Satan also does. Both agreed in hurting Job with leprosy and disgrace (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).
What about the works? Will God be known through the creation of the universe? We read in Psalm 19, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Ps. 19:1).But material creation has plenty of imperfections. By what we see here on earth, we can draw an idea of the imperfections there are outside the earth. For example, the earth is mined by an infinite number of predators and venomous animals: serpents, spiders, frogs, scorpions, bats, and thousands of other creatures that men fear. Besides them, this world is infested with germs and microbes, which cause deadly sicknesses, viruses and bacteria, which have devastated humanity. A world full of worms cannot lead men to the knowledge of God. That part of Romans 1:20 refers to Jehovah, this world’s demiurge, and not to the Father of love, light, kindness and justice.
What do we see in Jesus? We see the perfection of all things, and in this perfection is the Father. In Jesus we may get to the full knowledge of God and of the “whys” of this creation.
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira