223 – THE FATHER
The apostle John clarifies a very important point of the doctrine of the New Testament, saying,“whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). To John, it is impossible to come to the Father without first confessing the Father, and for this reason Jesus said: Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 10:32-33). The people of Israel confessed Jehovah directly, without the mediation of Jesus, calling him Father. “But now, O Jehovah, Thou art our Father, we are the clay, and Thou our potter; and all of us are the work of Thy hand” (Is. 64:8); Jehovah declares himself to be the father of Israel: “a son honors His father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? (Mal. 1:6). Moses declared, “You are the sons of Jehovah your God” (Deut. 14:1). And Jehovah also declared, “Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for Jehovah speaks, ‘Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me” (Is. 1:2). It does not interest us the false argument that Jehovah is Jehovah, for Jehovah declared himself to be the Father, and the people of Israel addressed him as father without the mediation of Jesus. And Jesus is unswerving when he says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). As Jesus had not been revealed in the Old Testament, the way to the Father was closed. The people of Israel called father a god who was not the Father, and Jehovah called them children without them first confessing Jesus Christ. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, says, “That by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit” (Eph. 3:3-5). “The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:26-27). If Jesus was a mystery hidden from centuries past and in all generations, no one had access to him in order to confess him, and in this way to reach the Father. Therefore, the Israelites confessed Jehovah as Father, but this confession was not a true confession; and Jehovah called them sons, but God, the Father of Jesus, only had children through the confession of Christ, who said, “Father, these are your children.”
A question becomes important here: Why is it that no one can come to the Father without Jesus? In the first place, Jehovah gave the Law, but Paul says: “Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). The Law separates from God, and never unites, for it produces enmity between man and God. Again, Paul explains: “By abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross by having put to death the enmity” (Eph. 2:15-16). And we read in the letter to the Hebrews, “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). The better hope is the flesh and blood of Jesus. “Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (Heb. 10:19-20).The incarnate word, which gave his life for the guilty sinners, and resurrected for our justification, is the only door of access to the Father. For this reason, no one has come to the Father before Christ, and after Christ no one will come, if they do not first confess him as Savior (1 Tim. 1:15; Rom. 4:25; John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The people of Israel confessed as God and Father a truculent being, vengeful, egotistical, selfish, who killed innocent children for the sins of their fathers, whose educational methods were to send pestilences, plagues and terrible curses. By this it is proven that they did not know God, for God is love (John 4:8). As Jesus only practiced good deeds during his ministry, forgave the sinners and those who were guilty, healed the sick, delivered the captives to demons, fed the hungry, forgave all… Overflowing with goodness and compassion, he said, “You know neither Me nor My Father, if you knew Me, you would know My Father also” (John 8:19). In order to know the Father, we have first to know Jesus. As the works of Jesus in the New Testament were completely different from the ones of Jehovah in the Old Testament, the Jews, when they did not accept Jesus as the Messiah of God, proved that they did not know Jesus, nor the Father: “Philip said to him, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, “Show us the Father?” Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works’” (John 14:8-10).Jesus is teaching five principles of this great mystery.
- God the Father does not reveal Himself to men, unless he does it through Jesus, who says, “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 the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). It was Moses who revealed Jehovah.
- God the Father does not reveal himself to men, unless it is in Jesus Christ. “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). God, the Father, is not outside of Jesus, but inside, and so Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father, bur through Me” (John 14:6).
- The Father does not do any work, unless he does it through Jesus. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. ALL THINGS CAME INTO BEING BY HIM; AND APART FROM HIM NOTHING CAME INTO BEING THAT HAS COME INTO BEING” (John 1:1-3).
- Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). “And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).
- The Father is humble and gentle like the Son (Matt. 11:29); because of this, Jesus and the Father are one (John 10:30). The Father does not glorify himself as Jehovah does (Is. 42:8; 48:11). It is Jesus who glorifies the Father, for God does not receive glory from men (John 5:41; John 17:4),where it is written, “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.”
- If no one can know the Father outside of Jesus, for God the Father can only be known through the good works of Jesus, and the works of Jehovah are not the same works as the works of Jesus, it follows that the Father has never been in the Old Testament, and this is why Paul declares, “Whose alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Tim. 6:16).
- Jehovah reveled himself through his glorious works. The plagues of Egypt were signs of Jehovah(Ex. 10:1). The satanic serpent, and leprosy are the signs of Jehovah (Ex. 4:2-7). Jehovah revealed himself through the dark works, and Christ revealed the Father through bright and pious works. Let us transcribe the form in which Jehovah revealed himself: “With pestilence and with blood will I enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him, and on his hordes, and on the many peoples who are with him, an overflowing shower, and great hailstones, fire, and sulfur. I will magnify myself, and sanctify myself, and I will make myself known in the eyes of many nations; and they shall know that I am Yahweh” (Ezek. 38:22-23). Jesus only revealed the love and the grace of the Father.
By PASTOR OLAVO SILVEIRA PEREIRA