171 – THE IMAGE OF GOD
Jehovah destroyed the entire humanity in the Flood: men, women, and the nursing children, too. Noah and his family alone escaped. About 300 years later Jehovah destroyed four sinful cities by fire, not to mention the plagues and diseases that preceded the destruction, for pests go before him, not mercy(Heb. 3:5). The four cities were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim. They were all destroyed in wrath and fury, that is, there was not any love for the lost souls (Deut. 29:22-24). The wrath and fury of Jehovah are not limited to the barbarian peoples, but are also reserved to his people Israel.
When Jehovah delivered the people Israel from the Egyptian captivity, he became displeased with his people while they were on the way (even though Paul says that love does not take offense, does not seek its own interests, is not provoked, bears all things, believes all things, endures all things, 1 Cor. 13:4-7), and destroyed all of them in the desert (Num. 14:26-37). When he condemned them to death, Jehovah said: “For forty years I loathed that generation, and said they are a people who err in their heart, and they do not know My ways. Therefore I swore in My anger, truly they shall not enter into My rest” (Ps. 95:10-11). There died, with no right to a hearing, more then a million people. Jehovah dealt with the Egyptians with great plagues and pestilences.
The ones who come to Christianity moved by the love of God the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, shed by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 5:5; 5:30), when they read of the atrocities that Jehovah did to old people, mothers, and children, ask, “Why was God so cruel then, and is so kind now? Why was God filled with hatred and fury before Jesus Christ, and now he is so full of love? Does God change?” We read in the New Testament: “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow” (James 1:17). The god of the Old Testament causes us fear and terror.
The believers, led by the theologians, answer: God could not deal differently with men because of men’s murderous brutality. Men were such animals, and were so cruel that they did not obey, except through violent means. Going through the pages of the Old Testament, we will find a different answer: According to Scriptures, the first man was Adam, and the first woman, Eve. This couple begot Cain and Abel. Let us see what the Bible says of Abel, who lived 6,000 years ago: “For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one, and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous” (1 John 3:11-12).
The apostle John reveals that the works of Abel were righteous; therefore, they were not works of a brute, but of a balanced and good person. In the letter to the Hebrews we read, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks” (Heb. 11:4). Abel was a humble man full of faith, things that brutes do not know. We can conclude through the life of Abel that, from the beginning of the world, there were good and evil people, just and unjust, kind and cruel, gentle and violent, such as Cain and Abel. The theologians’ discourse does not convince those who study the Bible. They want to cover up the atrocities committed in public by that god, the righteous murdered by the unrighteous.
The death of Abel, because Cain did not resist his own jealousy, creates a picture so sublime that his shed blood is a picture of the blood of Christ, that is, they are both spotless sheep. “And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel” (Heb. 12:24). To say that men were irrational and brute animals is the condition of blindness in which the fanatical religiousness is.
We have another example from before the Flood, whose name is Enoch. This man walked with God for 300 years. If a brute walks with God, he ceases from being a brute and goes on to be an angel, for the company of God consists of angels.
The Flood happened in the year 1656 after Adam, or 2344 BC. Enoch was born in the year 522 after Adam, that is, 1134 years before the Flood. During the life of Enoch the behavior of men was frightening, but it was not so frightening as it is today: there were not the pornographic movies, pornographic videos, hallucinogens, nor the marriage between lesbians and gays was sanctioned. There were not as many pedophiles or perverted men—this was the reason for the universal flood, since Jehovah condemned these things. Enoch walked with God for 300 years in this atmosphere of complete darkness(Gen. 5:22). Christians today walk along with the world, and not with God, therefore Enoch is superior to any modern Christian. In the book of Hebrews we read concerning Enoch, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb. 11:5).
Jude, servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, left these written words: “And about these also Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14-15). Enoch was a great prophet and angel of God, such as we cannot find today. He was a holy and spiritual man. Both the lives of Abel and Enoch speak against this foolish theory that men were brutes and animals, and could only be dealt with in violence. There is greater violence in our days than there was in the beginning, for if the learned affirm that the gospel of grace of God was manifested when men reached a rational and spiritual maturity that was more adequate to a revelation of the love of God, then guilt and condemnation must be greater, the evil done is more concious, and malice is greater and wickedness has no limits.
Nevertheless, since God is love, and has sent his only-begotten Son to save all men, in the midst of such chaos of moral and spiritual darkness, in the midst of fratricide wars, hatred, corruption and apostasy, he does not destroy or kill the poor men, but he tells us by the mouth of Paul, “WHERE SIN INCREASED, GRACE ABOUNDED ALL THE MORE” (Rom. 5:20).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira